First some housekeeping – there will not be a recipe exchange next Thursday as I will be headed to the beach for some needed R&R.
On to today’s recipes. About this time of year I receive a number of requests for squash and sweet potato soup recipes. I have several: Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup, Sweet Potato Soup, Butternut Squash & Leek Soup and Winter Squash Soup (click on each for the recipes).
That brings us to tonight’s featured recipe. The base recipe came to me via an email. I looked over the recipe and thought it needed some punch. The first thing I did was roast the squash to help bring some depth to the dish. I added a little heat and finished with a splash of lemon juice to brighten everything when it was done. I don’t think of it as a stand-alone soup (like my very favorite Tomato-Spinach soup), but I think it would work well as a first course in any meal. I think it would be especially nice at a Thanksgiving table.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Spiced Apple Soup
- 4 medium butternut squash, halved and seeded
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large apples – tart works well, but I used my neighbor’s backyard apples which worked great
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 12 cups (3 quarts) water or vegetable broth
- splash of lemon juice
baking dish, dutch oven or large saucepan
Put about 1/4 inch of water in the baking dish, put squash face down and roast at 375 degrees until it is easy to put a fork through the skin. Turn over and continue roasting until tender and squash are golden brown. About 30-40 minutes. You can turn the heat up after you flip them to brown them, if desired. Remove to cool.
Meanwhile, core and slice apples into about 1 inch pieces. No need to peel or get fancy with the dicing since this is a puréed soup. Melt butter in the saucepan, add apple, onions and sauté until apples are soft and onions are golden. Add spices and coat the apple mixture. Scrape squash from skins and add to the apples, add water or broth. You can use chicken broth, but to keep it vegetarian I used vegetable broth. Let simmer for 30 minutes, purée until smooth, heat an additional 5-10 minutes, adding water if necessary and add a splash of lemon juice just before serving.
You can use a blender or hand blender to purée the mixture. If you use a blender, add a couple of ladles of soup to the blender, cover and blend slowly to start, to keep the mixture from expanding too much. I’ve seen hot liquid blow the lid off…you don’t want that. Blend in small batches. With a hand blender, keep it immersed and again blend slowly, to avoid splattering the hot liquid.
Friends dropped off a bag of apples yesterday. I thought, good, I can make some apple crisp. That was until I tasted them. These are terrific apples. Crisp, sweet, just a bit tart, and pretty to boot. A complete surprise to everyone. The tree produces woody, sour apples most years, more decorative than edible (except to the squirrels who always love them). But this year the tree decided to show us all what it could do.
I know nothing about apple propagation, so don’t know what changed, I’m just glad it did. Because it’s apple season and I love apples.
Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having fun with these Thursday night recipe posts. Thanks for playing.
I love chocolate, so it’s usually my sweet of choice. But a very close second is fruit desserts. Strawberries, apples, oranges, blueberries, citrus anything, I love them all. So I have a wide range of fruit dessert recipes available:
It was hard to narrow down the recipe for tonight, I ended up choosing two, Perfect Apple Crisp and Sour Cream Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake. One is decadant, one is quick and easy. What fruit desserts make the top of your list? Hit the comments with the recipes. Next week: I’ll be traveling again, but I’m thinking pizza, since JeffreyW has so many varieties and I’m usually hunting perfect pizza places while I travel.
On to tonight’s recipes.
This is one of the most requested birthday cakes at our office:
Sour Cream Lemon-Poppy Seed Pound Cake
You’ll want to prep the lemon juice, lime juice and zests ahead of time. You’ll need 2 lemons and 3 limes to complete the recipe.
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 sticks (1 cup) melted butter, cooled slightly
- 1 cup sour cream
- Dash of salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
Bundt or Angel Food pan, greased and floured
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix sugar, eggs, zests, lemon, juice, limejuice, sour cream, butter and salt until well blended. Mix together flour and baking soda. Add flour mixture in three sections to egg mixture, mixing until blended, but do not over blend. Fold in poppy seeds. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 75-90 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, or until cool to touch, then remove from pan to cool completely, about 2 hours.
