Thomas Keller’s Butternut Squash Soup with Brown Butter

While unloading my CSA box, I spoke with another member about what she was making with all of the butternut squash we were receiving in our share. She said that there was no better way to use it than this soup! It was a great recommendation.

This recipe was adapted from Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon,” via The New York Times, contributed by Amanda Hesser. Hesser described it as “astonishingly flavorful and complex.” It was creamy, silky, and incredibly delicious. I made it for my mom on her birthday! 🙂 It would also be wonderful as part of a holiday meal.

I loved that it incorporated leeks, shallots, and yellow onions- and brown butter, of course. The toppings also gave it a lovely presentation.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 1 3-to-3½-pound butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (about 2 leeks)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock, more if needed
  • Bouquet Garni made of 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs Italian parsley, 2 bay leaves and ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, all wrapped in a packet made of 2 green leek leaves or cheesecloth
  • 1/4 cup crème fraĂŽche
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.) Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut the neck off the squash and set it aside. Cut the bulb in half and scoop out and discard seeds. Brush each half inside and out with about 1½ teaspoons of the canola oil. Sprinkle the cavities with salt and pepper and tuck a sprig of sage into each. Place cut-side-down on the baking sheet and roast until completely tender, about 1 hour. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool, then scoop out and reserve the flesh (discard sage).
  3. Meanwhile, using a paring knife, peel away the skin from the neck of the squash until you reach the bright orange flesh. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch pieces (you should have about 4 cups).
  4. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and thinly slice into half moons. Soak in a bowl of water. Using a slotted spoon, lift from the top before using.
  5. Put the remaining canola oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat, add the leeks, carrots, shallots and onions and cook, stirring often, for about 6 minutes.
  6. Add the diced squash, garlic, 11/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook gently for 3 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the garlic and squash from coloring.
  7. Stir in the honey and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Add the stock and bouquet garni, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  9. Add the roasted squash and simmer gently for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.
  10. Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni.
  11. Transfer the soup to a blender, in batches, and purĂŠe. Alternatively, use an immersion blender in the pot.
  12. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Let the soup cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
  13. Place the crème fraÎche in a small chilled bowl and stir in nutmeg to taste. Whisk until the crème fraÎche holds a shape. Cover and refrigerate.
  14. Gently reheat the soup until just hot. If it is too thick, add a little more stock.
  15. Heat a medium skillet or butter warmer medium-over high heat. When it is very hot, add the butter and rotate the skillet over the heat as necessary to brown the butter evenly, scraping up any bits that settle in the bottom. As soon as the butter is a hazelnut brown, pour it into the pot of soup — keep a safe distance, it may sputter — then stir.
  16. Ladle the soup into six serving bowls. Top each with a dollop of crème fraÎche. Grind some black pepper over the top and sprinkle on the chives. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I am almost out of time to post these festive fall cookies! :/ It is technically still fall until December 21st…

I made these cookies along with Vanilla Halloween Cupcakes for my kids and their friends on Halloween… yes- that was quite a while ago! I doubled the recipe below and it was perfect for a crowd, making 37 cookies.

The recipe was adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I used an entire 15 ounce can of pumpkin purĂŠe for the double batch. I blotted it on (MANY MANY) paper towels prior to weighing it.

Yield: 18 cookies

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons (86g) blotted/dried pumpkin purĂŠe (see below)
  • 1 1/2 cups (188g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating (you will have extra):

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Blot the pumpkin purĂŠe on paper towels, or squeeze in paper towels, changing the towels frequently, until it is quite dry. Set aside. (Squeeze as much of the moisture out of the pumpkin puree as you can before adding it to the cookie dough. This will help produce a less cakey cookie. Less moisture is a good thing here! Weigh (or measure 6 T) AFTER the pumpkin has been squeezed/blotted. Do not use pumpkin pie filling.)
  2. Whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl until no brown sugar lumps remain.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla and blotted pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and remaining spices together in a large bowl.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft.
  6. Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Chilling the dough is a must for this recipe. (If doubling the recipe, chill the dough for 45 minutes.)
  7. Remove dough from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (I set my oven to true convection.) Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  8. Using a cookie scoop, ration the dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough per cookie, and roll each into balls.
  9. Mix the coating ingredients together, and then roll each cookie dough ball generously in the cinnamon-sugar coating.
  10. Arrange cookie dough balls 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the back of a spoon or the bottom of a cup/measuring cup, slightly flatten the tops of the dough balls. (Without doing so, the cookies may not spread.)
  11. Bake for 10 minutes on convection, or up to 11–12 minutes in a standard oven, or until the edges appear set. The cookies will look very soft in the center.
  12. Remove from the oven. If you find that your cookies didn’t spread much at all, flatten them out gently with the back of a spoon when you take them out of the oven.
  13. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The longer the cookies cool, the better they taste! The flavor gets stronger and the texture becomes chewier. (The original recipe notes that she usually lets them sit, uncovered, for several hours before serving.) Chewiness and pumpkin flavor are even stronger on day 2.
  14. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

To Make Ahead (& Freeze):

You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Baked cookies freeze well up to 3 months. You can also freeze the cookie dough balls for up to 3 months before baking. It’s best to freeze them without the cinnamon-sugar coating. When you are ready to bake, remove the dough balls from the freezer, let sit for 30 minutes, preheat the oven, and then roll in the cinnamon-sugar topping.

