Butternut Squash Soup with Sage-Gouda Baguette

Look at the pretty mug o' soup

From Giada De Laurentiis’ newest cookbook, Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California (Amazon link), I made this butternut squash soup tonight. Its been snowing and blowing all day, so this seemed like a great choice for such a gloomy, read a good book in bed all day, kind of day.  Unfortunately, I did have to venture out to buy the sage but Horrocks is quite close and the snow was keeping the usual Sunday crowd away.

I received this cookbook as my prize for winning the Cookbooker challenge by reviewing recipes from a featured cookbook. This is the first thing I’ve made from it. I’m intrigued by some other dishes, especially the lobster risotto (because really, who wouldn’t want that!?!). I doubt I would have bought this book of my own volition simply because I tend to avoid the Food TV cookbooks even though I do like Giada’s show.

There are some recipes which definitely are more suited to spring but a soup like this is perfect for mid-December.  I have been eager to make a pureed soup since ordering an immersion blender (thank you Kohl’s Cash!) a few weeks ago. An immersion blender has been on my ‘wish list’ for-EVER and I discovered that Kohl’s carries a recommended one with a more powerful motor than the cheapie available elsewhere.

This one is from Wolfgang Puck and came with a number of accessories I don’t really need but for the price (with the coupon) it didn’t really matter. I did notice that the casing on the motor section gets hot so as I use it, I’ll need to be mindful of that.

The soup is easy enough: onion, carrot and garlic sauteed in butter/olive oil then diced butternut squash added along with several cups of broth. Bring to a boil, add sage then cook 20 minutes or until veggies are soft enough to blend.  We liked it though I did have to adjust the salt for more flavor boost- I didn’t use low-sodium broth so this surprised me but it wasn’t enough to make me worry about sodium. I do think I might make this in the future with oven-roasted squash. A little (or a lot) caramelization never hurts.

The recipe called for fontina cheese melted on baguette which I didn’t have and didn’t see at Horrocks so I just picked something that would melt and sounded good. In this case, it was Beeemster XO Gouda. The XO stands for extra old or aged. It is a harder cheese and nuttier than regular gouda but not smoked, as you can sometimes find gouda.  Good on the bread, and yummy straight up too.

Between the fun of immersion blending and the cool new soup mugs I won at the charity auction (through work) last week, I see plenty more soups in my future.

Introducing my Royal Food Taster, or Sniffer anyhow

Smells good to me

Trying to take a picture of tonight’s dinner when a little helper showed up. Thanks Zelda, for your approval!

A few bonus shots- the mercurial moods of Zelda:

Appearing to be evil, actually licking her chops

If you want to know what I did to make that dinner, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. It was good and “very green” according to Chris. I’m not sure if that means environmentally friendly or full of vegetables.

Almost home

Chris and I are almost home from our honeymoon: a combination of Vermont (Sugarbush and Lake Champlain areas) and a trip down to Boston and environs.

We’ve eaten lots of cheese, drank plenty of wine, sampled pizza in Boston’s little Italy an of course, enjoyed some lobster on the Atlantic ocean (sort of). Aside from all the food, we also watched a beautiful sunset over Lake Champlain and went soaring over the Green Mountains. The whole trip was fantastic with great weather (although the 30s last night was a little unexpected) and I don’t think either of us is too excited to get back to the real world.

But, its back to mid-Michigan tomorrow and back to work on Tuesday. Detailed posts of the best of the best are coming, right after I polish off the cheeses in the cooler.