Category Archives: vegan

Recipe: Watermelon “Popsicles,” World’s Easiest Frozen Dessert.

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Good Evening:

Someone must have already thought of this. It’s too simple.

Start with a few slices of watermelon, about 3/4 – 1 inch thick. Your only ingredient.

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Cut each slice into quarters, like this:

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Stick the plate, uncovered, into the freezer for several hours and let the chunks freeze solid.

That’s it. You’re done. The texture is amazingly similar to frozen fruit popsicles, and you get a strong hit of watermelon flavor. In addition to dessert, you may use these to cleanse the palate between courses of a multi-course dinner. I’ve experimented with other melons, and Canary Melons are almost as good, but watermelon remains the best.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Three Basil-Mint Pestos, One Vegan, Two Vegetarian.

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Good Evening:

In my previous post, I described how I dealt with an overabundance of mint. But before I had the overabundance of mint, I had an overabundance of mint–plus an overabundance of basil.

Presenting how I got rid of that in a manner most pleasing to the stomach: Pesto.

Pesto does not require basil and only basil, plus pine nuts and only pine nuts. It does not even require Parmesan cheese. Whilst the famous Pesto Genovese includes all three, multiple variations exist. For example, the Provencal “pistou” is a Genovese with no cheese or nuts. You should feel free to invent your own.

Basil-Mint Cheese-less Pesto

I began with these ingredients:

  1. 2 cups of Basil leaves
  2. 1 cup of Mint leaves
  3. 3 cloves of Garlic
  4. 1/4 cup of shelled Pistachios (yes, Pistachios)
  5. 1/4 cup of slivered Almonds (a more traditional substitute)
  6. 3/4 cup of Olive Oil

Put the first five ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. You will need to pause and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Now leave the process on and slowly add the olive oil until all is incorporated and thoroughly blended.

Remove one-third of the Pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate. That is your first pesto recipe.

Basil-Mint Asiago Pesto

New ingredient:

  1. 3/4 cup freshly grated Asiago (you don’t even need the “right” cheese!)

Add the cheese to the pesto remaining in the bowl and pulse until thoroughly blended and incorporated.

Remove one-third of the Pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate. That is your second pesto recipe.

Basil-Mint and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

New ingredient:

  1. Six ounces of jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil, with the oil. Seriously.

Add the tomatoes to the remaining pesto in the bowl and pulse until the sun-dried tomatoes are thoroughly chopped, blended and incorporated.

Remove the remaining pesto, put in an airtight jar, and refrigerate.

Now all you have to do consists of combing the online websites for cool new recipes calling for any kind of pesto! Sorry, I can’t help you with that, but it is a fun activity.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri.

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Good Evening:

The thing is, the vendors at farmers markets must sell you much bigger bunches of fresh herbs than you actually need. They don’t have a choice; either that, or their produce spoils on the farm.

So yes, I knew what I got myself into when I purchased an innocent “little” bundle of mint leaves at the Civic Center Farmers Market. Even after using too much for the recipe in question, I still had vast quantities leftover and needed something different from making 50 gallons each of iced tea and lemonade (the traditional solution in New England).

Therefore I committed blasphemy. Chimmichurri is a magnificent Argentinian condiment made with fresh parsley, sometimes with either fresh cilantro or oregano added, plus garlic, olive oil, and white vinegar. I still had over a half cup of mint leaves leftover, and desperate to use all of a very fine quality batch, I developed this recipe instead.

Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri

Ingredients

  1. Two cups of parsley leaves (save the stems for soup stock)
  2. 3/4 cup of mint leaves
  3. 1 garlic clove
  4. Finely chopped zest of one small Lemon
  5. 3/4 cup of olive oil (you can splurge with the high-quality stuff)
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste
  7. Juice of one small Lemon

Process

Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to chop, frequently pausing to scrape down the sides, until everything is finely chopped and blended. Add one-half of the lemon juice and pulse again a few times. If sufficient, save the other half for another use. If not enough, add the other half and pulse again a few times until everything is blended.

