Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fifteen Spice Butternut Squash Soup

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I eat healthy and sometimes I get bored with food and end up eating the same foods.  Healthy eating doesn't have to be bland.  I've been on a fiery path lately, so I pulled out some butternut squash and a whole slew of spices for a week's worth of lunches.  Spices not only add flavor to our foods, they are high in antioxidants, provide protection against several cardiovascular conditions, aid in tumor prevention, increase circulation, work as an anti-inflammatory, enhance memory, etc.  While the base of this soup could be considered awfully bland, the spices give it a great deal of depth.
Bake/roast your 4-5 lbs of peeled/cubed butternut squash in a 400F oven for 30-40 minutes, boil for 10 minutes, or pressure cook it for 4 minutes.  In addition to the time saving and energy saving benefits of pressure cooking vegetables, pressure cooking also utilizes less water which locks in more of the vegetable's vitamins and minerals and the speed of the steaming retains more of the vegetable's natural color and flavor.  One of my favorite small appliance purchases; the Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker:
Puree the prepared squash.  I had my mini-prep food processor on the counter from making kale juice in the morning, so I used that to puree the squash instead of pulling out the blender.    
Add the pureed butternut squash to a base of 4 cups (1 box) of organic free range chicken broth, about a teaspoon of minced garlic, 2-3 tablespoons of fresh minced ginger and a cup of coconut milk...
 Time for the Fifteen Spice dash...
ginger, garam masala, black peppercorn, cinnamon, cayenne, curry, anise seed, chili powder, five-spice blend, garlic, fennel seed, nutmeg, sea salt, turmeric, cumin:
Play with it.  Spice it up with more curry, 5 spice, garam masala, chili powder, cayenne, etc.  Sweeten with more coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and anise.  For my soup, I played heavy on the curry, garam masala, ginger and anise.
Let the warm flavors simmer and serve with a cool splash of sweet coconut milk.

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