Sunday, January 24, 2021

Butternut and Delicata Squash Soup in the Instant Pot

The food section of our local newspaper comes out on Wednesday. Lately they have been have lots of good recipes. One that sounded promising was this soup, but it was made by roasting the squash for a long time, then doing the rest in a soup pot. I was sure that making it in the Instant Pot would work well and take far less time...and I was right. Since I've only used the appliance four times in my whole life, I still feel hesitant about how things will turn out, but the only way to get more comfortable is to use it.

For starters, the original recipe said to cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and roast in a hot oven on a lined baking sheet. The first thing I changed was to use two kinds of squash...mostly because I only had one smallish butternut squash and the recipe called for 2-3. To use the Instant Pot I needed to remove the ends, peel the squash, cut in half to remove the seeds, then cut the squash (both kinds) into large cubes - 1 to 1.5 inches. 

The original recipe had one sautéing the onion and carrot and garlic in a soup pot, but I used the sauté feature on the Instant Pot to do it there, then added the rest of the ingredients except for the squash and combined them, then added the uncooked squash and stirred it to coat. I only used 2 cups of broth. You don't lose moisture when using the Instant Pot so less was needed, but I also left the extra broth out because I wanted my soup to be fairly thick and I decided I could add more broth after the soup had been blended and the creamer had been added. The only thing I would do differently in this part would be to grate the ginger as they asked. I did a fine dice, but that still left tiny chunks of ginger once pureed, which isn't as nice as having the ginger sort of melt into the soup as grated ginger would.

I didn't have cashew butter, nor do I care for cashews, so I just left that part out.

This soup is amazing! I ended up adding a full cup of creamer(to tame the ginger heat a bit more) and no additional broth and the texture was just beautiful. Lots of flavor from the squash and the other ingredients, especially ginger, but a bit of a kick from the cayenne, too. The color is a deep gold and just lovely. There are lots of garnishes you can add, including chopped parsley or cilantro, a swirl or yogurt or sour cream, a few bacon crumbles, some toasted, chopped walnuts and a swirl or walnut get the idea.

If you use vegetable broth and, as I did, non-dairy creamer (soy in my case) this is a lovely vegan soup.

Ginger Butternut and Delicata Squash Soup

 2-3 small butternut squash (halved and seeded) OR
 2-3 small butternut and/or delicata squash, peeled, seeded, cut into cubes if using Instant Pot version

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and diced

1-2 carrots, peeled and roughly cut

2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated

6 cups veg or chicken broth, homemade if possible (I used 2 cups for Instant Pot version)

1/4 cup cashew butter (I omitted this ingredient)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)

pinch cinnamon and nutmeg

1/2 cup coconut milk, cream, soy creamer (I used 1 cup soy creamer)

Roasted and Stove Top Version 
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut squash in half, remove the seeds, and roast, cut side down, for 45 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat the oil and saute' onions and carrots until soft (5-7 minutes) in a soup pot. Add garlic and ginger and cook another minute until fragrant.

 When the squash has cooled a bit after being removed from oven  scoop the flesh into a Vitamix or high-powered blender, along with the sautéed veggies, stock, cashew butter, salt, pepper and spices.
Blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Alternately, put the ingredients in a large soup pot, stir, and puree' with an immersion blender until very smooth.

 Heat before serving and add coconut milk, cream, or soy creamer for richness. 

Garnish with chopped parsley and, if desired, a sprinkle of cayenne, swirl or yogurt or sour cream, sprinkle of crisp cooked and crumbled bacon.

Instant Pot Version:
Heat the oil and saute' onions and carrots until soft (5-7 minutes) in the Instant Pot pot, using the saute' setting. Add garlic and ginger and cook another minute until fragrant.

Add the 2 cups broth, salt, pepper, cayenne, pinch cinnamon and nutmeg to the pot and stir together with the onion, carrot, garlic, ginger. Add the uncooked squash chunks and stir to coat. Affix Instant Pot lid, seal the vent, set to high pressure and 8 minutes. Cook the time it takes to build pressure plus the 8 minutes. 

