Butternut Squash, Pear + Curry Brown Butter Soup

This soup. It has been my go-to since late September when butternut squash first started popping up. I am in love with this soup. There are so many butternut squash soup recipes out there, so I don’t know just how to convince you that this is the one to make, but know I believe that you’d be happy if you do!

Some reasons to try this soup:

1. This soup is simple. It uses fewer than ten ingredients (not including dried spices) and requires no complicated methods or tools.

2. It’s butternut squash soup. With pears. And curry brown butter. Those flavors, in every single bite. I feel like I don’t need to say more.

3. This soup will warm you to the core on this chilly autumn days.

While there is really nothing complicated about this recipe, here are a few notes to keep in mind:

- The curry brown butter is from this recipe, from 101 Cookbooks. I felt inspired to put the curry brown butter from their lentil soup into this soup and I’m awfully glad that I did. Brown butter is not hard to make, and is more than worth the small amount of effort. Read my description below on how to make brown butter, or for a very detailed description of it, with photos, click here.

-Use any type of pear that you have. Don’t be picky. For this batch of soup, I used pears that I had sliced and frozen earlier in the season, and that worked wonderfully. For past batches of this soup, I used fresh, chopped pears.

-This soup can be left chunky (like in the photos) by using a potato masher to “mash” the soup. If you desire a much smoother soup, use an immersion or regular blender to blend the soup until smooth. I’ve blended it before and enjoyed it that way, too.

-Speaking of leaving it chunky, I haven’t tried it yet, but I think the chunky version would go wonderfully over rice.

 1-2

3-2

4-2

6-2

7-2

Butternut Squash, Pear + Curry Brown Butter Soup
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
Olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 large carrots, sliced thin
1 large butternut squash, cubed
4 medium pears, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3-4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano, onion powder, black pepper and cumin
1/2 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon curry powder, used separately
3 tablespoons butter
Salt, to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
Instructions
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and carrots. Cook, stirring several times, for about 5 minutes, or until veggies begin to soften.
Add butternut squash and pears to the pot and stir. Cook 10 minutes longer, or until squash begins to soften and everything is slightly browned.
Add the fresh, minced garlic and the 1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano, onion powder, black pepper, cumin and curry powder. Stir well, then add 3 cups of veggie broth.
Bring soup to a boil, then turn heat down to medium and let it simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all veggies are very soft.
While the soup is simmering, make the curry brown butter. Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Let butter melt completely, while whisking constantly, until you see brown specks appear. Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder and whisk a few more times. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once soup is done simmering (veggies are soft) add the curry brown butter to the soup pot.
Using a potato masher, mash everything together well to make a chunky soup. Alternatively, using a immersion or regular blender, blend soup until smooth.
Give the soup a taste, and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add some salt, more broth or other seasonings if you desire.
Enjoy!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/

Down the Shore

Just like last year, my family took an autumn trip “down the shore” (Philly’s way of saying “to the beach”!). Last year was one day in Cape May with my parents and this year was a long weekend at a new-to-me beach, Ocean City, Maryland, with the addition of Greg and family friend, Sokol.

Thanks to my mom, we stayed in an ocean front condo with views that actually and literally took my breath away. Our days became pretty routine, pretty quickly. Morning started with bright sunshine, on our balcony, with coffee and views of boardwalk-goers below us and ocean waves in front of us. We rode bicycles to breakfast each morning and spent most of the day riding along the boardwalk, spending time at the few places that quickly became our favorites – snacking on popcorn (Fisher’s), french fries (Thrasher’s), ice cream (Dumser’s) and beer at what was undoubtedly my favorite find of the trip – Backshore Brewing Company. The five of us held a mini-golf tournament, playing one game per day and adding the total scores at the end (Dad was the victor), played oceanfront scrabble, and spent a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying the views.

As we often say, it was another great trip in the books. Just like my post from our trip to the Poconos, there are many photos (36!) ahead. Enjoy!

THE PLACE

17-2

16-2

20-2

6-2

19-2

18-2

24-2

25-2

23-2

22-2

21-2

28-2

33-2

32-2

31-2

26-2

THE PEOPLE

1-2

2-2

3-2

14-2

13-2

11-2

9-2

4-2

5-2

7-2

35-2

15-2

12-2

39-2

30-2

27-2

38-2

36-2

37-2-2

34-2

Freezing Peaches

Today, more on cherishing the end of summer.

