This morning I woke to snow. It made everything seem better.
When I was in fifth or sixth grade I wrote a poem about a girl who believed that wishes made on the first snow would come true. I think of that poem periodically and it came to mind this morning when I saw the snow and shimmied deeper under my blanket. I tend to recall the poem with a tinge of embarrassment; I was so proud of it then, but the notion now - of poetic snows, wishes, and firsts - seems too idealistic and trite.
Since I was away for December and most of January, today's snow is my first of the year (I'm disregarding the wet surprise Montreal saw one afternoon in October). I've been staring at it for hours, thinking my eleven-year-old self may have been onto something. There is something very beautiful about the snow, something fresh, something quiet, and, I think, something magical. It's a tabula rasa in a way, wiping away what was there before and replacing it with something untouched.
Of course, there is also something about snow that makes you crave soup and blankets, and, happily, something about it that makes spending - yet another - entire day at home, alone, cozy, not dull.
Winter Squash Soup
adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris
serves four, and is wonderful leftover
My mom requested that I make this soup one night when she bought squash and we were home alone for dinner. Her recipes tend to be intricate, but this one was so simple, and so delicious. Both she and my sister have made it a number of times before and claim that my batch had a completely different flavor. It may be the squash, its flavors maturing as the season goes on, or it may be, as my yoga instructor suggested about practice one day, that you get out what you put in.
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions (about 2)
1 15-0z can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks
3 cups of chicken stock
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot, add the onions, cook over medium-low heat for ten minutes, or until translucent. Add the pumpkin puree, butternut squash, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and let simmer for about twenty minutes, until the butternut squash is very tender. Puree the soup using the medium blade of a food mill or an immersion blender. I like mine thick and chunky. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with grated Gruyere, creme fraiche, or croutons.