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Butternut Squash Soup and other kitchen mishaps

Y'all Gentle Readers, it is freezing today. So, I thought I would take inspiration from Vim and make a pot of wholesome, nutritious soup. Soup...mmm, so warming.

I could picture it so easily: the 4 of us sitting around the kitchen table set with Christmas placemats, newly added Christmas lights twinkling around the window, somehow both inhaling the soup and making meaningful conversation infused with laughter.

In reality:

Unfortunately, my Vim-spiration did not extend all the way to making one of Vim's recipes.

I found a cute hand-written recipe card in my stash - Roasted Chicken Butternut Squash Soup. You should know that I have a thing (a thang?) for butternut squash. I don't know why, but it is one of those ingredients that always captures my eye and my fancy. If I see it somewhere on a menu, I'll order that dish, if it's stuffed into ravioli, I'll buy it. Fig is my other weakness, which is odd because I never cook with figs, but they intrigue me. I think everyone has that attention-grabbing ingredient; my friend Stephanie always goes for sun-dried tomatoes, my mother in law is drawn to artichokes.

Where was I? Oh yes, soup...mmm, so warming.

First I toss the squash with olive oil and kosher salt, then roast it for 30 minutes. So far, it sounds good, right? Then I add it to a pot with chicken broth, and to be extra fancy and because I had added a note to the recipe card, I poured in some coconut milk. Stirring, tasting, stirring, tasting. More salt. More coconut milk. It is just starting to dawn on me that buttermilk squash, like many of its squash-y brethren, is kind of bland and tasteless. I add cumin and cinnamon. Vim, are you dying? Immersion blender. More salt, more salt, more salt. Some half&half. I can't even taste the coconut.

I serve it to my family. Younger takes a taste, "It's okay, I just don't like the butternut squash part." Older: "Yeah, it's oka-a-a-a-y." They are saved by the Trader Joe's Artisanal Ciabatta rolls.

"Fine, I know the soup is a little awful. Would you like some leftover birthday lasagna?"

Older had a birthday on Tuesday. I can't even talk about it - he turned 14 years old and will start high school next year - gah!!! But, for sure, his birthday lasagna was fantastic.

My husband makes an attempt to validate the soup, but it is too late. Butternut squash is dead to me.

I will not let the evening end on this foul note. Actually, that's not true. Normally I would pour a glass of wine and watch TV and not give it a second thought. But Older's birthday party is this Saturday, and he's requested this crazy outrageous cake he saw in Southern Living - Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. So, I start working on the cheesecake part because it will take 2 1/2 hours before I can even stick them in the fridge for 8 hours. I invite Younger to help because A) he's super excited to be involved in the kitchen and B) lately, he's been on a cupcake-making bender, but refuses to follow a recipe, which results in these mostly tasty somethings that do not in any way resemble a cupcake. So, I'm thinking that I can lead by example.

As I'm pouring batter into the cake pans, Younger remarks that it doesn't really look that red to him, "more orange, Mom." Really? 'Cause, I put in 2 bottles of red food coloring. And if that isn't enough, just check out the bloody crime scene that is my kitchen after the mixer sent the cake batter flying. Or look at my Lizzy Borden hands that tried to clean up that blood bath.

Tomorrow I'm ordering a pizza and calling Vim.

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