I couldn’t have been happier to see peaches still at market last Sunday – a variety of them appropriately named “Encore,” and of course thanks to the best – Three Springs. After missing market for three weeks for various reasons, I was worried I had missed that last call for peaches, but gratefully I was able to snatch a bag-full of the last ones.

While I think that there is not much better than eating a sliced, fresh peach, I’ve recently gotten into freezing the juicy summer stone fruit. Greg and I drink smoothies most mornings and because of that, frozen fruit is an always on-hand item in our freezer. Naturally, having a freezer full of Three Springs peaches makes me happier than having a freezer full of generic grocery store fruit, so freezing peaches it was! It does require a tiny bit more work than buying grocery store fruit, but not too much work, I promise! (It’s worth the effort!)

I don’t know why freezing peaches seemed like such a mystery to me for such a long time. I’ve done much reading, research and experimentation over the summer and today I’m going to share with you what I’ve found. What works for me, and what is the simplest process out there. There is no peeling, blanching or measuring in the process that I use. It’s a simple as just washing, slicing and freezing! So as simple as this post sounds (how hard is it to freeze peaches?), I thought it’d be worth sharing in case there is anyone out there like me. And even though this is the first week of fall, I have a feeling that I am not the only one with a fridge full of summer to preserve.

{Keep in mind – I’m freezing peaches mainly for making smoothies. Maybe I’ll use them for a dessert or for muffin making at some point during the winter, but my main use will be for smoothies. If your main use for them would be much different than for smoothies, I would suggest doing further research for your specific desires.}

1-2

2-2

4-2

8-2

7-2

Freezing Peaches
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
Fresh peaches
Baking sheet(s)
Parchment paper
Sharp knife
Cutting board
Gallon freezer bags
Instructions
Start with fresh, preferably local peaches. Wash the peaches thoroughly. I just use good old fashioned water to wash my fruit! Let peaches dry.
Prepare your peach freezing station. Line a baking sheet (or several baking sheets, depending on how many peaches you are freezing) with parchment paper. Plan for about 4 peaches per baking sheet, of course depending on the size of your peaches and baking sheets. Slice the peaches. I leave the skins on. I don't mind the slight texture the peach skins add to my smoothies.
Evenly arrange peach slices on baking sheet(s). It is important that the slices are not touching. Line them up with a bit of room between each slice.
Once baking sheet(s) are full, place in freezer for up to 24 hours, or until peaches are frozen. I usually leave the baking sheets in the freezer for a full 24 hours.
After 24 hours, remove baking sheets from freezer and let peaches sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. This will make peaches slightly easier to work with. Transfer peaches from baking sheets to gallon-sized freezer bags. I usually do one baking sheet per bag.
Seal bag tightly, with as little air left in the bag as possible and place in freezer!
Once the bag is empty, I wash it out, let it dry and reuse it for my next batch!
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/

Happy Birthday Amanda

I want to wish the happiest of days to my best friend. Happy birthday, Amanda! {Last year, I made Amanda pumpkin s’mores cupcakes for her birthday – to view that post, click here!} It’s hard to believe that in the last year, since your last birthday, we have gone wedding dress shopping, picked out your wedding flowers, celebrated your bridal shower, made wedding cupcakes, cookies and your wedding cake(!) and now, for this birthday, you’re Mrs. Nielsen! In the last year, we’ve discussed moving, jobs, apartments, missing our families, what we want to be when we grow up, all the details of your perfect wedding day(!) – I can’t wait to see where we are and what we are talking about in one more year. :) To the bestest lifelong friend – who actually knows how to cheer me up when life’s got me down, who makes me feel not only good, but GREAT, about my life decisions, who is a beautiful example of a human full of love, hard work, loyalty and kindness, and who can even spend an entire evening, from 600 miles away, laughing at pictures of fat cats with me – have the greatest day! {Here are a few photos of us from her beautiful wedding day – all photographs by the wonderful Jessica Vogelsang Photography!}

DSC_1273

DSC_9417

DSC_1419

DSC_1543

DSC_4327

Late Summer Pasta: Homemade Noodles with Pesto + Tomatoes

I can feel the end of summer. I can sense the change in many aspects of my life. In the types of clothes that I’m starting to reach for. In the foods that I am craving. In the air that blows through our open windows. Summer is ending, but it’s not gone just quite yet, and I plan to cherish my favorite things about it – especially the food – for as long as I can.

