Roasted Butternut Squash & Apple-Ginger Soup

Apple Butternut Soup

We finally received some much needed rain here in Northern California a few weeks back. For a minute there, I forgot it was winter with all of the beautiful, warm days we’ve experienced in December and January.

It was a Friday night and I had planned for my dear friend Morgan to come over and make dinner together. That morning over text we both had same idea for dinner: SOUP! What a perfect choice to pair with this rainy evening. She had a few ideas that we kicked around and then we both settled on making a comforting squash soup with granny smith apples paired with a pear & pomegranate salad.

Apple Butternut Squash Soup & Salad

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled & cored
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 granny smith apple, for garnish

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the butternut squash, coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove the skin and let cool. (If your local store doesn’t have whole butternut squash available, check to see if they have cubed butternut squash.)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Add the apples and 2 cups of broth into a blender or food processor (I used my Ninja and it worked great!) Puree until smooth and transfer it to a bowl. Set aside.  In a heavy stockpot, add olive oil, onions and garlic and saute over medium heat until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the onions from pot and place in a bowl. Transfer the apple / broth mixture to the stock pot and simmer. Add the cooled squash to the blender along with 1/2 cup of broth and puree until smooth. Add the squash puree to the apple / broth mixture. Add the half & half and stir continuously until completely mixed together. Add the fresh thyme and ginger. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.

Apples & Broth in Blender

Garnish soup with thin slices of apples & fresh thyme sprig. Enjoy with your favorite salad or crusty bread.

Serves 4 -6

Pear & Pom Salad

Pear, Pomegranate & Gorgonzola Salad

  • Arugula salad
  • 1 – 2 ripe pears, sliced
  • Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • Pomegranate seeds (click here to learn an easy way to deseed a pomegranate)
  • Walnuts, toasted
  • Citrus vinaigrette (recipe below)

Combine pears, cheese, pomegranates and toasted walnuts over a bed of arugula salad. To make this simple vinaigrette, combine juice from 1 orange, 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil (slowly added), salt & pepper.

Enjoy! ~Crystal

Pumpkin Curry Soup With Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Curry Soup 2

In honor of the fall season (and my LOVE for coconut milk) I decided to make and share with you this simple Pumpkin Curry soup recipe. My favorite part about cooking with pumpkins are roasting the seeds afterwards. They’re so easy to make and there are SO many different options for dressing them up: roasted with sea salt, cajun, cocoa…for a sweet treat, curry power, lemon pepper, pumpkin pie spices…oh and the list goes on.

Pumpkin Seeds

The longest part to the below recipe is roasting and peeling the pumpkin so plan on roasting it for at least 30-40 minutes (this can also be done ahead of time). After the roasting the rest is as easy as pumpkin pie. 

Pumpkin Curry Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 medium Sugar Pumpkin – seeded, roasted and peeled
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Sea salt for pumpkin seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the sugar pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and place them in a bowl to the side. Discard the steam. Rub both sides of the fresh pumpkin with a 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Place the pumpkin, flesh down, on a baking sheet rimmed with foil. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes.

Roasting Pumpkins

While the pumpkin is roasting, clean the discarded pumpkin seeds throughly by removing any left over pumpkin pulp and rinsing them in water with a  colander. Inspired by Elise’s recipe for the perfect roasted pumpkin seeds, I boiled the seeds for 5-10 minutes in salted water. Drain the seeds, lightly pat them dry and then toss them lightly in olive oil. Arrange the seeds on a baking dish, coat lightly with sea salt and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them so that they do not burn! Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

After the pumpkin has slightly cooled, peel and dice it. Melt the butter in a soup pot and then add the pumpkin, onions, carrots, celery and garlic.

Diced Veggies

Cook on medium heat until soft. Add the curry, ginger, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk (reserving a little bit for garnish) and the rest of the chicken stock and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth. Garnish with warmed coconut milk drizzle and roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Serves 4 – 6

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Coconut Milk & Poached Salmon Soup with Blood Orange Salad

Coconut Soup & Blood Orange Salad

Morgan and I were laying out by the pool, enjoying the 90+ degree weather and a glass of Kunde Sauvignon Blanc when we decided to make soup for dinner. Soup?! On such a hot day. Yes. I love soup, even during the warmer months,  but I don’t experiment enough with making them.  It was settled then. Soup it was.

Ingredients for Salmon Soup

We both love Thai cuisine and decided to integrate similar ingredients used in Thai cooking  to build our Coconut Milk & Poached Salmon Soup. And what better way to brighten up the strong aromatic & spicy components of our soup than with a delicate blood orange salad.

We rushed off to Oliver’s to pick up the essentials.

Filet of Wild Alaskan Salmon, Pacific

Coconut Milk & Poached Salmon Soup

1 Wild Pacific Alaskan Salmon, Filet – middle piece
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 white onion
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk lemongrass, snapped in half
Ginger, sliced (about 12 rounds)
2 (13 fl. oz) cans coconut milk
3 chilies, chopped (we used two Jalapeño & 1 Fresno pepper)
Fish sauce, few dashes
2 bay leaves
1 lime, juiced
5 – 7 springs cilantro
Salt, to taste

Salmon for Coconut Soup

Combine stock, 1/2 onion (whole – not sliced), garlic, lemongrass and ginger in a pot and bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Add coconut milk, chilies, fish sauce, and bay leaves and simmer for another 10 minutes. Strain and return the broth to the stove. Cut the raw salmon filets into small chunks, add to the broth and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Once the salmon is cooked thoroughly, add in juice from one lime, cilantro and salt. Serve immediately with blood orange salad and vino of your choice.

We were out of the Sauvignon Blanc so we enjoyed a glass of Rosé with our dinner which paired great with the spicy kick in our soup. Don’t have bottle of Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc? Pinot Gris or Gewürztraminer would also be a fine match.

Blood Orange Salad

Blood Orange Salad

Arugula
2 blood oranges, sliced
Small bag of sliced almonds
1/2 red onion, sliced

Citrus Vinaigrette

1 blood orange, juiced
Olive oil, heavy drizzle
Red wine vinegar, few dashes
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

Blood Oranges for Salad

Combine all citrus vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Cut the skins off of the blood orange and slice orange wedges for salad. Combine oranges with arugula, onions and almonds and toss with citrus vinaigrette.

Serves 3-4

~Enjoy, Crystal