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Beer can baby
Every auttumn I get my food on. I go shopping in outdoor markets and bring home cheap, abundant, and fresh fresh fresh produce which I buy without thinking about how or when I am going to eat it. Kiff and I have also been receiving some bags of herbs and tomatoes from friends' gardens. Fortunately, with cooler evenings combined with enforced stay-at-home, I have been spending nights making soups and other treats.

Here is a sampling:
(skip recipes)
Soup 1: Butternut squash with roasted squash, fresh sage leaves, sauteed onions, roasted garlic, vegetable stock and roasted cherry tomatoes a touch of coriander powder, cayenne and lemon juice. Garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds or fried sage leaves or why not both? Don't you love my recipe delivery?

Everyone has their own butternut squash soup recipe. This can be evidenced by the fact that a friend's attempt to launch a recipe exchange/pyramid scheme, a full third of the recipes I received were for the aforementioned gourd in its soup form.

In fact it is pretty hard to screw it up if your roast the squash and use a decent broth. For years I did a ginger/pear/squash/garam massala combo that was terribly consistent and comforting. This fall I plan to play with it a bit more.

Soup 2: Beet Borscht. For years, the only borscht in the world to me was my mother's divine beef and cabbage beet borscht with the perfect balance of sour and sweet and chunks of tender stewed beef. I was terrified of the all-beet variety, which in my experience, came in jars labelled glatt kosher and was served cold with a dollop of quivering sour cream to be spooned into purpled lips at deli counters.

Hot beet borscht, however, is the way to go. Roasted beets (are you sensing a roasted theme here?), peeled and sliced are added to sauteed onion, bay leaves, 1 peeled potato (raw, chopped) and a handful of dill. Cook it up in some broth till the potato is soft and puree the hell out of it with a hand blender. Add the juice of a grapefruit (start with half and taste, then add the rest if you think it needs it). Top with a bit of plain yogurt. salt and black pepper. Tasty goodness.

And, finally, the sandwich condiments. Last night I went on a tear and now you will find pristine tupperware containers of carmelized balsamic shallots, roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted garlic, braised rappini and homemade pesto. Add a bit of goat cheese and you have yourself a fine sandwich, there. Makes all the other moms at the park jealous.

Babies and food. That is the lionshare of what fills my brain these days as I arrange playdates with moms wherein we talk about getting our heads around work and ambition while our babies stuff leaves and twigs in their mouths and point at each other. Occasionally strange toddlers stagger towards our blankets with outstretched handfuls of cheerios, hiccuping like winos, only to be dragged away by their nanny-enablers.

Occasionally the babies and food will clash. Today I had it in my head that I was going to make my first beer-can chicken. I bought the whole chicken at the local butcher, brought it home, and dumped it in the collander to wash before rubbing with oil, salt, and pepper and propping on a beer can to sit on the barbecue. Sounds simple, right? But I only got so far as the collander when I was hit by a wave of revulsion that sent me acrpss the room.

I spend so many hours wrestling diapers and pants onto a squirmy baby, somehow my wires crossed. Chicken-baby-chicken-baby. I had to get kiff to finish the recipe while I called orders from the other room. It was delicious, by the way.

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