a story of a squash. 2:46pm

there are so many new things that i am experiencing now that i am married. i am learning to make home. i am learning to host. i am learning that husbands eat a lot of food—this is something that is especially true about my husband. needless to say, i am learning a lot in the kitchen.

my mother-in-law gave me a lovely, hour-glass shaped vegetable to which i could not put a name. i was especially grateful when she went on to explain that it was a butternut squash. excitedly, i took said squash home and set it on my counter and proceeded to have an awkward starring contest with it until i decided to consult


 for a plan of execution. that was the ticket. i found a lovely recipe for butternut squash, pear and vanilla soup. i embarked on the journey of crossing territory i had not yet seen before.

here is a simple anthology of my experience.

if it looks like something you'd like to try, here's the recipe...

butternut squash soup with pear, cider and vanilla

makes 4-6 servings

adapted from

The Best Remedy

1 T olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)

3 pears, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 cup cider

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup half and half

1/4 cup bacon, finely chopped for sprinkling on top (optional)

dollop of sour cream for garnish

1. Heat the olive oil and onions in large pot over medium-low heat, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the squash and pears and cook for 10-15 more minutes, until onions soften and become transparent and the pears begin to fall apart.

3. Add the cider and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat.

4. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.

5. Using a blender or food processor and working in small batches (be careful, hot liquids expand), purée until smooth.

6. Return the soup back to the pot, adding the salt and cayenne pepper. Continue to cook until the soup is about one-half to one-third its original volume. The final consistency is up to you.

7. While the soup is reducing, combine the vanilla extract and the half and half in a small saucepan. Gently warm it over low heat, be careful not to boil. Once it begins to steam, remove from the heat and set aside.

8. Once the soup is the consistency you prefer, gently stir in the half and half mixture.

9. Spoon the soup into individual bowls, garnishing with sour cream, cayenne and bacon.