Fall Warm-Up : Butternut Squash & Rosemary Focaccia Bread
My season for outdoor photo sessions has slowed greatly and I have been able to spend more time in my own home, COOKING! :) I love crafting and creating treats in the kitchen almost as much as I love my photography business, and appreciate knowing that something enjoyable comes out of some ‘down time’! (I know my hubby is a happy guy when my energy is directed toward such yumminess! :)) The winter air has arrived for us here in Lancaster, and I have found myself craving warm mugs of tea and steaming bowls of soup. This dinner was born out of such desires and I have to say, it didn’t let me down. As we approach Thanksgiving, I thought I would share these two (favorite!) winter recipes…perfect to make in larger batches for visiting family and friends. Plus, they are beyond easy and reheat fabulously. Yummmm! Enjoy!
Butternut Squash Soup and Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Butternut Squash Soup:
(This soup is DELISH. I have made lots of versions, and this one is a combination of a few of my favorite recipes. Feel free to add a bit of spice if you like some heat, omit the butter – use coconut or olive oil – cream, and substitute in vegetable stock for a vegan meal, etc.! I have even added a few chopped carrots to cook with the squash for some sweetness. It is a simple and pure recipe that can be altered to suit any/all tastes!)
1 Large (2-3lb) Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (1 inch)
1 Large White Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
Dash of White Wine
6 cups of chicken stock (Best if homemade! I love Ina Garten’s recipe, here!)
Cream, for desired consistency
Salt and Black Peper
Melt butter in heavy bottom pot, and add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent, about 7-8 minutes, making sure to not let either burn. De-glaze bottom of pot with dash of white wine (can omit, or use to taste). Add squash and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, until squash is tender, 15-20 minutes. Either transfer (in batches) soup to blender, or use immersion blender to purée until creamy and totally smooth. Add cream to desired consistency – optional. Season with a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Serves 6.
Rosemary Focaccia Bread:
(This is my favorite go-to bread. It is a slow-rise dough, and doesn’t require kneading, so it makes you look super amazing with very little effort. Who doesn’t love that?! Plus, the crunch of the sea salt on top is out of this world…trust me!!! :))
1 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp. FRESH Rosemary Needles (remove stems), Finely Chopped
3/4 Tsp. Table Salt
1 1/4 Tsp. Yeast
1 1/3 Cups of (Cold!) Water
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (E.V.O.O.)
Course Sea Salt
1.) In large bowl, combine flours, table salt, yeast, rosemary. Stir in water, and E.V.O.O.. If needed, add more cold water, but dough should be fairly stiff. Evenly brush the top of the dough with E.V.O.O., cover bowl and let rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours. (I usually just let it go overnight!)
2.) Brush round cake pan (or desired pan shape!) with E.V.O.O., then line with parchment paper. Brush paper with oil as well. Turn dough into pan, drizzle with 1 tsp of E.V.O.O. Lightly press out dough with fingers until evenly thick and is within 1 inch of all sides (in round cake pan it should touch sides). Cover loosely.
3.) Let rise until double the deflated size. With finger or end of wooden spoon, make dimpled marks all over dough. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
4.) Heat oven to 475 (F), when oven is preheated and dough has risen, bake for 20-30 minutes until brown. Bake 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes in pan.
5.) Slice and serve warm! :)