What foods go well with this?

Hundreds of them. It’s astounding how well this worked out. Chicken, pork chops, grilled vegetables, a dip for fresh vegetables, a dip for grilled shrimp, a marinade, a salad dressing, a sauce for egg noodles, a sauce for diced summer squash and halved cherry tomatoes (uncooked)–Lemon-Mint Chimmichurri works on almost every entree. Someone else must have discovered this before I did, because it’s just too dang good not to already exist.

It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Let it reach room temperature before using.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Triple-R Onions.

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Good Evening:

Like my cheddar and creme fraiche recipe, this dish also works in a variety of contexts: side dish to the main course; topping for burgers, turkey or chicken breasts, steaks or sandwiches; pureed, it becomes a sauce.

Triple-R Onions: Red Onions in Red Wine and Rosemary

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 1 extremely sharp French Chef’s knife
  • 2 Red Onions, combined weight about one pound
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 0.5 – 1 cup of Red Wine, depending upon need
  • 1-2 Tablespoons finely chopped Rosemary, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper

The Process

  1. Peel and halve the onions along their axes.
  2. Slice very thinly with the knife to produce onion strings, ideally one-sixteenth inch thick although one-eighth will suffice for this recipe.
  3. Gently separate the strings from each other
  4. Gently heat the olive oil over low heat in a stainless steel sauce pan (not cast iron). When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onions, and stir gently and frequently for 10-15 minutes until they became very limp, have sweated out all of their water, and that water has evaporated. Two important points here. First, you want to get rid of the onions’ water, almost dry them out. Second, do not burn the onions; you have to keep stirring slowly and gently.
  5. Once the water has evaporated, add one-half cup of the red wine to the onions and stir. If the onions absorb the red wine too easily, add the other half.
  6. When the red wine has absorbed into the onions, stir in the rosemary. Cook for a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve.

I have no idea what kind of dish this is, but it works very well in a variety of contexts.

Vonn Scott Bair

 

Pan-Seared and Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Nutmeg & Ginger.

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Good Evening:

I, too, remember the dark days of Brussel Sprouts. They came frozen in 6 inch x 6 inch x 2 inch white-packaged bricks, boiling them to death was the only known cooking method, and frankly, they tasted faintly of urine. However, in the early 1980s, I worked at the restaurant that might have served as the starting point for their slooooooow comeback to respectability. The Commissary, part of a Philadelphia empire of restaurants owned by Steve Poses, would split them in two vertically, blanche them for 1 minute, immediately shock them in cold water to stop cooking, and then drain them thoroughly. When called for, the second cook would sauce them in butter, top with crumbled bacon and salt and pepper, then serve as a side dish.

The recent trend in Brussel Sprouts seems to consist of oven roasting them whole without blanching. It’s OK, but sometimes the stems are not quite done. This past weekend I had about 12 ounces of sprouts–largely because what the heck, why not?–and thought I night try something slightly different. I knew that freshly grated nutmeg is the secret ingredient to great creamed spinach (weird if you think about it, but it does work); I knew that many Chinese recipes include both cabbage and ginger. So let’s have fun.

Pan-Seared and Roasted Brussel Sprouts in Nutmeg & Ginger

  • 12 ounces Brussel Sprouts, washed, drained on paper towels, stem ends trimmed, split in half vertically.
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 0.5 – 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (and it has to be freshly grated)
  • 0.5 – 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put Brussel Sprout halves in a bowl.
  3. Toss with oil then with salt and pepper. I like to go light on the salt and heavy-ish on the pepper.
  4. Heat saute pan to medium-high. I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
  5. Working in batches, place Brussel Sprouts cut side down on the skillet.
  6. Leave untouched for 3 minutes. Check for a nice light to medium brown sear on the cut sides. If you have the sear, transfer cut side up to an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. If too light in color, let sear for 1-2 minutes only, then transfer to sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the oven. Ten minutes if you like crunchy, fifteen if you prefer a softer texture.
  9. Transfer to a heat-proof serving bowl.
  10. Sprinkle the nutmeg and ginger on the sprouts and stir gently until thoroughly coated with the spice blend. I like strong flavors and went with a teaspoon of each. You might want to start with a half teaspoon of nutmeg and ginger if you prefer mild spice flavors.

