Our challenge to you is to make 2010 about becoming a Food Opportunist—by making the most of the best-quality food you can afford, and being conscious and grateful for our choices.
It’s usually this time of year that we throw ourselves head long into ambitious new year resolutions and plans for making ourselves a ‘better’ person than we were the year before, however that manifests itself. Of course, there are those of us that have the steely determination to see their goals through to the end and then…there are those of us who struggle to get our new and improved selves out of our heads and into action.
More often than not, intentions revolve around fitness, weight or health. So, if like most of us, these topics rose to your consciousness after a slightly over-indulgent Holiday season, we’re here to help inspire you and get started on the right track. But before you get nervous, you can forget calorie counters, scales, heart rate monitors or any type of 10-step program. Our intention is simple. To focus on the best, freshest, seasonal, local and organic ingredients to make the tastiest food we can, to support your health and nourish your well-being.
The irony of living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world is that we face an increasingly political conundrum – we have access to some of the best and the worst food the world has to offer. Food that has the ability to enhance or potentially damage our health.
Our challenge to you, is to make 2010 and beyond, about becoming a ‘Food Opportunist’. By taking the opportunity to make the most of the best quality food you can afford and being conscious and grateful that many of us are actually lucky enough to have this choice. This process is about getting to know the source of our food, the effect on our bodies, our health, community and the long term implications on the environment. So, we’ll be speaking to locals and people that have been consciously producing and consuming for years, to educate us all on our delicious journey.
To kickstart your tastebuds, begin by heading straight into the kitchen and straight into warming the cockles of your heart with this tasty winter squash soup. The one thing that will make all of the difference is using an organic home-made stock as the base for the soup. The flavor difference is substantial and you’ll by-pass the preservatives, artificial flavors or allergens of boxed stock.
Roast Butternut Squash, Ginger and Cilantro Soup
By Susannah Yeung
Makes: 6 cups
2lb butternut squash
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 small yellow onion
2 celery stalks
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup cilantro
Cilantro and sesame oil for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop the squash roughly into 1-inch squares and toss in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden.
2. In the meantime, dice the onion, celery and carrot. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger. Set these ingredients aside until the squash is ready.
3. Remove the roasted squash from the oven when ready. Place a large saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the onion, carrot and celery. Saute until the onion is translucent, then add the garlic and ginger and continue to stir for another 1-2 minutes until aromatic.
4. Add the squash to the pan, pour in the stock and increase the heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the squash is soft and falls apart with a fork.
5. Remove from the heat and pour the soup into a blender with the cilantro and puree until the texture is smooth and creamy. Alternatively, leave the soup in the pan and puree with an immersion blender (see note*).
6. Once blended, season with the remaining salt and stir through cilantro and serve. Garnish with sesame oil and cilantro.
*Note: Hot liquid expands when blended. If using a blender, blend in batches and fill less than half way to allow plenty of room for aeration and expansion. If using an immersion blender, be sure to keep blades below the surface of the liquid at all times.
words: Susanna Yeung pictures: Meghan DeRoma