Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cookbook Library: The Cafe Brenda Cookbook

While not really a list, one of my book-related goals is to make one new recipe from each of the cookbooks on my shelves. Since it has been freezing cold in Portland (snow at the end of March!), I made soup.

Friends from Minneapolis gave me this cookbook from their favorite restaurant, Cafe Brenda -- a "seafood and vegetarian cuisine" restaurant. I made the White Bean and Squash soup, which was not bad, but a little bland. It benefited from doubling the herbs and adding a healthy dose of hot sauce and a little butter melted on top (what wouldn't?). Then it was pretty yummy.

The paraphrased version of the recipe is:

Soak 1 cup of dried navy beans eight hours or overnight. To make the soup, bring beans to boil in 5 cups water. Reduce heat, simmer for about an hour or until tender. Drain.

Sauté in olive oil for about 5 minutes: 4 garlic cloves, chopped; one large shallot, chopped; one medium onion, chopped. Add 3 ½ cups peeled, cubed (1”) winter squash (butternut).

Combine squash/onion mix with cooked beans, 4 cups vegetable stock, ½ teaspoon dried basil, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, and ¼ teaspoon dried thyme. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered until squash is tender (about 20 minutes).

Puree soup in batches in blender or food processor. Return to pot and add ¾ cup half and half; salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6.

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