Labor of Love Roasted Squash Soup!

013 squash PD

This is one of my vegetarian favorites, especially for fall and winter.

Not only is it easy to make but it is the ultimate comfort food and a nutritional powerhouse of nutrients and fiber.
Plus, it is pretty, it looks nice on the table, and takes to garnish like paint to a canvas.

I like keeping this recipe as simple as possible while still extracting the maximum amount of flavor from every ingredient.

I like to keep my meals vegan but if you are so inclined you can add chicken stock or butter or cream where I would use olive oil, white wine, vegetable stock and white bean puree.

You can also feel free to substitute the main ingredients such as butternut squash instead of acorn squash, or turnip instead of carrot, etc.


1 Acorn squash
1 can Pumpkin puree
1 can cannellini beans
1 large yellow onion
1 cup white wine
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
5 stalks of celery
5 large carrots
10 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper


Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

Peel 6-7 cloves of garlic and bush with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet with the acorn squash.
Cut acorn squash in half and place on baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and allow to bake until soft; 45 minutes to an hour.

As far as I am concerned, you can always vary the ingredients, however, it is the method that will make or break your dish. Especially for a dish such as this, I believe that you have to develop and build flavors and create a texture which marries them all together.

For the base of this soup I start by adding 2 Tbsp olive oil in a deep skillet, and about 1 Tbsp of ground sage, the chopped celery and chopped carrots. Let this begin to simmer for a minute and add 3 clove of crushed garlic and the chopped onion.

Allow this to simmer evenly adding olive oil as needed. When everything is getting soft and fragrant add 1 cup of good white wine. Allow this to cook down on low heat and keep adding water as it begins to thicken, maintaining a sauce texture through out the process. You may want to add more wine but water works well. This whole process should take 3-4 hours.

In the meantime, you have removed your squash and garlic from the oven, allowed it to cool, peeled and chopped it, opened the can of cannellini and pumpkin puree.

I place all of this into the food processer or if you don’t have one, place into a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer. The point is to make it creamy and smooth.

When that is done I place the mixture into a large soup pot.

After allowing the veggie mixture to cool, do the same thing. A blender can be used or the food processer but do them separately to be sure that the veggies become completely pureed.

I then add these to the soup pot and allow everything to cook for about an hour before serving.
You can salt and pepper to taste.

In the list of ingredients I have cinnamon and nutmeg. If you are adding cream I highly suggest a sprinkle of nutmeg, I think that it is a natural compliment to creams. I have a personal preference for cinnamon with any squash and especially like it when there is garlic involved! I love the combination of flavors.

I love serving this with a salad or warm crusty bread or with toasted walnuts and pecans brushed with olive oil and garlic.


Preparing Herbs for Holiday Feasts!

basil pesto 
pantry diaries

I made the last chance round-up of my garden herbs as I am anticipating a frost any day now. I considered infused oils to preserve them but after a little consideration I think that I’ll get more mileage out of pesto.

I’m planning to dry the oregano and keep it in the pantry and I made a pesto of the sage and of the basil.

I really want to use the sage for my holiday dishes and creating a pesto which I can freeze seems like the best way to keep it in the freshest state possible. I am pretty sure that the basil pesto will be gone this week.

For the sage I just added 3 cloves of garlic and about ½ cup of good olive oil. I didn’t add salt or pine nuts or cheese as my main goal is to preserve the sage and use it in a variety of ways over the next couple of months.

If I want to do infused oil I’ll take a portion of the mixture and incorporate it into more olive oil, I will use it in the stuffing and in a béchamel sauce for pasta. I think that the sage will be great for game like pheasant or duck.

sage pesto PD


Perfectly Pumpkin, Cookies

pantry diaries pumpkin cookies

It’s that pumpkin time of year and the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg fill the house.
These moist and flavorful cookies have a texture which is a lot like cake and they are filling. My bff M loves them; he gave me the recipe.

The batter is really wet and I always use parchment paper on the cookie sheet. I plop them on with a large spoon. I think that these are best when they are on the larger side, like the size of the top of a cupcake.

The recipe says the yield will be 5 dozen but I have never managed to get that many. My daughter thinks that there should be more pecans and I agree. They really make the cookie, especially with the penuche. This is one of the best holiday cookie recipes that I have.

Be prepared to be popular!

Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cup all purpose or unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Penuche Frosting

3 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2-4 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, beat sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup butter until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, vanilla and egg; blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Stir in nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2″ apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Immediately remove from cookie sheets; cool.

In medium saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar; bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Cool 10 minutes. Add milk; beat until smooth. Beat in enough powdered sugar until desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies. Allow frosting to set before storing. 5 dozen cookies.


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