Butternut Squash Soup with a Spicy Secret
Everyone has a secret… don’t they?
Day to day, work-a-day grind in the corporate office, the store or the market; we don’t often share our secrets do we? Snippets of personal lives, blurted out in quiet moments in-between meetings or at the proverbial water cooler. Work colleagues, how little we really know them — regardless of the clues they leave in casual conversations. Oh, we know they may love to cook, have kids or not, drink wine, play sports or hate the color purple. But shadows of their secrets run deeper than we imagine. Scandalous? Hardly. Just the inner creativity they choose not to mention. That hidden talent that they either take for granted or are so unsure of they are reluctant to mention it.
For years I didn’t tell people I worked with that I had a food blog. Why, I’m not sure — perhaps not wanting to mix business with personal. My passion that were so different than my day-to-day work grind; would I be judged differently? The “secrets” we keep only hide the full spectrum of ourselves; more well rounded, whole, variably more than one channel … and yet. Our layers are deeper than that which is seen initially. Seldom are they spoken, so often are we silent. “Do not brag.” “Do not promote yourself, ” et cetera. But how do share your successes, your joy in achievement, you desire to be proud of what you do? Perhaps just offering a little hint. . .
I left my job, there was a party and in the post I received a little jar of pure love. A quiet, humble gift from a friend I have known for decades. We shared soccer and beauracratic business practices in common, with occasional conversations about chocolate, life and such. A friendship, hearts aligned superficially on the surface, but the strongest of connection. Yet she had a secret.
A secret recipe for a Sri Lankan curry derived of family recipes, and desire to share the flavors beyond her home kitchen. I never knew. Her passion has resulted in the birth of Yami’s Spicy Secret, a small purveyor of spice blends. My dear Yamindira shared two ounces of her special spice blend, and noted, “I didn’t know you were a foodie.” Another common interest yet undiscovered, a layer unpeeled until the last possible moment. Why did we wait so long?
With jar in hand I have played numerous ways with her blend, and today share a simple butternut squash soup. Not just curried, not just spicy, but a tribute to Yami and her family’s concoction of no less than twenty-five spices to indulge your senses and palates. Prepare for a night ready for soup; rich in texture and layered in flavors. To secrets uncovered.
- Olive Oil
- 1 medium sized Butternut Squash (about 4-5 cups cubed, cooked)
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 cups low salt organic vegetable stock
- 3 teaspoons Yami’s Spicy Secret
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice one large lime)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ cup chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)
- ¼ cup plain greek yogurt (for garnish)
- Peel, chop and cook butternut squash ahead of time. I roasted mine in the oven with olive oil, but you could certainly cook in water on the stove, just cook until fork tender and drain thoroughly.
- Measure squash.
- In a medium saucepan, sauté onions and garlic until slightly soft in one tablespoon olive oil.
- Add squash, spices, and vegetable stock and continue to cook for 10 minutes until squash is very soft.
- Add coconut milk, lime zest and juice to pot and remove from heat.
- Puree soup mixture in batches in your blender or food processor, return to pot over very low heat.
- Give the soup a taste and add a bit of salt to your liking. It didn’t need much for my taste.
- Simmer for 5 minutes or until you are ready to serve.
- Can be made ahead at this point and reheated when you are ready.
- Garnish with a swirl of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh cilantro.
What hidden talents do your friends posses? Are you listening? Are you sharing your own talents? Maybe you should.
Yami’s Spicy Secret are available online. (Supporting friends who do amazing things.)