Taste Bud Geography
Friday night. Date night.
80P went off to play video games with one of his college friends and I had my girl El over to cook and eat. In past posts you may have learned that El was a huge factor in creating the food monsters that BS and I are today. So it was a mighty treat to have her over for a kitchen session.
The menu/plan: butternut squash soup and salad. Details to be determined upon opening fridge, pantry and through many rounds of tasting.
Before El got there I
cleaned my terribly messy kitchen roasted two butternut squashes. Peeled those motherfuckers, cut them into pretty small pieces, tossed with oil, salt and pepper and threw them in the oven. Maybe on 400 for about 30 minutes, getting in there halfway through and shaking the pan.
Near the end of the roasting, I sauteed half an onion and two cloves garlic with oil, salt and pepper. I then dumped in the soft and slightly browned squash and stirred it around with the onion and garlic.
Like I’ve said before, I’ve only been using water (4.5 cups water) in my soups instead of stock. And I honestly think it’s great. It gives me more room to play around with flavors and really figure out what the soup needs. One day, though, I’ll woman-up and make my own stock.
Okay, so after quick consultation we decided on using harissa to give the squash some flare and heat along with my new best friend, curry powder. But of course it didn’t end there (get ready for more of this). With some more salt and pepper and pureeing the squash and water til creamy, we concluded that something was missing – there was no front flavor. Spice in the back, but almost bland in the front. El thought of adding nutmeg, but I threw out my old nuts recently and haven’t replaced it yet <gasp!> so we threw in a cinnamon stick instead.
In order to nail that elusive front flavor, El investigated taste bud geography and I pulled out The Flavor Bible. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a culinary explanation of the tongue, but I’m on the lookout now. Anyway, the *bible* gave us the idea of ginger (freshly grated) and lemon (juice from one). We stirred that together, added a pinch more salt and we were finished. Oh wait. The garnish: dollop of yogurt and a few toasted pecans/walnuts (the nuts were labeled pecans, but El thinks they’re walnuts. They’re all nuts to me.)
And in case you’re still reading this super long post:
Salad: greens, diced avocado, queso fresco, pecans/walnuts dressed with oil, garlic, um, crap. El made the salad. Hopefully she’ll leave it in the comments (HINT).
We scooped up this deliciousness with fried corn tortillas.