Sunday, October 14, 2018

Ruth Reichl's "Perfect Fall Soup" (Orange Squash & Veggies) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays + 5 Favorite Orange Squash Recipes

We had some rainy days and slightly cooler weather going into this weekend which definitely makes me think about fall. Ruth Reichl's Perfect Fall Soup with its golden color and slightly sweet flavors also brings fall to mind. 


I made a couple of changes--mainly changing the butternut squash for kabocha squash which is plentiful here and I also really love the bright color and slightly sweeter flavor. I also pumped up the savory side with a bit of non-chicken soup base and a dash of Aleppo pepper. Ruth tops her soup with apple, olive oil and balsamic. I kept the crisp apple but added some salty feta and chopped chives. My changes are in red below.


Ruth says, "This is, to me, the perfect soup for this time of year.  It’s about the easiest soup I know, one that transforms a handful of simple ingredients into something, soft thick, almost creamy.  It’s deliciously soothing.  The color is gorgeous, it’s inexpensive – and also vegan."

Perfect Fall Soup (Squash Soup)
Slightly Adapted from RuthReichl.com
(Serves 4)

1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb peeled butternut squash, cut into 3/4-inch dice (I used kabocha squash) 
1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
2 1/2 cups boiling water (I added 1 Tbsp vegan non-chicken soup base)
(I added a pinch of Aleppo pepper) 
Garnishes: diced Granny Smith or other crisp apple, olive oil, balsamic vinegar. (See below)
 
Put onion, carrots, celery and olive oil into a large casserole and cook for about ten minutes, until they become soft.
 

Add squash, potatoes, and salt. Stir in boiling water, bring to a simmer, and allow to cook for about half an hour, until the squash and potatoes are very soft.
 

Puree, in batches, in a blender.  Be cautious; hot soup can be dangerous.
 

Taste for seasoning. Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil and/or balsamic, and the diced apple. (I used chopped Granny Smith apple, crumbled feta and chives.)
 

Notes/Results: I have a tendency to think of squash soup as baby food, but this one has lots of good flavor and the toppings add another dimension to the smooth puree. I really liked it and happily chowed down on a bowl and an extra ladelful for lunch.  Leave off the feta for a vegan soup and change up the toppings and extras as you see fit. Now, if I could could make it about 10 degrees cooler, my fall dreams would be complete. I'd make this one again.

 
Linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week is our Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge: Orange Squash. We can pick any recipe featuring orange sqush or pumpkins from any of our IHCC Chefs.


Speaking of IHCC Orange Squash dishes, here are five of my favorites from a few of our past featured IHCC chefs:

 Tessa Kiros's Penne con la Zucca, or Penne with Pumpkin:

 
Donna Hay's Pumpkin (Kabocha) and Chickpea Curry: 

  
Ottolenghi's Parmesan & Herb Crusted Kabocha with Yogurt: 

 
Ina's Butternut Squash Risotto: (From my early blogging days--excuse the photo!)

 
Donna Hay's Sesame and Soy Butternut Bites:


Now, lets take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:


My friend Kim of Stirring the Pot shared Ruth Reichl's Parmesan Walnut Salad in Endive Leaves and said, "The nuttiness of Parmesan is wonderfully paired alongside walnuts. Then the Parmesan and the walnuts are coated with a light touch of mayo, lemon juice, and olive oil, as well as finely diced celery and parsley. You've got a bit of everything as far as texture and flavor go. It's chewy and crunchy and bright and flavorful. The slight bitterness of the endive leaves makes it the perfect vehicle for the nutty sweetness of the Parmesan and walnuts."


Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen brought Black Chickpeas Salad with Coriander and said, "The feta here is optional, I used it as that is what I had in the fridge, but you could substitute it with halloumi cheese or if your going for a vegan or dairy free option, perhaps smoked tofu. I think you need a soft texture with the nutty black chickpeas and the fragrant herb brings it all together. ... What I like about this salad too, it that it is quite seasonal in colours - going all autumnal, but also a perfect salad to knock up for a Halloween feast if you are planning a vegan or vegetarian Black Food Menu."


Judee of Gluten Free A - Z Blog shared Roasted Chestnut Mushroom Soup and said, "Looking for something a little different for the holidays? Chestnuts are in season, and they make a rich tasting holiday soup! It's definitely something unique that will delight your family and friends. I plan to make it for Thanksgiving! ... Chestnuts taste creamy and a little on the sweet side - kind of like a mild sweet potato. Most people have probably never tasted a chestnut."

 
Mahalo to all who joined in this week!
 
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:


  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up her in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).



