November 11, 2009

baby, it's cold outside!

It is that time of year when the sky is shades of gray and backdrop to naked tree branches. Frost makes the grass crunchy and flip flops out of the question. It's the time of year when I most crave comfort food, the kind that warms you from the inside out and also the time of year when it's tempting to curl up and not move until the sun comes back. I've been trying to be healthier, my classmates and I have a competition going to see who can lose the most weight by the end of the semester, and I love me a competition! I've been trying to get some of those comfort food feelings without the comfort food calories and have found some great recipes. Like this one from Not Eating Out in New York

Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
(makes about 6 servings)

about 2 lb butternut squash (or substitute with acorn squash, delicata squash, pumpkin, etc.)
1 large onion, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, or more, to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Save for another use or discard. Spread about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil on the bottom of a roasting tray and place the squash halves cut side-down on the tray. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the flesh feels soft when poked and it has shrunken away from the skins a bit. Flip over and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out all the flesh and reserve in a bowl.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy-bottomed pot with another tablespoon or so of vegetable oil and sweat the onions over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder, optional cayenne, chopped tomato and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, another 4-5 minutes. Add the roasted squash, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Stir to combine thoroughly and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or so. Using a hand blender, puree the soup to a smooth consistency (this can also be done by transferring the soup in batches to a food processor or blender). Taste for seasoning. Add additional stock or coconut milk if it’s too thick to your liking. Once the soup is to preferred taste and consistency, stir in the lemon juice to taste and serve.

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