Butternut Squash and Apple Soup



If you looked at the pictures on the Posole Post, you might have noticed that there was more prep on the table than was used in the Posole.

I also made another soup, one I’ve made variations on over the years, Pureed Squash and Apple Soup.

I often make this with Indian spices, Curry and Ginger, but when I mentioned that this time, Mrs Flannestad pointed out that we already had one spicy soup in the Posole, so maybe the second should be mild and simple.

You’ll notice that there is a lot more mirepoix in this soup. If you’re making a vegetarian soup, you always need to up the vegetable content of the soup to make up for the lack of meat flavor components.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

2 Onions, chopped
2 Stalk Celery, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp dried Tarragon
Olive Oil

1 Medium large Butternut Squash, peeled and roughly chopped
4 Apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

1 Cup Apple Juice
1 Cup Dry White Wine or Lillet Blanc
Salt & Pepper

METHOD: Sweat onions, Celery, Carrots and herbs in Olive Oil until tender. Add white wine to deglaze and cook off a bit of the alcohol. Add Squash, Apples, and Apple Juice and cook until squash is tender. Puree in a food processor or blender.

Guinness Ginger Bread Cake.

Guinness Ginger Bread Cake.

Lastly, for Dessert I made this Guinness Ginger Bread Cake originally from the Gramercy Tavern in New York.

It is delicious and easy enough to make that even a non-baker like me can pull it off.

The use of leavening in a cake is first recorded in a recipe for gingerbread from Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery, published in Hartford in 1796; I guess you could say it is the original great American cake. Early-19th-century cookbooks included as many recipes for this as contemporary cookbooks do for chocolate cake. This recipe, from Claudia Fleming, pastry chef at New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, is superlative—wonderfully moist and spicy.

1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Special equipment:

a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan


unsweetened whipped cream


Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

Read More Epicurious Link to Recipe

BOTW–Hairy Eyeball

Certainly featuring Lagunitas Brewing often enough on this blog!

Lagunitas make a couple strong beers every year around the holidays. Brown Shugga usually shows up around Thanksgiving. The story with that beer, is, one of the Brewer Assistants mis-read the amount of Brown Sugar called for in their Barley Wine style Ale recipe, Olde Gnarlywine, and dumped a ridiculous amount into the mash. What resulted was not unpleasant, so they bottled it and sold it. It is extremely, and dangerously, drinkable for a beer whose alcohol content is around 9.9%.

Hairy Eyeball usually shows up around Christmas or January, and is another strong beer. It is a bit Barley Wine-esque. Lagunitas would probably say, “It’s just beer, don’t get hung up on labels.” Beer Advocate classifies it as an “American Strong Ale.” And, indeed, at 9% ABV, it certainly is strong. It’s a pleasant malty beer with a strong alcohol kick. There’s a little hops in there, but nothing approaching the more “Extreme” West Coast beers from brewers like Stone and Moylan’s. Pretty well balanced, but very sweet. Almost a dessert beer.

I was reading Accidental Hedonist this week and noticed that they had published a recipe for Puerco Pibil. Mrs. Underhill had been jonesing for some Pork Roast, so I thought it would be a fun, and low effort meal. Unfortunately, I mentioned that the recipe was based on one Robert Rodriguez had given in a video called “10 Minute Cooking School–Puerco Pibil.” There was a bit of disagreement, as Mrs. Underhill informed me that Mr. Rodriguez had recently left his wife of 16 years to go out with Rose MacGowan, who is about 10 years younger than him. Eventually, Mrs. Underhill relented, and let me go ahead and make the Pibil.

I didn’t have time* to use the shoulder suggested in Mr. Rodriguez recipe, so used country spare ribs instead.

Darn, that makes me hungry again, just looking at the picture! I can only imagine how much better it would be with a nice slow cooked bone-in pork shoulder. I served it with some brown rice and seasoned canned beans. The beans turned out pretty well, for canned. I added some sauteed onions and garlic, bacon, the greens from the radishes and some chili powder.

Hocus Pocus Syrah from Black Sheep Finds. Not as intense as the Four Vines, it is still a meaty West Coast Red Syrah. Definitely a reasonable and tasty wine with enough backbone to stand up to hearty meats.

And in another blog related turn, Jennifer over at Straight From the Farm recently had the brainstorm to make a Parsnip Cake. When I mentioned this to Mrs. Underhill, she got pretty excited about it. We both really like Carrot and Spice cake type desserts, and substituting parsnips for carrots seemed a genius idea. I did slightly overcook it. Still, it turned out quite tasty! Recommended!

“Here’s Lookin’ Atcha’!”

*The recipe calls for Pork Shoulder, which will take about 4 hours of low and slow to get to tender. If you use country spare ribs, it will only take a couple hours.