Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Beautiful soup

For weeks I've been developing recipes with pears as my main inspiration. One winner was this curried butternut squash and pear soup. Scrumptious (if I do say so myself). The pear adds a subtle flavor note and velvety texture. Thought I'd post a picture to capture how lovely it was in the bowl, all dressed up with yogurt and mint. If you decide to cook it, be sure to use a mild curry powder, or the heat of cayenne will overpower the soup.

I posted a pear and spinach salad recipe a few days ago. I hope you'll check out the Fall issue of Veggie Life magazine and try the rest of my recent pear creations. Blessings and bon appetit!

Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1.75 lbs. whole squash)
2 large pears, peeled, cored, and chopped (2 cups; 1 lb. whole pears)
1.5 tablespoons mild curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup unsweetened pear juice or pear "nectar"
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1/4 cup mint chiffonade

1. Heat the oil in a heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until it is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the squash, pears, curry powder, and remaining salt and stir and saute for 10 minutes.
3. Add the stock and pear juice, cover, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the squash is very soft, about 10 minutes.
4. Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or transfer it in small batches to a standard blender and puree. Return the puree to the pot and heat over low until barely simmering.
5. Serve hot, garnishing each serving with a dollop of yogurt and a portion of the mint chiffonade.


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