The Greenhouse Social Club of the Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Project met once again on the last Thursday of the month for a cooking workshop. Arzeena is the organizer for this workshop and Karen Dar Woon will be the demonstrator for this workshop. Karen is the chef for the community meal at the Gilmore Park Church. The Gilmore Park Church community meal ended end of November and will resume in January. Karen can now concentrate on her own catering business in the month of December which is a very busy month for her. I enjoy Karen’s workshop as she always shares cooking tips with us.
The star ingredient for this workshop is Squash. Above are a few of the squashes for the workshop. The large white squash is called Blue Magic. The smallest one is Acorn Squash while the remainder two are Japanese Squash or also known as turban squash.
The first recipe for this workshop is called Squash, corn and Lemongrass Soup. The soup is velvety, light and sweet with a hint of freshness from lemongrass and cilantro. We enjoyed the soup so much that we had second helping of it. The recipe is taken from Gourmet, November 2007 by Lilian Chou.
- 1 fresh lemongrass stalk, root end trimmed and 1 or 2 outer layers discarded
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
- 1 3/4 lbs kabocha or butternut squash
- 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (10 ounces; from 2 to 3 ears)
- 5 cups water
- cilantro leaves for garnishing
Click on Read More for the instructions.
|Cut off and discard the top of the lemongrass, leaving a 6-inch stalk.
|Smash the stalk with the side or end of a large heavy knife or with a hammer.
|When cutting a squash, always cut longitudinally as the grain of the squash grows that way.
|Slice the bottom off so that you have a flat surface to work on. Scoop out the seeds and flesh.Save the seeds for roasting.
Peel and cut the squash into chunks.
|Heat the frying pan first before you add the oil and butter. The preheating helps the pan molecule to expand and thus smoothern the surface and this helps to prevent food from sticking.
|Saute the onion and lemongrass with a teaspoon of salt over medium low heat. Stir occasionally until the onion is softened, about 10 minutes.Never omit the salt in a recipe as the salt helps in browning and leavening. You may reduce the amount of salt but not omitting it totally.
|Add the water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
|Add the squash and corn. Season with ground black pepper and salt to taste.When it comes back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
|You’ll know the squash is tender when a fork inserted into the squash does not feel any resistant.Discard the lemongrass.
|Mash the squash using a potato masher.
|For a more silky and smooth soup, you may puree the soup in a blender in few batches. Use a tempered glass blender for safety reason. Fill only half way to prevent spilling. Place a towel on top of the cover and wear a mitten to hold the cover down. Karen always reminds us of kitchen safety first. If you want a very smooth texture, you may strain the blended soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids.Season with salt and pepper to taste and reheat if necessary.
Garnish with cilantro leaves before serving.