I am not a perfectionist! I am a feeler! On the Myers Briggs personality test I am a F off the cart. I make decisions pretty quickly from my heart. Luckily my husband does not, which balances out my feeling ways. I cook, sew, and knit mostly by feel. I follow recipes and patterns loosely, mostly looking at the pictures to figure out what is next. Or just make up the meal or Halloween costume as I go. The processes of making and experimenting is very motivating to me, so if it doesn’t work out the first time I take out the stitches and start over.
All this said I love “The New Best Recipe” cookbook. It is by the people at America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated. This quote on the back cover of the book describes them well: “Cook’s Illustrated is renowned for it’s near-obsessive dedication to finding the best methods of American home cooking.” They basically test twenty or more recipes for the same thing and figure out the perfect way to cook it. This book is designed for a perfectionist. I like it because at the beginning of almost all the recipes they describe what there experiments found. I fantasize about making 20 different brownie recipes. But I know I wouldn’t keep track of the details as well as the cooks at America’s Test Kitchen. The recipes results are always good.
Here is a recipe for Butternut Squash soup adapted from “The New Best Recipe” cookbook. I like this particular recipe because it is tasty and requires little more than the squash. The process is particularly innovative too.
Butternut Squash Soup
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 3 pounds butternut squash (about 1 large squash) cut in half lengthwise and then widthwise; seeds and strings scarped out and saved
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- pinch of nutmeg
- Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add the shallots and cook stirring frequently for about 3 minutes. Add the seeds and the strings from the squash. Stir occasionally until butter turns a saffron color, about 4 minutes.
- Add the water and 1 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Bring to boil. Reduce the heat and place the 4 pieces of squash in a steamer basket and lower the basket int o the pot. Cover and steam until squash is completely tender, about 30 minutes. Remove squash and let cool. When cool scrape out squash flesh and discard the skin.
- Strain the steaming liquid in to a bowl. Discard solids in the strainer.
- Puree the squash in batches in a blender adding enough reserved steaming liquid to obtain a smooth consistency. Transfer the puree back to the pot, stir in remaining steaming liquid, the cream, and brown sugar. Warm the soup, add the nutmeg, and serve.