Weekly Recap Oct. 10

Newsletter No. 012

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Hello

This week I’m fully embracing fall with some recommendations on cozy blankets, a great book, and a delicious soup… even though I’m still waiting for that sweater weather to kick in.

Material

I’m a huge sucker for a great blanket, in fact I know I have too many, but right now I can’t resist the idea of a well-worn wool blanket. Most of my blanket collection is from Target or Ikea – nothing fancy at all. With fall definitely in the air I really want to invest in a buy-it-for-life quality blanket. With so many great options available I’m having a hard time picking from a classic brand like Woolrich and Pedleton or a more contemporary brand. Here are some of my favorites:

Wool Blankets

Hudson’s Bay CompanyPedeltonCoyuchiFaribaultWoolrich


Media

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When Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for literature last week I decided to pick up one of his books. I’m starting with one of his most popular books, and the recipient of many prizes, The Remains of the Day. When I read the plot summary I knew this would be a great choice for me because it seems like somewhat of a spiritual successor to one of my favorite shows, Downton Abbey. Ishiguro tells the story of an English butler serving a household at the tail end of the era of great aristocratic estates.   As technology has started to render the magnitude of servants needed to run a great house irrelevant the butler finds himself running a much smaller staff and reflecting on service in a changing society.

Kitchen

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Butternut Squash soup tastes like a spoonful of fall. I love the rich, golden color and the way squash and sage compliment one another. The base of the soup couldn’t be easier to make. I also made a few toppings to enhance the flavor and texture of the soup.

 

For Soup – Makes 2 quarts

1.5 tbl butter

1.5 tbl olive oil

½ onion, minced finely

2 tbl fresh sage, minced

1 butternut squash, chopped into 1” cubes (about 4 cups)

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 quart of chicken stock

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Optional: Parmesan rind.

 

For toppings:

1 lb sausage

olive oil

sage leaves

sea salt

1.5 c bread crumbs

1 tbl butter

minced sage

Method

Remove sausage casing, crumble in the bottom of a large stockpot and cook over medium heat until browned. Remove sausage and set aside and deglaze the pan with a splash of chicken stock.   Add the butter and olive oil to the stockpot. Once the butter has melted add the onion, a pinch of sea salt, a few cracks of pepper, and sage. Cook until the onions are soft, translucent and just start to have a golden glow (about 6-7 minutes). Next add the squash and garlic and cook for an additional 6-7 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling reduce heat and add the Parmesan rind and some additional salt and pepper if desired. Simmer the soup for about 30 minutes until the squash is very soft.

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While the soup is simmering prepare the toppings rest of the toppings. In a small skillet add olive oil to the pan and heat, fry the sage leaves in oil until crisp (just takes a few seconds) and sprinkle with sea salt. This took me a few tries to get right; the leaves should be crisp and not soggy. Removes the leaves and set aside. Wipe out the skillet and melt butter. Add the crumbs, minced sage and a pinch of sea salt and cook until toasted and golden brown.

When the soup is done simmering fish out the Parmesan rind and discard it. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender. Before serving the soup heat up the sausage in a skillet. Top the soup with a handful of breadcrumbs, a handful of crumbled sausage and a sage leaf. This soup makes a great fall dinner on it’s own or would be very nice on the side or before a Thanksgiving dinner.

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