Fit for a King

I really love soup. Like, a lot. This is good for two reasons: I’m broke and it’s cold out. I just started a new temp-to-hire job (yay!) and I am immensely grateful to be working AND doing work I enjoy, but I had to take a significant pay cut to do it. This means I am watching every penny carefully. To save money I’ve been experimenting with soups that are more or less whatever’s in the fridge, watered down and heated up. Tonight, whatever’s in the fridge consisted of winter squash, mushrooms, leftover rice, leeks, onions, and pumpkin pasta. Surprisingly, it worked out pretty well.

I don’t remember the name of the squash, but it’s small (maybe 1-3 pounds) and it looks a lot like a pumpkin, but bumpier. The flesh is very very orange but tends to be a little green near the skin. It’s sweet and takes well to seasoning. That soup and some sauteed tofu with kale made for a nice warm dinner that protected me from the unseasonable chilliness we’ve had the last couple days.

A vague recipe follows…

Winter Squash Soup

Roast 1 medium or two small winter squash in a 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Before putting them in the oven stab the fruits a few times so they don’t explode. Let cool, cut in half, and scoop out the guts. The seeds are edible and delicious if you want to keep them.

Meanwhile, saute some onions and leeks in a stock pot. Add mushrooms (sliced, a cup or two per your preference) and turnips (peeled and sliced, about 4 small). Add a couple cups water, some leftover rice (optional), and the chunked-up squash guts. Bring to a boil, season, and let simmer for a while. (This was the part where I stopped to make the tofu and kale dish.) A minute or two before serving throw in some fresh pasta. If you’re using dried pasta give it 10 or so minutes. Serve!

This made significantly more soup than I was expecting so I will probably freeze a good portion of it. My favorite part about soup is that you don’t need to eat much to feel full. It’s cost-effective and awesome.

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What I Had for Lunch Today

I had the day off work today, so I decided to use the time cooking things that are sometimes too fancy for everyday meals.

First up: beet soup. I had a bunch from the last couple weeks’ CSA pickups, and it’s kind of dreary out today, so it seemed appropriate. I followed this recipe from Allrecipes. (Without the heavy cream.)

After roughly chopping an onion, I threw in some fresh, uncured garlic that came from the farm. Check this out!

garlic

The cloves have a lovely pinkish skin that peels off as easy as a jacket. They don’t smell very strong. It’s not really what I imagined. A couple of times I’ve driven through Gilroy, California, widely known as the only place in the world you can season a steak by hanging it outside. This definitely doesn’t smell like Gilroy on a summer afternoon.

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Next I peeled and chopped the beets (and also clogged the garbage disposal, but luckily all it needed was a good plunging). The recipe called for 6 medium beets but I used 8, because 4 were small and 4 were large. I like that the different sizes are different varieties. They look so nice piled up like that.

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Anyway after a million years (approximately) of simmering I got to pull out the stick blender my boyfriend gave me for my birthday (is he not the best? He totally is.) and I made a nice chunky puree. I could have gone smoother but I liked the texture as it was. Also I was *really hungry.*

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The end result was buttery and sweet, strongly reminiscent of sweet corn. Next time I need to add something to sharpen the flavor. More black pepper, maybe. I had some with a chicken and squash stir fry over brown rice, and two hours later I’m still pretty full. I’d consider that a win.

Later, I’m going to make calzones with chicken, ricotta, and more of that damn Swiss chard, as well as basil from the CSA. The dough will be from scratch, of course. I just need to get up the energy for it. Lunch was a four-burner event.