Soup for the Soul!

ImageHey everyone, Rachel here again! With the changing season, I thought it’d be worthwhile to mention the way the weather effects not only our food choices and options, but our culinary inspirations as well. When the fall breeze begins to drift past us and the leaves fall from the trees; as we begin to break out our most comfortable sweaters from the years before and sip on pumpkin spice lattes, curled up in warm blankets in front of fire places, our taste in food begins to change. During the summer, especially in the south, we tend to crave lighter foods like salads and fruits, and food that we can cook and eat outside, like barbeque! But when it begins to get chilly outside and our bodies have to work harder to keep us warm, dishes like soups and stews- heartier meals that sooth the soul with all the nutrients we need to replenish ourselves are what we crave.

For me, the fall and winter seasons are my absolute favorite cooking seasons. There is something about the way soup makes me feel- like no matter where I am in the world, I’m home. After a long day of work, when I’m sore and tired and cold, a hot bowl of soup is enough to make me smile from ear to ear and RELAX. And the method of cooking soup, for me, is filled with love. I never make soup just for myself- it brings me tons of joy to surprise my friends and family with good food, especially during the more gloomy days of the season. Soup always seems to brighten peoples moods!

As a chef, I always try to create food based on what is seasonal and fresh. These days it can be difficult to tell what is truly in season, because big corporations have found ways to grow produce year round with the aid of chemicals. At Veggytopia we use only all organic and all natural foods, so it is important for us to know our market and know what is available to us throughout the year. Below is a list of the fruits and vegetables that you can find from October-December.

October

Vegetables

  • sweet potatoes
  • pumpkins
  • winter squash
  • broccoli
  • spinach lettuce

Fruits

  • cranberries
  • apples
  • pomegranates
  • grapes

November

Vegetables

  • pumpkins
  • winter squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • broccoli
  • mushrooms
  • spinach

Fruit

  • cranberries
  • oranges
  • tangerines
  • pears
  • pomegranates

December

Vegetables

  • sweet potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower

Fruit

  • pears
  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • tangerines
  • papayas
  • pomegranates

Another thing I love about soups and stews are that they require a minimal amount of actual work. For busy families and hard workers, you can use a crock pot to throw all of your ingredients into and let it do its magic while you take care of the kids or get other important things done, and soup will stay fresh in sealed containers throughout the week that you can bring to work or send to school and reheat easily. Don’t forget about good curry dishes, and three-bean chilli’s too! Below is a recipe for my favorite butternut squash soup- such a seasonal and absolutely delicious dish! Once again, we love to hear your thoughts, questions, and requests here at Veggytopia so feel free to send all of your comments to info@veggytopia.com so we can dedicate our next blog to the recipes YOU want to see, and the topics YOU want to discuss. Stay warm, and enjoy that delicious soup!

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 10

Directions:

Cut butternut squash in half lenghtwise and remove seeds.

Place squash cutside down on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until squash is soft to the touch, and the skin begins to pull away from the flesh.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Spoon roasted squash out of the skin and pass it through a ricer or food mill to remove any of the stringy fibers.

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot and sute/swet the carrots, celery and onions, until the onions and carrots just start to caramelize.

Deglaze the pot with sherry.

Add the vegetable stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Add the squash, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf, and puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until it reaches a smooth creamy consistency.

Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed.

Garnish with chopped parsley and paprika and serve.

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