Serves four as a side dish.

Some notes: Leaves will fall off. That’s fine; you’ll have something to munch on as you work. More importantly, I cannot stress strongly enough the use of freshly grated nutmeg. The complexity of the aroma and flavors make a big difference.

Vonn Scott Bair

 

 

Recipe: Roasted Dates with Pomegranate Vinegar

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Good Evening:

Developed this recipe for Super Bowl Sunday. It’s really easy as long as you remember to use a light touch when you add the vinegar and spices.

Roasted Dates with Pomegranate Vinegar

  • 2-3 Medjool Dates for each person, split into halves, seeds removed and discarded
  • Pomegranate flavored vinegar
  • Salt, Pepper and Coriander
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place each date half, cut side up on the paper.
  3. Lightly sprinkle the dates with the vinegar.
  4. Lightly sprinkle the dates with the salt, pepper and coriander.
  5. Roast the dates for 5-6 minutes, tops.
  6. Let cool to warm or room temperature, serve.

Yeah, it’s that simple.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Dr. Vonn’s Magic Dust (Spice Blend for Deep-Fried Dishes)

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Good Evening:

Maybe this will prove nothing more than a figment of my imagination, but I honestly believe that I have created a perfect spice blend for deep-fried dishes, and I mean all deep-fried foods; fried chicken, breaded and deep-fried Provolone sticks, french fries, breaded and deep-fried veggies, et cetera. Naturally, I will continue to tweak and experiment with different proportions, but I present the best I’ve devised so far.

Dr. Vonn’s Magic Dust

  • 2 Tablespoons powdered onion
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered or granulated garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I prefer low salt dishes, you can add more)
  • 2 Tablespoons thyme (powdered or “rubbed” if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Spanish pimenton (smoked paprika)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons smoked cinnamon

Place all ingredients into a clean, sterile, and dry jar with a screw top lid. Seal tightly and shake vigorously. Shake some onto french fries so you can get a good feel for the taste and whether or not you want to adjust proportions. Should keep for a few months at least.

The most critically important ingredient, and the most difficult to locate, is the smoked cinnamon. Amazon has exactly one source of the spice, while I get my supply from The Ingredient Finder, but it is super-duper-ultra worth the search. In terms of taste, it blends well with the smoked paprika, but the aroma! WOW. That smell truly excites me. This ingredient has not caught on in American cooking yet (which explains why it remains pretty darn expensive), but I can’t see that continuing much longer.

In future experiments, I will use powdered rosemary, rubbed sage, perhaps some combination of rosemary, sage, thyme and maybe oregano, for I am an ethical mad scientist–I only experiment upon myself.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: The Sorbet Float

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Good Afternoon:

Lugging around a camera and two shopping bags filled with groceries and household cleaners in the bright sunshine and brutal 70 degree heat of a San Francisco summer Saturday afternoon will turn anyone hot, sweaty and tired. So when I crawled home from my chores, I staggered into the kitchen, pulled my leftover homemade Blackberry-Strawberry Sorbet out of the freezer, pulled a bottle of seltzer from the fridge, and did the following:

  1. Dumped about 4-6 ounces of sorbet into the bottom of a pint glass;
  2. Filled the glass with seltzer; and then
  3. Stirred until the sorbet had mostly dissolved.

Finally, I drank it.

Or-bleeping-gasmic.

I strongly recommend you try something like this on your next super-hot summer day. Any fruit-flavored sorbet should work just fine, although I do recommend letting it soften at room temperature for a few minutes first. Also, if I drank hard liquor, I would experiment with a shot of white rum or vodka.

Vonn Scott Bair

Love Your Veggies!

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Good Evening:

I haven’t added a recipe in a while. This isn’t only a recipe ; it’s also a technique for the proper treatment of vegetables. The pictures come from today’s visit to the Civic Center farmers market; paradoxically, the vegetable pictures were pretty bad, so I only have fruit for this post.