Vent the steam slowly. When fully vented, remove the lid and use a stick blender to blend until very smooth, OR ladle carefully (probably two batches, but maybe three) into a Vitamix or high powered blender and blend until smooth. Return to Instant Pot pot and if serving at once, stir in the soy creamer, cream or coconut milk, stirring well to thoroughly blend. Adjust seasonings to taste. Let sit at Keep Warm setting up to 30 minutes. If serving later, reheat the soup, then add the creamer and stir to blend.

Garnish with chopped parsley and, if desired, a sprinkle of cayenne, swirl or yogurt or sour cream, sprinkle of crisp cooked and crumbled bacon.

Kickin' back with hot soup

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Much Of The Best Of 2013

We are at about the half-way point of this blog's existence. There is an average of 8 posts a month, about two a week and many of them are recipes. The Bread Baker's Dog blog hasn't been used since 2011, so all the recipes are right here and the index for them is mostly on the right in the web version.

I started the year off health-wise by having a bad case of kidney stones, resulting in both surgery and not being able to post as Kitchen-of-the-Month with the Bread Baking Babes when I was supposed to. Fortunately Elizabeth picked up my job and we did end up with some Buddies for the Jam Fan Tans, a fun, individual sweet roll (photo above).

Cherry Soda Bread (above top), Maple Pecan Bacon Soda Bread (above) and fresh Blueberry Soda Bread (below)
                                                Fresh Blueberry Muffins (below)

There are also a number of versions of Irish Soda Bread this year, including Michigan Cherry Soda Bread, the unusual Maple Pecan Bacon Soda Bread,  another made with fresh blueberries; Soda Bread with Blueberries. Of course you can have fresh blueberries in your classic Blueberry Muffin, too.

                                Irish Corned Beef (above) and Bridies (below) by NoHandle

NoHandle was a guest blogger a few times, too. One you may want to try is the Irish Corned Beef in March, the story about and recipe for Bridies, a portable lunch, and the chocolate chip cookie challenge with the link found a few paragraphs down.

The garden was bountiful in the summer and fall, so there are post about lots of ways to cook with tomatoes. One that is easy but delicious is Five Ingredient Tomato Salad, which also has burrata as one of those ingredients. Our local strawberry farm plants different varieties, so we often have strawberries from spring through early fall, which allowed me to bake a French Strawberry Tart in the early December!

On the classic recipe front, we ended the year with scalloped potatoes with cheese and milk from Julia Child and Simone Beck from Mastering the Art of French Cooking . This delicious side dish, also known as Gratin Dauphinois, has been updated a bit by using Yukon Gold potatoes, along with butter, salt and pepper, Swiss cheese and milk. It's decadent and delicious and not really difficult to make. The same post has a recipe from Julia Child's Baking with Julia for Buttermilk Rolls, light and delicate yeast rolls that are perfect as dinner rolls.

In the same vein, I baked a
Classic Pound Cake using a recipe from Jim Fobel's Old Fashioned Baking Book. It's everything you want a pound cake to be, with a tight crumb and just the right amount of sweetness.

If pound cake isn't your favorite, how about a
Classic Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Cookie? This one is from King Arthur Flour and it's a winner. While you are thinking cookies, you may want to see NoHandle's guest post exploring which of two classic chocolate chip cookies is better...including the one for which someone paid $250 for the recipe.

2020 was the year of Banana Bread as households locked in due to the pandemic restrictions took up baking. I have a really good recipe for
Banana Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate, just in case you are getting a yen for some now.

Another classic, and one that has been lost for a while as fizzy tablets from the store took over Easter, is the old fashioned way to color
Easter eggs. With the pandemic people seem to be looking to revive lost skills and arts, so you might want to try this way.

            Butternut Squash Soup made with Caramelized Onions made in a Crockpot (above)
                    Fresh Tomato Gazpacho (above) and Home Made Oyster Stew (below)

Soup is one of my favorite things to eat for lunch or dinner and this year I made a wonderful
Butternut Squash Soup and a recipe for Crockpot Caramelized Onions which you need for that squash soup, a bright harvest time Fresh Tomato Soup, and Oyster Stew for the months with an 'R' in them.

Since baking is one of my favorite pastimes and a big part of this blog, it's fun to look at some of the baked good, especially ones that aren't classics, which I made this year. In December baked  Persimmon Nut Bread, a sweet tea bread, using persimmons from our tree. That post also explains why ingredients for baking should be at room temperature. The persimmons are the kind that are soft and sweet when ripe and you might still find some at your farmers market if you want to try this bread.

