For Christmas I hung out with Iliya and a few other friends who were all still in Boston for the big night. So it was a jolly snowy night of fooding. I made an appetizer to hold us over while cooking, and two side dishes, one of which was popcorn mushrooms. The other real popcorn was something I learned after eating at OM in Harvard Square: white truffle oil popcorn in parmesan and herbs. And for the actual dinner I made a carrot and butternut squash soup, which even Iliya said, “For something with carrots in it (which I hate), this is really good.” Thanks, Iliya!
White Truffle Oil Popcorn in Grated Parmesan and Herbs
1 bag microwaveable popcorn
1 jar white truffle flavored olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
thyme, oregano, or other herbs
salt and pepper
Pop the popcorn in a microwave. With the microwave we used, there was an automatic setting that popped all but two kernels without burning any. It was amazing.
Generously sprinkle the olive oil over the popcorn in a large serving bowl. We could only buy truffle flavored olive oil (instead of truffle oil) but that turned out to be a good thing, because you need a lot of olive oil to coat all the popcorn. With pure truffle oil, it would probably be smarter to buy popping corn, oil the unpopped kernels, then pop them with the oil already applied.
After generously sprinkling the oil, sprinkle all the parmesan cheese over the popcorn. Crush some rosemary and thyme and add to the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste as well.
Using a large spatula, mix the popcorn around in the bowl until the oil, parmesan, and herbs are more evenly coating the popcorn on the bottom. Or, take the whole bowl and toss the popcorn. The flavoring steps can be repeated after mixing or tossing once.
Time procrastinated: 5 minutes
Ways to prolong procrastination: Rent a movie.
Savory Carrot and Butternut Squash Soup
1 half butternut squash, peeled
2 large carrots or three small carrots
1 cup milk or 1/2 cup cream
Peel and slice the carrots into chunks. Cut the butternut squash into chunks. The squash I bought came peeled and halved so it was much easier to deal with than peeling a whole squash. Peel and cut an onion into chunks.
In a soup pot, heat some oil, and cook the onion for around 2 minutes until it is soft and translucent but not quite caramelized. Toss in the carrots and butternut squash, and immediately add the chicken stock. The stock I used was made a while ago from boiling chicken and herbs, so it was already very rich and flavorful. If you do not have chicken stock, you can use water, plus a good mix of salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, and other spices. Adding chicken bouillon is helpful but not necessary.
Heat the pot until the stew is boiling, then let simmer on medium to low heat for 15-30 minutes, until the carrots are easily mashed with a fork. Remove the stew from heat, and make sure to remove any bay leaves.
Pour stew into a blender, filling the blender about 1/2 way up. Add 1 cup milk or 1/2 cream for each time you fill the blender to this amount. Blend until the whole mixture is smooth. Add salt to taste and keep blending. Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon.
Time procrastinated: 45 minutes
Ways to prolong procrastination: make dipping pastries, perhaps filo dough twists?