29 October 2008

OMG. Bento!

Sorry it seems I dropped off the face of the earth there. I'd like to say I haven't, but in grad school, you're already so close to the edge...

So, bento back-log. These are from about 2 weeks ago. And then there was a whole week where I pretty much forgot to eat. Let's avoid that in the future, hm?
Noriben with carrot star, and in the top tier, sunsugar tomatoes, marinated mozzarella, broccoli, sugar snaps, dried dates/plums, raspberries, kiwi, mango.

Strawberry yogurt, dried plums, orange segments, and carrot stars. Bottom tier holds a nori-wrapped onigiri, inarizushi, and some shredded leftover chicken.
And a snack bento for one of my shorter days: almonds, dried plums, marinated cheese cubes, carrots, and a little container of butter for the not-shown crispbread.

And I am blogging to you from my wee lunchbreak right now (with a bento and everything!). I tried some jicama. Look for the report on that soonish.

11 October 2008

Another Detour (but tasty!)

Because this is knitting blog, though, first: RHINEBECK IN A WEEK. I have spinning and knitting to show you, too (I really do!), and I'll hopefully get to that post this weekend. Along with the bento backlog. But for now, I had a pretty excellent dinner success on Tuesday night, and I wanted to share:

Apple-Cobbled-Together Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
I have always wanted to make butternut squash soup. I've had it twice, and it remains one of three soups I will eat. (I'm really not much into soup.) But there are so many options, and so many recipes, and I couldn't decide on just one. So, I used a little bit of everything.

Makes 4 Servings(ish)

1 butternut squash
Olive oil
salt and pepper

1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 Cortland apple, peeled and chopped
1 cup (ish) chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
dash of cayenne
dash of curry powder
1-2 Tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 400F.

Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. If you are feeling ambitious, save them, clean them, and toast in the oven for delicious snacking. But that's another recipe. Brush squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a smidge of cumin. Place squash face-down on a cookie sheet and roast for roughly 30 minutes, or until the flesh is soft when stabbed with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.

While squash is cooling is a good time to prep your other ingredients: chop your onion and apple and saute gently in a bit of olive oil (looking for softness, not caramelization) in a heavy pot. A little salt and pepper at this stage is also good and helpful, but remember that you did salt the squash, and the chicken stock will add a bit more salt (even if you use the low-sodium kind, which I recommend). When your apple and onion are softening (10-15 minutes, depending on heat and size of dice), pour in enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a simmer. While it simmers, scoop the cooled squash out of its skin, chop it a bit, and add it back to the simmering goodness. Stir it a bit, and pop a lid on the pot. Simmer until the squash starts to break down and the onion and apple is good and soft. Remove from heat and carefully puree in a blender. (This may take a few batches. Better to do it in small portions than to have your blender throw hot soup all over.)

Put the puree back into the pot, add the cream, honey, and pepper and curry powder to taste. Stir well and bring back up to heat. If you need to thin the soup at all, add a bit of chicken stock at this point.

Enjoy with a lovely bit of crusty bread of some kind. This pairs beautifully with a roast chicken (which is what I made it with).