Sunday, February 15, 2009

V-Day Feast Pt. 1: Roasted Kombocha Squash Soup with Olive Oil Poached Shrimp

I hope all my divas had lovely V-Day's. As we sit nursing our hangovers and trying to piece together last night's events, let's remember that every day gives us a chance to love - and to make lovely food! Last night, I had a wonderful evening at home with Kuzak. We popped a delicious bottle of bubbly, and while Kuzak watched craptacular TV, I hung out with the Adorable Monster in my kitchen, cooking, listening to Emmylou Harris and making beautiful, healthy food.

So let's cut to the chase. I'll share my V-Day Feast recipes in two parts. Both of my dishes are the perfect example of how to stretch out your grocery store trips by making use of key cupboard ingredients and long-lasting proteins. For starters, I made one my my very favorite recipes in the whole world: Roasted Squash Soup that I topped with Olive Oil Poached Shrimp. You can make this soup using almost any kind of squash, yams or sweet potatoes. For my soup, I used organic Kombocha Squash! The key to my soup, is roasting the squash in the oven with a special rub of cardamom, thyme and chili flakes. If you've never worked with cardamom, it's a lovely spice in the ginger family that I think belongs in every cupboard. After roasting the squash, I puree it with chicken stock, garlic and olive oil. Finally, it's slowly reheated on the stove and served. The olive oil poached shrimp adds a richness that perfectly accentuates the flavors of the soup.

This dish is a great I haven't been to the grocery store in awhile recipe! Squash can be stored in a cool, dry place for months. Frozen shrimp taste great and defrost quickly. It's healthy - orange and yellow veggies are packed with vitamins! Also, this soup is wonderful leftover for lunch the next day. So dive in and give this recipe a try! I promise it will be like Cupid's arrow pierced you through the heart!

Domestic Diva's Roasted Kombocha Squash Soup with Olive Oil Poached Shrimp

Soup Ingredients:

1 kombocha squash halved with pulp and seeds removed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig thyme
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp ground cardamom
3 cups chicken stock
1 garlic clove peeled
1/4 cup olive oil plus one tbsp salt and pepper to taste

Shrimp Ingredients:

1 cup shrimp peeled and deveined
3 cups olive oil
bunch of thyme
1 tsp cardamom seeds (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Soup Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven heats, split the squash down the middle and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Rub the interior of the squash with salt, pepper, cardamom, thyme, chili flakes and 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Then, place the squash face down in a roasting pan and fill the pan with 1/2 inch of water. Poke holes in the skin of the squash. Then, place it in the oven and roast for approximately 1 hour, or until the squash is cooked.

Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool.

Once it's cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the skin and place it in a blender. See my Amazon store for the blender I highly recommend! Add the chicken stock, garlic and remaining olive oil and puree the mixture until well blended. If you prefer different consistency, you can add more or less stock to achieve desired thickness. I like my soups to be on the lighter side.

Pour the mixture into a pan and place it on the stovetop. Warm the soup over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Olive Oil Poached Shrimp Directions:

In a heavy pot, add the olive oil and warm over medium heat until the temperature is between 130 and 180 degrees. Add the thyme and cardamom seeds to the olive oil. Once the oil is warmed, add the shrimp and allow to cook slowly in the olive oil, keeping an eye on the temperature (about 8 minutes). Remove the shrimp from the oil.

To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl and top with the shrimp. Drizzle a little good olive oil over the soup for some extra richness!

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