Have a happy, healthy week!
 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "I Know You Know" by Gilly Macmillan, Served with Baked Beans on Toast with Smoked Cheddar

It’s Thursday and so, one day closer to the weekend—always a good thing. Another good thing is being on a TLC Book Tour for a mystery-thriller like I Know You Know by Gilly MacMillan. Accompanying my review is a simple weeknight comfort food meal of Baked Beans and Toast, inspired by my reading. 

 
Publisher’s Blurb
From New York Times bestselling author Gilly Macmillan comes this original, chilling and twisty mystery about two shocking murder cases twenty years apart, and the threads that bind them.
Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.
For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.
When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy… 
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint Edition (September 18, 2018)

My Review:

I Know You Know is the third of MacMillan’s books that I have read. I reviewed The Perfect Girl (review here) and followed that up with her first book, What She Knew on my Kindle, and then I do have her Odd Child Out sitting in my #TBR stack and mean to get to it soon. I like the twists and turns her books take and I Know You Know is no exception. Podcast, especially true-crime podcasts have increased in popularity the past couple of years and I like how the book centers around a podcast that is hosted by man whose two best friends were killed twenty years ago, when the three were children together in a housing division in Bristol, England.
Cody Swift has reason to believe that the mentally-challenged man who was convicted of murdering his friends, may have been innocent and is willing to uncover a lot of buried secrets that many do not want uncovered—including the boys’ families, the investigator on the case—who happens to have been called to the scene where the boys were found when a new body, from the same era is uncovered, and of course the person who is actually guilty of the crime.   
MacMillan weaves the past and present together well through the podcasts, the differing viewpoints and memories of those involved, and the investigation of the current case. There were some interesting turns that kept me guessing and I didn't have it all figured out in the end--something I always appreciate in a thriller. I really enjoyed I Know You Know and I look forward to more of MacMillan's work.
-----

Author Notes: Gilly Macmillan is the Edgar Nominated and New York Times bestselling author of What She Knew. She grew up in Swindon, Wiltshire and lived in Northern California in her late teens. She worked at The Burlington Magazine and the Hayward Gallery before starting a family. Since then she’s worked a sa part-time lecturer in photography, and now writes full-time. She resides in Bristol, England.
Find out more about Gilly at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
-----

Food Inspiration:
Like many a thriller, I Know You Know is not exactly full of inspirational food, there are too many crimes and crime solving going on for food to be a focus. Still, there were some food and drink mentions that included jam sandwiches, squash, birthday cake, stew, chocolate mousse cake, nachos and mocktails, wine, coffee, tea, bacon butties, strawberries, barbecue, 99 Flake ice cream, eggs, beans, chips, fajitas, brownies with whipped cream and candles, vegetables and mashed potatoes, canteen sandwiches, ketchup, lasagna, Turkish coffee, champagne, cheese and pickle sandwiches, pot noodles, steak 'cooked bloody,' vodka and tonic, peppermint tea, cereal, glazed tagine dishes in Morocco--with lamb, herbs and couscous, a fruit basket with mango, tea and biscuits and arrabbiata sauce.
 

For my book-inspired dish I took the baked beans on toast that Detective John Fletcher eats at his table and later on, sees he left a pan of burned beans on the table. I had to assume he used Heinz 57 Beans which seems to be the standard when one looks online for British beans on toast. The gourmet section of my local grocery store has imported canned goods and I always see the blue cans of beans there. When I went to buy one there was one lonely and dented can on the shelf. I figured it mirrors the sad state of Fletcher's apartment and life. I picked up a small piece of smoky cheddar cheese and some chives to give it a little extra something and served it on leftover sourdough. And, I kept my beans not burned. ;-)


This is not a recipe  as I simply opened a can of Heinz 57 Beans and heated them up, toasted a couple of pieces of sourdough bread, covered them with the grated smoky cheddar cheese, and spooned the hot beans on top. Pretty simple for a busy weeknight. I garnished the top with a bit more of the cheese and some chopped chives. If you can't find the Heinz 57 Beans, there are lots of recipes online for British-style baked beans or you could use the American kind.


Notes/Results: The beans themselves are a tad sweet for me (I'm not the biggest fan of any baked beans actually) but the smoky cheddar I grated on top of the toast help lessen the sweetness and they were actually tasty and a pretty good weeknight dinner. I think they might be even better with a runny-yolked egg on top. I might try my leftover beans that way. ;-) I'm glad I finally tried the Heinz 57 Beans too--just for fun.


I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.


Note: A review copy of "I Know You Know" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, Harper Collins, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
 

You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.

