Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup kicked up with Thai curry flavor and served with sweet and spicy candied peanuts. Want a soup that’ll warm you up? This is it.

I was vegetarian for most of my twenties and though I eat (ethically-raised, organic) meat now, I wouldn’t have that much trouble giving it up. On the other hand, I was vegan for about 45 minutes and almost lost my mind craving cheese.

I admit that I’m slightly weird with dairy. The thought of drinking a glass of milk makes me shudder with horror, but cheesy pastas and creamy soups are my comfort foods of choice. It would take a lot for me to say goodbye to them forever.

This soup is absolutely comfort food in the best way but, surprise! It also happens to be vegan. Yes, vegan. The trick (if it could even be called that) is to combine silky puréed butternut squash with creamy, rich coconut milk. The texture becomes as smooth as bisque, without a drop of dairy.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

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Apple Tarts with Rosemary-Lime Sugar

Apple Tarts with Rosemary-Lime Sugar
Apple Tarts with Rosemary-Lime Sugar

These crisp and tasty apple tarts are a great way to use up your fall bounty; using frozen puff pastry makes the whole process a lot easier, and they’re finished with rosemary-lime sugar.

It happens every year in the Hudson Valley, where we live. As soon as the leaves on the maple trees turn a ridiculous shade of red, we, residents and tourists alike, don our coziest sweaters and follow the scent of hot cider doughnuts to the nearest orchard. Once there we wander the grounds, hopped up on cinnamon sugar and crisp autumn air, filling baskets and gunny sacks with more Empires, Cortlands and Jonagold apples than anyone who doesn’t work in a pie factory would ever need.

Only once when we’re home and realize we need to put an addition on the house in order to store our haul, do we admit that maybe we’ve bought just a few too many. And just when I thought we’d succeeded in using our bounty, one of Matt’s local clients sent him home with a massive box of Golden Delicious apples from the tree in her yard. Oh well, we’ll just have to start working on that Salted Caramel Apple Pie idea I’ve been thinking about. #HudsonValleyProblems #AppleHumbleBrag

Rosemary-Lime Sugar
Rosemary-Lime Sugar

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Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage (and Sausage)

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage (and Sausage)
Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage (and Sausage)

I’m not sure why but I used to think of risotto as a big complicated project. Somehow I got it in my head that you absolutely must make your own stock and add it a thimbleful at a time and stir and stir and stir and if you stop stirring for even a second, the whole thing turns to garbage.

None of that is true.

While it is true that the better the stock is, the better your risotto will be, there are a lot of ways to impart flavor into the dish using simple, everyday ingredients.

And while I’ve never had great results from simply pouring in all the stock at once, the process is a lot less delicate and precise than you might think.

The rice itself should take less than 20 minutes to go from raw to beautifully creamy and al dente. Even including the time it takes to cook the mushrooms, that’s well within the realm of an easy weeknight dinner.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Crispy Sage
The crispy sage adds a great flavor and texture. For a VEGETARIAN version, use good vegetable stock. Look for note below on tips for making a VEGAN version.

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Spicy Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Spicy Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chili sweet potatoes are our go-to for a rainy fall weekend – we give you a few meat and meat-free options, but they’re all tasty.

I’m a film editor and several times over the span of my career, I’ve thought about moving from New York City where I was born, to Los Angeles. Many of my friends and colleagues have done it, and most of them love it there.

It’s so beautiful, they say. True, I’ve been and it’s very pretty. There’s a lot more work and for the price of a Brooklyn studio, you can buy a three bedroom house with an avocado tree in the back! All true and, yes, this makes me jealous. And the best part? It’s warm all the time and it never rains! Aaaaaand you’ve lost me. 

For me, one of the great joys of life is feeling the crisp, cool air of Fall. When the weather turns it feels like a shock, every time. Even better if that cool air comes with a blustery rain storm. The type of weather that practically forces you to cook something warm and comforting. To stay home and watch movies or play video games all day. (Nerd note: Matt and I are re-playing “The Last of Us” and, oh my god, it’s so good).

When I heard it was going to turn cold and rainy last weekend, I knew right away what I wanted to make; spicy chili with all sorts of yummy toppings stuffed inside a baked sweet potato.

Chili Spices
The chili is flavored with cumin, two types of chili powder, jalapeños, garlic and dark chocolate. Also maple syrup and beer, not shown.

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Toffee-Apple Sour Cream Cake (with a Salted Caramel Drizzle)

IMG_6804 - Version 2

It’s a shame about toffee apples, it really is. In theory, I ought to love them.

There’s the toffee, which, as our Ultimate English Toffee recipe proves, we’re all about. I have no problem with the toffee.

There are the apples – and who doesn’t like apples? Your basic apple is basically the perfect snack – you can eat it on the go without getting your hands covered in crumbs, it’s got plenty of natural fiber, vitamins and that, they’re available pretty much all year round no matter where you live.

And there’s the stick, to hold it with. (Don’t eat the stick.)

Toffee apples – those of a more American persuasion might be more familiar with them as “candy apples” – are a mainstay of Autumn, and the first hints of autumnal flavors in our cooking always give me a frisson of delight (no, Pumpkin Spice Latte, I am definitely NOT looking at you). But a toffee apple just leaves me cold.

So why am I banging on about toffee apples if I don’t even like them that much? And what’s that picture of a cake doing at the top of this post?

Toffee-Apple Sour Cream Cake
These Honeycrisp apples (the large ones) are tart and hold their shape when cooked.

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Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Pistachios and Parmesan

This farro salad with butternut squash and hardy kale lets you imagine it’s actually spring while using up the last of your winter produce. 

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Pistachios and ParmesanYay, it’s officially Spring! Also boo, it’s officially snowing.

Here in the Hudson Valley we had one fleeting afternoon of warmth but then, like a high school bully who tells you your sneakers are cool so you’ll look down and then flicks you on the forehead, we got sucker punched.  Even the chickens were like, “Seriously? We are so over this,” when I went to the coop this morning.

Every year I forget that Spring vegetables like ramps and asparagus don’t start to show up at the Farmer’s Market until mid-April at the earliest so right now, it’s mostly the same selection you find in Fall. Which is not a terrible thing when you can get great stuff like butternut squash, apple cider and baby kale.

Farro Salad with Butternut Squash, Pistachios and Parmesan

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