For a yeast bread that impresses, but is fairly easy and foolproof, try Fast Focaccia. The post has lots of photos to get you to the finish line.

Another kind of bread (which is called a cake but actually bread) is old fashioned Lardy Cake, made with real pig lard. It really adds to the crisp topping and probably the light texture of the cake, too. For an actual cake, and one that uses fall fruit, how about a Quince Pecan Upside Down Cake? The hard part is finding ripe pineapple quince (bottom photo).

We've done bread and cake, so how about pie? Lots of people avoid making pie because they are afraid of making the crust. Well, Martha Stewart has a pie crust made in a food processor that is pretty much fool proof...and excellent. Food Processor Pie Crust makes enough for two circles of a double crust pie like an apple pie or two single crust pies, like pumpkin or pecan, right? What would you choose?

Speaking of pumpkin, it has become a trendy flavor in the fall, mostly as 'pumpkin spice' coffee or ice cream, but I have an unusual pumpkin spice muffin that has a hidden surprise in each muffin. Spicy Pumpkin Muffins with Creamy Filling might just become your favorite way to feed your pumpkin spice cravings.

To round out the baked goods, how about Apricot Scones? Sweetie loves these with dried apricots in every bite.

I'm going to end with a pot luck dish that I love. It has both brown and wild rice and seasonings and carrots. If you make it with water or veggie broth, it is vegan, a nice thing to bring to a potluck since the pickings for vegans are often slim. It is also dairy free, a concern of mine. Most of all it is pretty easy to make and delicious. The carrots add a dash of color and the dish I brought it in is always empty long before I'm ready to go home; Wild and Brown Rice with Carrots and Herbs.

There are plenty of other delightful recipes in 2013, so after you check out some of these, wander around the blog and discover your own favorites!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Toasted Oat Bread with the Babes

The Kitchen of the Month for January, 2021 - oh, how I love saying 2021! - is Elizabeth of Blogging from OUR Kitchen. She gave us a fascinating recipe for a bread that uses both whole wheat flour and toasted oats, plus all-purpose flour and a few other things. Not being content with leaving things alone, I used some Irish whole-meal wheat flour instead of the wheat germ and malted wheat chops, plus I added some Harvest Grain Blend from King Arthur Flour and kneaded in some unroasted, unsalted sunflower seeds at the I made dinner rolls instead of a loaf. I know, it really might be better to start with the recipe given, but I so rarely do that it would be hard to do that now. 

The resulting rolls were hearty, seedy, and quite delicious! There was a nutty flavor from the toasted oats and a slightly chewy texture which I like. Sweetie liked them, too.

I did try the preheated cast iron bottom, topped with an overturned large, tall cake pan and that gave the crust some heft and a nice color. The rest of the rolls, which I baked on a sheet pan without being covered are just as nice inside, but paler and without the singing crust that the covered ones have.

If you are going to be a Buddy, and I hope you will, go to Elizabeth's blog HERE and send her an email with a photo of the finished bread and the URL by Jan. 29th to be included in the round-up. This is a great bread to go with soups and stews, plus it's lovely toasted and would probably make great sandwich bread, too. I gave the original recipe below.

Do visit the other Babes blogs, too, to see what this bread should have looked like. Check out Elizabeth's first because she has lots of information and tips. 

Toasted Oat Bread


  • 60 grams whole wheat flour
  • 60 grams water
  • dessert spoon of starter from the fridge (about 30 grams) 


  • 100 grams rolled oats, toasted
  • 100 grams boiling water 

Actual Dough

  • 100 grams 100% whole wheat 'no additives' flour
  • 400 grams unbleached 'no additives' all-purpose flour
  • 5 grams wheat germ
  • 5 grams malted wheat chops
  • 325 grams water
  • all of the leavener from above, when a small forkful floats in a glass of cool water
  • 10 grams salt + 25 grams water
  • all of the rolled oats mixture from above 

Topping (optional)

