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Farm to Table: A Simple Fall Lunch - Soup and Dessert

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Broccoli soup1

Two consecutive posts with the word 'simple'. You must think I really mean business. I do! Stick with me and there will be more of it coming up.. :)

The last couple of weeks have been extra busy with some travel thrown in. Between that, trying to get posts ready for PFB, and a couple of other projects, it was just a mad scramble. If you had dropped by to visit in between, you would hardly have recognised the smooth, suave, collected lady from here.. hehe.. ok, I am not any of that there either but atleast I don't look like a mad scientist! ;-)

Orange Poached Pears

Last week, I also got to meet some wonderful bloggers who had come down to the city for a baking contest. I finally met my dear dear twitter friend Barbara and made a number of new friends from all over the country; Amanda, Alison, Tiffany, Liz, Jen and Sara. Much laughter and getting to know each other's work happened.

Also, this weekend, I finally met the baby that made me go all cute-sy, a month back for the Daring Bakers challenge, piping out royal icing to draw baby carriers on sugar cookies. She is the first among my friends to have a baby; so my first at close quarters; an experience, I must say! And, a trip to her place is never without a generous dose of soul satisfying, finger licking good Mangalorean food. A day well spent! :)

Roasted Butternut Squash and Broccoli soup2

In between all these meet and greets, I made Roasted Butternut Squash and Broccoli Soup and Orange Poached Pears.

Soup is always perfect for a chilly Fall afternoon and poached pears are the easiest dessert ever that are always elegant and haute couture. I like such hands-free, no fuss meals. They are easy to make, taste great and leave you feeling full and happy! Besides, you can always use what you have and create variety easily.

Orange Poached Pears 1

This was also a completely farm fresh produce inspired meal. This week was my last delivery from the farm. I can't believe 6 months have flown by so fast! It was an eye-opening experience to eat fresh, organic, seasonal produce. It also gave my brain cells some exercise trying to figure out different ways of using the same produce! :)

For more ideas on cooking fresh, seasonal produce, please click on the "Farm to Table Series" tab above.



Roasted Butternut Squash and Broccoli Soup
(serves 2)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
3/4 cup of broccoli flowerlets, washed
2 shallots, diced fine
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 inch ginger, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of all spice
3 cups water/stock
salt, pepper and olive oil as needed
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
5-6 brussel sprouts, halved (optional) for garnish

Toss the squash, broccoli and brussel sprouts (if using) in a little EVOO, salt and pepper and set for roasting in a 350 F oven. Let them roast for about 30 minutes, turning the vegetables once during this time. I usually let my nose tell me time. The whole house with fill up with the aroma. Also, keep an eye on the broccoli, if you cut them too small, they tend to get scorched. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, saute the onions, garlic and ginger in a little oil until the onions are translucent. Add the roasted squash and broccoli and toss well. Add the ground cumin and all spice and toss to mix well. Saute for a minute. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Transfer to a processor and puree to a smooth mixture. Transfer back to the pan, add remaining water and bring back to a boil. Simmer on low for a few minutes. Adjust water content if needed.

Serve topped with roasted brussel sprouts or croutons, sprinkle of chili flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.



Orange Poached Pears

4 firm but ripe Bartlett Pears, peeled, stem on
juice and zest of 2 oranges
1/3 cup sugar (will depend on how sweet the pears and orange juice are)
5 whole cloves
1 star anise
2 sticks of cinnamon
4 cups of water

In a heavy bottomed pan, large enough to hold 4 pears horizontally in one layer, bring the orange juice, sugar, zest and water to a boil with the whole spices. Lower the heat to a simmer, gently place the pears in on their side, cover and leave them alone for about 12 minutes. Turn over the pears and cook for another 10 -15 minutes until a tooth pick goes through easily but the fruit is not too soft.

Using a slotted spoon or by their stems, carefully, remove the fruit from the poaching liquid. Reduce the liquid to half it's volume. Turn off the heat, transfer the pears back in. You can serve it warm or refrigerate for upto a week. Gently warm it before serving.
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