Simply in Season: My First and Favourite Cookbook

Simply in Season: My First and Favourite Cookbook

My First Cookbook

Simply in Season is the cookbook that got me cooking when I left home for university. It was one of the first cookbooks that I purchased and it was probably my only cookbook for a while (besides the few photocopied and emailed recipes I had from my mother when I moved out).

Of all the possible things that I could make, I didn’t know where to start. This cookbook gave me some encouragement – that I could take one season at a time. It had a direct influence on my cooking and food philosophy and I developed deeper relationships with the farmers and markets in my neighbourhood. I also became a detective at grocery stores: now I check the labels on everything that I buy.

 

Wearing it in

After 8 years of use, this cookbook looks very loved. There is a grease stain on the front cover and so many of the pages have splotches and bumps from chicken stock, frying pan splatters, and thick butternut squash (from my favourite recipe). I picked up my mother’s idea of rating recipes along the top with “yummy,” “okay,” or “meh.”

I got through university winters with all sorts of pureed soups from this cookbook: I would make huge batches and put them in single-serve containers in the freezer so they would be ready for those days when I would be madly writing an essay or studying for an exam.

 

My Favourite Recipe

I couldn’t really go wrong and it was so easy for me to improvise a soup recipe. Pureed soups were my favourite at the beginning and they still are. I have made “Gingery Butternut Squash Soup” so many times that by the end of the winter I need something different. One of the benefits of cooking by the season is that I can take a break from certain fruits and vegetables in the spring and summer and then get back to them in the fall and winter.

 

Connecting with Local Farmers

I also love to go to the farmer’s market and grab something I’ve never cooked with before (okra was a new one last summer) and try something new. In the first few pages of the cookbook there’s a section of profiles of all the fruits and vegetables – how to handle, pick, store, and prepare them. It’s been an invaluable reference for me. If you ever wondered how to prepare celeriac, you can find it here. Or, if you ever wondered why your okra went all slimy, they tell you why (cook it with something acidic!).

So many of the recipes in Simply in Season are comfort food basics, but the focus is on good, wholesome food that is loaded with fresh, seasonal ingredients. There are also many stories scattered throughout the recipes that have connected me to a community of those who are mindful about what they eat.

Here’s an adaptation of my favourite recipe from the book. It’s the perfect soup recipe for fall. Go ahead and experiment with the spices. It’s so fresh with just the ginger, but you could add curry, cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg. It’s also fun to experiment with different apple varieties.

 

Gingery Butternut Squash Soup

2 onions (chopped)

2-4 tablespoons fresh ginger depending on how much zing you like (peeled and minced)

In a large soup pot sauté in 1 tablespoon oil until onion is translucent.

2-3 golden delicious apples – or try whatever variety you have on hand  (peeled, seeded, and chopped)

1 butternut or kabocha (buttercup) squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes)

4-6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth depending on how thick or thin you want to make the soup.

Add to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash and apples are tender. Puree in blender until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

It’s as simple as that. Enjoy and experiment!

 

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About Avery Peters

Sharing stories. Sharing food.

I express my creativity in the kitchen. My inspiration comes from being outside—in the forest, on the farm, by the ocean, or going to the farmers’ market. I love to share food with family and friends.