November 28, 2010

How I turned salad into soup, and other tales.

If this is your first visit to my blog, you won't know that I tried a Mark Bittman recipe for raw butternut squash salad and served it as part of our Thanksgiving dinner. Other than substituting dried cherries for raisins, I followed the recipe very closely, expecting a fresh, crisp, refreshing accompaniment to the rest of our meal. Suffice it to say there was a lot left over, and I didn't personally want to eat it because I found it weird and slimy. Nor did my husband like it.

But I sure didn't want to waste it, either, so last night it became soup. As salad it was icky, but as soup it was fantastic. The salad, including the dried bing cherries, was tossed into the pressure cooker along with a finely diced medium potato and enough water to barely come to the top of the veggies. The pot was brought to pressure, and the soup cooked at pressure for five minutes. The pressure was brought down, and an immersion blender was used to blend everything to a luxuriously creamy soup. I added some parsley and fresh ground black pepper, but that was all.

It was rich and incredible tasting. Even my memory of its origins couldn't dampen my enthusiasm — and you know how that can happen sometimes. The only thing I might change if I were making the soup again on purpose would be to add much less oil, because it is, after all a soup, not a salad. But it sure tasted good with all the fat. Do you think marinating the squash for two days had a huge effect on the soup's flavor or could I just start from scratch with the salad ingredients (minus some of the oil) and make a similar tasting soup?


A good book and a smoothie

The day after Thanksgiving, Miss E came to visit at noon, with plans to spend the day and sleep over. We had a great time playing with legos and blocks, chasing each other around, and dancing to Caspar Babypants. Miss E slept very well Friday night, and woke up hungry for a pancake breakfast. We had our favorite oat and wheat pancakes covered in leftover cranberry-apple sauce. For a late morning snack, I offered Miss E a smoothie, and of course, she accepted.

Got smoothie?

She enjoyed her blueberry-almond butter-mango-banana-soymilk smoothie while Grandpa read her a book.

When it was time to go home, Miss E tried to delay her leave-taking by putting on the wrong shoes. What a rascal.


  1. Books and smoothies?! Sign me up!

  2. Yaay for soup success from a salad bummer! I'm not sure about how much flavor the marinating added, but what about maybe leaving the oil out next time, and drizzling a little bit of garlic oil or basil oil or whatever sounds good over the top, just for a little extra boost?

    Miss E is a delight! She makes the smoothie look as good as it sounds! Love the pic of her in grandpa's (?) shoes.

  3. You can't go wrong including Miss E on your blog; that kid is a star every time.

    Very inventive with the soup. I would have probably just made my husband eat the salad because he hates to waste food.

  4. How adorable is that!!!!! So glad you are spending quality time with the rascal. And the soup looks pretty good too!

  5. Jessica,
    Everything goes better with smoothies, don't you think?

    Yes, that was my plan for the oil - to add some after the soup is cooked. I was thinking maybe truffle oil. Miss E is a busy little girl with the energy of at least 10 of us. She keeps us on our toes!

    That's how I feel about your three little cuties. I laughed when I pictured your husband trying to eat the salad so it wouldn't go to waste. At least the soup tasted good!

    The soup was great, but nothing can top a day with Miss E.

  6. Oh, hey, I cook salad all the time. No pre-marinating required, IMO, but I like the idea of adding flavoured oil at the end. I do so want to try truffle oil someday! It's no wonder Miss E likes staying with you so much (I mean, apart from your and your husband's general awesomeness). I'd probably sell myself into slavery to anyone who'd make all that wonderful food for me, and clean up after, too!

  7. aw thats so cute:) the last pic!she is a good eater, i know i wasnt like that at her age! glad your leftovers turned into something you liked more.

  8. Glad you salvaged the salad; I hate to waste food too.

    Miss E is very cute and even cuter with a smoothie-face.

  9. Zoa,
    Miss E doesn't necessarily think everything we make is so great, but she has an enormous sweet tooth, even at the age of 2-1/2. Offer her a smoothie, and she's there.

    The soup was pretty delicious, but I think no matter how it tasted, we would have liked it more than we liked the salad. :D

    I kept picturing that big butternut squash and just knew I had to redeem it. Miss E has few table manners, and even less concern about having food on her face or anywhere else. She enjoys herself without a care.

  10. Butternut squash soup sounds much better than butternut squash salad (I don't like raw squash of any kind). ;)

    Miss E is as cute as always! You're lucky to have her living so close to you that she can just visit for a day and a sleepover. I really wish my little nephew lived within reasonable driving distance, too. :)

  11. Good for you Andrea and lovely, lovely photos :)

  12. Seglare,
    Well, I thought the salad sounded good but I much preferred the soup, especially with the dried cherries giving it an extra special flavor.

    Miss E is an 8-minute car ride away no that we live in Seattle. Seeing her used to involve an all-day affair in airports.

    Thank you! I'm looking forward to seeing more photos of the little rascal living at your house.

  13. Bummer the salad didn't turn out, but yay for turning it into yummy soup! I make butternut squash soup often and I don't think the oil would matter. I like the idea of dried cherries in it though.

    Miss E is a little cutie pie as always. :-)

  14. Chow Vegan,
    Butternut soup is one of my favorites, and I had it in the back of my mind that if the salad wasn't good, that's what I'd turn it into. I don't usually add dried fruit to my soup, but I really loved it in this version.

    Miss E rules!


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