Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fall Soups

There's a crispness in the air and what better way to cozy up to the new colder weather than with a hot bowl of soup.  Here's one I adapted from an old Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving cookbook:

Butternut Squash Chowder


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh sage, plus small sage leaves for garnish
  • 3 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
  • 2 russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 32 oz. pureed butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup skim milk


In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the onion, chopped sage, salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, just until the onions are soft, 5 to 6 minutes.  Stir in the potatoes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Add the wine and simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the broth and bring just to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

Add the butternut squash puree and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the milk and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Ladle the chowder into warmed bowls and garnish with sage leaves.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6 to 8.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

On Inspiration

I was over at Chinese Grandma today, a fantastic blog about my favorite things: children, food, and musing about life, when I came across a passage that really spoke to me. It was part of a speech that Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love" gave at the TED conference in 2009 on being a writer and where the inspiration to write great things comes from. She didn't totally identify with this poet's description of the way inspiration came to her but I did! Do you?

Kauai, HI

"I had this encounter recently where I met the extraordinary American poet Ruth Stone, who’s now in her 90s, but she’s been a poet her entire life and she told me that when she was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out working in the fields, and she said she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. And she said it was like a thunderous train of air. And it would come barreling down at her over the landscape. And she felt it coming, because it would shake the earth under her feet. She knew that she had only one thing to do at that point, and that was to, in her words, “run like hell.” And she would run like hell to the house and she would be getting chased by this poem, and the whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper and a pencil fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. And other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, so she’d be running and running and running, and she wouldn’t get to the house and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it and she said it would continue on across the landscape, looking, as she put it “for another poet.” And then there were these times — this is the piece I never forgot — she said that there were moments where she would almost miss it, right? So, she’s running to the house and she’s looking for the paper and the poem passes through her, and she grabs a pencil just as it’s going through her, and then she said, it was like she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail, and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. And in these instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact but backwards, from the last word to the first."

You can check out more great posts from Chinese Grandma here and read the entire transcript here.
Hope you have an inspired Wednesday!