Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Maple Cream

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Maple Cream

This Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup is silky and luscious, with the perfect balance of sweet and spice. A little swirl of maple-sweetened sour cream takes it over the top.

I feel like it was only a few weeks ago that every post I wrote seemed to start with me whining and complaining about how cold it was outside. Well, prepare for a déjà vu because it’s frakking freezing again and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Oh joy. I know it’s going to warm up a bit again before the semi-permanent winter-long deep freeze hits us but, seriously Nature, can you give a girl a break? See, one of the things about buying a lovely, hundred-year-old house is that it’s goddamn drafty. Luckily I have a dog and two cats that want to be on a lap at all times so that helps. A bit. A teeny, tiny bit. Also, soup.

Speaking of déjà vu (and soup), it was about this same time last year that we posted our recipe for Mashed Butternut Squash With Thyme And Mascarpone, which has become one of the most popular recipes on NwK. I think butternut squash is so popular because it’s not only delicious, it’s also extremely easy to cook well. It has a gorgeous, silky texture (without any of the stringiness you find in a lot of pumpkins and squash) and it also has that beautiful, vibrant color that just screams Fall. It’s the vegetal equivalent of wearing a cable-knit sweater while walking through a pile of brittle, umber leaves. It’s Mr. Autumn Man’s favorite gourd.

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Maple Cream
Look at Nerd Tips below for nutrition as well as buying and storing tips.

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Braised Short Ribs with Beer and Hoisin

Braised Short Ribs with Beer and Hoisin
Served with boiled fingerling potatoes and Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad.

One of the few benefits of living in an area where terms like “polar vortex” and “snow-mageddon” are bandied about is that you have the right, nay, the duty, to pull out the crockpot or dutch oven and put something yummy in it.

(Nerdy Game of Thrones warning ahead) Seriously, it’s so cold right now, all I want to do is curl up by my squid-themed fireplace, grab my adorable direwolf puppy, and eat something delicious.

Unfortunately I don’t have a fireplace, squid-themed or regular, and my direwolf hates the cold even more than I do. But I can definitely manage the delicious part.

Short ribs are great because they’re not terribly expensive, taste amazing and are incredibly easy. The only things you need to remember are to use the right cut for the recipe you’re making and leave yourself enough time to cook them low and slow.

In fact, I’m a huge fan of making them a day ahead. They actually taste better when they’re reheated, plus it’s so much easier to de-fat the sauce when it’s cold. Win-win. The only problem with making them in advance is that on the day you cook them, your house will smell like delicious short ribs that you will have to wait to devour. Lose-lose!

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Garlicky Mussels and Clams

I hated fish so much as a kid that I would fake allergies, stomach aches, symptoms of the plague to keep from having to eat anything from the sea (except seaweed which I loved, oddly enough). Every so often, my parents would take my brother, Nick, and I fishing off of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. We would have to wake up at 4:30am to get to the charter boat on time, which (in my memory) was always filled with cranky old Brooklyn mobsters.

Being on the water was exhilarating though, and I loved the excited chatter that went around the boat when anyone felt a nibble on the line.  At least once, I was the only person who caught anything which would fill me with dread because that meant, at some point, we would be expected to eat it.

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