Soul Taker Secrets: Something Warm To Come To

Even though The Council of Twelve isn’t depending on the weather at home, most of the time they have to go out for their work, it takes them to sometimes inhospitable areas on Earth. Despite their powers and their immunity to cold or heat, occasionally, a chill can be caused by a situation, or a happening, rather than weather caused.

In such a case, our consorts have a soup prepared that dispels the cold and chill from their millennia-old bones and lifts their spirits.

Katie’s and Simin’s favorite is this one:

Spicy Blue Hubbard Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Blue Hubbard or kabocha squash
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided, plus more for serving
  • 1 medium leek 
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Mexican crema 
  • Queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese)
  • Thinly sliced serrano chiles
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a sharp knife, remove stem from squash, and discard. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and pulp with a spoon, and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside. Brush cut sides of squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and season evenly with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Place squash halves, cut side down, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast until squash is tender, about 1 hour.
  2. While squash is roasting, separate squash seeds from pulp and transfer seeds to a small bowl; discard pulp. Cut greens from white part of leek, and reserve greens for another use or discard. Cut white part in half lengthwise, and thinly slice to equal ¾ cup.
  3. Remove squash from oven, and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Using a spoon, scrape flesh from skin, and transfer to a medium bowl, along with any pan drippings from baking sheet. Discard skin. Set scraped squash aside, and reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large stockpot over medium. Add leek and onion to pot. Cook, stirring often, until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, roasted squash and pan drippings, and vegetable broth to pot, and bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced and has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, toss together squash seeds, chili powder, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl until well combined. Transfer seasoned squash seeds to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast at 300°F until fragrant and seeds begin to pop, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through roasting. Set aside.
  6. Remove pot from heat, and pour half of squash mixture into a blender. Secure lid on blender, and remove center piece to allow steam to escape. Place a clean towel over opening. Process until smooth, about 1 minute; transfer mixture to a clean saucepan. Repeat process until all squash mixture has been pureed. Bring squash mixture to a simmer over low. Whisk heavy cream and remaining 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper into squash mixture; cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.
  7. To serve, ladle soup into 6 bowls, and drizzle Mexican crema over each serving. Top with crumbled queso fresco, roasted squash seeds, thinly sliced serrano chiles, fresh cilantro leaves, and black pepper; serve immediately.

(Source: Spicy Blue Hubbard Squash Soup (southernliving.com))

Picture courtesy of Southernliving.com

Soul Taker Secrets: Katie’s European Cooking

Katie got a hint from one of the top angelic chefs in the warrior’s kitchens. With his help, she cooked an unusual kind of casserole in European style. Needless to say, the entire Council Of Twelve enjoyed that particular dinner enormously. Zachariel even went as far as to smirk and say: “This doesn’t taste half bad. Maybe there’s hope for your wife, Rafe.”


The pot:

This recipe needs a very particular European style pot, the so-called “Romertopf”. The pot can be ordered on Amazon. It isn’t a cheap product. But it’s a fantastic way to cook healthy and collect the food’s own taste.

Check out the Romertopf (and order) here

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com


The casserole:

You will need:

1 pound of potatoes (or baby potatoes)

3 or 4 big tomatoes

1 big onion or 10 – 12 scallions

1 pack of dried apricots

6  chicken drumsticks

1 cup chicken broth

1 tsp unsalted butter

salt, pepper, paprika


Instructions:

  1. Take the pot: read its instructions carefully: if it’s a pure clay pot, water it sufficiently before starting to cook. If it’s glazed, like mine, just butter it with the tablespoon of butter. It’s easy to clean. (But NOT dishwasher-proof!!)

2.  Prepare the potatoes. Wash them, peel them and cut them into cubes. (or do it as I did with the baby potatoes, which I didn’t peel and cut them into 4 to 6 pieces.  Cut the tomatoes into pieces, peel the scallions, or peel and cut the onion into small pieces. Prepare the cup of chicken broth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Prepare the chicken drumsticks, unpack them, wash them, dab them dry and season them with only a bit of salt, pepper, and paprika, on both sides. You can also buy a whole chicken and cut it into 4 – 6 pieces. (I decided on drumsticks because, as much as I like chicken, I’m not a doctor and autopsies aren’t my favorite thing to do.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fill the bottom of your pot with the small cut onion, the potatoes, the dried apricots, and the broth. On top put the drumsticks. Cover the pot and put it into the cold oven. Heat it up to 425 degrees F and leave it for 50 minutes.

5. After these 50 minutes, add the tomatoes to the pot, cover it again and leave it for another 15 – 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Remove the lid of the pot and leave it for about 10 minutes in the oven, uncovered.

7. Remove it from the oven, prepare a few plates and serve it. Enjoy.

 

Hungry After Dinner

Lately, I made some new friends, wonderful people I spent an afternoon with them and had tons of fun. Later on, we went for dinner together. We decided on getting a ‘family-style’ dinner. (For those who don’t know: that is different entrees for the entire table and each participant can help themselves from the served meals.)

Now, that is a great idea, as I find, provided there is plenty ordered. In a tiny small-town restaurant, I’m afraid four entrees for six people might be a bit narrow.

In particular, when one of the served dishes isn’t your taste, and the serving-round starts on the opposite side of the table it could happen that I’m sitting at the table and ending up with the paltry remains of the served meals. That can be especially painful if one of the meals is absolutely your taste and that one has been the first one to be gone.

picture courtesy of Google.com

We kept on talking for another while, we had a really good time, except that I was secretly frowning and asking myself if there are really only women sitting on that table that belong to those who eat like sparrows… Still, they constantly talked about food, compared different desserts and meals and drinks… while my mood slowly but surely went downhills.

Bluntly spoken I had about two and a half tablespoons full of something to eat… and I was about to ask: “Cool – the idea with the appetizers – and where’s dinner now?” – when everyone found it an excellent meal and someone asked for the check.

I thought: “Jeeez… I’ll soooo need a burger on the way home.”

It has happened to me before that I was invited to dinner and got up from the table not eating… But I swear, there was served plenty of food – I just didn’t like it.  I never got up from a dinner table, still hungry – and had paid for it.

Oh well… what should I say…?

Picture courtesy of Google.com