Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Submitted by Jen Durant

This slightly spicy soup is my favorite squash soup. It’s a bit time consuming for a simple soup but well worth it. I suggest making it one day in advance to allow the flavors to meld. I like to be dress it up with a drizzle of crème fraîche or sour cream that has been loosened with a bit of filtered water and sprinkled with pepitas.

The original recipe calls for unpeeled buttercup squash, which is then peeled after cooling, but I usually use peeled butternut squash since it is more common and easy to peel in advance. The cooking times should be altered accordingly. Your squash should be slightly browned when done roasting.

YIELD: 6 servings

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Callaloo

It’s not just fun to say, Callaloo is a leafy green, mineral rich staple in the Carribean diet. While there are many variations from region to region, the ingredients always contain a big leafy green similar in appearance to Kale, onions, scallions, and coconut milk. The ‘name’ of the vegetable is sometimes itself referred to as Callaloo but can be amaranth or taro.Try this variation below for a delicious Jamaican style Callaloo. If you already used up the callaloo, you can substitute greens, like sweet potato or “Asian cooking greens”, in this recipe. Continue reading

Onions

William Matthews, “Onions” from Selected Poems and Translations, 1969-1991.

Onions

By William Matthews

How easily happiness begins by
dicing onions. A lump of sweet butter
slithers and swirls across the floor
of the sauté pan, especially if its
errant path crosses a tiny slick
of olive oil. Then a tumble of onions.

 

This could mean soup or risotto
or chutney (from the Sanskrit
chatni, to lick). Slowly the onions
go limp and then nacreous
and then what cookbooks call clear,
though if they were eyes you could see

 

clearly the cataracts in them.
It’s true it can make you weep
to peel them, to unfurl and to tease
from the taut ball first the brittle,
caramel-colored and decrepit
papery outside layer, the least

recent the reticent onion
wrapped around its growing body,
for there’s nothing to an onion
but skin, and it’s true you can go on
weeping as you go on in, through
the moist middle skins, the sweetest

and thickest, and you can go on
in to the core, to the bud-like,
acrid, fibrous skins densely
clustered there, stalky and in-
complete, and these are the most
pungent, like the nuggets of nightmare

 

and rage and murmury animal
comfort that infant humans secrete.
This is the best domestic perfume.
You sit down to eat with a rumor
of onions still on your twice-washed
hands and lift to your mouth a hint

 

of a story about loam and usual
endurance. It’s there when you clean up
and rinse the wine glasses and make
a joke, and you leave the minutest
whiff of it on the light switch,
later, when you climb the stairs.

 

 

It’s easy to overdo the onion metaphor, but Matthews does it just right in this poem. Something that can never be overdone? Butter and onions. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about cooking from my mom, it’s that everything is made better by first sauteing in butter and onions. In fact, I can’t think of a single recipe that my mom has shared that hasn’t started with, “First, throw a little butter and onions in a pan…” And by a little, she means a half stick of butter and a very large onion.
What do onions make you think of?