Thursday, September 30, 2010

misfit vincit

I've been sort of absent from blogging for the last week or so. My sister has been visiting, and then my DH came home from his latest trip. It's easier (especially for them) to have one of them at a time, but I really have been enjoying having a full house. I feel like I have people to cook for and take care of (though my sister has been helping with the cooking - which is fabulous), and it's fun to have someone with whom to run my errands; and part of me is pretending that my sister isn't leaving in a week or so, and will be here at Hallowe'en, so we can plan costumes, and carve pumpkins, and revel in the opportunity to hand out candy. (She never gets trick-or-treaters, and for years, I didn't either, and missed them. My DH doesn't seem to be so invested in these matters.)

I love fall anyway, but this year I think I think I am getting more actual joy out of it. The other morning I was sitting at the bus stop and as I looked up, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw not the drab NoVA street, but the breathtaking town where I went to college, that I loved so much; and for a second I felt an incredible lightness, as though my whole body were held aloft by balloons, and I was only just grazing the ground. I think I have felt an internal heaviness for a long time, too long really to recognize or explain. I don't know how to release it, or whether, in fact, it belongs to the life of such an old person (28!), and lightness is the province only of the very, very young.

But that's not what I'm writing about. Last night I conquered squash bisque, I do believe, and I shall share so that you may do so also. And then I have something much more exciting to share, at the end.

So I've had good squash soup before, but not found a good recipe; my prior attempts have been OK, but not ideal. This time was quite good (and could be GF, but not DF - you have been warned):
  • Split an acorn squash in half (i.e., make a notch and then drop repeatedly from a great height), remove seeds, and put in the oven to roast at 350 for 45 minutes or so. (I recommend two acorn squashes, because this only made about three or four bowls.) Other winter squash would work too.
  • While the squash is roasting, chop a small onion and mince 2-3 cloves of garlic (these measurements are per single squash); saute them in a generous amount of oil, stirring frequently. (You could also saute some chopped celery.)
  • When the vegetables are transluscent, add 1/8 tsp coriander and 1/2 tsp ground mustard and cook just another few minutes.
  • Put a cup and a half (per squash) of water on to boil with a chicken boullion cube (or two) in it; or heat up chicken broth or stock.
  • Take the squash out of the oven when done and scoop aaaall of the insides out of the skin with a big spoon. Put the squash insides into the pot with the chicken broth and add the onion etc. Add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice, cover the pot, and heat the mixture on low for 20 minutes or so.
  • Stir a teaspoon of flour into a 6-oz. container of plain yogurt (again, per squash). (For GF people: this is ideally done with chick pea flour, but I used wheat flour. I assume any starch will do.) Stir well with a fork until quite opaque.
  • Add the yogurt to the squash pot and stir. Add milk or cream until the desired consistency (a bit thinner, probably). Grate in some parmesan (or sharp cheddar - whatever flavor you like). Stir over low heat until all these things are mixed in.
  • Take off heat and use immersion blender (or food processor) to puree everything.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt, white pepper, and lemon juice.
  • At this point, I added broken pieces of salmon filets I had poached in olive oil and butter (with rosemary and some Cajun seasoning); I got the idea of adding seafood from a cool restaurant in Richmond. I think crab meat (or imitation crab) or chopped cooked shrimp might be better, though. White fish would definitely be too flaky. But you don't have to add seafood (or, indeed, anything else).
  • And I also added chopped sugar snap peas for a little more color and bite. When I do it again, I might use green onions instead.
  • Garnish with grated parmesan and green onions and serve hot.
I usually make soup in giant batches, but was limited here by having but one acorn squash. So it was all eaten up last night (even by my DH, who hates seafood!). I made homemade bread to go with it, but unfortunately that didn't get finished till hours after dinner. Next time, I need to start my rising in the early afternoon! It was a lovely way to welcome the coming fall, and maybe someone else will enjoy it too.

Now, because I'm a tease, here is a far greater victory. You remember my email (see previous post). And maybe this will inspire you to send one of your own! That's right, I got a response (no, I haven't met with him yet as I wasn't able to last weekend, but will try to this Sunday). SEE:

Thank you for your email - it is beautifully written and very moving.

My first thought is to ask whether you have gone to the Tep.eyac center and consulted with their doctors. They are Catholic and totally in line with Church teaching. There are certain therapies that couples can use in order to aid the natural process of conception. [Ed.: In my reply, I limited myself to saying that I had consulted with them and was approaching the end of the road, treatment-wise.] Their website is [].

Regarding the request for a Mass November 5, I will speak with Fr. [] about it. Perhaps we could include petitions in the evening Mass that day and pray for those bearing the cross of infertility. Likewise I believe we could put something in the bulletin about the event in DC. I don't believe it will be feasible to have a special Mass on that day because we will already have the first Friday Mass that evening. [I was looking for the dedication of an already-scheduled Mass, so I have no complaints here.] Perhaps we could meet and talk about what could be done as a ministry or outreach to those suffering infertility.

If you don't mind, could you introduce yourself to me after one of the Masses on Sunday so that I can put a face with your name? Thank you again for the email and may our sweet Lord bless you abundantly.

[Fr. ___]


  1. the glimmer of joy in this email is so wonderful. Thank you for the recipe-- YUMMM.

    That response was really very nice of the priest. let's get this ball rolling!

  2. Wow, wow, wow. First, I love your attitude this fall, and I'm very happy that you're feeling lighter. So glad this is going well for you.

    Second, the squash bisque sounds amazingly yummy. I will definitely have to cook that very soon - I love squash!

    And third, the letter from the priest is amazing. I love this! Good for you for putting yourself out there, and asking for what you want - you got it! Seriously, I'm so proud of you!

  3. I'm so glad to hear such a positive response from your pastor! Keep tossing pebbles like that and the ripples will widen, I'm sure :).

  4. What a lovely response to your letter! That is wonderful. Too funny that he asked about the T Center.
    Squash soup is one of my favorite falltime things. But my pumpkin soup (well, Rachael Ray's pumpkin soup with my tiny addition of pomegranites) is still my all-time fave.

  5. i will borrow that recipe!

    congrats on getting an answer. that's a big deal in the silent world of IF.

  6. You are amazing Misfit!!! What a great response! I hope one day to be as brave as you.

    The soup sounds delish! I'll have to try it GF & DF, but the essense will be the same. :)

  7. You are AWESOME. Both in your cooking abilities and for taking up the courage in sending your letter. I am so very proud of you.

    Also, can I come eat at your house sometime?!?!

  8. Awesome response! What a blessing to receive that and God Bless you for sending it. You know, I have never made anything with squash, but you have piqued my curiousity!

  9. Awesome response! Do tell how it went when you introduced yourself.

    The recipe sounds yummy. Very similar to my butternut squash recipe.

  10. SO GLAD to hear about the response you got! Please keep me posted on how things go.