With the colder weather, I have a hankering for vegetables other than my usual summer fare of salads. Last weekend I picked up some sweet potatoes, but never did anything with them because I had also made a huge stew in the crockpot, and lived on that all week. Yesterday, I picked up a few more items at the store, planning on doing "something" with them.
I finally decided to do a crossover between a breakfast "cereal" type mixture (I regularly make "cereal" out of cooked bananas cream and cinnamon) and a vegetable soup. I looked up on the net for recipes, and found a few good foundations, and then went and did my own thing :)
The ingredients were simple; sweet potatoes (2), winter squash (butternut in this case - about half that package)), Macintosh apple (1), cauliflower (1 bag of frozen), onion (1), carrots (baby cut), bell pepper (1 - that I had gotten from a guy at work), Cinnamon, ground ginger, pumpkin pie spice, and a dash of vanilla.
The sweet potatoes and apple were peeled and diced, the squash was diced - all into about 2" chunks. I layered all the vegies and spices (not the vanilla) in the crockpot with about 1 cup of water.
Now, every "soup" recipe wanted me to use 5 cups of broth (vegie or chicken), then after cooking place in a blender to puree'. Since I knew I wouldn't do that, I wanted to steam the vegies to soften them. After 4 hours on high, I used a pastry cutter to "mash" the vegies. I still left lumps so it was a cross between a bisque and a soup. Then I added a bit of cream and cut in an 8 oz block of cream cheese (I use the 1/3 fat stuff to reduce calories). You could easily use coconut milk or almond milk if avoiding animal products. It is at that point that I decided to add the vanilla to complement the spices
After adding in a few more spices and another cup or two of water, I cooked on high for an hour, after which the appliance went to "warm" until I woke up this morning and turned it off (yes, I started the soup late). The visual result was a nice creamy soup with soft, small chunks of vegies, in which the green peppers add a nice variation to the color.
The results were great! I had a bit straight - which makes for a slightly sweet lunch/dinner type soup.Then I added a bit of real maple syrup, which makes it into a great breakfasty type dish. I can see adding in oatmeal for a hearty breakfast too.
This could be fun to play with in a desert too; leave out the water added at the end and add some sort of setting agent, pour it on top of a cream cheese mixture for a healthier cheesecake, or pour in a pie crust and bake until set.
Oh, and for a more complete meal type dish, I could see adding in sausage for protein - especially a mapple or apple sausage, but I think a savory sausage would work as well. Not sure about a hot sausage - although could be interesting to try.
I'll be eating well this week - hope you all cook up some good autumn foods to welcome you to the cooler weather.