Roasted Rutabaga & Pears with Browned Butter, Honey & Rosemary

I considered making this side dish as part of our Thanksgiving feast but was unsure if the bag of root vegetables I received in my CSA share contained rutabagas or turnips! I didn’t want to take the risk. 😉

The interior of a rutabaga is a creamy yellowish-orange versus a turnip which is very white inside. Rutabagas are also much more mild and sweet in flavor compared to a turnip which can be spicy like a radish.

This recipe was adapted from 177MilkStreet.com, contributed by Rose Hattabaugh. I modified the method and proportions. I loved the combination of the starchy caramelized roasted rutabagas with the sweet pears and browned butter. Very nice.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 6 T salted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 T minced fresh rosemary, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/4 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 ripe but firm Bosc pears (about 1 pound), unpeeled, quartered, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 T honey
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar OR cider vinegar OR white wine vinegar
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. (I set my oven to convection roast.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium, melt the butter; remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 3 tablespoons of melted butter.
  4. Add the rutabaga and toss to coat, then distribute in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet; reserve the bowl.
  5. Roast the rutabaga for 15 minutes on convection or up to 20 minutes in a standard oven.
  6. Meanwhile, in the same bowl, toss the pears with 1 tablespoon of the remaining melted butter; set aside.
  7. Set the pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter over medium and cook the butter, occasionally swirling the pan, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, about 1 minute.
  8. Off heat, whisk in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary, the honey, vinegar and generous 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; transfer to a heat proof bowl, cover and set aside.
  9. When the rutabaga has roasted for 20 minutes, add the pears to the baking sheet and toss to combine with the rutabaga. Roast until a skewer inserted into the rutabaga and pears meets no resistance and the rutabaga is well browned, 10 to 12 minutes; stir once about halfway through.
  10. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, immediately drizzle the rutabaga and pears with the browned butter mixture and toss to coat.
  11. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish. (I sprinkled fine sea salt over the top of the dish.)

Nutmeg-Maple Custard Pie

Pie is the most important part of the Thanksgiving feast. I added this wonderful pie onto the menu in addition to our traditional apple and pumpkin pies. It may have to be a new tradition. 😉 Everyone tried a very small slice of each! Perfect.

The creamy nutmeg-maple filling was absolutely amazing. The crust was flaky and fabulous as well. We loved it!

The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the pie crust. I made the par-baked crust two days in advance and baked the pie one day before Thanksgiving, refrigerating the pie overnight and bringing it to room temperature before serving.

Using extra pie crust from my apple pie, I cut out maple leaves and baked them to use as decoration on top of the finished pie. Nice.

Yield: One 9-inch pie, about 8 servings

For the Crust:

  • 150 g (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
  1. In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt.
  2. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms blueberry-sized pieces.
  3. Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist, but not wet.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round a scant 1/4 inch thick. (I rolled it out on a floured silicone pastry mat to about 1/8-inch thick.)
  7. Fit the dough into a 9-inch pie dish (I used a pottery pie dish). Fold the dough under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate the pie shell for 10 to 15 minutes.
  8. Crumple up a large sheet of parchment paper (this is a trick to allow it to fit more snugly in the pie dish). Line the pie shell with the parchment paper and then foil; fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  9. Place on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake in the center of the oven until nearly set, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Remove the foil and weights, discard the parchment, and bake until the crust is pale golden, about 10 minutes longer. Let cool completely. (I pre-baked the pie crust one day in advance.)

For the Pie Filling:

  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust (recipe above)
  • whipped cream, for serving, optional
  • decorative pre-baked pie crust shapes, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (I set my oven to true convection.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and egg. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce maple syrup by a quarter, 5 to 7 minutes. (It will boil vigorously- so use a tall pot and stir constantly.)
  4. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  5. Whisking constantly, slowly add cream mixture to eggs.
  6. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl with a pouring spout.
  7. Stir in salt, nutmeg and vanilla.
  8. Place pie dish on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet and pour filling into crust. Cover the edge of the pie crust with foil (or equivalent) to prevent over-browning.
  9. Bake until pie is firm to touch but jiggles slightly when moved, 45 to 50 minutes on convection, or about 1 hour in a standard oven.
  10. Let cool to room temperature before serving. Store in the refrigerator if making ahead of time; bring to room temperature before serving.

To Make (Optional) Pie Crust Topping/Decorations:

  • extra pie crust, rolled 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch thick
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Using extra 1/8-inch thick pie crust (I used some from my apple pie), cut into desired shapes. I cut mine into small maple leaves.
  2. Chill cut shapes on a piece of parchment paper for 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Remove from refrigerator and place the parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Brust the top of each shape with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 oven, preferably on convection, for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Maple-Gochujang Brown Butter

I need to have guests present to serve Brussels sprouts in my house because there are not many fans in my immediate family. They are always part of my Thanksgiving meal! I served them with roasted rainbow carrots and roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with mustard viniagrette.