First Cherries of 2013! Picture Taken with iPhone 4, Modified in Aquarella v. 1.0

First Cherries of 2013! Picture Taken with iPhone 4, Modified in Aquarella v. 1.0

How little love vegetables get from both home cooks and restaurant professionals! Almost as an afterthought, they dump some perfectly wonderful vegetables into a pot of boiling water, forget they exist, cook the flavor, color and nutrients out of them, fail to drain them properly, and then dump them on a plate to lay weakly in a pool of rapidly cooling water. Now when my grandmother in Idaho cooked vegetables, she boiled them, too, but she kept an eye on the pot, did not overcook them, and drained them completely. But she “cheated:” until 10 minutes before dinner was served, these same vegetables had grown in my paternal grandparents’ backyard garden.

I normally prefer to saute vegetables, but sometimes I need to cook them in water. But I don’t boil them; boiling only works well with the ones growing in your back yard. I prefer steaming as the best way to use water and still preserve color, shape, taste and nutrients. I will give away my secret, but be forewarned: I will call upon your courage and fortitude.

Steamed Vegetables (Serves 4-6)

  • 1 pound Vegetables, such as zucchini, carrots, peas, shelled fava beans, snow peas
  • 1 Lemon, zested, split in half
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Fresh Mint, finely minced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup white wine (optional)

I’ll pretend we’re steaming zucchini.

  1. Wash the squash thoroughly and trim the ends. Split lengthwise into quarters. Cut into one-half inch chunks.
  2. Boil water in the pot, adding the juice of one lemon half and the optional white wine if you choose.
  3. Toss together the zucchini, mint and lemon zest.
  4. Place in the steamer basket, place the steamer basket over the pot of boiling liquid, and cover.

Time for bravery. I present my big secret after the picture of the strawberries.

Strawberries at the Farmers Market, 24 April 2013

Strawberries at the Farmers Market, 24 April 2013

Undercook the vegetables.

Yes, please have the courage to undercook your vegetables. The zucchini needs no more than 2 minutes, perhaps only one. Snow peas (which you’ll cut in half or thirds) and peas might need 3 minutes. Fava beans, maybe five if they’re big. Carrots, depending upon how thickly you cut them up, might need six or seven. Rule of thumb: If they’re still a little crunchy, they’re done. Remove your vegetables from the pot, dump them into an attractive bowl (presentation matters; love your veggies!), and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over them. You may add a little butter or high quality olive oil (or substitute other herbs, as long as they’re fresh) if you wish.

Vonn Scott Bair

Leeks, Fennel, and Celery Sauteed in Butter and White Wine

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Good Afternoon:

I receieved the inspiration for this recipe from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. I wanted a corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day, but boiled cabbage just didn’t interest me. This substitution worked pretty well, if I do say so.

  • 1-2 Shallots
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 Leeks
  • 1 bulb of Fennel
  • 5-6 Celery stalks
  • 1/2 to 1 cup White Wine
  • Optional: Fresh Fennel fronds, Thyme, Dill, Chervil and/or Parsley to taste, chopped
  1. Finely mince the Shallots. Trim the roots and green leaves from the Leeks (saving the leaves for stock), split each leek down the middle like a log, slice very thinly, and then wash thoroughly. Slice the Fennel bulb very thinly into roughly one-inch lengths, using whatever technique you prefer (fennel can prove a puzzling veggie to chop). Slice the stalks of Celery very thinly across the grain. Wash the leeks, fennel and celery thoroughly, then leave to drain.
  2. Melt the butter (vegans can substitute margarine) over medium-low heat, then add the shallots and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add the white wine, stir, turn up the heat until the liquid bubbles, then let it reduce for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining vegetables, stir, turn the heat back down to medium-low, and saute gently for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the optional herbs. If the vegetables have absorbed all of the liquid, you may serve them as is. If they have not, serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Notes:

  • Slicing thinly is the critical detail; try for 16 slices per inch, but at minimum 8.
  • This probably works best as a side dish for lamb, roast beef, corned beef or ham.
  • Powdered fennel seed is a nice option.
  • Next time, I intend to add 1 1/2 cups of peeled and diced apples. Should complement the fennel very well.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Blasphemous Black-Eyed Peas–Vegan!

