I can't remember when exactly, but somewhere along the way it became hard to connect socially. Maybe it's because I'm continuously tired; maybe it's because we've moved; maybe it's because I've fallen into a comfortable routine of two. Whatever the reason, I managed to forget about one of my most favorite things - sharing food and stories around a table with friends.
On Friday evening, we hosted our first dinner party in ages and I was reminded just how important it is to have the balance of company. I've missed the reassurance and inspiration that I feel when connecting with other young women. I love being able to say wow and it's okay and to hear that in return. I love being able to catch Nate's eye and smile how lucky are we?! across our kitchen, warm and full of the magic our guests have brought in. I love hearing small bursts of laughter from the living room, I love connecting friends and family across time and space. I love saying remember when? and making big future plans.
This November, I am grateful for my role as honorary auntie, sister-in-law, wife, and friend. Thank you all for letting me put food on the table, and for feeding my heart in return.
Yes, we served soup at our Thanksgiving celebration. Vegan soup. Is that considered a faux pas? Maybe, but with contributions of a hearty salad, wine, cheese, sauteed veggies, bread, and apple pie (thank you, friends!), I'd say we did just fine.
This soup is thick and creamy with a flavor that starts out sweet from the squash and coconut, then fades to spicy from the hot pepper flakes. Play around with your measurements - taste as you go and find the balance of sweet/salty/spicy/sage-y that makes you happy.
WINTER SQUASH SOUP
3 lbs winter squash (butternut, pumpkin, kabocha, and/or acorn squash work well here)
Olive oil, as needed
Salt, as needed
Black pepper, as needed
Garlic powder, as needed
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 pinches ground sage
2 pinches hot pepper flakes
1 can (roughly 13 ounces) coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the squash flesh. Set aside to cool.
While the squash comes to room temperature, place the onion in a large soup pot or dutch oven and saute with olive oil over medium-low heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, hot pepper, and a few pinches of salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes more. Using a spoon, scoop the cooked squash out of its tough skin and into the pot. Stir in coconut milk and vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the temperature to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
If you would like a smooth soup, transfer the mixture to a food processor (or use an immersion blender - our favorite Craigslist freebie of all time) and pulse until you reach your desired consistency. Adjust your seasonings and serve with warm bread and a green salad for the coziest of fall dinners.