Tag Archives: Fresh Ginger

Butternut Squash Soup with Jalapeno

Bnut soup 001

This summer, one of the vegetables I raised was Butternut Squash. It did very well. As I wrote my different relatives, I got over 12 squash that weighed at least 4 pounds each. My sister said she had been able to taste a Butternut Squash soup that was good, and sent me a pointer to the recipe.

This year, I am finding many Butternut Squash Soup recipes. There are several things they all seem to have in common; they use fresh ginger, and coconut milk. And they add capsicum heat. That is the burn from hot peppers. Caprial Pense’s recipe (Curry Winter Squash Soup) gets it heat from the peppers in the curry powder, while this recipe goes straight for the hot pepper by adding a Jalapeno. Finally, they all seem to use a cream product as a garnish- sour cream, cremefraiche, … And as a result, all the photos of the different soups look exactly alike!

Butternut Squash Soup with Jalapeno

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 16 oz. chicken broth
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs granulated sugar
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • sour cream for garnish when serving

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat; stir in the onion, ginger and jalapeno pepper; cook until the onion turns transparent.
  2. Add the squash and broth and raise the heat to high to bring the pot to a boil.
  3. reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer until the squash is tender- about 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in the evaporated and coconut milks, and sugar; cook for another 5 minutes. Puree the soup** (see below)
  5. Add salt and black pepper to taste, and stir well into the pureed soup.
  6. Ladle the pureed soup into bowls and garnish with a large spoon of sour cream to serve.

**To puree the soup, if possible, use a stick/immersion blender. If not, then do the soup in batches in a blender as follows:

  • ladle some soup into the blender, do not fill the blender more than half full.
  • hold the lid on the blender with a towel so you don’t get burned; then pulse the blender a few times to break up the chunks before turning it onto Puree.
  • Pour the pureed soup into a clean pot, and continue to puree the soup in batches until it is smooth.

When I seed a squash, I always save the seeds and roast them. That is so easy, and they are a good snack.

Since I also grew my own Jalapenos this year, I was finishing my last harvest of the jalapenos and saved two out for making this soup. So I added extra heat by using both the jalapenos instead of just one. It was okay, and the sour cream garnish gives you a chance to cool your mouth from the heat if necessary.

Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes

guinness 004

Daughter Jenn brought this recipe to my attention, so I surprised her and made it for her birthday cake. The original recipe appears on the internet to be by Kim Laidlaw; I have taken a few liberties in adding my own touches to it.

Guinness Stout adds depth and richness to a classic gingerbread, and helps it stay moist. The batter is thin enough it can be made without getting the stand mixer out; I used a hand mixer, or it could be stirred using just elbow grease. If you prefer to not use beer, then just substitute the same amount of espresso or very strong coffee for the Guinness.

The batter can be used in three ways without change; it can become a Bundt cake, a normal round cake, or 24 cupcakes. For the Bundt cake, generously grease a 9-inch Bundt pan. When the cake is cooled, warm and drizzle the caramel sauce over the top and serve in wedges. Serve any remaining sauce in a small pitcher so it can be added to the wedges. A Bundt cake would probably need to bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F.

For a round cake, butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet. When serving the cake, spread the caramel sauce over the top. To accompany the cake, perhaps some poached pears (see the bottom of this article). Using a round springform cake pans, I am guessing the cooking time will be 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. But that is a guess so use a toothpick to test that the cake cooked through. then cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing the cake. It can be served warm at this time with the caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

gingerbread 002
September 15, 2015- NOTE: I decided I wanted to make the round cake but instead of a single layer, I wanted two layers so I could put the caramel sauce between layers and then frost the top. (The original suggested only the caramel sauce drizzled over the top of the single layer.) Instead of butter, I used the “Real Ease” product from the Decorette Shop as a pan lubricant, but followed the directions to also use the parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. I was amazed that the cake layers came out of the pans without any trouble, and the extra work of putting in a parchment bottom was not necessary; it stayed in the pan when I took the cake out. The cooking time was 35 minutes, and cooled in the pan on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing to cool. Oh, yes, the original recipe says a 9 inch springform pan; I used two 10″ cake pans so my two layers is probably a bit shorter than using a single 9 inch pan.

