Archives for posts with tag: fall

I am the first to admit that I am somewhat of a whimp when it comes to cold weather. Not like LA whimpy where you pull out a puffy down coat around the 60-degree mark (I did live in Vermont and Ithaca after all), but this time of year I do start to wonder when the heat will come on in my apartment, how long I can stay in the shower each morning, and what’s an acceptable number of hot beverages to consume before noon. My eating habits change quite a bit too. I trade in the green smoothies and raw salads for warmer, more comforting fare. And this soup is no exception.

This is one of the simplest soups to make. Not quite as easy as the avocado soup I made this summer, but not as time-consuming as this black bean soup I made back in January. It makes good use of the beautiful late-harvest squash at farmer’s markets this time of year and provides just the right amount of warmth and spice to help you ease into fall.

The secret weapon of this soup is the roasting. Not just roasting the squash—which adds more flavor and richness than sautéing—but you’re roasting an onion and whole small head of garlic that also gets puréed into the mix. Shazam! This soup gets its bright color not only from the butternut squash but the turmeric that’s in the curry powder or garam masala. The coconut milk adds a luscious richness and depth, and the red chile pepper flakes kick the heat factor up a notch. Oh, and don’t discard those squash seeds! Toast them on the baking sheet with the squash for about fifteen minutes and then serve with the soup, if there are any left after you snack on them warm from the oven. Key word: warm.

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, or 2 small
1 small head of garlic
1 onion, any variety
Olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 c unsweetened light coconut milk
1 1/2 c vegetable stock
3/4 tbsp curry powder
Red chile pepper flakes

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the squash into quarters, discarding the stringy bits in the center and setting the seeds aside. Place the squash, flesh side up, on a baking sheet. No need to peel. Place the garlic, skin and all, on a small piece of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil, and then wrap the garlic entirely in the foil. Place on the baking sheet. Slice the onion in half and add to the baking sheet as well. Drizzle the squash and onion with oil, salt, and pepper, and place in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour. You may need to remove the onion earlier than the squash.

2. While the vegetables are roasting, rinse the seeds and pat dry. About fifteen minutes before pulling the vegetables out of the oven, place the seeds on the baking sheet. They will roast and turn brown. Remove before they get too dark, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove the vegetables and seeds from the oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, transfer the flesh of the squash to a blender or food processor, along with the onion and the roasted cloves of garlic. You should be able to just pinch the roasted garlic from its skin. Blend until smooth, adding a little bit of broth if needed.

4. Transfer the purée mixture to a large pot on the stove, stirring in the coconut milk and rest of the broth. Let simmer on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, adding the spices and seasoning to taste. Serve with the toasted seeds, and, if you’d like, a dollop of crème fraîche. I also served with a salad of green Boston lettuce, pears, walnuts, sliced grapes, and an olive oil-tahini dressing. If I had blue cheese, that would’ve been in the salad too.

This is what my fruit bowl looked like yesterday – a mélange of fall fruits, ripe and ready for the taking. If you live in or near New York City you know that yesterday was the first cold, fall day. It was also raining. The perfect Sunday to get in the kitchen and crank up my oven.

While making something savory is, in my opinion, more practical than making something sweet, I couldn’t help staring down those fruits and imagining them baking in a pastry crust. I turned to my trusty source for all things dessert, David Lebovitz, for some general guidance. Wouldn’t you know one of his last posts was on a harvest tart, much like the one I had in mind.

I call this a rustic tart because it’s not fussy and not meant to look perfect, like those fruit tarts you see in a bakery case. You quickly whip up the tart dough with nothing more than good cold butter, flour, water, and a pinch of salt. And fill it with whatever fruits you have on hand. I filled mine with Honeycrisp apples, grapes, and two different varieties of plums. (There was no room left for the pears!) I added a handful of hazelnuts, and drizzled a custard-like filling of egg and thick, whole-milk yogurt. (Lebovitz’s recipe called for crème fraîche, which I didn’t have on hand and couldn’t find within a few block radius in my neighborhood.) You roll out the dough larger than the circumference of your pie dish so that the edges can then be folded over the fruit filling just enough to leave some of the center exposed.

Maybe I can get used to this cold weather again.

Rustic Fall Tart
adapted from Kate Hill of Kitchen at Camont (via David Lebovitz)

For the dough
2 c all purpose flour
3/4 whole wheat pastry flour
pinch of salt
9 ounces unsalted butter, cold
2 large eggs
3-4 tbsp water

For the filling
2 lb apples, peeled and cored (approx. 4 large apples)
4 plums, any variety
1 small bunch grapes, stemmed
1/4 c sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
Handful of hazelnuts
1 tbsp brandy or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c crème fraîche or thick, plain yogurt
1 large egg

1. Make the dough: in a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and mixing with your hands or a pastry blender, combine with the four mixture until it’s in small pieces.

2. Add an egg and the water and mix until the dough holds together. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 18 inches in diameter. Transfer to a deep pie dish; the edges should hang over the sides quite a bit.

3. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl then brush the insides of the dough with the egg.

4. Prepare the filling: slice the apples into eighths and the plums into quarters. Mix them together with the grapes, sugar, brandy or vanilla, and transfer the filling to the tart dough. Scatter the hazelnuts on top of the fruit.

5. In a small bowl, mix the crème fraîche or yogurt with the egg and pour it over the fruit and nuts. Line the edges of the dough and cover the fruit. Brush the top of the dough with a mixture of egg wash and butter then sprinkle with a little sugar.

6. Put the tart on a baking sheet and bake at 425 F for one hour, until the top of the dough is browned and the fruit is thoroughly cooked. You can test by placing a knife in the fruit and making sure it goes right through. If, before the hour is up, the crust starts to turn dark brown you can tent with foil about halfway through.

7. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool before serving. Serve on its own, with crème fraîche, vanilla ice cream, or homemade whipped cream.

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