Monday, January 4, 2010

holiday season

I haven't written on my blog in almost a month. I was in Nashville for a bit consuming way too many deep fried delights, honky tonkin and checking out Johnny Cash's infamous all black suit and Elvis' solid gold cadillac at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Then it was on to Pennsylvania to see my folks. Sadly, I was hit with the horrible news that my mom has been diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer. Of course, this was a shock. My mom used to smoke twenty five years ago, but the reasons could be more than cigarettes. Air pollution, radon emitting from the earth, the oil refinery near where my parents live... the list goes on. The environmental factors are truly disturbing and I could go on about the effects air pollution have on cancer. But I digress.

My mom is responding well to treatment. And one of the most important things is eating well during this difficult time. The first thing I did when I found out the news, was cook up some nourishing soup. The doctors told her she's not allowed to eat too many raw foods (in case of bacteria and her compromised immune system) Cancer patients should also eat foods that are antimicrobial, like garlic. Eating the colors of the rainbow. Lots of fruits and vegetables. Taking that advice to heart, this is the soup I made:

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

1 large butternut squash (peeled and cut into one inch chunks)
2 medium sized sweet onions (chopped into small dice)
6 or 7 med. sized carrots (sliced into 1/2 inch rounds)
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
5 cups water or veggie stock
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the peeled and cut butternut squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Roast in oven for about 40 minutes or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat a stock pot, add olive oil and then the chopped onions. Add a pinch of salt. Saute on low heat until the onions become translucent and slightly caramelized. Add garlic, cinnamon and carrots. Saute until the carrots are soft. Add butternut squash and veggie stock/water. Add another pinch of salt. Cook for about 20 more minutes. *

*I used a traditional dutch potato masher to mash the soup a bit. You could conversely use a blender to make a smooth soup, but that requires cooling the soup, transferring it to a blender, transferring it back to soup pot. Too much work. Mashing makes it rustic and hearty. Also, I didn't have a chance to take a photo of the soup because the timing was a little bad. But here's a picture of the some carrots I had gotten at the farmer's market a couple weeks ago:

Oh, and here's the potato masher I used:

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