On Friday morning I traded my run in for a hike at South Mountain with Ari.
It was a nice change of pace and to be honest, I completely miss hiking! It’s something I really love to do, but lately my exercise has been focused around running.
We randomly decided on Holbert Trail, which turned out to be really great. Since we didn’t have much time it was quick and easy, and we were able to turn around to head back.
It’s a good trail for seeing petroglyphs and has great views – a perfect winter trail with hardly anyone on it! I need to make time for more hikes like this :)
We got an awesome table with a fire in the middle at True Food :) Carolyn was kind enough to pose for a photo with it
I also had Carolyn staying at our place this weekend since she was up here from Tucson to run the 10k on Sunday. We had a lovely dinner at El Zocalo in Downtown Chandler on Friday, and enjoyed brunch at True Food Kitchen on Saturday. There definitely was not a shortage of delicious food eaten this weekend :)
Now onto the soup:
I made this butternut squash soup for the Wine and Cheese Tasting Party I held back in October. It’s both rich and creamy, and would be a lovely first course for a larger meal or could make a meal on its own (especially with a crusty loaf of bread!). It can also easily be made as an appetizer – I served it as soup shooters for my party, which worked out really well.
I toasted a few butternut squash seeds in the oven that I had tossed with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder, then sprinkled a few on top of the soup to garnish. I liked the crunchy smokiness it added to the soup, but a drizzle of cream on top would look lovely as well.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Pinch of grated nutmeg
Roasted butternut squash seeds for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, cut in half lengthwise. Scrape out seeds (reserve seeds for roasting, if desired) and strings, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Place on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, until very tender and caramelized, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm.
Puree the squash in batches in a blender or food processor, pulsing and adding chicken stock to obtain a smooth consistency. Transfer the puree to the pot and stir in the remaining chicken stock, cream, and brown sugar. Warm the soup over medium-low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cayenne and nutmeg, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and roasted seeds, if desired.
Recipe heavily adapted from Brown Eyed baker