fruits

pear apple butternut soup

by jani on October 29, 2012

Near our home in Utah is a wonderful restaurant called the Blue Lemon. We have always loved their Butternut Soup –  it has just the right combinations of flavors. I didn’t think there could be an equal if not better tasting soup. That is, until HB started experimenting… I love it when he experiments! Anyway, this is truly one of the best-ever butternut soup recipes I’ve ever had!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced

  • 1 or 2 onions, diced, to taste

  • 3 large or 4 medium butternut squashes, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeds removed, diced into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 pears, skinned, seeded and quartered

  • 1 tsp allspice, ground

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste)

  • 2 tsp nutmeg, ground 

  • 2 tsp cinnamon, ground

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tsp ginger paste

  • 3 qts chicken stock

  • 1 cup half and half

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions, cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spices, cook for 1 minute, and then add the squash, pears, brown sugar and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Add half and half, purée and serve. Add additional stock if necessary, to desired thickness. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

Serves 6 to 8

Adding the Fresh Gourmet Honey Roasted Sliced Almonds gave just the right crunch to this velvety textured soup.

This is such an easy soup to make and so worth the effort. It’s my new fall favorite! And besides, soup is a comfort food. You can curl up in a snuggly blanket by the fire with a good book or enjoy your favorite TV show and just indulge in this savory and filling meal.

I’d love to hear back if you are a fan of butternut soup – or if like me, you’re a lover of  a warm bowl on a cold afternoon. 

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Now that summer is almost over (ugh!) what do we do with all those wonderful fresh peaches we canned or froze? We were able to find some nice fresh blueberries… which next to peaches are my favorite fruit. Well, maybe after Hawaiian papaya and pineapple… oh, and strawberries. Wait, I love bananas too… and white nectarines…  I love white nectarines! Okay, so I’m a huge fruit lover and can’t choose my favorite! But I can tell you this… I’d choose a warm fruit cobbler (especially peach) over a cake on my birthday any day… hands down! So we made this bluebery-peach cobbler that I could get fat on! I know all you gluten free people can’t partake of this deletable treat. But take my word for it… it was good!

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart peaches; if using  fresh peaches, add 1 – or less cups water (not too much as the peaches will make their own juice as they cook) and 1 Tbsp sugar (optional) 
  • 1 quart fresh blueberries
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour (to mix with blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Peel fresh peaches and slice to fill one quart, add small amount water – if desired and 1 Tbsp sugar or to taste.  Add 1 Tbsp cornstarch and 1 tsp cinnamon to mixture. Set aside. In another bowl mix blueberries, juice or 2 Tbsp of lemon, and 2 Tbsp flour, and 1/4 cup sugar. Combine peaches and blueberries mixtures. Place in 9×13 baking dish.

Crust ingredients:

  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cubes butter
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt.  Cut in butter. Add milk, beaten eggs and nuts. Drop in dollops onto fruit. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until crust is a golden brown.

Almond whipped cream ingredients:

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar (or a bit less- you don’t want this too sweet)
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Whip cream until thickened. Add sugar and almond extract. Chill until ready to use.

Serve cobbler warm with chilled whipped cream. Enjoy!

I suppose those of you who don’t eat gluten could just make a gluten-free nut crumble without the flour.  What made this dish so yummy was of course the fruit. But somehow the combination of the pecans in the batter with the almond flavored whipped cream was really, really tasty!

I hope you can enjoy this dish on a chilly fall night! So, any ideas on how to make this non-gluten friendly (I’ll share a gluten-free idea in a later post)? And what are your favorite fruit cobblers? I’d love to hear!

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Recently I returned from the awesome EVO ’12 blog conference in Park City, Utah. One of the highlight workshops, sponsored by the California Avocado Commission, was fabulous. Let me give you a twenty second review: high winds… power outage… stuck on a chairlift… back-up power on chairlift-only… The Too Hot Tamales (Top Chef Masters/owners of Border Grill, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger) and their unforgettable demonstration… my cell flashlight put to good use… a 10-minute guacamole contest (hysterically funny in the dark)… avocado lovers’ dream meal… chairlift down the mountain in total blackness!

