This summer has been too much fun. What I mean by that is that we’ve been managing to squeeze so much fun into our very limited non-working hours that it’s making these warm, carefree days fly by much too quickly. We’ve had family visits, tasted one-of-a-kind beers at the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown beer festival, floated around in the lake, and ridden our bikes all over. At this point either the fun has to stop or we’re going to need to find a way to slow down time. I really hope we figure out the whole time-slowing thing soon though because I have no intention of ending my fun. So if anyone knows a physicist who could help me out with that….
Anyway, when life starts getting crazy like this, meals start getting much simpler. Few ingredients, simple techniques, and not too much active cooking time are the rules right now. In accordance with these self-imposed rules, I threw together a super tasty soup for lunch the other day using some garden-fresh summer squash and little else. It’s thick and flavorful enough to stand on its own as a meal, but not so heavy as to weigh you down on an active day. And as an added bonus, if you cook the squash on the grill like I did you can spend most of your cooking time enjoying some sunshine. What more you could you ask for?
Curried Summer Squash Soup
When I said I’ve been cooking simple meals I meant really simple. As in so simple I’m kind of being lazy. In this case, I didn’t really feel like chopping onions or garlic so I decided to use some asafoetida instead for just as much flavor but way less work. If you don’t have any in your spice cabinet you could certainly use some diced onion and/or garlic instead. Just sauté them for a bit before adding the curry powder. Also, please be careful when adding the squash puree to the hot oil. It will start to spatter like boiling polenta and it really hurts when it hits you in the face (trust me). Continuous stirring helps keep it to a minimum but I’d recommend having a lid nearby in case it gets out of control.
for the cashew cream:
1/2 c raw cashews
6 T water, plus additional for soaking
for the rest:
2.5 lb yellow summer squash
1 T coconut oil (or whatever oil you prefer), plus additional for oiling the squash
2 tsp curry powder
1 c water
1.5 tsp salt
A few hours before you plan to make the soup, soak the cashews in water for at least 2 or 3 hours. Drain and set aside.
Heat a grill to medium. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, coat with a bit of oil, and season with salt and pepper. Lay the squash halves on the grill skin side down and grill for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time. The squash should be tender throughout and have some char marks on the outside. Remove from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle. If you don’t have a grill, you could roast the squash halves in the oven at 375 degrees or so for 20 to 30 minutes.
In the meantime, make the cashew cream. Transfer the drained cashews to a food processor with 6 T of water. Process until smooth and creamy.
Cut the cooled squash into large chunks and transfer to the food processor with the cashew cream. Process until the puree reaches your desired consistency. I like mine pretty smooth, but you could certainly leave it a little chunky.
Add the coconut oil to a large saucepan, soup pot, or dutch oven and heat to medium. Add the asafoetida and cook for a minute or two. Add the curry powder and cook for a minute longer. Lower the heat a bit and add the squash puree, stirring constantly, and then stir in the water and the salt. If you’d prefer a thinner consistency, add a little more water. Allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes, partially covered to avoid spatters. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Garnish with chopped herbs, if desired. Or keep it simple and just serve it as is.
Serves: 2-3 as a main dish, 4-6 as a side