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Dash of vanilla extract
Whisk together until smooth. Pour over the top of cooled cake. Let stand about 10 minutes until set.
Next is a different take on apple crisp. I had seen video of a recipe that pre-cooked the apples in a cast iron skillet. The idea looked really good and since I’m all about cooking in my cast iron skillets, I thought I’d give it a whirl. And I have to say, that yes it did make the best apple crisp ever. It allows the apples to fully cook, then you can bake the “crisp” part at a higher temperature for a shorter time, giving it a really crisp top.
Cast Iron Apple Crisp
- 2 lbs apples – mix of sweet and tart (about 3 apples)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (more as desired)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
- 1 cup flour
10 inch cast iron skillet and small mixing bowl
Core and cut apples into small pieces (about 1/2 inch). Peeling is optional, but with this method the peels cook nice and soft, so it isn’t necessary.
Melt butter in skillet, add apples and sugar, stir until apples are well coated. Cover and cook on medium heat until apple mixture is soft and caramelized, stirring occasionally. About 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, flour and oats, mix until crumbly. Crumble over the apple mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes, just until top is crispy golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.
What makes this so good is that because the apples are cooked on the stovetop, you can use a much higher heat in the oven and get a good, crisp top without drying the whole mixture out or under cooking the apples. Really, this is one of the best apple crisps I’ve made.
Alternately, if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can transfer the cooked apple mixture to a glass baking dish, add topping and bake that way.
Tags: apples, brown sugar, cast iron skillet, crisp, dessert, desserts, flour, food, fruit desserts, glaze, lemon, lime, oatmeal, pound cake, powdered sugar, recipe exchange, Recipes, sour cream, sugar, zest
I was pleased to pop over to Tes at Home and find Tes created a wonderful recipe that would be perfect for a tonight’s slow cooker recipe exchange It sounds like she peeked into her kitchen and found a variety of ingredients and decided they would make a good stew. I believe she’s right. Click link below or either picture for the recipe.
There is one item I cannot be without at Thanksgiving and that is cranberries. A few years ago I started making my own relish and that has only made my dedication to the little red berry more intense. And it must have been a good year for cranberries because they are inexpensive right now. I have 5 bags in my freezer and two more to cook with this week. A little bit of cranberry heaven.
As a general rule, I like them pretty basic – berries, eyeball some orange juice and add sugar until I think it’s sweet enough, simmer until it’s reduced by 1/2 or more. I have found, and I don’t think it is my imagination, that the mixture gets more tart as it sits, so by the next day I’m adding more sugar. Eventually I’ll remember this and add enough sugar so it is just beyond the sweetness I like and then it should be perfect.
This year, in addition to my basic recipe, I tried two different recipes, to shake things up. The first is upping the orange flavor considerably:
- 16 oz bag of fresh cranberries, washed
- 1 orange, juice only
- 1 orange, peeled and cut into small pieces
- Orange zest from 1 orange, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 cup sugar
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator.
The next one was interesting. The apple really becomes the dominate flavor in this, so if you’re a die-hard cranberry fan, make this one in addition to a regular cranberry relish. It’s definitely tasty, but I would miss my true cranberry relish if I served only it.
- 16 oz bag fresh cranberries, washed
- 1/2 cup apple juice or water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add ingredients. Bring to a light boil, as soon as cranberries start popping, reduce heat to medium and let simmer until reduced by half or more to a thick sauce and apples are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more.
Cranberry Palooza isn’t over yet. Later I’ll repost my favorite dessert, the one I’ll be bringing this year, Cranberry Upside Down Cake. And those frozen cranberries are going to be turned into some Cranberry Apple Cobbler and maybe added to some chicken. It’s only the beginning. Until then…