Thursday, December 6, 2012

2012 Kitchen Witchin' and some amazing Curried Coconut Cream of Squash Soup

Curried Coconut Cream of Squash Soup

*Kitchen Witchin'
After a busy summer of harvesting, canning and food preserving, I am joyous to be back simply creating in the kitchen, blissfully using the fruits of the hard earned harvest. Dried cherries grace my salads. Frozen peaches blend nicely in my morning smoothies. Chopped, frozen locally grown green chile imbues breakfast, lunch and dinner (its' so good!).  Fresh,  sun-dried parsley, chives, and basil sprinkle garden love onto food favorites. The only bummer is the canned salsa and homemade pickles seem to be going way too fast! My cupboards are full of various glass mason jars of various leaves, powders, fruits, herbs and just all out earth loving goodness! I'm *kitchen witchin'  it up right now and loving it. The domestic goddess is infiltrating and seducing us. Alchemical artistry of herbs, produce, wildcrafting, and wholesome foods within the home results in a fresh take on being domestic. 

We are in an era of crazy changing times for the earth as well as for humanity. With food being our most direct connection to the Earth body, the statement "you are what you eat" is more potent than ever. I find that I crave eating my own homecooked food more and more as the world news gets weirder and wackier. With all of the collective energies of chaos, war, peace, and change that is infiltrating us energetically, why eat unbalanced toxic food energy? I have worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years on and off, and the quality and vibration of the food being produced is rarely harmonious or zen. A huge percentage of the food is coming from industrialized farms and are full of GMO's, pesticides and all that nasty stuff. Not much is made from scratch these days either. I helped a catering company this last summer that actually served prefabricated mashed potatoes that were just heated up from a plastic bag. The ingredients list had about 20 different barely pronouncable 'foods' in it. Um... gross. 

In the name of convenience, the art of cooking for others and the simplicity of nurturance has been degraded. The modern ways of food production and preparation are so detached from the earth energetic body and nature itself. The medicine inherent in all food and herbs is dissipated and non-existent within our current accepted eating mantra. Locally grown and preserved food is incredibly important to integrate into our diets. This is what will ground us and bring healing. It will help our bodies cope with the chaotic transformative vibrations that these times are riding. Medicines and tinctures of wildcrafted herbs shield the body from spiritual, physical, and environmental pollution while being tonifying and building health.

In order to surf these cosmic waves of 2012, we must become food secure within. This begins in our own kitchens and throughout our daily actions of buying and preparing food. The domestic arts are making a comeback and it is a radical form of protest to garden, gather, and harvest our own food, therefore, being self sufficient from the ridiculous corporate protocol of earth destruction. The cells of our being are under attack, yet we can choose to feed our own body's cells appropriately. We must remember: there is nothing more powerful than ourselves. The choice lies within.

During the fall and winter, it feels natural to eat healthy and wholesome, as well as  to get the body grounded and in balance again after the exertion of spring and summer. Soups, are especially nutritious. A well made soup is a powerful healing food where the various curative powers of herbs, vegetables, legumes, and grains combine synergistically and soothe the entire body through every bite and slurp. They are easily digestible and full of nuturance.

My favorite little health food store recently began featuring locally grown Hubbard squash, chopped and peeled to boot, creating much excitement for my foodie brain. There is an art to making a divine squash soup. Some people prefer a savory version, others like it zested with sweetness and pumpkin pie spices. My version rests as a bridge in between. Of course, any kind of  winter squash can be substituted such as Acorn, Butternut, Pumpkin, or Delicata.

The Art of Soup
Soup making is a very personalized art, every chef has their secrets. All of my soups begin with a variation of the mirepoix. The mirepoix is a french technique for starting the soup. It is traditionally a saute in the soup pot of carrots, onion, and celery with a light coat of oil or butter. When the onions get glossy, all of the other soup ingredients are added. The mirepoix is the prelude to the final culmination. Experimenting with the types of oil used in the saute along with switching up the traditional vegetables takes soup making to the next dimension.
I was quite pleased with how my curried coconut cream of squash soup turned out. I have tried to create a squash soup many times before, but they seemed to lack substance and depth. With this soup I allowed the mirepoix vegetables to simmer for hours with chopped hubbard squash and fresh ginger, creating a rich stock. The addition of coconut cream, cardamon, madras curry powder,and a touch of thai basil flowers added sparkle to this soup rockstar. 
Thai Basil grew beautifully in my garden this year and I dried all of the flowers for later use. They add a sweet peppery flavor to the soup along with the intoxicating fragrance all members of the basil family impart. 

*my good friend Kind Jade came up with the wonderful word/s 'kitchen witchin'. We  define it as the artistry of herbs, food, and alchemy within the kitchen that results in magick, healing, and amazing food creations. Check out her blog:

Curried Coconut Cream of Squash Soup
Saute the following in 2T Coconut or Sunflower Oil:
1 stick celery, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 small red beets, peeled and diced
1 small golden beet, peeled and diced
1/4 yellow onion, diced

When onions turn glossy add:
8c filtered water
3c chopped and peeled 2 inch chunks Hubbard squash, or other winter squash of choice
1 thumb sized hunk of ginger, chopped

Let everything simmer for 1-2 hours to create a rich stock. Puree in a blender, then place in a saucepan on medium heat.

1 can Coconut Milk (15.6 oz)
1t sea salt
1t cardamon
1t madras curry powder
1t thai basil flowers dried and crushed
1-3t Tamari to taste, just enough to richen the flavor

Simmer soup 30 minutes on low. Serve with crusty bread and fresh salad. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds if desired. 

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