Remember this dog? The one that after only four months had already taught us more than we could have imagined? He's turning one!
Since my last post on him over four months ago, my love for him has only grown stronger. So strong, in fact, that it's hard to accurately express.
I love his spirit, his energy, and his boundless joy. I love how he loves every person and every dog - even when they don't love him back. I love how he keeps his nose glued to the ground on every walk, smelling the stories of the streets and catching up on all that has happened since he's last been out.
I love how he likes to be wrapped in a blanket after a bath, and that he thinks he can still fit in our laps. I love that he loves to eat kale stems, of all foods, and somehow knows when we have kale on the kitchen counter [even when he can't see it]. I love that he's unexplainably scared of fans, and that he yawns when he's nervous.
I love that he likes to take naps on his back - paws straight in the air - and that he talks to us, with muffled barks under his breath, when he wants our attention. I love how every night he finds a place snuggled between Henry and me - no matter how often we try to get him to sleep at the foot of the bed. And, I love how when our alarms go off in the morning, he slinks his body until his head is resting on our pillows, and waits patiently for a belly rub.
What I love most of all though, is that he loves us back.
Happy First Birthday, my sweet Miles.
[I know you'd happily help us finish up this pot of soup, if you could].
roasted butternut squash soup
This soup is filled with warm, winter flavors that complement each other beautifully. Apple and carrots subtly draw out the sweetness of the squash, while curry powder adds a nice warmth. The fragrant thyme oil, drizzled over the hot soup just before serving, adds color and brightness.
1 large butternut squash [3 pounds total]
1/2 of a large yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped [1 cup]
1 apple, chopped [a sweet variety is best - I used a golden delicious]
2 quarts homemade or low-sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/3 cup heavy cream
roasted squash seeds, for garnish [recipe follows]
thyme oil, for garnish [recipe follows]
heavy cream, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the squash, scoop out the insides with a spoon and discard [reserving the seeds for roasting]. Cut into 1-inch pieces and arrange in one layer on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, tossing to coat. Bake for 25-30, tossing the squash every so often to make sure it doesn't burn. Set aside.
Meanwhile, while the squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a stock pot. Add the chopped onion, chopped carrot, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, add the chopped apple, fresh thyme, and curry powder. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and carrots are starting to soften.
Add the vegetable broth and roasted squash to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Blend the soup, in small batches, in a blender [be very careful blending hot liquid - use a towel to cover the top of the blender, instead of an actual lid, so that the steam can escape].
Once completely smooth, return the soup to the stock pot [off the heat], and add the heavy cream and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.
Serve in bowls and garnish with a drizzle of thyme oil [recipe to follow], heavy cream, and a sprinkling of roasted squash seeds [recipe to follow].
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Add thyme and oil to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a small container and reserve until ready to use. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.
Roasted Squash Seeds
seeds from 1 butternut squash, removed and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Pat seeds dry with a paper towel and spread in an even layer on a small baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Transfer to oven and roast until slightly golden - about 15 minutes [shaking pan once halfway through to ensure even roasting].