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Good Afternoon:

The traditional Southeastern US New Year’s Day meal of Black-Eyed Peas with Ham Hocks–like many other dishes around the world, a “good luck for the new year” food–ranks as one of our Great American Dishes, and inspires fanatical loyalty in its devotees. Hey, I love the dish, too, and I’ve only traveled as far south as Athens, Georgia on a weekend trip.

Naturally, I have to commit blasphemy. Vegan blasphemy.

Blasphemous Black-Eyed Peas, Vegan Version (6 servings)

  • 1 lb. dried Black-Eyed Peas
  • Lots of water
  • 2 dried Bay Leaves
  • 2-4 sprigs of fresh Thyme
  • 1 four-inch length of fresh Rosemary
  • 10 Peppercorns
  • 1 large Onion, 1/2 inch dice
  • 2-6 cloves of Garlic, finely minced
  • 2-3 Carrots, 1/2 inch dice
  • 3-4 ribs of Celery, 1/2 inch dice
  • 3 Parsnips, 1/2 inch dice
  • Red Wine Vinegar to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Hot Sauce to taste (more on this later)
  1. Spread out the black-eyed peas (actually a legume or bean) in a single layer on a baking sheet. Pick through them very carefully; I’ve found pebbles a half-inch long. Wash them thoroughly and put them in a large pot with a lid. Add water to cover by two inches.
  2. Wrap the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and peppercorns in a sort of “teabag” made from cheesecloth and add to the pot.
  3. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the onions. Cover loosely, leaving the pot partially uncovered.
  4. Stir occasionally. After 90 minutes, add the garlic, carrots, celery and parsnips, stirring.
  5. Simmer with the pot partially uncovered for another 30 minutes or until the black-eyed peas are very tender.
  6. Remove the “teabag” and discard. Drain everything and put into a bowl.
  7. Add the red wine vinegar and salt to taste and stir thoroughly.
  8. Serve in bowls with the hot sauce on the side so everyone can add as much as they want. Now, about that hot sauce: I realize that Tabasco™ is the obvious and popular choice, but that stuff has never tasted hot to me. I’ve read the ingredients and I know the sauce doesn’t include sugar, but I swear it tastes sweet. I recommend habañero or Sriracha sauces instead. If you have never tried them, they do pack a punch, so add carefully.

Options abound, of course. You can serve the dish over a bed of rice, toss in eight ounces of fresh peas five minutes before the end, maybe add two peeled potatoes (also 1/2 inch dice) with the other vegetables.

Vonn Scott Bair

PS–Why does a meat eater such as yours truly create vegan recipes?!

Recipe: Olive Salad (Vegan), Plus Some Recent Photos from the Civic Center Farmer’s Market

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Good Evening:

Hungry? Can’t think of what to eat for dinner?

Perhaps I can help:

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Even during winter, even vegans can find almost anything at one of San Francisco’s farmers markets. Although not a vegan, I happily and heartily recommend a handy repertoire of vegan dishes for a couple of reasons. First, I host several dinner parties during the year, and when a guest arrives and says, “Listen, I should have told you that I’m vegan,” I enjoy replying, “You will do anything but starve tonight” and watching their reactions. Second, sometimes a day or two of meals without any animal protein, fats or dairy products can have a terrific effect upon overall well being (disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and you should not take my advice without consulting one first).

Third, I love the sheer inventiveness of vegan cuisine.

My New Orleans co-worker who loves the Napoleon of San Francisco recently returned from a visit to Louisiana with a pile of Muffulettas from the legendary Central Grocery for her compadres. Naturally, the office had a muffuletta lunch party. We actually fought over who would take home the Central Grocery red & white sandwich wrappers (I didn’t get one). Aside from the bread, the critical ingredient in the muffaletta sandwich is something called “Olive Salad,” a total misnomer because it looks much more like a variation of tapenade. Ms. New Orleans claimed that she has looked but has never found a good olive salad outside of New Orleans.

