Slightly decadent, yet at the same time wholesome, this pumpkin chocolate chip bread is moist, sweet, and spiced with the iconic flavors of cinnamon and cloves. A thick slice of it tastes delicious with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or a cold glass of milk. It’s the perfect afternoon treat or after-school snack. And this recipe makes two loaves, so you can either keep both loaves for yourself, or keep one and give one away and make someone’s day!
This is one of the easiest cakes I have ever made. With just a few ingredients, you can create a simple, delicious apple cake that lets the flavor of apple really shine. Moist and full of apple and vanilla flavor, this lovely little cake comes together in no time.
I adapted the recipe from one of my many favorite cookbooks, Savor, by Ilona Oppenheim. I love the recipes in this book because they are centered around pure, seasonal ingredients. I am someone who really enjoys baking, but there are points in life when the time factor discourages me from it. This cake does not take much time at all to whip up, and let me tell you, the house smells sooo good while it is baking! Though I usually make this apple cake to be eaten as a snack or simple dessert, I can imagine it would be great as part of a weekend breakfast too.
I love it when food captures the color and feeling of a season. This fall harvest soup does just that. It is warm and nourishing, and its color is a beautiful combination of deep orange and gold, much like the leaves that are falling off of the trees. With butternut squash, potatoes, and carrots being the main ingredients, it if full of necessary vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to help us stay strong as the weather turns cold and damp. Curry, ginger, and nutmeg give this soup a subtle flavor, along with a generous amount of ground peppercorns. Because it is pureed in the blender or food processor, the texture is smooth and creamy, and you can serve it either in bowls or little glasses. The garnish possibilities are endless, including chopped walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, shredded cheese, or sour cream.
Though I have made some changes, the recipe for this soup is based on one I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, simply called “Autumn,” by Susan Branch. My cousin gave me this cookbook a few years ago, and I have enjoyed many of the recipes in it, along with beautiful illustrations and quotes. This cousin is actually more like a sister to me, since she and I both grew up with three brothers and no sisters. We are so different, yet so alike in many ways. Food has the power to connect people, and every time I use a recipe from that cookbook she gave me, I think of her. We live far apart now (the Atlantic Ocean is between us), yet we are able to stay connected. She recently called me to wish me a happy birthday, and along with catching up about our families and our career accomplishments and aspirations, she told me about her latest favorite way to make butternut squash (which I want to try soon). The love of food is something we have shared for a long time, a love rooted in our shared past and our shared ancestors, and our shared favorite recipes.
No matter how much modern life seems to isolate us, or how much our busy schedules threaten to overtake our souls, food can bring us back to earth and connect us to those we love. A humble vegetable like squash can make us feel like we have crossed continents. Allowing time for washing, peeling, and chopping vegetables gives us time to think, to reminisce, or to talk with whomever is in the kitchen. Homemade soup cannot be rushed. Somehow soup that is not rushed tastes the best to me. This soup is delicious–in its taste, in its color, and with all the associations it brings. Wishing you all the beauty of fall.
2 medium potatoes or 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
about 5 cups of butternut squash (one medium-sized squash or about 2 and 1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed, with seeds cut away
6 cups of chicken broth or stock (I like the Better than Bouillon brand)
1 teaspoon of curry
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
chopped walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, shredded cheese, or sour cream for garnish
Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Over medium heat, saute the onion and carrot until soft, about 7 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and squash. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 40 minutes. Add the curry, nutmeg, and ginger. Let the soup cool for a few minutes. In a food processor or blender, puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the pot and add salt and pepper to your taste. Adjust the other seasonings if you wish. Serve in bowls with spoons, or in little glasses to sip. Enjoy!
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