There is something about spring that whispers excitement, and a bit of mystery. I think it's in the air, in the wind. It's musky, dewey scent lingers in the sheets, in the drapes, in the freshly hung duvet. Its earthy, and warm, and familiar. Spring loves to coerce us, beckoning us to throw open the windows and take in every gentle breath of wind. It plays in our hair, dances on our shoulders and kisses our cheeks. Everything is blooming, and it seems as though the world is covered in a dusting of pink petals. Spring convinces us to step out of the house, breath the crisp air, and maybe take our shoes off for the first time in seven months.
After such a long and bitter winter, it is hard not to get outside and take advantage of every sunny day - even if the temperatures are still in the low to mid fifties here in Massachusetts. This week the farmer's markets have started up again (joy!) and the ever-popular Todd Farm Antiques Show and Flea Market has been bustling with people once more.
I adore Sundays in the Spring. I love getting up early, when the sun is just catching the dew on the new grass. I am the coffee maker in our house, and I love the morning ritual (I recently bought a coffee grinder and a drip pot - a new obsession. I never knew how bad coffee tasted out of an electric coffee pot until I had drip coffee - BUT that is a different topic all together). On Sundays in Spring, I love getting up, grinding and dripping and sipping the fresh coffee. I love pulling on a pair of jeans and my rain boots, throwing on a sweater (maybe washing my face and brushing my teeth) grabbing my cup of coffee, Phil and the camera, and heading to the flea market. We peruse the vendors, searching for nothing in particular, but searching nonetheless. You never know what gem you might find, and we all need gems, right? Finding nothing, or perhaps a few art deco perfume bottles, an antique equestrian helmet, or a few Mother of Pearl handled spoons for a steal - we head to the Newburyport Farmers Market.
The farmer's markets in Massachusetts get me so excited to throw on my apron and get in the kitchen. We take our time walking around the market, sipping on a coffee and munching on whatever samples we can find. Every single vendor inspires me. What can I make with those oyster mushrooms? I need to have those duck eggs, but what to do with them? Fiddle heads! Yes please! Fresh striped bass? Of course! Some weeks I walk away with a tote full of new things to try, and others I leave empty handed because I'm not quite sure what I'm looking for. Its hard not to be inspired by all of the fresh local ingredients, but some weeks are just a miss- especially in these early weeks of the market.
This Spring (while wholeheartedly welcomed) is a bit on the chilly side - I'm still patiently waiting for 70 degree days, but while it is still 50-55 degrees, I'm craving hot soups. There is something about a spicy soup that warms a cool April day. This soup is earthy, and fresh and comforting. It has a kick from the curry and black pepper, with sweet onion and ginger undertones. Pair it with some crusty fresh bread and some salted butter and you have the perfect Spring afternoon lunch to be eaten while discussing where to showcase that antique equestrian helmet.
• Curried Squash Soup •
makes about 8 cups
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 butternut squash- peeled and chopped into small cubes
• 1 acorn squash- peeled and chopped into small cubes
• 1 small yellow onion chopped
• 1 clove garlic finely chopped
• 1 piece fresh ginger (about an inch long) , peeled and chopped
• 4 cups vegetable broth
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• 1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder (split up in to 1 tablespoon and 1/2 tablespoon)
• 1 teaspoon ginger powder
• salt and pepper to taste
Peel and chop squash, onion, garlic and ginger.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a stock pot or dutch oven.
Once olive oil is hot, put onion, garlic and ginger in and stir until the onion is translucent.
Add the 1 tablespoon curry powder to the onions and garlic, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.
Add all of the squash to the pot. Stir frequently, making sure not to burn the squash. Turn the heat down to medium if it looks like the squash is browning too quickly.
Once the squash is a tad soft, add in the chicken stock, and stir. At this point I add about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper, and leave the rest for later to taste.
Place the lid on the pot and let the soup simmer for about 20 minutes.
When the squash is easily pierced with a fork (like a potato would be before mashing them) add the milk, and the rest of the curry powder. Puree soup with an immersion blender, or by ladling soup into a regular blender.
Once the soup is completely pureed, season with salt and pepper until you like the flavors. I sometimes add more curry powder if I'm feeling in a spicy mood! You can always add other spices in, like turmeric, or some red chili flakes for that extra kick! You also don't have to add any milk if you're not into that- I just like that it gives it a little bit of a creamy base, and sometimes balances the kick of the spices.
Serve immediately, or keep refrigerated up to one week. It also freezes very nicely!
Listening to: April in Paris by Ella Fitzgerald