Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scooter and Soup

I had two horrific realizations today. The first was while I was making my 50 minute commute to work. I realized that this time last year I was still in Taiwan enjoying a 3 minute "commute" on my beloved scooter; Scootlydoo. Emily and I shared this scooter and it went everywhere with us--well it had no choice really. I so miss the crazy Taiwan traffic, and taking my life into my hands every day, and whizzing around every obstacle, and driving the wrong way down one way streets, and driving on sidewalks, and paying $5 for gas every other week and the wind in my hair (the hair that wasn't under my helmet of course). So I spent the rest of the day in a nostalgic stupor thinking of all the other things I miss about Asia, but aching for my scooter the most. So I came home and began looking through my 9,000+ photos I took during that year and this was the first I came to of Scootles, which just so happens to be a very special picture to me because Emily is in it, and this was taken during one of our first exploring adventures our first month there. See how cute Emily looks as she browses the map? Gosh I miss her, I miss her even more than I miss my scoot. Sigh.

The second realization was over dinner, when I looked at the clock and calculated that in 12 hours time I will already be in my car driving to work again behind a long line tail lights. Which lead to the ultimate horrifying discovery that I work more than I sleep each day. Is that even morally correct? How I never realized this before I will never know, it's sort of amateur math too, and totally obvious now that I think of it: approximately 8 hours of sleep is less than (<) 8 hours of work plus (+) lunch. Wow.

Anyway, on a more positive and not so mopey note, I made soup tonight. This is a "recipe" that I created in England a few weeks ago when I was cooking for Sam and his parents. Since they use crazy weird measurements over there I had no idea how much of anything I was adding to the pot, and therefore I wanted to try it again and see if I could duplicate the tasty effect. Gail said that it was "some of the best soup" she's had, which was an extravagant compliment to me because she is a Master Chef. At least I know she would kick ass on the show. And I think my mom is happy to see I am not totally useless in the kitchen as she's always feared:) Anyway, this is what I did tonight, and it was quite tasty, but 3 weeks have fogged my memory as to how the last batch tasted, but at least now I have some reasonable measurements to work with.
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

1 butternut squash
2 med. sweet potatos
3 cubes of chicken bullion
4-5 C of water
3 TBSP butter
3 cloves of garlic
3/4 C of onion
1 TBSP brown sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
Fresh ground pepper and cinnamon to taste

Cut the squash in half, scoop out seeds, and peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Combine on cookie sheet (squash facing down) or baking pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until soft. Once this is done you can easily scoop the "meat" of the squash out.

Melt butter in stock pot and add minced garlic and onion. Sautee until onion is soft and garlic is browned (about 1o minutes). Add bullion cubes and 5 cups of water. Add squash, sweet potatoes, cream cheese and brown sugar bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. You can use a regular blender and do it in batches, or use an immersion blender which is a bit easier and less messy--no transferring of liquids. Put back into stock pot and warm, adding pepper and cinnamon to taste. Go easy on the cinnamon and taste it little by little as a little goes a long way here and you don't want to over do it. This should make about 8 servings.

I have made a similar recipe before using an acorn squash instead of sweet potatoes, and using thyme and a dash of ginger instead of cinnamon and it's delicious too. Prepare the acorn squash the same way as the butternut squash. You can also use chicken broth if you prefer, use two or three cans and add some water until you get the texture you like. I have found that soup-making is very forgiving, and you can always add more liquid to thin it out if that's what you prefer.

I also made some yummy bread to go with this soup:

1 loaf french bread
3 TBSP butter
1 TBSP thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 C grated gruyere cheese

Slice bread into about 1/4 inch this slices. Melt butter in a bowl and add chopped thyme (lemon thyme tastes good in this too), brush or spoon butter mixture onto each bread slice, then top with cheese. Place on cookie sheet and broil for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned. YUM!

I think I like this soup because I love the colors of the ingredients. If I could I would peel sweet potatoes and halve squashes all of the time and set them on my mantle as decoration. They're just so warm and lovely. It makes the corners of my eyes sting a little. It is weird to get choked up over gourds? Yes. Yes it is.


  1. the wind did blow in our hair when we started to forget our helmets frequently. Why?

    Bring me some soup. Now.

  2. that soup looks great! i've heard about squash soup!

    oh and that book....i can't take the lady seriously...i kind of do this mocking voice of her in my head and laugh hilariously!