Butternut Squash, Fennel, Apple Sage Soup

A true taste of fall. With my many hand-picked local apples (mostly of the McIntosh and Rome variety), I made a few sweet items, but wanted to add some apple-y depth to a savory dish as well. I had a lovely butternut squash from the farm share – actually from a few weeks ago, but butternut are some of the heartiest squash for long-term storage – and a few bulbs of gorgeous fennel from Saturday’s farmer’s market. To stave off the first frost of the season, I decided to combine them all into soup.

I chopped one butternut squash, 2 apples, 1 fennel bulb and a few chopped sage leaves and placed them in a sauce pan and just covered them with veggie stock. I cooked until the fruit and veg were very soft (maybe 25 minutes on medium heat) and then added some salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg, to taste. Then I blended everything until smooth – a handblender is the ideal tool, but the blender would work well too (just be careful – it’s hot!).

There are ways to dress this up with olive oil, a drizzle of pesto, or served with garlic toasts. But I think it is pretty perfect as is, too.

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The Easiest Apple Crisp

What a perfect fall weekend! Warm in the sunshine, a bit crisp (not the edible kind) in the shade. The ideal day to pick apples! I couldn’t decide on my favorite kind of apple was so I did a little mix and match at the orchard and will throw in a few different kinds into my apple crisp later on today. I have finally memorized my favorite recipe. As much as I try, I don’t love the complicated oaty topping versions. Just give me straight up sugar, flour and butter (in a 2:2:1 ratio, mix up with a fork until chunky and toss over chunked apples) with some cinnamon, clove and nutmeg thrown in for spice. I bake it at 350 for 25 minutes or so, watching to make sure the sugar starts to carmelize and the apples are soft. Sometimes I put a little liquid in the bottom of the baking dish to help steam the apples and keep it all moist. Maybe a tablespoon or two of apple cider or calvados (or one could use water, I suppose). Perfectly fall and totally delicious.