Squash Soup & Walnut Biscotti
This is a season filled with celebrations and giving gifts. I love being a part of other people’s celebrations - especially taking care of the details so that they can enjoy the moments with family and friends.
For special events, my foodservice includes the creative and careful planning of plates with components that compliment and have purpose. Often it also means pairing each course with a wine that will enhance the marriage of the food on the palate. This allows for the building of memories which are truly formed around the sensorial experience of the moments that matter.
as we enter the winter season, working with vegetables that carry us through to spring brings us an opportunity to build on deep flavours through cooking methods. Sometimes multiple cooking methods for the same piece of produce.
Blended soups can be rich and velvety and a must-have comfort food. If you don’t have a household immersion blender, add it to your Christmas Wish list!
Preheat your oven to 420F
1. Peel and cube the squash. If kabocha is not available, an alternate dense squash can be used. Butternut can be a nice substitute. Be safe and use the appropriate knife for this task! Alternatively - there are now amazing products available in many produce departments that include squash that has been peeled and cubed and ready for use. Also look in the freezer section.
2. Place the cubed squash into a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, coriander, sage and salt. Spread onto parchment lined baking sheets. You may need two sheets to avoid overcrowding which causes the product to steam instead of roast. Place into the oven and roast for about 40 minutes, or until starting to turn golden.
3. While your squash is roasting, prepare the remaining vegetables. Peel and dice (medium) the onion, carrots, sweet potato and chop the garlic fine.
4. Place a large soup pot on medium heat, adding the 2Tbs oil. Add the ground anise seeds with the onion and cook until opaque (2-4 minutes, stirring). Then add the anchovy paste along with the garlic for a minute, then the carrots and sweet potato. Stir well. Add remaining salt and pepper and cover with water or chicken stock.
5. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the squash when it is ready and cover he vegetables again with more liquid.
6. Simmer for another 30 minutes before blending. Adjust liquid and seasoning as needed.
7. Strain through a medium mesh strainer, and chill to reheat and serve later, or, serve immediately.
8. Drizzle a few drops of truffle oil or a special olive oil on top of each bowlful before serving.
This soup freezes well, or best served within 4 days of production if kept refrigerated.
Kabocha Squash Soup
Makes 2+ litres
1 kabocha squash
3 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 sweet potato
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbs oil
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp anise seed, freshly ground
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs kosher salt
2 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
Savory walnut biscotti
Yield - 1 log (which yields 15 slices)
Baking using a scale to weigh ingredients promotes consistency and accuracy. Another simple kitchen tool worth having! Note that this recipe is a two-day process.
160g all purpose flour
30g whole wheat flour
60g granulated sugar
56g almond flour
150g whole walnuts (raw)
1 1/3 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs anise seed, partially crushed
1 1/2 eggs
1 Tbs sherry
2 tsp coffee (or water)
To put on the top:
1 1/2 Tbs Maldon Salt flakes
Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Weigh out the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl, and sift together with a dry whisk.
In a separate small bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Note that half of one egg needs to be reserved separately to brush on top of your biscotti log.
Mix the wet into the dry and knead for a few minutes by hand. Adjust moisture if needed - it should be just slightly sticky.
Form the dough into a log that is just one-inch in height. Make it about 3-4 inches wide. Place it on the prepared pan.
Brush some of the remaining egg on the top of the log, and sprinkle with the salt flakes.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it is golden on the bottom.
Cool completely and let rest at least 6 hours or overnight before slicing and baking the second time. The log can be wrapped in plastic and frozen until a later date if you’d like to.
Preheat the oven to 300F.
Slice the biscotti into 1cm thick slices. If you want them longer than the width of the log, slice on a bias but know that this may reduce your number of slices slightly.
Place the biscotti, cut sides down, onto pans and bake 5-10 minutes before flipping them over for the other side to toast another 5-10 minutes.
Cool and keep in an airtight container on the counter for a week, or freeze until needed.