about bliss

Friday, October 21, 2005

friday night paramour

A racy, coy title, I realize. Don’t be alarmed (or too terribly titillated, my dears). Yesterday my students read a chapter from Ruth Reichl’s *Garlic and Sapphires* food memoir, in which she admits to an affair with cooking--which is problematic because she was, at that time, a restaurant reviewer at the NYTimes. Looking back on past entries, I realized that Friday nights are seemingly my nights to fully indulge in the pleasures of the kitchen.

This Friday’s paramour project: butternut squash soup. I poured over several recipes, and decided to create something new. Why can I never just follow a recipe? I wanted to emulate M-’s soup I mentioned in a previous post, but I decided to play around with the ravioli by making my own. Ambitious, yes. Once again, I perused several recipes featuring butternut squash and came to the conclusion that ricotta, parm-regg, sage, and toasted hazelnut would make an intriguing filling. Lacking a pasta machine (as well as that level of home-made dedication), I used wonton wrappers and experimented with several ravioli shapes. To make the soup, I roasted the squash in the oven ‘til tender. Meanwhile, I carmelized a sweet onion with a few cloves of garlic. I tossed in the roasted squash wedges, added water and salt, and brought the mixture to a boil. (note: I wanted some vegetable broth concoction, but Kroger only has Knorr veggie cubes and the first ingredient is sodium, the third MSG!!!). I reduced the heat and simmered until the squash fell apart in a glorious mess and the soup created those huge internal bubbles that threaten to explode all over the kitchen. I used my immersion blender and pureed, briefly cooked the ravioli, and then assembled the soup and ravioli in a bowl, with a bit of finely grated parm-regg and a few toasted hazelnut bits as garnish. Some fresh sage would’ve been a nice touch, but alas, I only had rubbed sage. The combination was most delicious.

Now, I have a pan of brownies in the oven to bring to my friends M- and B- tomorrow, who are in Michigan for the Detroit marathon. I had hoped to make an apple galette for them but ran out of time so brownies will be a fair substitute, especially when frosted and ganached with the leftovers from last weekend’s cake adventure. B- is running her first marathon! Yesterday there was an article in the NYTimes about a Nike sponsored women’s half/marathon in CA which includes goodies like massages and facials the day before the race, and Ghiradelli chocolate pick-me-ups mid race. The coup de grace, however, is that at the end of the race each runner receives a little blue box from a tuxedoed hottie. Yes, a little bling from Tiffany’s. I told B- this is a race I could consider:) A half-marathon is reasonable, right? Only 13 odd miles...I’m up to 4.5 now, so I’m a third of the way there...

Today I also settled on what I think is a brilliant Halloween costume for J- and K-’s party next Friday (no cooking paramour for me next week, alas). I am going to don a crisp, perfectly pressed oxford and jeans, a grey/black poncho, an ankle “bracelet,” some pearls, and my best imitation of a Connecticut accent. I will carry a basket full of good things, and attempt to fashion my long hair into a pseudo-bob. Since my family lovingly (mostly) calls me “Martha” anyway (and my brother L- “Emeril”), this seems a natural costume. I had been considering Julia Child, but couldn’t think of what to wear and how on earth I would ever approximate her warbly, trilling voice.

There’s the timer--my brownie creation awaits!

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