For cupcakes, we will use 24 muffin wells lined with cupcake papers. The cupcakes will be frosted first with the caramel sauce, and then with a cream cheese frosting.

I have a few hints about making these cupcakes that you need to see before jumping into the recipe. For example, the caramel sauce can be made ahead of time, and then brought back to a spreadable state; to do this, I zap the container of sauce in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each time until it becomes spreadable. You could reheat it over very low heat on the stove, but that would mean transferring it to a heat proof cooking pan.

In the directions, I have suggested bowl sizes for both the wet and dry ingredients; these are the sizes of my bowls. The trick is to see that the wet ingredients are dumped into the dry ingredients so the dry ingredients need the larger bowl. I wouldn’t want you to get caught with the dry ingredients sifted into too small of a bowl.

The recipe will make 24 cupcakes. They do not rise a lot and so the directions say to fill the muffin wells nearly full. The first time, I filled the wells too full- none of the cupcake paper showed above the batter- and only got 20 cupcakes. And the little rise there was cooked the cupcakes to the muffin pans above the cupcake paper top. So I recommend leaving about 1/8 inch of cupcake paper showing when you fill the muffin wells.

Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes

Ingredients for the gingerbread

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Ginness Stout
  • 1 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons peeled and grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the caramel sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions for the caramel sauce

The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cool it to room temperature and refrigerate it in a covered container. Reheat over low heat until smooth and spreadable.

  1. To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan.
  2. Add the brown sugar and cream. Stir with a whisk until the sauce bubbles and gets sticky, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and salt.

Ingredients for the frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • pinch of fine salt

Directions for the frosting

  1. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and salt and continue to mix until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin pans with cupcake papers
  2. In a bowl (~1 1/2 quart), beat the eggs until smooth.
  3. In the same bowl, whisk together the Guinness, molasses, brown sugar, oil, and fresh ginger.
  4. Add the crystallized ginger.
  5. In a large bowl (~4 quart), sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and salt.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  7. Divide the batter among the muffin wells, filling them nearly full.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
  9. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes and let them cool on a wire rack
  10. Spread the cooled cupcakes with the caramel sauce, and then pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.

If you are making the round cake and would like to accompany it with the poached pears, this is how I did them.

Ingredients for poached pears

  • 6 ripe but firm pears, peeled, quartered and cored
  • peel from 1 orange removed with a vegetable peeler to avoid the bitter white pith
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Directions for poached pears

  1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pears and orange peel.
  3. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife; add the pod and seeds to the pan.
  4. Adjust the heat so the liquid simmers gently. poach the pears until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Let the pears cool in the poaching liquid

Curry Winter Squash Soup

Last year, when I was making my favorite soups, I knew that I wanted to give you this recipe. I just remade myself a batch, and I have to say that the kitchen aroma was almost enough to sell me on this recipe. The aroma of the dry sauted curry is heavenly. And of course, the soup isn’t bad itself.

Curry Winter Squash 4

When I knew I would be giving you this soup, I wrote Caprial Pense and asked permission to republish the recipe. I don’t want to just give you URLs to the recipe and make you find it. Caprial gave me permission, and so the whole recipe is as follows:

Curry Winter Squash Soup

Caprial Pense

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) mirin wine or sweet cooking wine
  • 4 lbs. winter squash, peeled and diced **
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz) chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz) coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Options:

  • 2 Tablespoons roasted squash seeds, for garnish
  • 2 Tablespoons Creme Fraiche, for garnish

Directions:

In a large saucepan over high temperature, heat the oil. Add the onion, shallots, garlic and ginger and saute until they begin to give off their aroma, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until half the liquid has evaporated, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the diced squash and stock. Reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the coconut milk and continue simmering for 5 more minutes.

While the soup is simmering, place the curry powder in a small saute pan over high heat. Dry-saute the curry until you can smell its aroma, 1 or 2 minutes. Add it to the soup when it has finished simmering.

Puree the soup in a blender or in batches in a food processor. Add the chile powder and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

**If you have a squash that’s difficult to peel, cut it in half and remove the seeds and strings. Roast it, cut side down, for about an hour in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Then scoop out the flesh and add it to the soup just before you put in the coconut milk.

I have included recipes for Roasted Squash Seeds and Creme Fraiche below.

