Thursday, October 13, 2011

Butternut Squash Bisque with Granny Smith Apple and Maple Bacon

Today is a gross, rainy day in Boston and I'm still sniffling from a cold I got two weeks ago. Yuck. Tis the season, I suppose. In the midst of my sickness and feeling very under the weather, I decided to cheer myself up by making this soup. One of my favorite things about fall is butternut squash, and I've been meaning to make a roasted squash soup for a while. Since I don't have a food processor at school yet (wink wink Mom and Dad...) this came out as more of a bisque, which I actually liked better. Pureeing the vegetables too much creates a runny consistency, so blend or puree on low to achieve a thicker base.

You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock with vegetable stock and nixing the bacon. If you aren't a vegetarian though, I strongly recommend the maple bacon. The sweetness accompanied the green apple very nicely and it gave the soup a little extra texture. Also, if you plan to make a big batch and freeze it, hold off on adding the sour cream until the soup is reheated and ready to serve.

Butternut Squash Bisque with Granny Smith Apple and Maple Bacon
Serves: 6-8  Prep: 30 minutes  Total: 1 hour, 30 minutes

1 butternut squash
1 granny smith apple (cored, peeled and chopped)
1 yellow onion
1 carrot
3 tbs butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbs low fat sour cream (plus more for garnish)
6 strips maple bacon

Cut the butternut squash in half, brush with olive oil, and roast on the top rack at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove and let cool.
Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and carrot and cook until the onion is soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped granny smith apple and cook for another 3-4 minutes. While the apple is cooking, scoop the contents of the butternut squash out of its skin, removing the seeds in the process. Add squash to the saucepan and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well.
Remove the squash mixture from the saucepan and place into a food processor or blender. Mix on low until the mixture develops a bisque consistency, well blended but not smooth.
Place the squash mixture into a pot and add the chicken stock. Cook uncovered on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the soup is simmering, fry the maple bacon on the stove, then remove and drain the grease on paper towels. When cooled, chop the bacon for garnish.
Add sour cream into the soup and stir well. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with 1 tablespoon of sour cream and 1 tablespoon of crumbled maple bacon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grandma's Apple Cake

When my friends find out I can cook or taste my food for the first time, it's pretty common that they ask if my mom or grandma are also good cooks. I guess people assume every good home cook has good (but most likely better) home cooks in their family. My mom's recipes are the reason I started cooking in college in the first place, but many of her best dishes come from her mother, my grandma.

Last year I moved into my first college apartment with a full kitchen and I asked my grandma (who has lived 5 minutes down the road from me my whole life) if I could take some of her recipes to school. She happily obliged, and not only filled out these adorable recipe cards, but also went through her own kitchen and gave me tons of extra pots, dishes and accessories to stock up my kitchen. When someone digs through my kitchen cabinets and makes a joke about my 60's-looking casserole dish, retro spoon rests, or tea bag holders (see below), I charmingly reply that they were once my grandmothers and she passed them down to me along with her recipes to keep our family cooking alive.

I've made my grandma's apple cake twice in the past week because it keeps disappearing between friends and roommates who want a "taste". If you have a lot of apples lying around your fridge or want a classic fall dessert, try this cake recipe and I bet you'll be baking a second very soon.

Grandma's Apple Cake
Serves: 8  Prep: 15 minutes  Total: 1 hour, 15 minutes

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 medium apples

Set oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add eggs, vanilla and oil into the batter and mix well. Cup up the apples into slices, then into small cubes. (Peel the apple skin if desired, but I prefer to leave it on.) Add the apple into an 8x8 inch greased cake dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out dry.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...