Remember how, last week, I mentioned that I seem to be adopting some of the HH’s less-than-enviable habits? Well, this past week, it got even worse: our anniversary came and went*, and neither one of us remembered! (Such behavior would not be unusual for the HH, who would likely never acknowledge anniversaries, birthdays, or holidays if not for my prodding. In my case, I attribute it to what one of my colleagues refers to disdainfully as “mental pause.” I recently heard a middle aged woman remark that of all the things she lost when she entered menopause, she misses her memory the most. Oh, and if that was your comment, I do apologize; I couldn’t remember who said it.)
Luckily, I had made a reservation at our usual spot far in advance of the actual day, so when last Saturday night finally rolled around, we donned our fancy duds; I used a blowdryer on my hair and put on lipstick; the HH wore dress pants and an actual jacket (but no tie); I told the HH that his tan loafers didn’t match his pants; he ignored me; and we were off to celebrate! (albeit a few days late).
The last time we frequented the place (our previous anniversary), I was disappointed with the grilled slab of sweet potato offered to me in lieu of my habitual portobello steak (since I’m unable to eat ‘shrooms on the ACD). This last weekend, however, they more than compensated for the previous gaffe.
Behold my greens, frisée and fresh peach salad (the original included shaved parmesan and candied walnuts, too, but they left those off for me):
So simple, yet so effective! A balsamic-olive oil dressing supplied the perfect sweet-and-tart accompaniment to the crunchy, slightly bitter greens. But it was the main dish that really shone. Rather than risk another insipid replacement for the portobello, I decided to scan the menu to see what sides accompanied each main dish. Then, after thoroughly grilling our waiter about the ingredients in each one, I chose a medley of five different side dishes served on a single plate. The result was spectacular:
[Green and white grilled asparagus plus sautéed rapini, covered with roasted root vegetables, sautéed chickpeas, and butternut purée (peeking out at the top, near the asparagus tips).]
Every single item on that plate was entirely captivating. I was delighted with the way simple ingredients and simple preparation could produce such extraordinary results. The combination of textures and flavors was heavenly; grilling, roasting, or sautéeing, skillfully combined, generated one of the best dinners I’ve had in a restaurant. Even the HH, as he sliced into his slab of meat, peered across the table (with a glint of envy in his eye) and remarked, “That looks great! I’d even eat that!” I didn’t need any more vindication than that.
Yes, sometimes simple is best. There are days you want to strut out in your flouncy skirt, ruffled blouse and velvet vest; other times, you just want the clean lines and unadorned elegance of a little black dress.
In its simplicity–both of ingredients, and preparation–this soup also reminded me that sometimes, fresh ingredients should be permitted to shine on their own, without too much interference from me and the contents of my pantry. What transports the relatively common pairing of squash and apples to a whole new level of gustatory delight here is roasting the apple along with the onion and squash. While the veggies and fruit warm and wheeze and puff and crinkle in the oven, they caramelize, becoming incredibly soft and mellow. Blended together, they form a perfect union of sweet and savory, in an airy, velvety base that nearly floats across the palate.
The HH and I both loved this soup. Along with our anniversary, it’s one more way to help ease the transition into fall.
This is my second entry to the SOS Challenge for this month. The key ingredient is apples. So if you’ve made an apple recipe in the past month, please submit it–you have until September 30th.
* if you’re a regular reader of this blog, it may seem as if we just celebrated an anniversary not too long ago. That’s because we did! The HH and I decided to celebrate both the date we met and the date we moved in together (which happen to be about 6 months apart). So we get two anniversaries per year–crazy romantics that we are! 😉
DDD Gets Around:
I love it when readers try my recipes and let me know that they did. I thought I’d share links to other people who made recipes from or mentioned the blog in the past couple of weeks. If you’ve made a DDD recipe and don’t see it here, please let me know so I can add yours next time!
- Kris from Vegan in Suburbia made Sweet Freedom’s Dalmatian Cheesecake Brownies as well as Fluffy Fruited Pancakes
- Lisa cooked up some nutbutter coated sweet potato rounds, based on Almond Crusted Root Vegetable Fries
- Katharina enjoyed some cinnamon-roasted chickpeas based on this recipe
- Living on a Toaster Oven made bean brownies based on this recipe
- Emma tried out the Lentil Rissoles
- Maggie raved about Quinoa, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad and Miso Gravy
- Cara tried out the recently posted Cookie Dough Topped Brownies
- Mom from (Gluten Free Edge) is hooked on the Warm Chickpea and Artichoke Salad
- Megan made the Nutella Ice Cream for her hubby
- and DDD’s Vegan Pasta Carbonara was featured on SuperVegan!
And if you’re looking for even more recipes to try, there’s always my new ebook, Desserts without Compromise—everything in the book is gluten free, sugar free, low glycemic and vegan!
Thanks so much, everyone!
Roasted Squash and Apple Bisque
adapted from The Roasted Vegetable (ACD Stage 2 and beyond)
I roast the squash whole because it’s small and, well, I’m lazy. I find it much easier to cut the already-baked squash in half and scoop out the seeds and flesh than to peel, seed, and cut it while it’s still raw. If you don’t mind the extra work up front, you can cut the squash into cubes and roast it in the same pan as the apples and onions.
one whole small squash (about 1.5 lb or 700 g)–I used buttercup
2 medium tart apples, such as Granny Smith
1 medium onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
3 Tbsp (45 ml) extra virgin coconut oil, preferably organic
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable broth or water
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) unflavored, unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp (30 ml) organic apple cider vinegar
5 drops plain stevia liquid
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) dried rosemary
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 425F ( C). Lightly oil two square pans.
Place the whole squash in one pan and the apple, onion and garlic in the other. Dot the apple and onion mixture with the coconut oil and then pour the broth over it. Cover the pan with foil (or a cover, if it has one). Bake both pans (keep the whole squash uncovered) for about 30 minutes, then remove the cover and continue to roast until the squash is tender and the apples and onions are soft and just beginning to brown (they may be ready at different times; if so, remove the first pan and continue to roast the second as needed).
Allow the squash to cool enough to handle, then cut open, scoop out the seeds, and scoop the flesh into a blender. Add the apple-onion mixture (include any coconut oil still on the bottom of the pan) and remaining ingredients to the blender. Blend until perfectly smooth and velvety. (If necessary purée the mixture in batches).
Pour the puréed soup into a medium pot and heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until warmed through. Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional rosemary, if desired. Makes 4-6 servings. May be frozen.
from Diet, Dessert and Dogs (http://rickiheller.com)
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Last Year at this Time: Food for What Ails Ya: Lentil Rissoles
Two Years Ago: Dog Day: Sibling Rituals, Sibling Revelry
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