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October 2, 2012

Celebrate the Harvest this Weekend at Gale Woods Farm

Filed under: Authors, Event, Food — Alison Aten @ 2:10 pm

Eat More VegetablesGale Woods Farm in Minnetrista celebrates its annual Fall Festival this weekend with a cornucopia of  activities, including sheep dog herding, sheep shearing, musical performances, over twenty fiber and food vendors, and guest chef cooking demonstrations with Tricia Cornell, author of Eat More Vegetables: Making the Most of Your Seasonal Produce.

Tricia will demonstrate and pass out samples of two recipes each day.  At 11 am she’ll prepare  Squash-Tomato Soup (recipe below) and at 1:15 pm, Sweet Potato-Blue Cheese Soup.

If you miss Tricia at the farm, she’ll be in Stillwater on Friday, October 19, at 6:30 pm at Ascension Church with samples provided by Our Community Kitchen and books available from Valley Bookseller.

Squash-Tomato Soup by Tricia Cornell from Eat More Vegetables


Most recipes for squash soup are based on apple cider or just squash and cream. But squash is entirely lacking in acidity. Tomatoes, it turns out, have that complex tartness squash needs. The key here is that you’ve got at least equal parts tomato and squash (I sometimes up the ratio of tomatoes even more). If you’re using whole tomatoes, peel them first.

1 large shallot, finely chopped

½ large onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 dried red pepper, sliced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons oil

4 cups winter squash puree (see below)

4 cups crushed tomatoes in their own juice

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or to taste

crumbled blue cheese, optional

Place first 7 ingredients (shallot through oil) in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add squash and tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

Use a stick blender to puree and fully mix the ingredients, or blend in batches in a standing blender and then return the soup to the pan. (If you use a standing blender, fill the pitcher no more than halfway and then place a dish towel over the lid and hold it down firmly with your hand. Hot liquids in a blender can explode.) Add cream and gently heat through. Serve with balsamic vinegar and/or blue cheese.

Winter Squash Puree

You can use just about any kind of winter squash to make your puree, although some, like hubbards, tend to be a little more watery. To make squash puree, cut squash in half vertically, scoop out and discard seeds (or roast them: see below), place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees until pressing a finger against the skin leaves an impression. The timing will vary greatly by the size and type of squash, so start checking after about 20 minutes but allow up to 40 for large, hard squashes. Cool slightly and then scoop out flesh and puree in a food processor.

Roasted Squash Seeds

Scoop seeds into a bowl of water and allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour, to loosen pulp. Rub between your hands to help release the seeds. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread seeds on a towel to dry slightly and then transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and paprika, using fingertips to distribute salt well. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often and listening for “pops” that tell you your seeds are exploding.

Most squash seeds roast well, but larger seeds (seeds from a turban squash are about the size of a lima bean) are too tough to enjoy and tend to explode in the oven, anyway.

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