My whirlwind month of work didn’t stop after I came back from BlogHer Food ’10. I dropped my suitcases, climbed into bed, and woke up the next day to begin production on another week-long shoot. All the while, my mind has been racing with ideas and inspiration that I brought home with me. A by-product of my time at the conference was a strong desire – a need – to collaborate with the people around me I love. Folks whose work I admire. There are so many right here in Atlanta…and it was reinforced to me that the blog community and the world of the Internet is a tight-knit bunch. Why can’t we reach out and do more things together? I have something in mind…and we’ll see if I can get the words and the organization in place to make that happen.
As I’ve been twirling my hair, biting my nails and generally being preoccupied with this as-yet-unnamed side project, there has been a gigantic butternut squash sitting on the counter calling my name. It’s finally cooled off here in the South and the smattering of leaves on the ground is one of the first signs that the season is changing. As anyone who has read this blog before knows, desire for comfort + mental preoccupation usually means soup. I’m a huge fan of butternut squash soups, as a general rule…and this version is possibly the best I’ve ever had. Throwing in a small can of coconut milk & a dash or two of ginger juice (I’ve been using this stuff in everything as of late – having it around for dressings and cocktails is a good thing), it’s a perfectly balanced gently-flavored soup that could be gussied up however you choose. However, this is an instant where I’ll emphatically encourage you to make this garnish. These sugared pistachios take mere minutes to make and are equally as delicious as the soup itself.
Creamy Coconut & Butternut Squash Soup with Sugared Pistachios – serves 4 to 6 as a soup course
For the garnish:
For the Soup:
– To make the garnish: In a medium saute pan, melt the butter. When fully melted, add the pistachios and stir to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle salt, sugar and cinnamon over the nuts and stir again to make sure they’re evenly covered. Remove from heat. Spread out on baking pan or non-stick cookie sheet & allow to cool.
– To make the soup: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, drizzle with olive oil and place face down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender – about 1 hour. Allow to cool enough to be able to handle the squash. Remove all the roasted flesh and place in large stockpot. Add vegetable broth to pot over medium heat and allow the squash to further break down and mix in with the broth. When brought to a low simmer, add in the coconut milk (make sure you stir it before you pour it into the pot) and ginger juice. Take off the heat and allow to cool again. In batches, blend the squash & soup liquid in a blender (the Vitamix is amazing for this) until pureed to desired consistency. Return to pot and heat before serving. Sprinkle the top of the soup with the sugared pistachios right before serving.