Simple, But Effective: SOS Roasted Squash and Apple Bisque

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!

And if you’re looking for even more recipes to try, there’s always my new ebook, Desserts without Compromiseeverything in the book is gluten free, sugar free, low glycemic and vegan!

Thanks so much, everyone! :)

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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

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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Comments

  1. This looks beautiful Ricki! And happy anniversary! Hmm I think we should celebrate when we met too… I like the idea of more than one anniversary per year :) The soup looks just lovely.

  2. I’m so glad your (belated but still celebrated) anniversary dinner turned into the culinary event you hoped for. It looks way better than a slab of sweet potato! And the soup sounds wonderful — great idea to roast the apple. Yum.

  3. That soup sounds delicious – such a wonderful autumnal flavour combo!
    Happy anniversary! We just celebrated ours, too, though I’m making a note to celebrate again on the day we moved in together – more occasions to celebrate is always a good thing!

  4. You sound like you rescued the anniversary with aplomb! I’d love that chickpea dish

    You soup sounds delicious. I am sorry that I haven’t got a dish for sos this month – it has been such a crazy month that I haven’t been inspired a lot in the kitchen (well I am too busy grabbing sylvia off the kitchen table!) and I have mainly cooked to use up food hanging around the house – unfortunately all the apples get eaten too quickly!

  5. ha, ha, I am sorry to hear about your memory!

    The soup has such an awesome colour. Looks like a great challenge.

  6. Your soup sounds delicious! Winter squash and apples are 2 of my favorite foods. I couldn’t agree more with you about food being the best when it’s kept simple. I like fancy things now and again, but usually the simple things are always my favorite.

  7. OMG Ricki, it is 5am and now I want soup and salad!!!! LOL!!!! Looks so decadent…. yummy!
    Happy Anniversary and thank you for mentioning my blog :D

  8. i need to get on some apple recipes! love this combo :)

  9. It’s apple picking time for the kids so apple ideas are great – there are only so many baked apples I can handle. Can’t believe I missed your anniversary AND a discussion about Terra this year.

  10. Oh, this looks great! I am glad that you submitted a soup, I’m surprised we hadn’t seen one yet!!!! And that chickpea salad looks great – much better than a sweet potato slab. ;) xoxo Kim | http://www.affairsofliving.com

  11. Beautiful bisque! I love the butternut-apple combo. And your dinner looks fabulous! I’m so glad they got the message and made delicious vegan/acd friendly food!

  12. Ricki I love getting side dishes as my main too! I always end up with the best plate of food! Glad to see you did too! I need to get better about grilling the server – last week we went out to eat. I ordered a beet salad with candied almonds. They were so good. Then I asked how the prepared them. CORN SYRUP and BROWN SUGAR. Crap! They tasted like honey. I’m going to try to recreate a healthier version! Pete made a squash and apple soup once. We called it Squapple Soup. I like your title better :) Sorry for the lengthy reply…

  13. Jenn,
    Thanks so much! Yes, it’s fun to celebrate twice a year–I’m so glad we decided to do that. :)

    Andrea,
    Yes, way better than last time. And roasting does make all the difference!

    Josiane,
    Happy anniversary to you, too! And go for it–much more fun to celebrate twice! :)

    Johanna,
    NO NEED to apologize!! I certainly understand the idea of being swamped and unable to participate in events of interest–I’ve missed so many myself! I’m happy to know you’re out there and love that you leave comments. No worries, and do what you can. :)

    Mihl,
    It does seem that apples are pretty popular! I enjoyed coming up with recipes using them, too.

    Kiersten,
    I think I’ve got a new appreciation for “simple” when it comes to food. . . having no spare time will do that to you! ;)

    nostove,
    Thanks for the good wishes, and sorry about the 5:00 AM soup call. ;)

    Shannon,
    Once I made the soup, the combination seemed so obvious, but it was totally delicious!

    Robin,
    Aw, no worries! Chat with you later. :)

    Kim,
    I hadn’t realized there were no soups! Glad to add one to the mix. :)

    Jes,
    Thanks! I don’t know if they got the message last time or if I just asked more insistently this time, but either way, I was happy! ;)

    Maggie,
    Oh, bummer on the corn syrup! But so little won’t hurt ya ;) I love the name Squapple! And NEVER apologize for long replies–they are my favorites! I LOVE when readers leave long comments (and short ones, too–I just love comments!) :D

  14. This looks so delicious! It is amazing how a challenge inspires to use the product in the best ways! Thanks!

  15. Happy Anniversary! I am so happy to have winter squash to play with again, and soup is definitely on the list. You know, I don’t think I’ve made anything with apples yet…

  16. I agree with you on your point on simplicity. It is definitely something to be appreciated :) You have such great recipes! Last night I actually made this delicious roasted butternut squash and sweet potato soup–incredible. I felt so comforted eating it, which is perfect for the cooler weather coming in now.

    p.s. thanks for recognition!! I made another batch of roasted chickpeas tonight actually :)

  17. I just found your blog and am excited to try this recipe soon. But I have a tip for you. When using thick squash, pop them whole in the microwave for a few minutes. Two or three minutes works wonders to make it easy peesy to cut open squash!

  18. Happy anniversary, though it’s very belated! Looks like you had a great meal. :) And that soup! It’s so perfectly smooth mm. I love that you roasted the apples.

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