It's very easy to get into a bit of a rut in the kitchen, as we often load up our baskets and carts with the same ingredients each time we hit the market or grocery store. One way I stay creative in the kitchen is by seeking out fruits and veggies in the market that are new to me. On my last trip the delicata squash looked very intriguing, so I bought them. When I got home I searched online for a recipe to figure out what I wanted to do with them. VeganYumYum's recipe inspired what transpired below...
4 large delicata squash
2 to 3 shallots
2 tablespoons of coconut oil or other oil of your choice
6 Cups purified water or broth of your choice
1 cup of coconut creme or coconut milk (click here for how to prepare the coconut creme)
2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 tablespoon of sea salt, more or less to taste
cracked black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. First wash off the outsides of your squashes. Then cut off the ends of the squash and compost. Cut the squash in half and then lengthwise and de-seed. Place the halved squash, cut side down, in ceramic baking dishes or on sheet trays. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until tender). Then remove from the oven and let the squash cool to room temperature.
While the squash is cooling, you can prepare your coconut creme (if you are making your own). Next, scoop out the flesh from the squashes and set aside.
Then chop up the shallots. Add the tablespoon of oil to the soup pot and saute the shallots on medium low heat for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Before adding the liquids to your pot, add in the paprika, cumin and turmeric and let the spices bloom for a few minutes. Then add in your water, coconut creme/milk, squash and salt. Now you will need what I consider one of the best inventions in the kitchen...the immersion hand blender! You simply puree the soup in the pot and then let it heat through on medium heat (approximately 10 minutes). If you do not have an immersion blender, then you can transfer the mixture to a blender and process on high until it is smooth and creamy. Finish by cracking in some black pepper and stir.
To serve, dish the soup into bowls and sprinkle smoked paprika on top and drizzle in some coconut creme/milk. With the side of a spoon (or you could use a toothpick), swirl the mixture around to create soup art. A masterpiece every time!
"Cooking is an art and patience a virtue... Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing - love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist - not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love."