October2010 008

I’ve been trying to keep up this fall with all the many provocative food and articles and related hubbub online.  From a proposed soda tax to dreamy food festivals to the new revival in bringing food science to the home kitchen, it’s an exciting and daunting time in the world of food.  Here are a few subject links to whet your appetite:

Clever idea? Proposed soda tax…(

Haven’t heard of the Meatless Monday campaign? Then read up…  (

Let’s bring this festival to Minnesota, more on the Eat Real Festival…

I’m really skeptical about  this new, incredibly hyped-up Food Science degree at Harvard, read more about it and tell me what you think…

Something I want to begin doing with each monthly blog entry is to highlight a food product or producer.  Not necessarily local, these foods and farms have passed many a test of mine over the years, and so I encourage you to seek them out.  This month’s brand is Bionature, out of Italy.  Really fine pastas (including various grain and gluten-free options), tomato sauces, oils and vinegars.  Their whole wheat pasta line, especially, and their canned and jarred tomato products are superior to others on the shelf.  Eat up!

I thought it appropriate to leave you with a winter squash recipe since this is just the beginning of that season.  Before I get there I want to leave you with a winter squash guide so that you can navigate the many market varieties and go beyond the butternut.  My favorite varieties are red kuri, buttercup, and kabocha, and alright, the ubiquitous butternut.

Smooth Winter Squash Soup with Parsnip, Carrot, and Coconut Milk

Serves 4

3 tablespoons peanut oil; 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced; 1 ginger knob, shredded or minced; 1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed, pale parts finely minced (or the zest of 1 organic lemon); 2 cloves garlic, shredded or minced; 1 tabelspoon ground cumin; 1 teaspoon turmeric; 1 small winter squash (butternut or other), peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes; 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped; 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped; 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock; kosher salt and pepper; 1 15-oz can coconut milk; small bit of cilantro, finely chopped

Heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat in a heavy soup pot or large saucepan.  Add the onion, ginger, lemongrass (or zest), and garlic and saute for few minutes.  Add a good pinch of salt, the cumin and tumeric, and saute and sweat for a few more minutes; you may need to turn your heat down to medium as to not burn your vegetables.

Add your squash, carrot, and parsnip and saute for minute to infuse flavors. Now add just enough of your stock to make a thick mix; roughly, add enough stock to come just to the top of your vegetables.  (Remember that you’re still going to be adding in your coconut milk later to thin the soup out.)  Now bring up the heat and gently simmer the soup until all your vegetables are quite tender.

Puree the soup with a hand blender or in a stand blender until quite smooth. Put the puree back on the heat and slowly stir in your coconut milk until you like the consistency.  Heat through for a moment and check for salt and pepper.  Sprinkle your cilantro on top of each bowl of soup.

Be well and Eat well,