Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fall Soup in Summer

I realize now may not be the best time of year for a hot soup, particularly one that features butternut squash. But this soup, dios mio, my favorite ever. The recipe is tweaked from one on 101 Cookbooks, always reliable. I tend to think of cooking and even baking as a creative activity on line with writing, painting and music. But it's so easy to create a new dish by just tweaking one or two ingredients, it almost doesn't seem fair. Change is the natural progression of a recipe. Each person puts their imprint on lasagna, they pass it on and the next person makes a tweak here and there. There are infinitessimal ways to make one single meal. In that way cooking is like language. (Allow me to put my nerd glasses on.) Change and creativity are what I absolutely love about language. Living language is always in flux, adding new words, dropping old ones. There are a million and one ways to communicate what would amount to the same utterance, and each person does it differently, and (even more fascinating) each culture does it differently. There are rules to language (and cooking), we know the rules and then we break them. It's beautiful. This all got me to thinking about creative process. I mean, there's not much creative energy in substituting Holly's adzuki beans with cannellinis, and the only reason why I did it was because I didn't have adzukis. I tend to think of anything creative as something that requires a lot of energy. But maybe that's completely false. I think creativity can be simple. Look at "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," for example. That is a song we sing to children. It's a simple tune, but it's lovely. The original Mozart diddy goes off on a much more complex tirade, but the melody is still there. I think we make creativity into something impossible. I hear things all the time like "I could never paint that." Sure, you can't paint that, but you can paint something. Along the same lines, I wonder how much of the truly creative, original stuff is born out of necessity. I tend to think of creativity springing from a wealth of money, love, happiness and time. But maybe it really springs from depravity.
Enough of my high-brow tangent. All you really want is the recipe.
Cannellini Butternut Squash Soup: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon coriander 1 teapsoon dried red pepper flakes 1 teapsoon salt 1 onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, diced 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped 3 cups chicken stock 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes 1 15-ounce can rinsed cannellini beans In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Saute cinnamon, coriander, pepper flakes and salt for a few minutes. Toss in the onion, and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and squash, stir to coat with oil and then add the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until squash softens a bit. Using a potato masher or a large fork, break up the squash a bit. It doesn't have to be a puree, just a little less chunky. Add the tomatoes and cook for a couple minutes. Then add the beans. Continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and spices. Serves 4.

1 comment:

Shannalee said...

I totally agree about cooking. If you'll allow me to MY nerd glasses on, I'll tell you that last weekend, at a concert, I had these thoughts going through my head while I watched the musicians, and I was like, I get them better now, having been cooking and writing about it. It's like we're making something, watching it become something, and that is such a fantastic feeling, one for which I think we've been created.