I love how we all bring something different to the group, we all have unique personalities. They are a blessing to my life.
Every couple of months we have a girl's night out, or in. In this case it was in. I think usually, our time together revolves around food. There's something sacred about sharing a meal together.
I made soup. Kelli made salad, Tina made bread and Amy "made" dessert. This is one of the things that is so special. Amy, just didn't have time to make dessert. Or buy it. But I love that she grabbed some random things from home and came on over, I love that she felt no pressure to perform or bring something. And guess what? Nobody cared. These are good friends.
Our lovely table.
Our night was filled with love and laughter. These women bring refreshment to my soul.
I didn't break out my camera this night... I know, shocking... so I don't have actual pictures of the soups. But, I will share the recipes with you. Thanks to Tina for sending me her phone pics to share. :-)
Butternut Squash Soup
(adapted from Betty Crocker)
One of my favorites ever! I've made this soup a few times this year, trying to find exactly the right recipe. And I finally hit it. Most recipes have you peel and chop the squash, but I roast mine, it's much easier, and gives it a great flavor.
2 tbs butter
2 medium butternut squash
2 large apples, peeled, chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 tbs brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp pepper
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
squash seeds (optional garnish)
nutmeg (optional garnish)
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut the ends off of the squash, scoop out the seeds. I save the seeds and bake them and use them as a garnish. Place them skin side down on a baking sheet. Bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Once the squash has cooled enough scoop out the flesh.
Saute' onions in a couple tablespoons of butter, until softened. Add the apples, broth, salt, cinnamon, pepper and squash. Bring to a boil and simmer covered until apples are soft.
In batches, pour the soup into a blender, or food processor (I use my vitamix), and process until smooth. Once it has all been pureed, return to a clean pot and heat until warmed. Ladle into bowls and top with baked squash seeds and a dash of nutmeg.
White Bean Soup
(adapted from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist)
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 pund carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 bulb fennel, sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced on the diagonal
8 cups prepared Great Northern Beans or other white bean*
1 tbs rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
Vinaigrette (Dijon, balsamic vinegar, olive oil)
prosciutto, sliced in ribbons
Parmesan, thickly grated, or use a vegetable peeler to get pretty strips
In a dutch oven, soften shallots in olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, fennel, and celery and allow them to soften, about 15 minutes. (If you don't have fennel, you can add some fennel seed for flavor or just leave it out)
Add beans and chopped rosemary.
*Note, I use dried beans and prepare them. If you use canned, I recommend rinsing and draining them. But you will need to add some water or broth to compensate.
Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes, or longer if you have time.
Add salt and pepper to taste. If you are using the prosciutto, remember it is salty, so go easy on the salt. Bacon is really nice with this soup too.
Mash with a potato masher for a chunky texture. For a smoother texture run part of it through a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender right in the pot. I love my immersion blender so that is my tool of choice here.
Ladle into bowls and top the soup with Prosciutto, cheese, and vinaigrette.
This is a wonderful comforting soup.