Butter totally rocks.
I'm finally figuring out that this is one of the reasons why everything in nice restaurants taste so much better than my own cooking. They put butter and cream in pretty much everything. While I don't choose to cook like this all the time, it's a nice treat once in a while. On Christmas day, we chose to stay home and have a quiet day by ourselves. We also defied tradition in a few other ways. I didn't put up a single Christmas decoration (cutting back from the few I scattered about last year), and we didn't partake in much gift giving. I exchanged gifts with a few friends and Todd's parents gave us gifts, but other than that, we abstained. I must admit, I really enjoyed it. I had more appreciation for the few gifts I did get and it made the holidays a little less frenetic. I plan to do the same next year. We also went to the movies on Christmas evening at the Boston Common theatre to see Sherlock Holmes with my friend, Sallie, and her three boys. It was a nice way to end our non-traditional Christmas.
For our quiet dinner at home I had planned to have a romantic candlelit atmosphere, and make something decadent, outside of my usual simple repertoire. I searched around trying to find something French and vegetarian, but couldn't find anything to get terribly excited about. As the day drew closer, I had settled on a menu that was far less intriguing than I had intended and then the day of, that got scaled back even more since we ended up in a bit of a time crunch due to unexpected activity. So, no candlelight, and we rushed through our rather standard type meal.
The only thing I did do a bit differently was to use butter and cream in both the mashed potatoes and the soup I made. The soup was from the Pickety Place cookbook, a cute, homey type restaurant in NH with lots of savory dishes that Todd took me to when we were first dating.
Normally, I would make the same type of recipe without the butter and cream, but I went for it and the results were good. It reminds me, I would like to go visit Pickity Place again (hint, hint Todd).
Winter Squash Soup
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large Spanish onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups veggie broth (non-tomato based)
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 cups acorn squash, peeled and diced
1 tspn fresh thyme (remove leaves from stem and mince)
1 tspn fresh sage, minced
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tspns brown sugar
Salt and white pepper to taste
1. Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add broth, herbs and squash. Cook on medium heat until squash is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Let cool a bit and puree until smooth. Whisk in cream and brown sugar. Reheat on low, being careful not to scorch cream.