Food

Waste Not, Want Not

Revelations of a soupy Sunday

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I had a revelation while cleaning out my fridge this weekend.

While I didn’t see the likeness of Jesus in a moldy slab of cheddar cheese in the hours I toiled over restoring the filthy appliance to a dignified state, I did come to the miraculous conclusion that—despite the fact that I was throwing away a couple bottles of long-expired blue cheese dressing and the Twinkies I’d saved from a New Year’s Day brunch—generally, our household does a great job of not wasting food.

Of course, I have a few things going in my favor that help ensure gustatory goods won’t go to waste. One of my boyfriend’s many nicknames is “Big Gulp,” and he’s an enthusiastic, ravenous fan of my cooking. We’re also not afraid of leftovers, and I’ll often parse out lunchtime servings of whatever we’re eating that night to take to work the next day at the same time I’m putting dinner together.

We also have a few farm animals, so if bread’s starting to go south or veggies are wilting, the chickens and rabbits will be the first in line to partake of the slightly imperfect bounty. What doesn’t go to them is composted—excluding rancid condiments and stale Hostess products.

But back to that fridge. After it had been emptied and scrubbed down and the Maraschino cherries had been banished, it was sparkling and, well, kind of blinding. Its cleanliness, of course, caused a widespread attack on kitchen grime and beating back as much food waste as possible.

I’ve been steadily going through last summer’s garlic stash, but have been ignoring the pantry full of butternut squash and zucchinis that are still lying around waiting to be consumed.

I knew if I didn’t get started on what’s remaining soon, the produce would start to decay and even the critters in the petting zoo wouldn’t want it. So, since Sunday was once again wet and chilly and not the kind of afternoon that calls for outdoor exploration, I did my best to utilize a few of those specimens.

In honor of the rain—and to help warm up the kitchen—I whipped up a hearty supply of roasted butternut squash soup. I used the last of the sage from the garden, and a Fuji apple instead of a Granny Smith, but mostly stuck to the recipe.

My sweetie declared the soup to be “quite delicious,” and was even more impressed when I opened the larder to show him how much emptier it was with a few of the winter squash gone. He did, however, point to the oversized zucchini and ask me what my plans were for it. Without answering, I shut the pantry door and spooned up another serving of soup for tomorrow’s lunch. 

[Recipe]

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
—From http://www.chow.com

INGREDIENTS
4 pounds whole butternut squash (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
1 medium Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces)
1/2 medium yellow onion
8 fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/3 cup heavy cream (I used ½ and ½)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the oven to 425 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves (alternatively, you can rub it on evenly with your fingers). Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, peel, core and cut the apple into medium dice. Cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, onion and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sautéed apples and onions; discard the skins.

Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.

Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the lid from popping off). Alternatively, use an immersion blender. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds, if using.

ICU Roof #2
More Food...
Market Walk
Dine your way through downtown

I’ve always felt incredibly lucky to live within walking and biking distance of downtown Bellingham. It’s where I head when I go to work, bank, shake my booty, listen to array of music, check out original art, see live theater, shop for groceries, dine out and meet friends for cocktails or…

more »
Zucchini 101
Dealing with the squash of summer

If you don’t typically lock your door, now would be a good time to start. Behind the usual pleasantries, your neighbors are probing you for weakness, trying to decide who among you would be most likely to break and accept a bag-load of zucchinis, or leaving the prolific produce on porches…

more »
Eat Local Month
Food, farms and feasting

Harvest season has arrived! Ripe plums, succulent tomatoes, spicy greens, shiny apples, crisp corn, mouthwatering peaches—right now we have unending opportunity to experience the plethora of flavors and foods from across Whatcom County, arguably one of the most bountiful regions in the…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Dog Day Afternoon

3:30pm|South Whatcom Library

All-Paces Run

6:00pm|Fairhaven Runners

Try Something New

6:30pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Back to School Night

6:30pm|Lynden Library

Books on Tap

7:00pm|North Fork Brewery

Skagit Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Bayview Civic Hall

Comedy Open Mic

7:30pm|Shakedown

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Peaceful Poetry Workshop and Contest

4:30pm|Village Books

Women's Rock Climbing Basics

6:00pm|REI

Exploring Vegan Flavors

6:30pm|Whatcom Humane Society

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Autumn Soups for the Body and Soul

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Seattle Quartet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Thursday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Lynden Farmers Market

12:00pm|Front Street

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Together for Peace

6:00pm|Majestic

Stream Tour

6:00pm|Whatcom Creek

Trash Talk

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Chuckanut Radio Hour with Nancy Pearl

7:00pm|Village Books

Travel Talk

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Authentic Illusionist Jay Ownehouse

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

2020 Solutions Sept 2017 MBT Janis Joplin Village Books BOB_2017 Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Bellingham Farmer’s Market