We are on over-drive, over-time and any other type of “over” you can think of here at Taylor Manor in preparation for our Sunday departure. We will be away for months, so as you can imagine, there is a long “to-do” list.

My office looks like a tornado went through the room.

We have been to doctor appointments, meetings, the grocer, the needlepoint shop (of course!), shipping Camping Journals, and countless errands in preparation of this trip. Yesterday, our contractor had a professional photographer at the house to shoot the new bath remodel. Look for that soon in Architectural Digest Better Homes & GardensMartha Stewart Magazine his website soon!

But at six o’clock in the evening, we both stop working and meet in the kitchen for a cocktail and a relaxing meal. Just because our life is crazy this week doesn’t mean we don’t need healthy substance and together-time! I love feeding My Driver with healthy low-fat meals!

It’s that time of year – lovely and exotic squash varieties are available in the market. The air has turned freezing cold, the leaves are gone and I start thinking of new ways to use these inexpensive nutrition-packed vegetables.

Another great soup recipe!

I had a Red Kuri Squash and decided to roast it with an onion and garlic and puree it into soup – much like my Roasted Carrot Soup with Ginger.

The Red Kuri is a pretty little guy.

And the inside is firm and a brilliant color – calling out for eastern spices.

I scooped-out all the seeds and sliced the squash into 8 wedges.

Some recipes call for peeling the squash before roasting, but peeling squash is a difficult job and really a little dangerous – so I drizzled olive oil over everything and tossed the veggies to coat.

After 40 minutes in a 375° the oven, I let the squash cool and it was an easy chore to scrape the flesh off the skin. Puree it all in a food processor or blender, thin with orange juice, white wine and stock or your choice, toss-in a a few spices and you have a delicious low-calorie, low-fat, low-cost meal – loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Here are the ingredients I used:

1 Red Kuri Squash (about 3 pounds), split, seeds removed, cut into 8 wedges
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
½ cup white wine
½ cup orange juice
2 tsp cumin

Cilantro-infused olive oil (recipe follows)
Toasted Pepitas

As stated above: Cut squash in half, remove seeds and slice into 8 wedges. Cut onion into 8 wedges. Peel the garlic cloves, but leave them whole. Place the squash, onion and garlic on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Kosher salt and toss to coat. Make sure the squash wedges are all skin-side-down. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375°, or until baked through and edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool until the squash can be handled. Squish, scrape or cute soft flesh from skin. Discard skin.

Place the squash, roasted onion and garlic in a food processor with a little vegetable or chicken stock (you may need to do this in batches) and whirl until smooth. Place the pureed squash mixture in a soup pot. Add the grated ginger, white wine, orange juice, and cumin. Mix well. Heat soup over medium flame, adding additional stock until the soup is to a consistency you prefer. Serve hot with garnish of your choice. Suggested: croutons, dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro leaves or…

Cilantro-infused Olive Oil:
¼ cup good-quality extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
large handful fresh cilantro (leaves and stems), coarsely chopped

Place oil, lemon juice and cilantro in a food processor or blender. Puree until fairly smooth. Refrigerate for 8 hours. Bring to room temperature and pour through a very fine mesh sieve. Refrigerate oil until needed, up to 7 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Until my next update, I remain, your “over” correspondent.

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