This pasta dish is definitely a testament to that. The tomatoes – a symbol of the part of me that is still holding onto summer, and the homemade noodles – showing that the first signs of fall have me slowing down, desiring long days in the kitchen, with cool air coming through  windows and a glass of wine (not beer, like summer) by my side.

This was my first time making homemade noodles because I’ve been intimidated by it for a long time. I don’t have a pasta roller and I just didn’t think that a rolling pin could roll homemade pasta dough thin enough. Recently though, something in me told me just to go for it and I’m awfully glad that I did. Just like my success with homemade gnocchi, these noodles were a pleasant experience. I plan on doing this regularly now, especially through the winter months.

So since I am just a beginner noodle maker, let me show you the resources I used: The Pioneer WomanThe Kitchn and Better Homes and Gardens. Thank you to those wonderful sites for giving me the knowledge and wisdom to smoothly get through my first noodle making experience. My advice, from one beginner to another is this: just to do it. Give it a go. Enjoy the slowness + comfort this season has to offer and make some noodles! I do understand though, that for most people, who are busy on the regular, this is a Saturday or Sunday type of meal. Not a weekday meal, and that’s okay. Save it for a special day. Make homemade noodles, dress them simply and enjoy every bite of your hard work.

We were lucky enough to get a bunch of tomatoes recently from Greg’s vacationing coworker’s CSA share and from Greg’s mom and stepdad. So, for this particular batch of noodles, I simply tossed them with pesto and roasted cherry tomatoes. A meal just right for this time of the year. Consider making it even without the homemade noodles. 

Even if you don’t have the time and/or desire to make homemade noodles at this time, I encourage you to enjoy what is now. Enjoy the last of what summer has to offer and if you’re like me, embrace the “slowing down” feeling that comes with fall. I’m enjoying it thoroughly and this dish represents that perfectly.

Below the photos, I typed out just what I did. I also suggest in the recipe section that if you do decide to make noodles for the first time, to read through what I have as well as look at my photos, but to also study the sites that I linked to above. Be prepared as possible and enjoy the process! Leave any questions in the comment section. Enjoy!

7-2

8-2

9-2

15-2

11-2

10-2

1-2

3-2

5-2

6-2

Late Summer Pasta: Homemade Noodles with Pesto + Tomatoes
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
6 eggs
1-2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
1 cup of your favorite pesto
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
Instructions
For the noodles, I followed methods from the Pioneer Woman, The Kitchn and Better Homes and Gardens, all linked above. I will describe what I did, but before making the noodles, I recommend also studying the pages I linked to above.
For the noodles: Into a large mixing bowl, measure three cups of all-purpose flour. Make a well in the center of the flour and crack six eggs into the well. Using a whisk, gently whisk the eggs, incorporating a little flour into the well at a time, and continue whisking until the dough starts coming together. Dump the dough and any remaining flour in the bowl onto a clean, floured surface and begin kneading the dough. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until dough is no longer sticky and the surface is smooth (The Pioneer Woman post shows a good photo of this). Using a large, sharp knife, cut the dough into four equal parts. Gently knead each part for several minutes, just to be sure the dough has been kneaded thoroughly. Let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
While dough is resting: Place tomatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until slightly blistered. Turn the oven off, tomatoes can remain in there until noodles are done.
While you roll out your noodles, begin to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
After 30 minutes, roll your dough. Using a rolling pin, on a well floured surface, roll out one segment of the dough at a time, as thin as you can get it. Mine was extremely thin but also very pliable. Once rolled out, sprinkle each side of dough with flour. Gently roll the dough, jelly roll style, and using a knife, cut thin strips (as shown in photo above). Once cut, unroll each strip. You have noodles! Repeat the rolling out, rolling up and slicing with each of the remaining three segments of dough.
To cook noodles, place in salted, boiling water and boil for approximately five minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your noodle, so start checking them after two minutes. Mine took a full five.
To make the pesto + tomato pasta: Add pesto to a large saucepan over medium heat, along with a ladle-full of the noodle cooking water. Add the cooked + drained noodles and toss. Add the roasted cherry tomatoes. Add more noodle cooking water, to thin the sauce, as needed. Top with Parmesan cheese, if desired, and enjoy!
Notes
The amount of noodles made with this recipe lasted Greg and I over 2 meals. We each had a large serving for dinner, the next day for lunch, with leftovers yet.
I didn't make enough noodles to freeze this time, but plan to for next time and will follow the directions on the Better Home and Gardens blog, linked above.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/
*Noodle recipe/techniques from The Pioneer Woman, The Kitchn and Better Homes and Gardens.