 
 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ruth Reichl's Avgolemono Soup (Take Two): Revisiting a Favorite for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Avgolemono soup, that Greek comfort soup of lemon, eggs and rice is one of my favorites. You'll find several recipes for it, both regular and vegan versions on this blog. You'll even find Ruth Reichl's version (here) from her My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. I don't usually post the same exact soup recipe twice--at least not knowingly, but when I was looking for a dish to welcome Ruth and kick off cooking her recipes at I Heart Cooking Clubs, it's what I wanted. And, it is my birthday so I believe I can have what I want! ;-)


Because I had a carrot to use up, I added it to the soup--mostly for its pop of color, but really, you can't miss with the basics here. A good, non--broken, perfectly creamy avgolemono is like a hug. 


Avgolemono Soup
Slightly Adapted from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
(Serves 6)

6 cups chicken stock (I used a veggie, non-chicken soup base paste)

(I added 1 medium carrot, diced)
1/3 cup rice (I used 1/2 cup)
1 lemon
4 eggs
salt
(I garnished with Pecorino-Romano cheese and finely chopped fresh dill)  

Bring the stock to a boil. Add the rice, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile grate the rind from the lemon into a bowl, then squeeze the lemon and add the juice to the rind. 

Separate the eggs, dropping the yolks into the lemon juice. (Save the whites for another purpose/use.) Add a pinch of salt and beat the yolks into the lemon juice and rind.

When the rice is tender, whisk about half a cup of the hot stock into the yolks, then slowly pour the yolks into the soup, stirring constantly. Cook gently for about 5 minutes, or until the soup is slightly thickened. Pour into bowls and eat slowly.  


(Ruth says she serves her Avgolemono with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. I used Pecorino-Romano cheese and a little dill.


Notes/Results: I you have never made this soup, try it. If you have made it, make it again. It's so creamy and lemony and tastes like sunshine. The trick is beating your eggs well and really tempering them with the broth before you stir it into the soup so the eggs don't cook into little bits and everything is gloriously smooth. Other than that, it is a pretty effortless soup that you can make mostly from the pantry when you need a comforting dinner quickly. I am always happy to make this soup and Ruth's version is a good, simple one.


As mentioned, we are saying Bon Appetit, Ruth Reichl! and cooking along with her for the next six months at IHCC. Come join us--you can cook along each week, or join in just on the themes you like. Check it out, here.

  
Now, lets take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:


Judee of Gluten Free A - Z Blog shared this fall-fantastic Instant Pot Acorn Squash and Apple Soup and said, "It's fall and I am eager to start enjoying the beautiful seasonal produce in my soups! Gala apples and acorn squash are two favorites that are key players in this light autumn soup recipe. I was able to get 2 pound bags of organic apples very reasonably priced at Trader Joe's this week. In addition, the farmer's markets are starting to display their colorful winter squashes. ... Personally, I prefer the soup seasoned with cumin. However, many friends enjoyed it a little sweeter with cinnamon. Both ways are good. It's your choice."


Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is back at Souper Sundays this week with her Baked Potato Soup in the Crockpot. She said, "Creamy and flavorful potato soup simmers all day long in the crockpot.  You come home to a delicious smelling house and dinner is on the table before you know it.  Topped with all the things that make a perfect baked potato.....cheese, sour cream and bacon, this soup is a winner."


Debra of Eliot's Eats brought Olive Tapenade and Crostini and Olive Sandwiches inspired by a recent read. She said, "I finally landed on two descriptions from the novel—“Baby wanted a green olive sandwich and yogurt” (25) regarding one of Cerise’s cravings coupled with a later passage showing Eldris’ clueless-ness about her and Richard’s monetary state: 'And when he finally did take me out to celebrate, he was pulling wads of cash out of his pockets like some mobster on TV. He ordered two vodka martinis before the appetizers even arrived. Appetizers, Violet. He won’t give me the money for new carpet, but he’ll order crostini and tapenade. (169)' ... Because of the whole “olive sandwich” angle, I am linking up with Deb’s Souper Sundays (with sandwiches and salads)!"


Tina of Squirrel Head Manor battled a stressful week but still managed to bring Carole's Pasta Salad. She said, "A few weeks ago I saw a post at Carole's Chatter for her toss together Pasta Salad. The salad was good and instead of following her recipe to the letter, I added corn and tomatoes. Recipes are just guidelines and suggestions for me. Yes, here are my blue lunch bowls again."

 
Mahalo to all who joined in this week!
 
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.
 

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up her in order to be included in the weekly round-up.
and 

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).




Have a happy, healthy week!