I couldn’t resist the challenge.

Slightly Blasphemous Olive Salad, California Style

  • 12 ounces of pitted Kalamata olives, drained
  • 1 16-ounce jar of Giardiniera (also called Jiardiniera or Gardiniera), drained
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste. You don’t need salt.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary
  1. Keep only the cauliflower, carrots and celery from the Giardiniera. Anything else, such as cocktail onions, bell peppers, et cetera, must be removed and set aside for another use.
  2. Put the olives, cauliflower, carrots and celery into a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped and blended.
  3. Add a little olive oil and black pepper. Pulse again until blended.
  4. Add the rosemary, plus more olive oil if you think need more. Pulse again until you have a smooth paste like tapenade or pesto.
  5. Scrape into a container, seal tightly and refrigerate. Should last as least 2 weeks if kept chilled.

The rosemary constitutes my slightly blasphemous addition and makes it Californian.

Aside from making muffulettas, vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers alike have dozens of ways to incorporate olive salad into their recipes. It’s a great addition to both tomato and cream-based pasta sauces. Use a spread for BLTs or ham sandwiches. Add to sauteed vegetables for either a main dish, side dish, crepe filling, pasta topping, or omelet filling. Spread it thinly on top of bruschetta or crostini. Let your imagination run wild, and have as much fun as your stomach.

Vonn Scott Bair

Recipe: Butternut Squash, Apple & Leek Soup, Vegan & Vegetarian Versions

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Good Morning:

Many zillions of years ago, I worked my way through college in restaurants, an incredible education that has probably saved me a hundred thousand dollars in food costs since then. One evening at one such restaurant, the manager found himself with a ridiculous oversupply of butternut squash and challenged the staff to invent some means of getting rid the excess via the customers’ mouths and wallets. One of the Second Cooks improvised something with apples, leeks and few other ingredients that he shared with no one except the manager, a soup that quickly became a semi-permanent fixture on the menu.

I never learned his recipe, so I devised my own. I will try not to brag but honestly, this is a great winter soup (particularly at Thanksgiving), especially for cooks fond of improvisation in the kitchen.

Butternut Squash, Apple & Leek Soup, Vegan & Vegetarian Versions

  • One Butternut Squash, halved and seeded
  • 3-4 Apples, roughly equal in weight to the squash, cored, peeled and diced
  • One or Two Leeks, white part only, finely chopped and thoroughly washed
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter or neutral flavored vegetable oil
  • 1 Cup to 1 Quart Half & Half, Soy Milk or Almond Milk
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (other spices optional)
  • Finely chopped toasted walnuts and parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Wrap the two squash halves loosely in foil and bake in a preheated over (400 degrees) for 45-60 minutes until a toothpick penetrates the flesh easily.
  2. Saute the apples and leeks together over medium low heat for ten minutes. Remove from heat when done.
  3. When the squash are ready, remove from the oven and let cool until you can easily handle them. Peel and chop into one inch cubes.
  4. Mix the squash together with the apples and leeks. Puree the mixture in your blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices, but I recommend only one extra per batch. Cinnamon, coriander, allspice, thyme or finely chopped sage have all worked well for me.
  5. At this point, you can stop if you wish and serve the puree as an outstanding alternative to mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams.
  6. But we’re making soup, so add one cup of the half & half or dairy alternative to the blender and puree.
  7. This is where your own judgment comes in. If you like super-thick soups, you can stop here. If you prefer thinner soups, add another cup at a time until you have the texture you desire.
  8. Once the soup has reached the desired thickness, pour the contents of the blender into a saucepan and heat gently until hot.
  9. Pour into bowls. Garnish with a circle of walnuts in the middle and a ring of chopped parsley around that.

If something seems wrong with the recipe, such as a missing step, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Vonn Scott Bair