Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Creamy Autumn Squash Soup

You know, I've realized that I never officially introduced myself & what I'm all about. My name is Emma Stelling. I achieved my Bachelor's degree in Art History back in 2010.  You'd think I'd be writing about art history, right?  Well, I get in enough on that topic at work. As a child, my grandmother, mother, & father were always cooking. My dad, he's a master craftsman, but as a young adult he was a chef in many local restaurants & eateries.  One of those places was called The Wagon Wheel. It was still in operation until I was ohh, about 7.  I loved that place. The food was good, but the main reason I went in there so often as a kid was because they had a giant moose head mount. I used to pet it and talk to it like it was alive. Some days I was hesitant to walk too close to it, thinking that it might actually move. Oh, kids. I sometimes miss being a kid myself.  They look at everything with a certain curiosity & truth. I love the look on my daughter's face when she's trying to figure something out. 

So, yes. I'm Emma. I wish I could tell you guys a good story of how I got my name, but I can't. I'm just Emma Stelling; daughter of an Irish woman and man of English & Blackfoot decent.  I grew up in a small town in Vermont and no, we're not all a bunch of hicks. I mean sure, I live the country life, but the word "hick" has a negative connotation to it as if I don't work hard for my living. As if I just sit around and drink beer & shoot stuff all day.  That's not how it is at all.  Where I come from, we settle things the old fashioned way. We believe in "love thy neighbor," not "screw thy neighbor's wife."  We home cook our meals, we grow our own food when we can, we chop up firewood all summer long in preparation for winter.  We work hard. We can survive. You want the "American Dream?" It doesn't get much better than this here.  

It's hard for me to explain what I do in my spare time because it varies all the time. I'm all over the place. I like to dabble in different interests at random times. I go on binges with different things. Haha.  I've been painting since I was a tot making finger paintings. Now, I usually paint with acrylics on canvas, but I'm known to experiment with a variety of media. Watercoloring has been a new hobby for me lately.  Mostly landscapes of rolling hills and wavy grain fields with little houses plopped about in random places.  My acrylic paintings are hung around my house. They are usually inspired by dreams from this crazy brain of mine.  Whenever I am trying to become inspired from ideas in my brain, I refer to that process as "A Brain Raid."  Aside from painting, I also crochet blankets, hats, socks, you name it.  Around fall time is when I really get cranking out the crocheted, creating warm blankets for my bed, gifts for family members for Christmas, and blankets for children's hospitals & charities.  

When it comes to movies, I'm big on the horror, comedies, & of course, children's movies.  Chick flicks aren't my thing and I'll tell ya' why.  The sappiness, the unrealistic aura of it all, the endings just leave me feeling depressed, so instead I fill my head with gory monstrosities, crude humor, & Shrek.  Obviously the prior two I watch after my little one goes to bed.  You know what kid's movie was really well made?  The Polar Express.  One year, my husband watched it like 5 times with our daughter & he didn't complain one bit. He looked seriously engaged. Honest to goodness. The characters in the movie look so realistic. And Tom Hanks as the conductor, well played.  

I hope to share more about myself to all of you readers with every new post I write.  I'd like to get to know my readers, too, so join me. Comment & let me know what you're all about.  

And here's tonight's recipe. You didn't really think I'd leave you without a recipe, did you?  Shame, shame.


1 medium kabocha squash
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed (optional – I like it both ways)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
toasted walnuts
salt to taste
cream to taste
Cut the squash into wedges. Scoop out the seeds, cut off the rind, and dice the squash.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the squash, onion, and garlic. Sprinkle with a little salt and saute until lightly browned and the squash is cooked through.
Place the cooked squash in a blender and add the milk and cayenne. Blend for 3-5 minutes or until the mixture is very smooth. Season generously with salt. Top each serving with toasted walnuts, cheese, or cream.
You can adjust the taste and consistency to your liking by adding more milk, salt, or even vegetable broth, etc. I also like to add the walnuts into the blender sometimes (about ½ cup) in addition to putting the whole ones on top. Add, taste, add, taste, add, taste. That’s my method. 

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