Sunday, January 22, 2012

As Seen On TV: Roasted Squash Soup

squash soup

Confession. I read a lot of "chick lit" novels. I'm picky about which ones I read, but I do plow through them at a steady rate. Even though they're not realistic fiction per se, I can appreciate them, as the amazing Mindy Kaling says, "as a subgenre of sci fi, in which the world created therein has different rules than my regular human world."

Anyway, while I enjoy reading the books, I've never actually desired to feel like I was starring in my own chick lit novel. Especially not in the first chapter's scenes where the heroine is cursed with bad luck and klutziness and being subjected to the pitying/withering glances of more sophisticated women everywhere.

Which brings us to Tuesday morning. Our heroine (me) wakes up feeling cautiously optimistic about her TV spot that morning. All ingredients are prepped and ready to go, she gets up on time, puts on a nice dress, and starts dreaming about how TV spots like this will lead directly to her very own show on The Food Network called "I Can't Believe It's Vegan!". Freezing rain has been falling all night. Her car is caked in a layer of ice which is an inch thick. No amount of chipping away with her plastic scraper can make a dent in it. She races inside, trying not to sweat through her dress, and boils a kettle full of water. It boils with infuriating slowness. She pours the boiled water on her windshield to melt the ice. For some reason, this actually works quite well. Except it has taken a while and now she has 15 minutes to do a 30 minute drive.

More sweating in the car as she drives to the TV studio. Everyone is driving slowly because of the ice. She arrives twenty minutes late. She has five minutes to get set up and ready for her spot. She can't figure out how to work the stove top on set, so she pokes at random buttons in a mild panic until it begins heating up. Within a few minutes she's on camera, trying to appear calm, smile, make eye contact, answer questions... oh, and make soup in four minutes. The hostess is dressed nice, smiley, well made up, wearing heels and a pencil skirt. Our heroine accidentally sprays her with soup when she turns on the immersion blender. Which is too loud. Four minutes go by quickly. She is hustled off set, no one wants to taste the soup. It is still not blended and looks kind of gross. She packs everything in her car and can not drive to her day job fast enough. The End.

See, it could have been a lot worse. I think. I know things are rarely as bad as we think they are. And I know I am hard on myself. And really, the spot got me great feedback from a lot of people and no one seemed to notice the mistakes I thought where glaring. And Erin, who is the producer of the show, is great and seems to like me even if I am a bit of a spaz.

Once I got home and blended the soup a bit more, it was delicious. The Man of Science and I had it for dinner with some fresh bread and I had packed the leftovers in a thermos for lunch the following day. And I mean what I said in the video, this is an easy recipe, perfect for Meatless Mondays, easy to make for people that don't want to use "weird" vegan ingredients. The recipe was a success, even if I need a bit more practice making it on live local television. I guess my Food Network career is still a ways off.

squash soup

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

3 tbsp olive oil
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
4 cups vegetable soup stock
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup white kidney beans
unsweetened soy milk

Toss the cubed squash with the tbsp of olive oil and a few shakes of salt and papper, and roast on a baking tray at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until squash is soft and starting to turn a golden brown. This can be done ahead of time.

Saute carrot, onion, and celery in 3 tbsp of olive oil until they are tender.

Add roasted squash to celery mixture, saute for a minute or two.

Add vegetable soup stock and nutmeg, plus a bit of salt and pepper and let simmer for 5 to ten minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender or food processor until very smooth.

Put white beans in a 2 cup measuring cup and pour in enough soy milk to just cover them. Puree until smooth.

Add white bean "cream" to soup, stir to combine.

Add the lemon juice, stir well, and serve.

Serves four.



kim said...

I have an acorn squash in my fridge that is crying out to be you think that would be an ok substitution?

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Yep! I think that would be fine.

chksnowqueen said...

Hey, I saw your spot twice - it made the Saturday morning recap show, and I thought you did great. You picked a simple recipe with wide appeal and made it look easy.

Maybe next time come with a sample of the finished product too so that if something similar happens (the soup not cooperating and blending together completely in a few seconds) you can do a game show wave over to the finished product that looks fab. Not that the soup in the pot didn't look fab to me. I am a big fan of blended soups : )

Congrats on your 15 minutes of TV fame, the first of many, I'm sure.


the [sugar] apothecary said...

Oh. My. Goodness. Jennifer, my friend, you have me hysterical laughing at this post. You did a great job cooking on camera!!! Despite the stress and sweating, your debut looks great :) Hooray for soup!

aztextpress said...

I think you did a fantastic job on TV! I would have been sweating bullets but you looked calm and collected!

Heather Moore said...

That is the cutest spoon in the picture!!!

Kelly Kilmer said...

We are often our worst critics. You did great!!! I can't wait to try the soup.

Tt in nyc said...

You were/are adorable!!! I made this tonight after being soooo disappointed by an overpriced impulse buy box of squash soup- easily a thousand times more delicious. Feel free to post vlogs to practice before your next big tv moment! :)

Sarah B @ Bake + Bike said...

Hahaha hilarious post, but I watched the segment and thought it was great! I wouldn't have known you only had 5 min to prepare.

Squash and white beans are a delightful combination :)

Lois said...

I love your blog because it is so real. I'm printing this recipe out today, and will make this soup tonight, for my weeks worth of work lunches. Good spirit!

candace said...

Oh my gosh, that sounds like the most stressful situation, but you really did seem calm!
Good job! Going to make the soup this week :)

Carolyn said...

Wow, what a great opportunity, congrats on your TV spot! If I had just seen the segment all by itself and not read your post first, I would have thought it was totally what you had intended. And I agree with your previous commenter who suggested coming with a pre-made version for the final show-off- that's what they ALL do! None of the "professional" spokes-cooks cook from beginning to end, they just go through the motions.

Esen said...

Hey Jennifer!

I think you did great! Really, congrats, you were very personable and seemed very comfortable, which can be hard to do!

All the best,