It has been wet and rainy, cloudy for the past 5 or 6 days and I think if it keeps raining like this I am going to start growing mold… I don’t like cold weather, even more when it rains all the time. I want sunshine, please!
As boring as they are, these cold days inspire me to make soup, and soup is always a good thing! Not much cooking yesterday, but Monday I made a soup I like a lot, Acorn Squash and Apple Soup. I got the recipe from a website called justvegetable recipes, but I changed it so much that I don’t even look at the recipe anymore when I am making it. Soup is something that I kind of get inspired to make and eat, and most of the time I just throw whatever I am in the mood for (or have in the fridge) in the pot, some broth and seasonings and there is my soup! There are some soups that I try recipes and others that I look at the recipe and kind of make it my way, which is the case with this one.
I had an acorn squash and some apples from the farmers market, so decided to make this soup once again (I have made this a zillion times, it is one of my favorite soups!). I have also made this one using butternut squash and it is even better than with acorn.
I took a picture of the squash and believe it or not, forgot to take a picture of the final soup… oops! Well, just imagine a thick and orange – yellowish soup, ultra creamy and flavorful, yummy; I guess you’ve got the idea!
I am posting below the way I make the soup, but you can vary it to suit your tastes. You can use different varieties of winter squashes, omit the apple, and add ginger or other spices you might like. It can even be served with a dollop of yogurt on top. I like mine just as is, pure and simple, creamy and velvety smooth!
Besides the soup, I baked an apple cake to use the peels from all the apples I used in the apple pie. The apples are great, but the peels are full of vitamins and fibers, and I did not want to waste it. So I put them in a pan, covered with apple cider and cooked over low heat until the cider evaporated, then processed them in the blender and made a very tasty applesauce, which I used in the cake together with one diced apple. I am going to post the original recipe for the cake below, as it is super simple, and great for the cold months. And besides using the applesauce (for the peels called in the recipe), I used 1 cup of all-purpose and 1 cup of whole-wheat flour, and only 1 cup of sugar (as my applesauce was already sweet due to the apple cider reduction). As you will see I baked mine in muffin tins, so I could easily freeze the leftovers for breakfast.
Very easy to make and tasty too! This recipe I got from a Brazilian site called www.cybercook.com.br, a friend named Clemente posted it in the bulletin boards.
Acorn Squash and Apple Soup
1 cooked acorn squash
1 ½ cups chicken broth (may need less or more, depending on how thick you like your soup)
1 diced apple, peeled
¼ cup chopped onions
½ cup apple juice (or cider)
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the apple, onion and ½ cup of broth in a pan, cook over low heat until the apple is soft, about 8 minutes or so. Add cooked squash, apple juice, and remaining chicken broth, until you reach desired consistency. Season to taste and cook covered until flavors have blended and ingredients are tender, about10 minutes more (you may add more broth if needed). Puree soup in blender in batches, return to the pot, add a tablespoon of butter (if desired) and reheat gently.
Notes: To cook the squash you can boil it, bake it (halved, seeded, cut side down in a baking sheet), or microwave it. I learned how to cook it easily in the microwave and have been doing this way ever since: “stab” the whole squash with a knife (just as we do with a fork to baking potato), do it slowly and carefully and make sure to go all the way through the cavity, microwave it for 10 to 20 minutes, until soft and squishy (depends on size of squash). I microwave it whole, then it is easy to cut and remove the seeds, just wait for the squash to cool down a bit, and be careful because it is hot inside. Remove seeds and scoop out the pulp to use in the soup!
Apple and Cinnamon Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
½ cup canola oil
3 apples, cored, peeled, and diced – reserve the peels
1-tablespoon ground cinnamon
1-tablespoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and the diced apples, set aside.
Puree in the blender the apple peels, eggs, oil, and sugar. Add mixture to dry ingredients and mix until combined well. Pour batter into a greased and floured pan and bake in pre-heated oven for 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Notes: muffins baked in 20 minutes.