I just discovered this recipe in the (relatively) new Moosewood Cookbook called Cooking for Health. It was so good I made it two nights in a row and drizzled it liberally on an arugula salad with grilled asparagus and grilled pear. It’s sweet and thyme-y, and packed full of nutrients, particularly with the pear and apple sauce. The recipe calls for a raw pear, but since I was grilling pear for the salad anyway, I used grilled pear which was really nice – added sweetness with a little smokiness from the BBQ.

1 ripe pear, cored and chopped (and grilled)

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tbsps apple cider vinegar

2 tbsps apple or pear juice (I used apple sauce)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp salt

generous dash of ground black pepper

1 small garlic clove, pressed or minced

maple syrup (I used about 1 tbsp)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. If the dressing is too thick, add a little water or juice. This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. If the chilled dressing congeals, bring it to room temperature before serving.

This recipe is from the refresh cookbook by Ruth Tal. The other day I posted 2 sauces from refresh that I love – Tamari and Tahini – and mentioned that I wanted to try the Butternut Squash and Pear soup. Well I tried it. Kind of. We had friends over for dinner last night and I needed a yummy side dish. So instead of making a soup, I turned the recipe into a puree. It was so good.

Not only was it totally delicious last night, but today for lunch I took the left-over puree, added a little veggie stock, turned it into a soup, and then sprinkled it with picada. Totally satisfying except now it’s gone which is sad. I wish I had made more. Try it  out. And one day I will make the soup the way Ruth Tal suggests and let you know how it goes. In the meantime, this is a great improv version.

1 inch ginger root, peeled and minced

1 cinnamon stick

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced

6 cups vegetable stock

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped (I used shallots which I adore)

1/3 cup white wine

2 pears, cored and chopped (to enhance the wonderful pear flavour in the soup, leave the pear peel on.)

sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Put the ginger, cinnamon stick , squash, and sweet potato in a large pot. Cover with the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil  then reduce to a simmer.

2. While the vegetables are simmering in the pot, heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add onion and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes.

3. Add white wine and chopped pear to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until wine is reduced; then add to the squash and sweet potato mixture.

4. When everything is cooked through, about 30 minutes, pour off most of the stock and reserve for another use (or for your reconstituted soup the next day!). Remove the cinnamon stick. Puree in a food processor until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

photo credit: Kristina, Lovely Morning


It’s a good day. Andrew and I saw 3 Eastern Bluebirds which are quite rare in these parts. I have been hankering to see bluebirds up close since we bought our farm in the county 7 years ago. And today, 3!!! Right on our front terrace. What that has to do with this soup I’m not too sure but this has to be my all-time fav. Bekah’s too. I’ve been waiting for a special day to share it with you and, I guess because of the bluebirds, today is that special day. So here it is. One of the best soups ever.

6 tbsps olive oil

5 sweet peppers, seeded and diced (the original recipe calls for roasted peppers, skinned and diced, but I never do that)

3 shallots, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ripe pears, skinned, seeded, and diced

2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped

6 cups veggie stock

sea salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Saute peppers, shallots, garlic and pears over medium-high heat.

2. Add parsnips and stock.

3. Bring to a boil and let simmer until parsnips are tender.

4. Let cool slightly. Puree until smooth.

5. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.

6. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.

From the Martha Stewart empire.