Thursday, October 14, 2010

Autumn Song

These are the days of falling leaves,
The days of hazy weather,
Smelling of gold chrysanthemums
And gray wood smoke together.

These are the nights of nearby stars,
The nights of closer moons,
When the windy darkness echoes
To crickets' farewell tunes.
- Elizabeth-Ellen Long

I would add to the poem, these are days of good aromas coming from the kitchen as Sour Cream Cranberry Bars and Healthy Harvest Cookies bake. These are the nights of eating bowls of hot Gingered Butternut Squash Soup.
So, I am no poet, but I do like to cook, especially for other people. These recipes all received rave reviews. I hope you try them and enjoy them too!

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 8 cups)
6 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. minced fresh gingerroot
2-1/2 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk and it worked and tasted great!)
Sour cream, optional

Place squash onto a parchment-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Drizzle with 4-1/2 tsp. oil. Toss to coat. Bake uncovered at 450° for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Check for tenderness and bake longer if needed.
In a soup kettle, saute onion in butter and remaining oil for 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, curry, salt , and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in potatoes; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes of until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly.
Stir in the reserved squash. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the pan. Stir in the milk; heat through. Garnish with sour cream, if desired.
(from Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2008)

Healthy Harvest Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted (I only softened mine.)
1 egg
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped (about 1-1/3 cups.)

Heat oven to 350°. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Beat sugar, sweet potatoes, butter, and egg in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched in center. Cool slightly. Remove from pan.

Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats (The recipe called for quick, but I used old-fashioned.)
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups cried cranberries
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Heat oven to 350°. Mix butter and brown sugar in large bowl. Stir in oats, flour and baking soda. Pat half the mixture in bottom of ungreased 9x13 pan.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Mix cranberries, sour cream, sugar, the 2 tbsp. flour, lemon peel, vanilla, and egg in large bowl. Pour over crust. Crumble remaining brown sugar/oats mixture over filling.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and filling is set. Cool and cut into bars.
(Both the cookies' and bars' recipes were from the Gold Medal "Cookies from the Heart")

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