Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta by Deborah Szekely and Deborah M. Schneider, includes recipes from the spa, like Squash-Apple Soup with Thai Red Curry; Roasted Garlic en Cazuela; and Lobster a la Diabla.
The colorful kings of the winter garden, squash of all types are packed with beta-carotene and other vital nutrients. Plus, they taste divinely buttery and sweet. Salvador has grown many varieties of squash at Tres Estrellas over the years, but has settled on acorn and butternut (with the occasional pumpkin) as the most practical for kitchen use.
Thai curry paste gives a tiny zing of spice to balance the sweetness of the soup. For a very special occasion you could serve the soup in hollowed out miniature pumpkins or small squash.
1. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the squash, apple, leeks, carrot, celery, and basil and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened; do not brown. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the stock, water, brown sugar, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.
2. Cool for 30 minutes, then, in a blender or in the bowl of a food processor, puree until absolutely smooth.
3. Reheat and taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Serve very hot, with a sprinkling of chives and the orange and zest, if desired.Note: Thai red curry paste tastes nothing like Indian curry. Sold in small jars, the paste is pungent and quite spicy, and it will last months in the refrigerator.
To prepare squash bowls, choose small acorn squash or pumpkins no more than 6 inches in diameter. Scrub the squash in cold water. Cut off the top quarter of the squash—saving it to use as a lid—and a small slice from the bottom, so the squash sits flat without wobbling. (With the harder varieties, you may need to use a saw.) Scoop out the insides to create a cavity large enough to hold 8 ounces of soup. Brush inside and out with oil and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F, until shiny and lightly browned but still very firm. Use within 24 hours.
This page created February 2009
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