A Big Hug From A Bowl of Soup

October 11, 2018
A simple squash soup - squash, carrots, potatoes, fall spices, and orange juice are pureed to make this fall favorite

“I took myself out for ramen at lunch today.  It was like getting a big hug from a bowl of soup”   ~ Overheard at the office

A simple squash soup - squash, carrots, potatoes, fall spices, and orange juice are pureed to make this fall favorite

Fall then

— —

“Why you walkin' around in your pajamas?”

That's what the man with the cane asked me in the lobby this morning.  I told him it wasn't really my pajamas, but a new-to-me dress and that I'd look a bit more put together if my cat hadn't gone missing

“Did you get it from the pajama department?”

“Consignment store.  Have you seen him?  Tabby colored .. maybe a little bit tubby (but we won't talk about that).  Goes by Lucy”

“Rode the service elevator down about five minutes ago”  He winks.  “I'm sure he's given you lots of good stories”

Lucy – October 2018

Last week, a friend who saved me this summer when I really needed help .. lost her job

She calls late at night after everyone in her house is asleep.  I ask what else she needs for today.  “Just some words”

“Me too” is what I thought

A simple squash soup - squash, carrots, potatoes, fall spices, and orange juice are pureed to make this fall favoriteA simple squash soup - squash, carrots, potatoes, fall spices, and orange juice are pureed to make this fall favorite


Books read:  Heartburn + The Alchemist + Blue Highways

Next up?  A recommendation from either Seth Godin or George Raveling

On building community:  There are some pretty cool people who live in my building that I'd love to get to know better.  So I've decided to start a cookbook club(!)  Have you been to one?  Any good cookbook recommendations?  I'm thinking of choosing one of the latest for fall

Loving:  These bowls for work lunches

Now that the weather's turned chilly:  The jacket I've been wearing everywhere

An especially big hug:  for anyone out there who's feeling lonely or blue

When a friend brings you apples:  mini apple and honey pizzas are a great idea for dinner

Watched a million times:  Anthony Bourdain's last interview

In the kitchen this weekend:  a noodle bowl and/or sticky bourbon-glazed meatloaf

From my gratitude journal:    “There was finally, I knew, only rupture and hurt and falling short between all persons, but the best revenge was to turn your life into a small gathering of miracles. If I could not be anchored and profound, I would try, at least, to be kind.”     ~ Lorrie Moore

Gray's Lake – October 2018

This is a simple soup I made last week, with squash from the farmers market.  Nothing fancy, just a pureed squash soup with an orange twist.  Fall spices for depth, some carrots, potato for body, garlic, and onions.

There was plenty leftover, so one night I decided to pack a picnic lunch and ride my bike to the park.  I poured the soup into a Mason jar and it ended up being the ideal companion for a chunk of homemade gluten-free bread my neighbor left outside my door as a house-warming gift

I found myself on a shady picnic table and the nice ladies right beside me donated a spoon to my cause.  It was a near perfect Iowa dinner .. the sun setting, clear skies, good food, a breeze coming off of the lake, people chatting as they walked by on the trail

One of the happiest moments of my week



~ Adapted from The New York Times

Orange-Scented Winter Squash and Carrot Soup
  • Bouquet Garni
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed (or ¼ tsp ground cardamom)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 10 peppercorns
  • Strips of zest from an orange

  • Soup
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ lb carrots, diced
  • 2 pounds winter squash, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 medium potato
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice (or additional stock or water)
  • pinch of cayenne (optional depending on your heat tolerance)

  • Garnish
  • ¼ cup cooked black quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pistachio oil
  1. Bouquet Garni
  2. Cut a square of cheesecloth big enough to make a bag for the spices, herbs, and orange peel.
  3. Place all of them on the cheesecloth before folding the ends over, rolling it up, and tieing it tightly with a kitchen string

  4. Soup
  5. In a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil before adding the onion and carrots
  6. Cook, stirring, until tender ( ~ 5 min )
  7. Add the squash and garlic; Cook, stirring until fragrant ( ~ 1 min )
  8. Add the water (or stock), potato, bouquet garni, a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil
  9. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the squash is tender ( ~ 45 min - 1 hour )
  10. Remove the bouquet garni, but first, press it against the side of the pot to extract the liquid
  11. Purée the soup with either a hand or regular blender
  12. Return to the pot and whisk in the orange juice
  13. Adjust seasonings and heat through

  14. Garnish and Serve
  15. Toss the quinoa with a tsp of pistachio oil
  16. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a sprinkling of quinoa
  17. Drizzle a little more oil over each bowl before serving

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