Wednesday, September 30, 2009

For Body and Soul

On our farm stand we have these huge hubbard squashes and huge butternut squashes. Any kind of squash will do. My husband, the saintly FarmBoy, peels gigantic squash on his lap tray while watching sports on TV. It's a guaranteed way to get no complaints about him watching sports during prime time. So I find ways all year long to use those cubes of squash that we froze. We do it simply - just peel and seed and cube the squash - then rinse, put in ziplock bags and toss in the freezer. No blanching, no whining, no problem. Try it, or find a harder way to store squash.

Then, when making macaroni and cheese, for example, I boil some of the frozen cubes with the macaroni. By the time I have added the sauce to the boiled macaroni, those cubes are orange and dissolving making it look like we added extra cheddar to the noddles. I've added the cubes to beef stew, and other long simmered soups and sauces, and they just disappear, leaving behind some good fiber, beta carotene and other nutrients. And my conscience is clear, because I can't stand a spoonful of orange goop, no matter what you call it. But I'll eat it in pie, breads, and Cheddar Cheese Soup with Broccoli, or potatoes, or cauliflower. Try it, you need the vitamins this winter.

My kiddos can't eat cream due to their milk-intolerance issues. We even use cheese sparingly. Interestingly enough, extra sharp cheddar cheese is almost or reportedly lactose free. We can eat that easily.

I make this soup, like most things, with goat milk, substituting at the asterisks to make it seem like the original. I use  a  few spoonfuls out of a jar of chicken soup base usually, and just add it to the hot milk. It sneaks in extra calcium for the kiddos and makes the soup more creamy and probably a little less fatty than with the cream. Last time I made this I added in 1 cup of diced zucchini and yellow squash when I fried the onions in the bacon drippings.

Hard Rock Cafe Potato Soup - scaled to 4 servings
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup Diced yellow onions
1/3 cup Flour
3 cups Hot chicken stock (*3 cups of hot goat milk and enough soup base for 3 cups)
2 cups Diced -- peeled baked Potatoes or leftovers.
1 cup Heavy cream *(1 cup goat milk)
1/8 cup Chopped parsley (I substitute chopped celery leaves from the tops)
3/4 teaspoon Granulated garlic
3/4 teaspoon Dried basil
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Red pepper sauce
3/4 teaspoon Coarse black pepper
1/2 cup Grated Cheddar cheese
1/8 cup Diced green onions -- white Part only

Additional chopped bacon --
Grated cheese and Chopped parsley for Garnish

Fry bacon until crisp. Chop bacon and reserve drippings. Cook onions and celery tops in remaining drippings over medium-high heat until transparent, about 3 minutes. Add flour, stirring to prevent lumps. Cook 3 - 5 minutes until mix just begins to run golden. Add chicken stock gradually, whisking to prevent lumps, until liquid thickens. Reduce heat to simmer and add potatoes, cream, chopped bacon, parsley, garlic, basil, salt, pepper sauce and black pepper. Simmer 10 minutes; DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL. Add grated cheese and green onions.
Heat until cheese melts smoothly. Garnish each serving as desired with chopped bacon, grated cheese.

It's a good recipe. It's also a good place to hide cubes of raw butternut squash. Just sautee in with the onions, and as the soup simmers the squash nearly dissolves and makes it a nice cheddar cheese color. I'm a veggie pusher I tell ya.  It's for sale on the farmstand - $1.00 each. Come on over.

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