Jan Delyser, VP of Marketing for the California Avocado Commission, was a wonderful hostess. She gave a most  informative opening presentation and history of the California Hass (rhymes with bass). The California Hass avocado has black bumpy skin on the outside and the creamy, green luscious flesh on the inside. Most of us know that an avocado is a fruit… but did you know that every Hass avocado can be traced back to the one mother tree? I invite you to check out this fascinating history on the commission’s website at http://www.avocado.org/california-avocado-history/.

Jan shared a little secret with me about how easy it is to grill avocados. When I saw her the last day of the conference, I wanted to thank her once again and tell her how excited I was to try grilled avocados. It’s so quick and easy; it will complement any meal.

Cut the avocado in half (or quarters if you prefer), remove the pit. Brush the flesh side with olive oil. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Place flesh side down on hot grill (375 degrees), grill for 3-5 minutes. We placed ours on the diagonal, then reversed for criss-crossed grill marks.

The fruit was warm, soft and absolutely heavenly! If you’re looking for a fast, huge-YUM  way to serve avocados – you have got to try this!

It’s healthy, tastes great and easy to make – a perfect combination! I’d love to hear any comments.

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berrysastrous!

by jani on July 16, 2012

I like to cook, I really do. But sometimes when I’m following someone else’s recipe it just gets screwed up! I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m not culinary trained; my recipes usually work but sometimes they bomb. And, I don’t like to follow recipes (that could be my problem!)

The other day I was perusing Pinterest, and found a perfectly simple recipe to make for our son’s college graduation dinner. I decided to make Berry {Quick & Easy} Layered Cake (original directions can be found can be found at Home Is Where The Boat Is). Uh huh… quick and easy took HB to several grocery stores looking for lemon curd. The store managers thought HB was speaking a foreign language. We live in Utah – apparently no one knows about serving lemon curd with scones at high tea!

So my dutiful hubs comes home with all the ingredients to make lemon curd from scratch. That part was great. The rest? Well, let’s just say next time I layer the angel food cake, I’m sticking with two layers or possibly three. Never four – never again! These next two photos from Home Is Where The Boat Is, show how it should have looked. Mary, I hope you don’t mind me copying your images.

Look at the photo, Jani… there are three layers!

Here’s another shot; it looks heavenly, right? The lemon curd frosting falls over the edges in just the right places, the berries look perfect with a mint leaf garnish… and then there’s the plate… lovely photography!

 

Okay… ready?

Now you get to see my version. I blendeded the homemade lemon curd with 8-oz of cream cheese until smooth. The good news is it tasted incredible. You’ll see the bad news! I tried to fancy it up with cutesy framing around the photo. Nothing’s gonna help this poor baby!

This is when I express a bit of color in my language… and when I realized the recipe calls for cutting the cake in thirds, not fourths!

HB found this great recipe for lemon curd on allrecipes.com and it’s really simple to make.

Lemon Curd
recipe image
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Servings: 13
INGREDIENTS:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
DIRECTIONS:
1. In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in lemon juice, butter and lemon peel. Cook over simmering water for 15 minutes or until thickened

Note (From Wikepedia):

Fruit curd is a dessert spread and topping usually made with lemonlime,[1] orange or raspberry.[2] Specific types of fruit curd are named after the central curd in them – for example, that made with lemons is known as “lemon curd”. The basic ingredients are beaten egg yolks, sugar, fruit juice and zest which are gently cooked together until thick and then allowed to cool, forming a soft, smooth, intensely-flavored spread. Some recipes also include egg whites and/or butter.[3]

In late 19th and early 20th century England, home-made lemon curd was traditionally served with bread or scones at afternoon tea as an alternative to jam, and as a filling for cakes, small pastries and tarts.[4] Homemade lemon curd was usually made in relatively small amounts as it did not keep as well as jam.”

Yeah, that’s pretty much it.  Ya win some and – well, you know the rest! Please don’t let this scare you away. I promise there will be great recipes (actually everything HB or I have made for the blog up to this point has been really good) with some great step-by-steps. So do come back!

A big P. S. I wrote and scheduled this post before EVO ’12 (fabulous blog conference in Park City, Utah) – I’ll be working on my photography as well! A huge thank you to White On Rice Couple for your food styling and photography workshops… you’re awesome!!

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