A Painting Triumph, and Butternut Squash Soup…

I did it! After complaining about and hating our bedroom color for the four years since we moved into this house, I finally painted it with something more calming, refreshing, soothing… Some kind of a blue called “Ozone” in the Behr color family!

Choosing a paint color has become a very overwhelming process thanks to millions of shades. There is no simple blue or green anymore. There is Wasabi Powder, Dill Pickle, Forested Jade, Frozen Pond… and all the others named after coffee drinks or food. As we stood in front of the samples, I asked Jay which color he wants to paint the room…”the current color”… “but dear, it is already in that color”…”exactly my point! I don’t want to paint!” …

But I won… Out with the “old current” color, in with the new! 72 hours after we walked into that Home Depot to choose a color, the room is almost done…

Almost… Still working on it… And of course, I did not have time or energy to cook anything this weekend… If it was up to me, it was going to be a take-out weekend.

But Jay assumed the chef role for this week… as I was in the paint up to my elbows, he opened his favorite cookbook of all time, Mark Bittman‘s How to Cook Everything, went through its tattered pages and did something very foreign to him: He improvised a recipe… He who follows every recipe and every single instruction manual out there to the T, decided that instead of using only apples, he was going to add pear to the soup as well and wing it. Gotta admit, it was “wung” (is it a word?) very well…

After one spoon of this soup, I begged his permission to publish it on the blog. After intense negotiations, I was able to secure the post. In return, I promised not to complain about all the violent zombie killing when he plays Call of Duty Black Ops on the weekends! I say it is a small price to pay!

Mark Bittman’s Winter Squash Soup II

(I am giving the recipe in the book with the changes Jay made during the process in parentheses)

  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1 lbs pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
  • 1 lbs tart apples (We had only one big apple and one pear in the fridge, so he used both. Pear made it a sweeter soup instead of tart)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cups broth or water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon  leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dry tarragon
  • 1 cup heavy cream or light cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Minced parsley or snipped chives for garnish (He used finely sliced green onions and parsley together along with croutons he made. He cut some nearly stale bread in small cubes, drizzled with olive oil, pepper, and oregano and baked them until they were crispy.)

1. Melt the butter in a large, deep pan and add onion, apples, pumpkin or squash. Cook for 5-10 minutes, frequently stirring. Add salt and pepper.

2. After you add stock or water, wine and tarragon, bring it to a boil , then simmer until everything is cooked well. (About 30 min or so).

3. Using a hand-held blender, puree the soup. (Bittman says you can prepare up until this point in advance – up to 2 days)

4. Heat (do not boil!) and stir in the cream. Garnish and serve.


  1. by Jennifer
    11:29 pm
    Jan 23, 2011

    MMMMMM! That looks good (and warm)! Can’t wait to see your bedroom!

  2. by Gokce
    2:11 pm
    Jan 24, 2011

    Where is the bedroom picture?

  3. by Marc
    6:30 am
    Jan 25, 2011

    The butternut looks great;-) I made some other butternut last week…great veggie

  4. by Sabrina Modelle
    1:11 pm
    Jan 27, 2011

    Mmm, I am dying for a bite of that soup. It looks divine. Apples, pears, squash… what could be more complimentary?

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