I have a bit of a problem. I don’t think it requires a twelve step intervention, but still, it complicates my life sometimes. I really can’t pass up a good sale at the supermarket. Laugh, giggle and find general amusement at my predicament all you like, but don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile with my grocery cart and have 4 butternut and 6 acorn squash in your refrigerator.
This penchant for purchasing well priced produce doesn’t seem to extend to other areas of my life as a consumer. I love a good sale on bathroom tissue as much as the next person (especially since my family seems to go through bathroom tissue faster than a calf goes through milk), but I don’t have 10 cases I bought on sale sitting around waiting to be called to a higher purpose.
But if I see a sale on something edible, I tend to buy first and think later. Sometimes this produces great results, like the key lime pie I made when key limes were on sale. But it also led to the sausage crisis in my freezer that I’m still digging my way out of, and I have 2 jars each of roasted red peppers and tahini in my pantry that are languishing away after I had a roasted red pepper and tahini mental creativity block and gave up trying to find ways to cook with them.
Now about those squash….
I firmly believe that inspiration for a great recipe can come from absolutely anywhere, and since I’m almost always right, you can pretty much take my word for that. But if you need some convincing, I offer you the story of the Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash Soup recipe.
Once upon a time last weekend, I was busily searching for some kind of recipe or inspiration for the abundance of squash I have impulsively saddled myself with, when my children decided that they absolutely had to sit next to me and play the “Ask mommy 10,000 questions we don’t really care about the answers to because we are bored and it’s raining” game. So I sent them on a Google mission to find me a fun recipe for butternut squash. After the veggie in question was produced for their inspection and familiarization, off they went, and all was again peaceful in my house. For about 3 minutes.
“Mommy, how ‘bout this recipe?” my eldest daughter shouted from the basement. “Well, I can’t really see it from up here, honey.” I replied. “Mama! I found a recipe!” my youngest bellowed, “Can I show you?” My youngest daughter calls me Mama. I don’t know why, and I haven’t been brave enough to ask her. “Ok girls, bring me your recipes” I said, closing my laptop, magazines and cookbooks, determined to get back to my hunt for the perfect squash recipe just as soon as it stopped raining and I could kick the kids out have the children play outside and get some fresh air.
And so they brought up the reams of paper they had printed out, and I dutifully ooo’d and ahhh’d as required by my mommy contract. Then I found a hidden treasure, a recipe for Thai-Style Butternut Squash Soup from an unlikely source: Walt Disney. To be more specific, it was on the Disney Family.com website, in the food section. Go figure.
After a recipe revamp and a trip to the Asian market, I cooked up this rich and creamy, mildly spicy, slightly sweet and tart butternut squash soup. I probably could have eaten the whole pot, but I had to save some for the pictures, and maybe a bowl or two for the children. They did find the recipe after all. It was only fair.
Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Disney Family.com
1 large butternut squash, about 2 pounds
1 tbsp oil, I use grapeseed
¼ cup onion, minced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp Thai Red Curry paste, more if you like it hotter
6 kaffir lime leaves, middle vein removed and torn into pieces
4 cups chicken broth
1 13-14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Toasted coconut for garnish (optional)
Preheat over to 400°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Brush the cut sides of the squash with oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until very tender. The squash should have a creamy texture. Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the peel using a spoon.
In an heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook for a few more minutes. The curry will start to give off a wonderful aroma. Stir in the chicken broth, coconut milk, salt, squash and shredded lime leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Puree soup with a hand mixer or in a blender. Serve garnished with unsweetened coconut toasted at 400°F for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.