Monday, October 15, 2012

On a Perfect Fall Evening...

...the sky was a swirl of grey and clouds, the ground still damp from the rain that took all day to arrive and, best of all, a definite chill in the air.  To say that it was relief would be an understatement.  I was beyond tired of the 100+ degree weather Los Angeles had been living with for weeks.

It would be foolish not to take advantage of the weather.  This was a night that called to be wrapped up in warmth.  Wrapped in warmth like a tawny blanket, heavy as cream, and a cup of ginger-spiked tea in your hands.  A blanket that, strangely enough, looked like a bowl soup.

One of my BFF's introduced me to mirin a week ago, when I had this amazing Asian avocado salsa at her house.  It took me all of three days to find myself at the grocery store with a bottle of mirin in hand.  It would undoubtedly be in that soup, along with the butternut squash and cauliflower that I had.  To add a little more of an Asian twist to the soup, ginger would go in too.  I made toasted sesame oil 'breadsticks' with a day old baguette to serve alongside.  [Cut, toss in a skillet with the oil, and toast.]  I am mad for toasted sesame oil as I also used it to make the 'croutons' on top of the soup.  Those are actually grits that I made, poured in a loaf pan, and chilled until firm.  So easy to slice and throw in a pan with the oil, but be warned, those grits will sputter!  It's worth it though.  They're crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

There will be more chilly, rainy evenings to come.  This is an easier blanket to make, than say, knitting one.  I can guarantee it will taste better.

Gingered Butternut Cauliflower Soup
Makes enough for 4 generous servings

2 cups butternut squash, cubed
4 cups cauliflower
¼ tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp butter
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup mirin
1 tsp grated ginger
1 leek, sliced (white and light green parts)
¼ cup heavy cream
Cilantro, for garnish
Croutons, for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, toss the cauliflower and squash with the ground ginger, a tablespoon of the olive oil, and sesame oil.  Place in a baking dish and roast until tender, 25-30 minutes. 

In a stock pot over medium heat, warm the remaining olive oil and butter until melted, add the leeks and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the grated ginger and stir.  Mix in the squash, cauliflower, stock, a pinch of salt, and mirin.  Stir.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.  With an immersion blender or regular blender, blend until smooth.  Add the cream and blend until mingled.  Garnish with cilantro and croutons.

1 comment:

  1. Looks good! I am also welcoming fall and cooler temps!!