This recipe was adapted from Bon AppĂŠtit, contributed by Peter Som. I modified the method and proportions. The sauce was amazing!

The original recipe notes that if you can’t find gochujang, Sriracha can be substituted, to taste.

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

  • 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts (from 1 stalk), trimmed, halved if large
  • 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) (I omitted them)
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 1 T pure maple syrup
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
  • zest of half a lemon
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. Set a rimmed baking sheet in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 500°. I set my oven to convection roast.
  2. Toss brussels sprouts with oil in a large bowl to coat; season with kosher salt and pepper. Carefully (baking sheet will be hot!) spread out in a single layer; reserve bowl.
  3. Roast until brussels sprouts are charred in spots and tender, 12 minutes in a convection oven or up to 16–18 minutes in a standard oven.
  4. Meanwhile, if using walnuts, toast in a dry medium skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
  5. Cook butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling occasionally, until milk solids are a deep amber color and butter smells very nutty, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in gochujang and maple syrup. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  6. Combine Brussels sprouts, half of walnuts (if using), and half of scallions in reserved bowl; add brown butter mixture and toss to coat.
  7. Transfer to a platter or serving bowl and scatter (remaining walnuts) and scallions over the top.
  8. Finely grate lemon zest on top; sprinkle with sea salt. (I used Fleur de Sel.)

Thanksgiving Menu 2022

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

For the first time, we didn’t have overnight guests for the holiday. My mom moved to New York! 🙂 Our family joined us for the day and we ate our feast in the early afternoon. Because of the time of day, we had to forgo a festive cocktail- I am planning to incorporate it into our Christmas feast!

I made many tried and true dishes. My son noted that we may almost have our perfect menu. ❤ I added a new Brussels sprouts dish (delicious) and an additional pie, Nutmeg-Maple Custard, which will most certainly be included in the menu next year.

I document our menu to help me in the future. I included the preparation timeline as well because it was relatively stress-free this year. I hope that some of this is helpful for others! 🙂

Menu:

Appetizers:

  • green grapes
  • sourdough baguette and brie
  • mixed nuts
  • Turkey Bread, photo below (from the ciabatta used to roast the turkey upside-down)

Dinner:

Leftover Dishes:

Schedule:

Four to Five Days Before:

  • list and grocery shopping

Three Days Before:

  • make Cranberry Relish
  • decorate and clean house

Two Days Before:

  • make, chill, roll, chill, and par-bake Pie Crusts
  • bake Skillet Cornbread for Stuffing
  • bake sweet potatoes for Spoon Bread & Biscuits

One Day Before:

  • plan serving pieces, china, and linens
  • prep Vegetables
  • bake Pies
  • assemble Stuffing
  • make Mashed Potatoes
  • purchase Sourdough Baguette

Thanksgiving Day:

  • set table
  • bake Stuffing
  • purĂŠe and bake Spoon Bread
  • Roast Turkey (we roasted a 14.5 lb turkey for a little over 2 hours- until thigh=165 degrees)
  • roast Vegetables (and make sauces)
  • re-heat Mashed Potatoes
  • make Gravy (we made half the recipe because we had a smaller turkey- mistake!)

Ruffled Pumpkin Milk Pie

This pie is an autumn version of a classic Greek milk pie, or galatopita. I already have my eye on a summer version. 😉 It was very pretty and elegant. The pumpkin flavor was understated.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Fruit Desserts: 100+ Ways to Savor the Best of Every Season via MarthaStewart.com. I baked the pie in a ceramic baking dish and modified the method. I served it as one of our Thanksgiving desserts this year. I made the pie a day in advance and refrigerated it overnight.

According to the original recipe, clarified butter or ghee is used in lieu of melted butter to eliminate the chance of pockets of moisture in the finished pie.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 8 T (1/2 cup) clarified butter or ghee, melted
  • 14 to 18 sheets store-bought phyllo (each 14 by 18 inches), thawed if frozen
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin purĂŠe
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom, sifted (I ground 8 pods)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Lightly brush a 9 or 10-inch round cake pan with clarified butter. Line pan with a 13-inch parchment round; brush parchment. (I used a ceramic baking dish so I omitted the parchment paper.)
  3. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface, with one long side parallel to edge. Lightly brush phyllo with clarified butter.
  4. Using your hands, loosely ruffle phyllo by pushing long sides toward each other to create a long accordion shape, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches tall. Place upright in center of prepared cake pan, folding around to create a spiral. Repeat process with remaining sheets, continuing spiral outward until bottom of pan is covered.
  5. Brush remaining clarified butter over tops of phyllo ruffles in pan.
  6. Place the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 22 minutes on convection or up to 25 to 30 minutes in a standard oven.
  7. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool while making filling (leave the oven on).
  8. In a large bowl with a spout, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, milk, cream, granulated sugar, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt until smooth.
  9. Gradually pour the egg mixture over baked phyllo, evenly covering surface.
  10. Return pan to oven and bake until filling is set, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
  11. Use parchment to lift pie out of pan; carefully remove parchment and transfer pie to a platter. (I served the pie in my ceramic baking dish.)
  12. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

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