Victoria Petersen                                Butternut squash is cut in half, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in a hot oven til it’s soft.

Victoria Petersen Butternut squash is cut in half, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in a hot oven til it’s soft.

Kalifornsky Kitchen: A soup to match the color of the leaves

Getting outside can be a balm to that isolation and grief many of us are experiencing.

It’s autumn, but you can still comfortably hang out outside without having to wear a parka or bunny boots.

My boyfriend and I spent our Sunday driving to Eklutna Lake, where the turquoise blue waters are the perfect contrast to the quickly changing gold and yellow leaves of the aspen and birch trees. We laid down a picnic blanket on the rocky shores of the glacier lake and set up our picnic. We brought a hot thermos full of comforting butternut squash soup and a hunk of bread.

I recommend getting outside right now. It’s beautiful, the leaves are changing and we are ushering in a new season in Alaska. The termination dust north of Anchorage was stark; it seemed like the peak across the lake was half covered in snow!

It won’t be too long, I imagine, before snow covers everything — my car, our roof, our streets, our lakes. It’s getting darker too, and with the isolation of the pandemic still upon many of us, it’s bound to be a long winter. I understand not everyone is affected by isolating impacts of the pandemic, but my household is and it’s been difficult.

It’s important to not forget that COVID-19 is killing people, in Alaska and around the world. I think getting outside and enjoying the beautiful state we call home can be a balm to that isolation and grief many of us are experiencing.

Being stuck in our apartment can make one feel like their world is so tiny, but sitting on the edge of a massive glacier lake, dwarfed by towering Chugach peaks, you remember how small you really are and the fragility of the human-made world.

When we woke up Sunday morning, we cut two butternut squash in half lengthwise, drizzled on olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. We popped those in the oven on a high heat to roast until the flesh was super soft. I didn’t use a recipe for this, because I wanted to wing it.

It turned out great, we thought.

Curry powder was the unlikely hero of this dish — and for a second week in a row for Kalifornsky Kitchen. This recipe will require some kind of blender or food processor. We used an immersion blender, but any old blender will do. If you’re dairy free or vegan, you can use this recipe by swapping out the heavy cream for coconut milk. All of the measurements for the spices are estimates of what I did, but feel free to omit or add more if you’d like to align it more with what you think tastes best.

Creamy butternut squash soup

2 butternut squash

1⁄4 cup olive oil

1 yellow onion

2 carrots

2 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 tablespoons dried sage

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon powdered cardamom

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and pulpy innards, and place skin-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper onto the squash. Place in the oven and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the flesh of the squash is soft enough to scoop out.

In a pot, pour in the olive oil and the onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent. Add in the garlic, ginger, curry powder, sage, thyme and cardamom, stirring occasionally to get all the onions and carrots coated in the spices.

Once the squash is roasted, take a spoon or a fork (or your hands) and remove the squash from the skin, placing the squash into the pot with the spiced onions and carrots. Cook and stir until everything is mixed together. Add in the stock and mix everything together once again.

If using an immersion blender, simply place the blender into the pot of soup, and blend the contents of the pot together until smooth and creamy. If using a stand blender or food processor, ladle the contents of the pot into the blender, blend in sections if needed. Place all the well-blended soup back into the pot.

Once the soup is blended and it has reached a baby-food like consistency, add in the heavy cream until the texture is more velvety, adding extra cream or stock to reach your desired consistency.

This soup is great with bread, a grilled cheese, topped with bacon and apple slices, topped with crispy prosciutto pieces a la Chrissy Teigen, or topped with fresh sage.

Put soup in a huge thermos and eat at a nice quiet beach where you can ponder the world and all its complexities. Or, place soup into plastic containers and deliver to your grandma. Or, place in freezer bags, laid flat in the freezer, so future you can have an easy weeknight meal this winter.


• By Victoria Petersen, For the Peninsula Clarion


The author enjoys butternut squash soup while picnicking are Eklutna Lake, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

The author enjoys butternut squash soup while picnicking are Eklutna Lake, on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Life

Appease your child’s picky palate with these tasty Tater Tots. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tots to be thankful for

Two years ago, I spent the entirety of Thanksgiving Day in my green rocking chair, cradling my newborn son.

File
Minister’s Message: Keep in step

Sometimes it takes going half way around the world to learn how to “keep in step” as I journey.

Shelli and Mike Gordon pose in October 2011 at their Halibut Cove, Alaska, home in an Alaska Gothic version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. (Photo courtesy of Mike Gordon)
‘Dagnabit’ features tales of ’80s wild Alaska

Gordon’s second book also tells of Ruben Gaines, creator of Chilkoot Charlie.

Before boiling, this handmade pasta is rolled, cut and tossed in flour to keep from sticking. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Pasta by hand

Learning one of the most important task of the Italian kitchen: making the pasta.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
The Great Thanksgiving dessert debate

Our holiday gathering is going to be smaller than it sometimes is, and it was argued that we didn’t need two desserts.

Dianne Spence-Chorman’s “Fig Study” is one of the works showing in the Homer Council on the Arts “Fun wtih 5x7” show through Dec. 22, 2021, at the gallery in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
‘Fun with 5×7’ offers affordable art

HCOA annual art show presents art in a variety of media, all in 5x7 format.

Make pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes for a decadent fall treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: In honor of ‘Cupcake Mondays’

Pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes brighten up the dreariest of work.

Nick Varney
Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Back off, Zeus

If this wet-n-warm, freeze, then start again, continues much longer, Kachemak Drive will need a complete redo.

The cover of Tom Kizzia’s book, “Cold Mountain Path,” published by Porphyry Press in October 2021. (Photo provided)
‘Cold Mountain Path’ explores ghost town history of McCarthy

Kizzia’s book looks at McCarthy history from 1938 to the town’s revival as a tourist destination.

Melinda Hershberger works on her installation for the Kenai Art Center’s collaborative mural project on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Wall-to-wall creativity

Artists collaborate on a single mural at the Kenai Art Center this month.

This spectacular and simple marshmallow recipe is an easy way to wow at holiday potlucks. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Power puffs

Don’t dread the dreaded potluck with this five-ingredient marshmallow recipe.

In this 1950s image, Chell Bear (left) and Lawrence McGuire display a stringer of small trout they caught through the ice in front of the homestead cabin of Bob Mackey, for whom the Mackey Lakes were named. (Photo courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula College Historic Photo Repository)
History with a sense of humor, Part 2

The second in a two-part collection of humorous tales gleaned from old newspapers on the central Kenai Peninsula.