Linda with the dishes we made

Flourless Fudge Cookies with pecans and chocolate chips

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken

Linda wants to learn more about salads and soups so for today’s menu we made:
Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken
Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
Flourless Fudge Cookies

I tried to choose a lower calorie cookie recipe that still tasted really good and the flourless fudge cookies are really great. Baker, Linda’s husband, is the cookie lover so Linda is interested in making different cookies for him. I told her about my experiment with some compost cookies using salty, crunchy add-ins and various chocolate and nut add-ins. She wants to make those next time. I feel kind of guilty about it because those cookies are not remotely healthy, however whether I teach her that recipe or not she will still buy her husband cookies from the Central Market bakery that are just as rich, so I will show her how to make the compost cookies.
We started with the Asian Noodle Salad. Linda purchased fettucine instead of linguine but you sometimes just use what you have. I think it turned out pretty good. We started by searing some chicken breasts and glazing them with:
1 tsp sesame oil
2 T honey
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 T toasted sesame seeds
We took the 8 oz of cooked noodles and tossed them with:
1 cup chopped baby spinach
1/2 cup red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 small carrot, shredded
1/2 cup bean sprouts
2 sliced scallions
1/2 cup peeled, sliced cucumber
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts
and dressed it with:
juice of 1 lime
4 T olive oil
4 T low sodium soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 t fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
finely chopped cilantro
and placed the mixed salad on a bed of red leaf lettuce which had been shredded. We topped with the sliced glazed chicken. This dish is great without chicken as well.
I was excited to show Linda how to make the spicy butternut squash soup. I love this soup!
I love the fact that you can take any winter squash and roast it, saute some onions and garlic, add the squash, some seasonings, broth and cook it for half and hour, puree it with an immersion blender and add a little cream. The soup tastes even better the next day and it’s so fragrant and satisfying. You can take any winter vegetable combination such as squash, carrrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, or white potatoes, roast them at 375 degrees for 34-40 minutes with a little bit of olive oil and do the same thing. If I have odds and ends left from my organic produce share this coming week I plan to make roasted vegetable soup.
Spicy Butternut Squash Soup
1 cup onion, diced
1 T minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh sage
1 tsp sugar
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups roasted butternut squash*
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
Saute onion, sage, sugar, pepper and cinnamon in a large pot over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in brandy and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, wine and squash. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for about 20 mintues. Puree in small batches in blender or use immersion blender directly in soup pot. Add cream at the end. Season with salt and pepper.
*Roast squash by cutting in into pieces, placing flesh side down in oiled sheet pan, 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Turn 2 times during cooking. After it cools, scoop it out of the skin and cut into smaller pieces. Discard skin.
We didn’t get to make the chile cheddar croutons, but some crisply toasted baguette, spread with a little butter, sprinkled with cheese, chile powder and cayenne, broiled for a minute, would go really well with this soup.
Linda said she liked the soup and I encouraged her to eat a variety of dark yellow and orange vegetables, so I’m hoping she makes it again sometime.
And for the final dish, the rich and delicious cookies!
Flourless Fudge Cookies
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp espresso powder
6 T cocoa powder (Sharffen Berger is the best!)
3 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of kosher salt
2 cups pecans, toasted for 7-9 minutes at 350 degrees, chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (Callebaut, my favorite)
1 cup dried cherries (optional)
1 cup sweetened coconut (optional)
or any add-in you like
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper and grease the parchment. Stir together all ingredients til smooth. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl and stir til smooth. Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in balls about the size of a ping pong ball, about 1 1/2 inches. Bake 8-10 minutes. They will spread and become shiny and develop crackly tops. Remove from oven and cool right on the pan. Makes 16, 3 inch cookies.
Please make these cookies when you crave chocolate. You wont miss the butter and flour, I promise.