1. Make a pot of my Autumn-in-a-Bowl Butternut Squash Soup. (It used to be called Butternut Squash Soup with Gingered Cream, but a friend re-named it on the spot when he tasted it several years ago at a potluck soup supper.)
2. Tidy up the garden, but not too much. Leave some standing coneflowers, rudbeckia, and so forth for the birdies.
3. Speaking of birds, fill the feeders.
4. Have a tramp through some woods, any woods, but maybe do it before the hunters really get out in force.
5. Do a messy/best-outdoors job before it gets too cold. Me? I need to hose down the mats that are just outside and inside my front door.
6. Plant some bulbs now for future Fab Fridays (as well as Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays…) next spring.
7. Go outside and SMELL. Just take a deep breath and bring Autumn into your lungs. Mmmm.
8. Go outside and LOOK. Walk through your neighborhood and try to find ten different types of colorful leaves. Which can you identify?
9. Go outside and FEEL. How does your climate change in Autumn?
10. Come inside and bake something wonderful. Gather the loved ones in your orbit around the table to eat it together in the early gathering darkness, to talk together, and to celebrate this fleeting season.
Lori’s Butternut Squash Soup with Gingered Cream
Cut a 2 lb. butternut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and place face-down in a baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, cook the chopped white of 2 leeks (or 1 medium yellow onion), 1 chopped parsnip (optional), 1/2 lb. chopped carrots, and 1/2″ grated fresh gingerroot in 2 T. butter until softened. Add 1 t. dried thyme (or 1 T. fresh), a pinch of ground nutmeg, 1 1/2 quarts chicken broth, approx. 1 t. salt, and 1/4 t. pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Scoop the squash flesh from the shells and add to the soup. Simmer a few minutes more if the squash isn’t completely tender. Remove solids and puree in food processor or blender until smooth. (Or, use a giraffe — hand blender. Failing any of these tools, just stir to break up any big chunks of squash and call it “rustic.”) Return to pot and adjust seasoning. Beat 1 c. heavy cream to a soft peak and fold in 1 T. minced candied ginger. Serve hot soup dolloped with gingered cream.
This soup freezes beautifully without the cream. It tastes good even without any cream added to it at serving time. This is a terrific first-course soup, but my favorite way to eat it is at lunch with a chicken sandwich. I always freeze some in single serving portions for winter lunches.