Saturday, October 18, 2014

roasted butternut squash soup


I downloaded an app on my phone that gives me daily pregnancy updates and this was yesterday's:

"Do your legs look like tree trunks? Swollen feet and ankles may not be sexy, but it's what most pregnant women are wearing in any given season. To reduce that puffy look, try to take a five-minute walk around your house or office at least once an hour. A quick dance works, too, and may take your mind off your fat feet, so crank up the tunes, Mama!"

Real nice, huh? Hey fatty! Never mind that yesterday I told you to put your feet up and get some rest. Quit being such a lazy ass. Get up and stretch those tree trunks!

As a pregnant woman you unwittingly enter the symptom lottery. I've been lucky enough to avoid cankles (*crosses fingers*) but have come upon my own fun set of pregnancy surprises. Among other unsavory things, bending over is officially over. At 29 weeks, this belly seriously gets in the way. I've developed a new soundtrack of moans and groans and umphs and arrrggghhs for getting out of bed or off the couch or to reach something low in the fridge. Forget about putting on socks or shaving any nether regions.

The hunger is also COLOSSAL. Like bottomless-pit yearnings that physically hurt, and a deep, fierce reverence for food and stuffing my face like a homeless dog. The other day while eating in a Panera, I dropped a potato chip on the floor and was faced with a dilemma of epic proportions. Until pregnancy, never would I consider eating something off the floor (in a Panera, no less). All my life I've been able and not willing and here I was completely game and yet incapacitated. Even had I attempted, and could've actually reached it, my pregnancy-onset clumsiness gave me no guarantees that I would be able to grasp it in the first eighteen tries.

Alas, I let the chip go. It was a real milestone in embracing my limitations. On the flip side, I could've asked my dining companion to reach it for me and that might have proven a great lesson in asking for help. And also choosing not to be affected by the sharp judgement of others for eating food off the questionable floor of a sub-par franchised sandwich restaurant.

Anyway.

This same mildly insulting and contradictory app gives me weekly updates on which fruit or vegetable matches the size of my baby's growth (a fig! a pear! as long as an ear of corn!) and had the balls to tell me my baby was the size of an eggplant for 3 weeks straight. I looked online to cross-reference and found mention of a butternut squash. So, in honor of his size at 29 weeks, I cooked something the size of my baby! (Let's pretend this is not awkward in the least.)





Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Chow.com
serves 6-8

There's a bit of time involved here with the roasting but it makes for such a sweet richness in the final mix. Plus, there's no awkward peeling and dicing an unwieldy squash. Also: THIS SMELLS SO FREAKING GOOD WHILE IT'S COOKING THAT IT WILL TAUNT YOU WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE GROWING A HUMAN.

2 medium butternut squash (buy about 4.5 pounds altogether)
4 T butter, divided
2 large granny smith apples, cored, peeled and diced
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 fresh sage leaves
4 cups (1 quart) chicken broth
1-1/2 cups water
kosher salt
black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
cinnamon to taste
greek yogurt or extra virgin olive oil for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F. Place each squash in the microwave (one at a time) for 2 minutes to soften, then cut in half longways and remove the seeds. Put all 4 halves on a rimmed baking sheet. Melt 1-1/2 T butter and brush it all over the flesh, then salt and pepper generously. Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 2-1/2 T butter and sauté the apples, onion, garlic and sage until soft, 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh (discard the skins) and add it to the apple mixture. Add the chicken stock, water and a good big pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil, partially cover it, and turn it down to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes, breaking up the squash with a spoon if there are any chunks. Blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches, taking care not to burn yourself! Return to the pot. Taste for salt. Start with 1/2 t nutmeg and 1 t cinnamon and add more to your liking. The salt and the spices at the end really bring everything together so make sure you add enough. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of olive oil.


Happy Autumn!
xoxo
jolie

1 comment:

  1. I agree regarding the hunger! I always tell people never ever ever stand between food and a pregnant woman. It is amazing how much food matters.
    The only other thing I found equally surprising was how much nursing helped me lose baby weight afterwards. The physiologic changes of pregnancy and postpartum are pretty amazing.

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