  • quick oats 
  1. Leavener: In the evening of the day before making the bread: Put the starter, flour and water into a smallish bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour is stirred in well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on. Unless it is ridiculously hot in the kitchen. In that case, leave the oven light turned off. 
  1. Prepare the Oats: Poured rolled oats into a dry cast iron frying pan and place it over medium high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time. It takes about about 7 minutes to toast the oats. (They smell wonderful!) Transfer the toasted oats into a medium-sized bowl and pour boiling water over top. Cover with a plate and leave overnight in the oven with the leavener.
  1. Mix the dough In the morning of the day you will be making the bread: When a small forkful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough: Sift the whole wheat flour into a large mixing bowl, reserving the bran for after shaping. Add all-purpose flour, wheat germ, malted wheat chops, and 325 water to the sifted whole wheat flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Set aside for a moment.
  1. Weigh the salt and 25 grams water, whisking it together in a small bowl. Set this bowl aside in the oven with only the light turned on.
  1. Add the leavener to the large bowl. Use a dough whisk or wooden spoon to mix these ingredients together to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  1. Adding the salt: Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
  1. Kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl - this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it's coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 30 minutes.
  1. Adding the oats and first stretching and folding: Add the oats overtop. Turn the bowl as you fold and re-fold the dough into the center, to distribute the oats. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter and spring, into the oven with only the light turned on).
  1. Continuing to stretch and fold: Repeat the folding step about 3 times in all at 30 minute intervals. After the final time of folding, leave the covered bowl in a draft free area until the dough has almost doubled 
  1. Pre-shaping: Scatter a dusting of all-purpose flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Fold the dough over in half, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Turn the dough a quarter turn and fold in half again. Continue turning and folding in half until the dough is shaped in a ball. Leave it seam side down on the board and cover with a large overturned mixing bowl (or a tea towel) and let rest for about 30 minutes. 
  1. Prepare the brotform: Liberally coat the insides of a brot-form with rice flour. 
  1. Shaping and adding optional topping: Scatter a very light dusting of flour on top of the round. Gently press down with the palms of your hands to create a disc that is about 4 centimeters deep. Carefully turn the disc over. Without breaking the skin on the bottom, use the dough scraper to fold the dough in half. Turn the dough a quarter turn and continue folding until a ball is created. Leave it seam side down and use the sides of the dough scraper to tighten the dough ball further. Once it has been tightened, wet your hands and rub them gently over the top. Scatter quick oats overtop. Now carefully put the shaped loaf seam-side UP into the brotform. Scatter the reserved bran evenly onto the seam area. Cover with the tea towel or an overturned mixing bowl and let sit for an hour or so to allow the loaf to almost double. "Almost" is the key here.... 
  1. Preheating the oven: To know when it's time to bake, run your index finger under water and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread and leave it on the counter for another 15 minutes of so. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, leave the bread on the counter. Put a baking stone on a lower shelf of the oven. Place a cast-iron combo cooker (or lidded casserole dish) on the middle shelf and preheat the oven to hot (we set ours to 450F). 
  1. Scoring: When the oven is thoroughly preheated about fifteen minutes later, transfer the round into the hot shallow pan of the combo-cooker. Using a lame, sharp knife, or scissors, score the bread in the pattern you like. (Ludd and Fjeld score their toasted oats bread in a box-like pattern on top.) 
  1. Baking: Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and, without stopping to stare in amazement at the amazing oven spring, close the oven door to continue baking for another 30 minutes, until the crust is a lovely dark golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when knuckle-rapped on the bottom. 

  1. Cooling: When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

More Recipes From 2012

Although January had almost a post a day, the rest of the year was as usual...a post every four or five days most of the time. One thing that I notice is that the introductions both explain the recipe and are very personal and sort of talking to a friend about what's going on and how you feel. Looking over the posts for February through December 2012 I had a hard time deciding which to highlight...there were so many delicious recipes each month. Below are some of my favorites, but you can always wander through the blog and discover more!

Sharing what is going on with us is what blogs were originally for, so it's kind of fun to read not only about making Banana Muffins, but also about how Sweetie and I rented a trencher in February to lay conduit to hold the radio wire that is used for the electronic dog fence. We were getting ready to find a rescue dog...which we did months later...our favorite dog and current one, Pi. When we found him and brought him home, it was zucchini time, so I made an Asian Zucchini Soup and also posted a photo of our handsome new (to us) dog.

