Meatless Monday: Back in the Habit

Ok, I was on a strong MM kick- I didn’t post any recipes since it was pretty mundane stuff like spaghetti with eggs and tomato. Or it was total disasters that I had to suck down due to the enormous guilt I feel when I waste food- my tofu stir fry with peanut butter noodles would be an example of that.
But last week, I threw any sort of eating caution to the wind in celebration of the holidays. I met up with my best friend from high school for a reunion dinner last Monday and had the world’s best burger at Egan and Sons in Montclair. Of course, it probably isn’t the world’s best burger, but when you don’t have beef for about two months (I hadn’t had it since October probably), it will taste awfully good. Christmas Eve dinner was at my parents, and my family as most Filipino families, are notorious for having  Too Much Protein Syndrome so we had lechon (roast whole pork), salmon, another whole fish, chicken, ham, fried chicken, ribs, beef lasagna, etc etc. Christmas Dinner was my SO’s parents house, and I offered to make a ham, which though was the pre-cooked, glaze-included variety, was very good.

Along with all the sweets like Food for the Gods my cousin gave us (a box of 32 pieces, dear lord), candy, cookies, and the fact that Trader Joe’s (popped my TJ cherry last night) carried French macarons, I am looking forward (so are my newer awesome jeans I bought earlier this month) to detoxing a bit, slowly and getting back to eating lots of vegetables.

I mentioned going to Trader Joe’s, which was my first time ever. What a delightful little place! I couldn’t imagine doing all my shopping there, but I was able to get some fun appetizers for the NYE get together we are having. They also had some adorable little butternut squash, and in my fondness of All Things Autumnal and orange vegetables, I made this version of Butternut Squash Soup.

The only recipe I used to work with was a Barefoot Contessa one that called for a cup of half and half and canned pumpkin and all this other crazy nonsense. I needed something somewhat healthy, so I adapted Fat Free Vegan Kitchen’s Clouds in the Sunset which is butternut squash soup with roasted cauliflower. Trader Joe’s had run out of cauliflower, and I was too lazy to try to go to another market, so here is my Curried Butternut Squash Soup, inspired by Ms. SusanV

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, about 2 lbs

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large garlic cloved minced

1/2 tsp of ground ginger

1 heaping Tbsp of Curry Powder

1 Qt/4 Cups Vegetable Stock

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds, and lightly oil a baking sheet. Place the cut side of the squash (I sprayed my slightly with olive oil) down. Place in oven for about 30 minutes (give or take) until flesh is wrinkly and the skin can be poked and pierced with a fork easily.

2. In a larger saucepan, saute onions and garlic until aromatic and the onions are clear, about 3-4 minutes. I sauteed them in a little bit of Smart Balance, because I wanted a slight buttery taste. Olive oil should work fine too. Add ground ginger and curry powder and saute for another minute or so.

3. When the squash can b handled, scrape out the pulp ( I find it easier just to pull the skin off) and if you need to, mash up a bit in a bowl. Add squash to the saucepan and saute to combine all the spices and onions and garlic with it.

4. Add the vegetable stock (carefully!) and bring to a boil, let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. When ready, take an immersion blender/stick blender, and mash up (carefully, again!) all the squash and onions to the consistency you want. I like my a little lumpy, so I didn’t go too nuts.

I ate this with a nice multi-grain roll from Trader Joe’s- a good bread is a must as a companion.  You can also be indulgent and add a little mozzarella or Gruyere cheese on top. I froze the rest of my soup, since this is broth-based (as opposed to a cream based) it’ll freeze nicely.

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