A Butternut Squash is hard to cut, but I have a hint that might make it easier. Before you try to cut the squash long ways, first cut it into 2 or 3 shorter sections. I found that the moisture in the squash grips the knife very strongly making it difficult to push through the vegetable. So, by making the squash into shorter pieces, you are cutting pieces that are only about half the length of your knife, and the grip of the squash on the knife is much less. This is true when slicing all vegetables; I know that slicing potatoes has the same tight grip on the knife if you are trying to go lengthwise.

September 21, 2015, NOTE: I made the soup again today, but with a difference. Jenn and James brought me 3 squash that are an off-shoot of acorn squash; the total weight of the three was 5.5 pounds. Because they are the thick skin type of squash, I had to roast them and adjust the recipe for the pre-cooking of the squash; it is in there as a footnote. But, when I scooped the flesh out of the roasted squash, I only had 2 3/8 pounds; there is more shrinkage than with the larger butternut squash. I had some butternut squash left over from last time, and added in enough to make the 4 pounds. This meant that I had to treat the squash in two ways; some went in with the stock and simmered while the rest went in after most of the simmer and with the coconut milk.

I discovered in the grocery store cooler a tube of fresh ginger! I used that rather than buying the knob of ginger and peeling and grating it. This is quite a time saver- and probably more economical since you have to buy a larger knob than you will use, and then freeze the remainder and hope you get back to using it before it dries out.

In a couple cases, I deviated slightly from the recipe; I used the full can of coconut milk (15 oz.) and 2 full cans of chicken stock (29 oz.). I had two butternut squashes and was surprised that after peeling them, I had almost exactly 4 pounds.

I have never tried to puree the soup in a food processor; I have an immersion blender- also known as a hand blender or stick blender. I can only warn you to be careful if you need to use a regular blender or food processor to puree the soup; it is hot and I wouldn’t want you to get burned.

September 9, 2015, Note: I made this soup again today with Butternut Squash, and measured the shrinkage from peeling and de-seeding. I started with 7 pounds of squash, and had 6 pounds when I finished prepping it. I did not peel it overly heavy; I took off just one layer with a vegetable peeler and left a yellow layer. I did not take that layer or go down to the deep orange of the center of the squash. The 4 pounds of prepared squash that I used made about 7 pounds of soup, which measured to just over 12 cups

Most of the recipes I find on the internet for Creme Fraiche use buttermilk. I don’t normally have buttermilk in the fridge, and tried making it with a buttermilk substitute – milk and vinegar. I don’t think it worked and I am not certain why I tried since Marlys’s recipe for Creme Fraiche has always worked for me.

Creme Fraiche
Marlys Crary

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Mix in a sealable container for about 15 seconds. Then, leave at room temperature for the next 24 hours. Stir once or twice during that time. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
While I am giving you a recipe for the roasted seeds, be certain to read my notes following the recipe because I learned a few tricks to make the job easier.

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

  • 1 cup winter squash seeds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Remove the seeds from the squash, rinse with water, and remove any strings and bits of squash. Pat dry, and place in a small bowl. Stir the olive oil and salt into the seeds until evenly coated. Spread out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake 15 minutes, or until the seeds begin to pop. Cool on the baking sheet before serving.


Okay, my hints and suggestions. I didn’t bother to measure the amount of seeds I had; I knew I would use them all, and couldn’t do anything about being less than a cup. I did measure the oil and salt. I washed the seeds in a strainer; then dumped them out on a couple paper towels to absorb as much water as possible and to thin them into a layer so I could remove anything that was still orange. I patted them dry with another paper towel when I felt I had just seeds left.

I put dried seeds, oil and salt into a plastic storage bag, sealed it, and massaged it to get all the seeds coated with the oil and salt. Unfortunately, some of the salt also sticks to the inside of the baggie, so it might be easier to just use the oil with the seeds in the bag.

Now, instead of using parchment paper or foil to line the baking sheet, I just used one of my silicon mats. I dumped the oiled seeds onto the mat, then used a spoon to press down where ever there was a pile until the pile slid around and left only a single layer of seeds. Finally, because of the loss of the salt in the baggie, I sprinkled the salt on the single layer of oiled seeds on the baking sheet. I had to bake the seeds for more like 25 minutes- longer than the suggested 15 minutes, and took them out when they were golden brown; I never did hear any pop.