Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Butternut Squash Velvet

Today is the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street the much beloved program I bet, not just in our house but millions more. When I found a good day to start introducing DD to the English alphabets, was very surprised to find out that she already knew and could recognize most of the alphabets and I did not have to work hard at all. Thanks to Sesame Street of course. I know for sure, Sesame Street can teach adults a thing or two as well. What still attracts me most to the show is, the child like wonder that all the characters in the show exhibit. A reminder a great one for adults, to recreate the child like wonder, especially the cynical ones like yours truly.

Why as adults do we lose this wonder in the world around us and become cynical? The glass is half empty as opposed to half full attitude. I am trying hard to stay on the side of the glass is half full. But the road to that destination is littered with obstacles, like this episode. A few months ago DD took a test, an entrance test if you may for a middle school program , the test while content wise not overly challenging is very time critical. DD is the laid back, calm and not easily excitable test taker fortunately unlike her mom. The fear is she takes things a little too easy. When she came out of the test center all excited that she got to 48/50 questions, the cynical me asked her why she did not finish the 2 remaining ones :( I could see her enthusiasm deflate like a pin in a balloon. The damage was done. I try hard to keep this incident in mind when I start to get excited or anxious about her laid back attitude towards most matters. We all know the detrimental effects of what pressure adds to performance. The anxiety, probably a single most quality that differentiates winners from failures. So the attitude she has is probably a strength rather than a weakness. Thoughts folks?

The more I pay attention the more I learn that kids can teach a few gems about living life to adults. Rather than adults teaching kids about life the reverse holds more value. The eternal optimism, the anything is possible attitude, I can DO it confidence, seeing the positive side in any situation are all qualities that kids have in large quantities and from whom we can sure learn. The fairness in a situation, empathy - qualities that are very simple as children take on a more nuanced meaning when we get older. The world might be a better place if we kept things simpler perhaps.

So my motto for life is live life like a kid and sleep like a baby :) If you are curious, DD did make it into the program.

Now to the recipe,
Butternut squash is a favorite one in our house but other than the stir fry not many recipes that I regularly cook which use it as a main ingredient. I saw butternut Squash velvet recipe on Jacques Pepin show. I have never used leeks in my cooking either. The recipe was very easy and seemed a perfect one for a chilly evening. The soup I made for thick but make it as thick or thin as would like.

Note: Cleaning the leeks
Leeks are dirty and needs to washed thoroughly for getting out the dirt. If you watch the video notice the tips that Pepin gives for washing the leeks, slice the leeks lengthwise on the four sides, fan it out and wash under running water.

Recipe Source:
Jacques Pepin - TV Show

Butternut squash velvet
1. 4 cups of chopped butternut squash
2. 4 leeks cleaned and chopped (remove only the tough green part, both white and green parts can be used)
3. 1/4 onion sliced
4. 3 tsp of butter or olive oil
5. 2 tsp of black pepper (adjust to taste)
6. 1 tsp of red chili powder (optional)
7. salt to taste
8. 3 cups of low sodium chicken stock (substitute with water for a vegetarian version)
9. sour cream for garnish
10. almonds or pistachios for garnish

1. In a thick bottom pan, heat the butter, add the onions and leeks and let them saute for a few minutes.
2. Add the squash, 1 tsp of pepper and saute for a minute more.
3. Now add the chicken stock, close the lid and cook for 10-15 minutes till the squash is soft.
4. add salt, the chili powder and remaining pepper powder, taste and let boil for a minute more.
5. Let cool and blend in a blender or using a hand held blender

6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and crushed nuts on top.

The sweetness from the squash and the slightly pungent taste from the leeks along with the creamy sour cream made for a delicious soup.


  1. Wonderful ISG!I made it adding Apple juice:D..I have never been to Sesame street..A shame as I stay 45 mts from there but I see in Google's home page:)

  2. Your DD sounds like mine - cool, not agitated, even tho she is just in 3rd grade, I can see how different she is when has her tests. I am just like you. I am a nervous wreck, a perfectionist and if I cannot do it right it is failure to myself. I don't think it is a good trait.

    Still love Sesame street and I have been watching it for the past 7 years ;-) We used to visit Sesame Place (the water park) and even the park and the characters amused oldies like us.

    That soup I love Indhu.. next time I will do the nut part on mine too.

  3. I so like DD's attitude, wish I was same. I have already promised myself that I will not stress on tests and such when it comes to the girls, looking back I feel I wasted a lot of good time over such mundane matters ;-)

    Only I am not exactly sure where to draw the line between challenging vs. pushing

    I am seeing an abundance of B.Squash everywhere, time to put it to better use than just Baby A's Khichdi

  4. I had butternut squash for the first time in July this year when I went to the US. I really liked it. My aunt made it with nutmeg after roasting it.

    As a kid in the US, Sesame St was one of the programmes I watched. Though I don't remember much of the content, I do remember how exciting it was to see all those muppets, esp for someone who went from no TV to so much TV! I'd rather not say anything on life lessons except that I'm trying hard :-)

  5. Its pouring soup everywhere. I lvoe the vegetable and when I was there bought a small one and made sambar out it. I likde it velety texture and sweet taste that made a wonderful sambar. This soup looks really great but when made with pumpkin I think this texture will not be there! DD1 is not taking pics these days ?

  6. There was once this ad on the telly that showed a log in the way of a vehicle. While all the adults sat back 'knowing' nothing can be done, a small kid walks up and tries to shift the log. I guess we already 'know' too much of life which makes us cynical. Kiddos approach everything with a fresh look.:-)
    Love the look of that soup ISG!

  7. Totally agree, Indo!! Pressure screws up performance. esp. for a laidback, child who enjoyed learning but hated being taught (as in forced) and who was perplexed when high results were 'expected' - personal experience. :(

  8. And yes, I love butternut squash... I make sambar and dal out of it. I've to try making the soup soon.

  9. My mother is a perfectionist - and I remember her asking me why I didn't get that one or two marks for a full score. I did ask her why wasn't satisfied with the fact that I always did well in school and she said - because I knew you had the potential to do so much more, to be the best, not because I just wanted tio

    I see some traces of it when I see my 4 year old writing her first letters. I "know" she can write the letter correctly, I then have to resist saying anything, remind myself that she is just 4 and it doesn't matter.We all do our best Indo, don't beat yourself about it!

  10. My mom was like that and I have a feeling i might be like that too.. though I'm going to try very hard not to. I hope my daughter can be cool & collected like yours. Congrats to her.

    The soup does look velvety & delicious.

  11. Nirmala you don't like my pictures? I will bring her back soon :)

  12. Hey not that Indo, just to encourage young hearts! But I should say she has a clear eye and sets up good perspective and lighting.

  13. Wonderful Soup!

    May I ask what type of test is that? My DD is in middle school and she is laid-back too and I am a nervous-wreck.

  14. This looks creamy and hearty. great for this weather!


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