This morning Hisa and I went to the pool to swim laps. After finishing, I went back into the ladies’ locker room and realized they had music playing for once (they don’t usually play music in the morning). Unfortunately, it was country western music.
Now, except for a brief period in my early elementary school years when my best friend tricked me into thinking I liked country music (I was young and gullible), I’ve always disliked country music. Actually ‘dislike’ is a bit ambiguous. I’ve always hated country music vehemently.
When I started listening to the song playing in the ladies’ locker room, however, I felt that it was actually a pretty good song. It had a nice melody, and was a very happy and uplifting song. I realized, I was actually enjoying the song!
Maybe I’m learning to like country music, I thought to myself. That would an amazing step for me! Being able to accept and enjoy all forms of music; even country western music!
As I was reveling in this profound moment, the next song started playing. I started listening to it to see if I would be able to accept and enjoy this country song as well.
It was a song about a guy who painted his Chevy (and everything else) in camo.
It was then I realized that, no, I probably won’t ever enjoy country western music.
It was pretty cold out here yesterday, so it was a great day for hot soup and fresh bread. I wanted to make a creamy squash soup, but I wanted it to have some natural sweetness. In Japan, I would always make kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) soup, which is a naturally sweet squash (much more so than butternut or acorn squash), so I didn’t need to add anything extra.
In the end, I decided to use roasted acorn squash and sweet potatoes. Let me just say, the result was fabulous, and the combination of roasted squash and sweet potatoes somehow tasted like everything a warm winter soup should.
First, cut two acorn squashes in half, scoop out the seeds, and place them face down (do squashes have faces?) in a sprayed baking dish. Bake them at 375° F (190° C) for about 45 minutes, then take them out, and let them cool.
Meanwhile, add a few lugs of extra virgin olive oil and 2 Tbsp. of butter to a large pot over medium heat. In your food processor, whiz one medium onion, two stalks of celery, and two large sweet potatoes (or you can dice it all up). Add it all to the pot, and let it saute slowly for about 10 minutes. I used garnet sweet potatoes, which, if you’ve never had, are wonderful. They’re very sweet and delicious! I recommend them. :)
Use either an immersion blender (I used my new immersion blender that I got for Christmas. Love it!), or a blender to blend the soup in batches and return it to the pot.
Add 1 c. whole milk, half & half, or cream; season with salt and pepper to taste; and serve with fresh homemade bread.
Roasted Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup
(serves 5 – 7)
- 2 acorn squash
- 2 – 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 medium onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 large sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
- 32 oz. (4 c.) chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1 c. whole milk, half & half, or cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 375° F (190° C).
- Cut acorn squash in half. Scoop out seeds, and place face down in two, sprayed baking dishes. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Remover from oven and let cool.
- Add olive oil and butter to a large pot over medium heat. In a food processor, process onion, celery, and sweet potatoes (or finely chop with a knife), and add to pot. Saute gently for 10 minutes.
- Scoop out flesh of acorn squash and add it to pot.
- Add chicken broth, thyme, and allspice. Mix well and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender, or blend soup in a blender in batches before returning to pot.
- Add milk and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste, heat soup through, and serve.