Monday, February 18, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup, Paninis, Macarons

On Saturday evening, I got together with some friends for some food, hockey, and board games.


VN and I went grocery shopping for the ingredients. Do you ever look at other people's shopping cart contents when you're in line at the grocery store and try to figure out what they're planning to make? I thought it was funny when we checked out of one stores because of what we picked up. Ignore the creepy cyclops in the photo.

Let's focus on the Nutella, havarti cheese, and chicken broth for a second. Those three ingredients would be hilarious in one of those mystery box challenges in a cooking show. How about a french onion soup with Nutella croutons? Uh... savoury soufflé with a Nutella sauce? Err... how about a sweet and salty Nutella havarti quesadilla with chicken broth mousse? No? Okay.



VN and DG made the banh pâté chaud using a homemade pork filling (ground pork, celery, onions, fish sauce, salt, sugar, black pepper, cornstarch) and store-bought puff pastry.

The butternut squash soup was very easy to make. After the tough squash skin was sliced off, the diced butternut squash was added to a pot of sweated onions. The chicken broth was poured into the pot and then the contents were brought to a simmer. Once the diced squash became tender, the contents of the pot were blended in batches and then returned to the pot. The puréed soup was seasoned with cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and a hint of nutmeg.

Butternut Squash Soup
Revised from the Food Network's recipe

1 Butternut Squash
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Small Onions, Diced
5 cups Chicken Broth
Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Black Pepper

The spiciness of the soup, from the cayenne pepper, increased with every spoonful of soup that we enjoyed. Not everyone was able to handle it. But the person in question is a lightweight when eating spicy foods. And that's where the variety of paninis became saviours.

To eat with the butternut squash soup, we made a few paninis out of a variety of proteins and bread. There was a rotisserie chicken with avocado one, a spicy cappicolo with havarti, and a serrano ham with Granny Smith apples. The sandwiches were pressed and then cut into slivers so that people could try multiple combos.

The paninis broke up the spiciness and allowed our palates to enjoy different flavours and textures. Why are paninis and soups so amazing together?

JL brought over some Oreo cheesecakes that he made. It's too bad that almost half the people there were sensitive to lactose. The cheesecakes tasted good to me.

We attempted to make macarons after being inspired by my friend behind the blog Delishsis. Nicole and her sister made cute heart-shaped strawberry macarons for Valentine's Day and I thought: hey, we can try making macarons for dessert! It doesn't look that hard. I was foolish to think that. We based our macarons on Anna Olson's french macaron recipe. And as you can tell from the top photo in the collage above, we didn't have enough egg whites. When VN piped the macaron batter onto the baking tray, they ended up looking like piles of turd. Quite lovely, if I do say so myself. They're not supposed to look like that. Hahaa!

Despite not being photogenic, the Nutella macarons were quite yummy. One of the problems we had was using almond meal that wasn't ground finely. The texture of the almonds went with the Nutella filling. It was like a deflated Ferraro Rocher macaron.

I'd definitely like to recreate everything we made. The butternut squash was easy and tasty. It was fun to try different combos when making paninis. And those macarons; the results have not discouraged me one bit.


  1. Everything looks delicious! I love butter nut squash soup. And I love the combinations of paninis you made. I applaud you for attempting to make macarons - I've been baking pretty often for the last 3-4 years and am far too scared to attempt macarons!

  2. Don't be scared of making macarons. Give it a try! The macarons they were still a great dessert even though they didn't turn out the greatest. But in saying that, even Lucy is wary of making them.


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