 I also kept the reader up on what was happening with my gardening pursuits, including the sprouting of seeds in the sunspace, (along with the recipe for an unusual Salmon and Spinach Cornbread loaf) 

to repotting the seedlings when they grew large enough (along with a delicious recipe for bar cookies; Dirty Blondes), 

and planting out the first seedlings while enjoying the tulip blooms (and a springtime Rhubarb Crumble).

There were some more recipes from the family cookbook, too. I made Chicken and Dumplings while it was still chilly because they are pure comfort food. 

Later, in the spring, I made Southern Fried Chicken the way that my Dad taught me to make it. He grew up in various parts of the South, so I think he knows his chicken. Due to the fatty skin compounded by the frying, I don't really make this anymore, but I have fond memories of eating delicious cold friend chicken on picnics with the family. 

Another great recipe is Classic Devilled Eggs...and these are the perfect thing to bring to a potluck. Whenever someone does bring devilled eggs to a gathering, they are often the first to go. 

Another recipe from the cookbook is a wonderful, stick-to-your-ribs soup, Country Bean and Cabbage Soup. If you have the remains of a ham feast, this is the soup to use for the bone and any bits of ham that are left. 

Another dish that would fit right in to the cookbook (but might have been left out) is Pot Roast. It's a hearty, economical dish that is also a one-pot meal (although you could add some rolls or biscuits on the side if you like). 

The cookbook is out of print, but one of my favorite recipes from it is Dad's Creamed Corn, a good one to remember when summer corn is inexpensive and at the top of the season. 

Another, which I make all the time, is Split Pea Soup. One that I don't make often enough, but one that was an annual treat while I was growing up is Lane Cake, a Southern kind of fruitcake for Christmas. Here my Mom is cutting thin slices of it. The top photo in this post is my niece with the version she made a few years ago for our West coast Christmas.

As you might expect, there have been plenty of great bread recipes this year, too. One of my all-time favorites (might be due to my sweet tooth!) is for Awesome Sticky Buns which use an astonishing amount of heavy cream, along with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and an easily handled bread dough. If you know someone who loves cinnamon sticky buns, make these for them and you will be their hero! I have to re-link the photos for some reason, but if you read the recipe you will probably get the idea, especially since they bake in a pool of heavy cream.

Another bread to remember was baked on the100th birthday of Julia Child and the bread is her classic French Bread. She writes long recipes sometimes, but do give this one a try. There is nothing like a freshly baked baguette! Since it was also the height of tomato season, I made bruchetta with the slices of baguette.

Probably my favorite bread for the whole year, and a showstopper, too, is Pesto Rose Bread. It is actually not as difficult as it looks, but it's perfect for the fall when there is usually lots of basil if you want to make your own pesto...or you can use purchased pesto. Either way, your kitchen will smell amazing while this bakes and you will have an intensely flavored, awesome bread to eat. There is no rose used in making this's that the shape is similar to a rose. I made another won the following month for an auction and made a lot of money for my scholarship group since everyone wanted to win that gorgeous, fragrant bread. The unbaked photo shows the pesto better but the baked version with the slice out makes me want to bake this again, right now!

A fun bread I created this year was a colored Easter Egg Bread, which was a loaf shaped like an egg and made with dough that had been colored naturally with pumpkin and decorated with a flour/water paste that had been colored with food colors. It was a savory bread with some garlic to it, too, and it made great toast as well as looking festive on Easter.

The last bread post is for a variation of my favorite waffle - bread baked in a waffle iron - this time it's Amazing Overnight Gingerbread Waffles. I might have to make these this weekend! You start the batter the evening before and in the morning while the waffle iron heats up you finish off the batter. The gingerbread ones are great with bacon and lots of real maple syrup!

I think we should end with a grain salad and then a dessert, O.K.? The salad is one that I came up with by seriously altering a recipe I found on the internet. Forbidden Rice Salad uses the black rice called forbidden rice, plus Asian, citrus and fresh cherry elements. It doesn't photograph all that well, but Sweetie took two servings, so I know it's one that has to be included in this round-up of 2012.

The dessert is one of Sweetie's favorites and a deluxe and tart-crusted version of a diner staple - Coconut Cream Tart. This one is based on pastry cream, with lots of coconut, including toasted coconut as garnish, plus a decadent shortbread type tart crust (and whipped cream). Do try it!

That's it for 2012. My next post will probably be a recipe, then more retrospective posts later in January.