Sunday, October 26, 2008

butternut squash soup.

My Sunday didn't start out too well. First it was confirmed that all outlets are out of tickets for Girl Talk (all my fault, I was one day too late). Then I had to walk home from a totally mediocre breakfast in the snow and cold. By the time I got home my ears felt like they were going to fall off, and I was determined not to leave the house again.

Luckily I had one thing to look forward to - leftover butternut squash soup! I love this recipe because it's really simple and delicious. In fact, I'm going to post it for you.

Butternut Squash Soup
(from the Joy of Cooking)

1 large butternut squash
2-3 leeks, white parts only, chopped
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tbs. butter (or olive oil)
6 cups stock (I use 2 cubes of bouillon with 6 cups water)

Cut that squash in half, scoop out the seeds and stuff, and bake on an oiled baking sheet (cut-side down) at 400 degrees, or until it's easy to poke through. Let cool (mostly or somewhat) and remove the skins.

In your soup pot, saute the leeks and ginger in the butter for about 5-10 minutes until they're nice and soft. Add 4 cups of the stock and the squash. Simmer for 20 minutes or so, breaking up the squash with a spoon.

Puree the soup in a blender (probably in batches), then return to pot and add 2 more cups of stock and salt to taste. (I honestly am not sure this is necessary, but whatever). Heat through and garnish with croutons, squash seeds, or cilantro, or nothing! So yummy. SEE?

butternut squash soup

Monday, October 20, 2008

weekend, footnoted.

I had a truly splendid weekend. It included happy hour, lots of book reading1, a somewhat disappointing trip to the apple orchard/pumpkin patch2 (yet it produced many lovely pictures of my niece devouring a caramel apple), getting songs by a fictional twee band stuck in my head, the farmer's market3, biking to dinkytown4, creme brulee at brunch5, having happily exhausted legs, and making a filling Sunday dinner all for myself6.

1. Night of the Gun, David Carr
2. Basically, it was too effing busy and you had to wait in line at least half an hour to buy any pumpkins or apples, and it didn't produce any of the fun or magical feelings of the pumpkin fields of years past.
3. I bought so much squash. A fall harvesta, if you will.
4. Yes, biking! My dad managed to once again snag a bike for me the day before we were set to go shopping for a new bike. It's the least cute of my many bikes, but it works the best. It'll be good for the fall, and perhaps the winter. Not a fan of straight handlebars, though.
5. At Loring Pasta Bar with Andy, after realizing we were never going to make it into Al's Breakfast.
6. Boulangarie Beans from Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

a. A Fall Harvest not to be confused with my new euphemism for the bounty of lads or ladies, whatever your preference, that should be available to all single folk. As in, "Don't worry about her, she is but one moldy pumpkin of the fall harvest."

Ah hell. Let's just be an annoying aunt and put the picture of the niece right in here, instead of begging you to click.


(sorry? not really, you love it.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

carpe diem.

I can't remember when exactly, but a while ago I was introduced to wardrobe remix via bits and bobbins (via google reader recommendations). I don't follow it all the time, but when I'm feeling uninspired I check things out. Just a few that caught my eye today:

Of course, I always feel a twinge of sadness looking at the outfits because my clothes aren't as cute and I don't have the guts to wear some of the things they do. (I also feel a bit vain taking pictures of myself - I still haven't worked up the courage to actually post a picture for judgment.) And yet when I find cute and unique things, I have trouble buying them for fear of never having a place to wear it. Right now, there is an adorable long-sleeved green on white print dress at Lula that I couldn't bring myself to justify yesterday. But gosh, it is cute and not ridiculously expensive. This is my eternal struggle with fashion - not being able to seize the day and wear fun things just for the sake of it, without worrying about what others think.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

i have confidence in shopping.

Without getting into the details, it hasn't been the best week. I was at my sister's yesterday and she was giving tips on what I could do to cheer up, one of which was shopping. For instance, I could buy a new fancy winter coat! And we laughed about how it seems absurd to spend so much money what with the economy and all, but screw it! I have consumer confidence even if no one else does. Which of course, only made us think changing the lyrics to "I Have Confidence" from The Sound of Music:

I have confidence in dresses!
I have confidence in coats!

Moving on. (And please note, I don't actually condone the wanton spending of money just for the sake of buying things, but I do condone carefully selected purchases that can keep one happy for number of seasons.) I'm looking at coats once again. I've been looking mostly at the Soia Kyo site, a brand I fell in love with last year.

Eh? What do we think? Of course, I am still concerned that either will be fabulously cute but not at all warm, which makes it even more ridiculous to spend more than $300 on a coat.

(I also want new boots, but I'm having trouble finding the perfect version of those as well.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

four vegetable pile-up.

Once upon a time I went to the Wisconsin State Fair. I think I've already mentioned that it pales in comparison to the Minnesota State Fair, but there were still a few amazing things:

1. One food booth had a sign that read "ONION PILE."
2. Another food booth (or possibly the same one?) had signs around that advertised its wares, such as french fries, cotton candy, pickles, and then simply FOOD. Y'know, in case there was confusion.

But let's get pack to the onion pile. I did not eat it, but it sounded quiet awesome, as I love presumably fried onions, and I like my foods in a pile.

Tonight's pile: potatoes, onions, garlic, and black beans. With gooey pepper jack cheese and yogurt. All in a pile.

So in conclusion: pile is a really funny word when you type it so much, and food piles are damn tasty.

(I'm also enjoying sauteed spinach piles lately, though that's a bit of a stretch.)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

on voting and privilege.

I'm having a bout of voter enlightenment. Somehow in the past day or so, I've been hearing much more about voter registration, with various groups making sure you are registered to vote. (I swear even google was urging me.) And in my head I think, what is the big effing deal?

You see, I was born and raised in Minnesota. I lived in Wisconsin while I was in college, and usually voted absentee. But of course, it's a lot more fun to vote in an actual polling place. And in Wisconsin and Minnesota, this is quite easy! I did it for the first time during the 2004 presidential primaries (which happened to be on my birthday). All I had to do was bring a utility bill with my address, sign my name, and I was set. Then when I moved back to Minnesota, I did the same thing. I never had to designate a party, hell, I never even registered as an independent.

Sadly, though, I am coming to realize that I am a privileged voter. Only six states allow election day registration (besides North Dakota, where one needn't register at all).

I know what you're thinking - how could you NOT know that other states have to register up to thirty days in advance? Again, it's this state of privilege - I am in my happy bubble where I can decide on election day that dammit! I want to vote! And I can do that. Oh sure, I knew in some states it maybe isn't this way, but I figured they would be the ones that also once required people to pass literacy tests and pay poll taxes in order to vote. Not the majority of the country.

(Is it really a big question why Minnesota had the highest voter turnout of any state in the country in 2004?)

So pardon me if I am frequently baffled by these strange requirements.

In semi-related news, I started a twitter account that I may abandon tomorrow.