Regular readers of this blog won’t be surprised to learn that I am averse to cold weather. In fact, I dread it. Ever year as the thermometer drops, so do my spirits. I can’t help it; I hate winter.
I hate winter so much that I shiver just at the thought of impending snow and ice.
I hate it so much that I want to snap a photo of it and then stick voodoo needles in its eyes.
I hate winter so much that if someone said, “Oh, if you moved to Florida, you’d miss having four seasons,” my immediate rejoinder would be, “you mean the way you’d miss tarantulas or alligators?”
I hate it so much that every December, I feel like issuing a ban on anything white from my home, car or closet.
I hate it SO much that I almost feel as if global warming is a good thing*.
And you know what? (I bet you do): I’m really not much of a fan, either.
Well, if I had to pick one nice thing about the frosty season (and believe me, that’s no easy task), it would be winter squashes and all their concomitant yummy comfort foods. Ever since I embarked on a Squash-a-Thon around here, I’ve been cooking up all manner of squash and root veg-based dishes (and I’m really excited about the next one coming up–so cute I can hardly stand it!!). Along with all that simmering squash, I had the urge to make a soup.
One of the foods that I just don’t seem to crave any other time of year is soups. Maybe I overdid it on the Cabbage Soup Diet back in my 30s (cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus snacks for, oh, a month of so, as I recall), but for the most part, I’m not a huge soup fan. Which is too bad, especially when they taste as great as this one.
This thick, stick-to-your-ribs soup is made creamy and substantial with a trick I learned last year via the Drs. McDougall. The added oatmeal (yes, you read that correctly!) provides an extra hit of protein as well in the soup, along with a sweet-smoky-savory triad of pear, roasted pepper and sautéed onion and garlic. Add some kabocha as the base, and a gal could almost get to like these chilly months after all.
On second thought, naw.
* Of course I don’t really think that global warming is a good thing. Must be all this autumn weather making me snarky.
(And please–if any of you have any advice for making it through to April in good spirits, please share! I want to like winter; I really do.)
Roasted Red Pepper and Squash Soup
A lovely, thick, warming soup with a melding of smoky and sweet flavors. There are a couple of steps to the preparation, but once the squash is roasted, this comes together fairly easily.
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 medium ripe pear, cored and cut in cubes (no need to peel)
4-1/4 cups (1 liter plus 20 ml) vegetable stock or broth, divided
2 roasted red peppers (you can roast your own or use prepared peppers), seeded and coarsely chopped
1 medium baked Kabocha or Buttercup squash, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups/1 L squash)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice or 1 tsp (5 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cook or instant)
salt, to taste
unflavored liquid stevia, to taste (I used about 10 drops)
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, garlic and pear. Sauté until the onion and pear are soft, 10-15 minutes, adding 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable broth if necessary to prevent scorching.
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the oats are cooked, about 15 more minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until thick and creamy (alternately, transfer in batches to a blender and blend that way). For a smoother soup, a countertop blender is recommended (I left mine with a little bit of texture). Adjust salt and sweetness to taste. Makes 4-6 servings. May be frozen.
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Four Years Ago: Balti Tofu and Chickpeas in a Creamy Coconut Sauce (gluten free; ACD all stages)
© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs