Friday, April 26, 2013

Springtime Garden

Ground phlox, Aubrieta, evergreens, spiraea and thyme make for springtime in our garden.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Full Pink Moon

The first lunar eclipse of the year was not visible to us, but we did have a clear view of the Full Moon this morning. Full Pink Moon, Full Egg Moon, Full Sprouting Grass Moon, or the Full Fish Moon, it gets its name from the herb moss pink or wild ground phlox, one of the first flowers of spring.

See the Farmer's Almanac for other moons throughout the year.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Roasted Heirloom Squash and Apple Soup

The heirloom squash were harvested last fall and brought inside to over-winter.  We are often amazed at how long they can be held. Here it is the middle of April, our new garden is in process, and we are still enjoying fall squash.

The C. maxima 'Chersonskaya' was beginning to show signs of needing to be processed, so soup is often at the top of my husband's wishlist. (Also pictured above are C. maxima 'Red Kuri', C. pepo 'Thelma Sanders', and everyone's all time favorite_C. moschata 'Butternut'.)

Cucurbita maxima 'Chersonskaya'
Filled with creamy sweetness like only a squash directly from our garden to the table can be, it had all the elements we enjoy: a little sweetness (squash) with some salty (cashew) and a bit of spice (cayenne).

Roasted Heirloom Squash and Apple Soup from Diana's kitchen

1 squash (2-4 lb butternut), seeded, peeled, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 medium tart apples, peeled, quartered, core removed, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
4-6 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1 Tablespoon raw unfiltered honey
pinch or more cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 cup cream or half and half
salted cashews

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl combine the chopped squash, apples, onion, curry powder, ginger, salt and pepper and combine. Add olive oil to the melted butter, pour it over the squash mixture and fold to coat. Pour the contents into a large baking pan and roast for 40-45 minutes or until the squash and apples are tender. Stir one or two times during the roasting.

Into a large Dutch oven add 4 cups of chicken stock, the roasted fruit and vegetables, and add the honey, cayenne pepper, nutmeg. Stir, and heat the contents to a simmer. Remove the pot from the burner, and puree the contents with an immersion blender. It will be slightly sweet and thick. Add the cream and combine. If you prefer less thickness, add additional chicken stock. Serve immediately and with a few cashews on top.