Fall is most definitely in the air. And when I ventured home last weekend to run the Columbia River Power (half) Marathon, my mom made sure to load me up with the bounty from her garden—the kind of stuff that speaks fall in every way. Like butternut and spaghetti squash, quince, over-ripe heirloom tomatoes, and knobby red potatoes. As I traveled finally back to Corvallis, where I have been away for ages it seems, I couldn’t help but dream a little about all the wonderfully delicious ways I was going to use my mother’s gifts.
And as it seems it always does this time of year, the rainy season has begun. So with it brings Butternut Squash & Quince Soup. And delicious Multi-Grain Farmhouse bread.
The bread was a labor of love, since it requires a sponge—the first one (and successful too!) that I’ve made. Patience brings many great things.
And so too does gifts from a plentiful garden.Butternut Squash & Quince Soup 1 Tbs. olive oil 2 lb. butternut squash, peeled & cubed 1 large quince, peeled and chopped 1 large onion, chopped 1 cup hard apple cider 3-4 cups vegetable stock or water 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium low heat. Add the squash, quince, and onion. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until soft.
- Meanwhile, drain and rinse the soaked cashews. In a food processor, puree them along with about 1/4 cup of water until they form a smooth cashew cream. Set aside.
- Add the cider, and bring to a boil. Add the broth, and reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.
- Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender. Return to the stockpot and cook, uncovered over low heat, until soup is reduced to desired consistency.
- Once reduced, stir the cashew cream into soup and add vanilla. Simmer for 10 minutes more, and serve.