flashy friday

I used to hate curry.  Well, I used to think I hated curry.  Really there is only one person to blame.  Sorry mom!!!  Take it as a compliment though, as to how much I looked up to you and valued your opinions. :)  Peaches were another one, right mom?  Because of the fuzz!  I am realizing there are quite a few foods I wrote off as a kid/teen but now love! 

I discovered my love for curry about a year ago.  Honestly, before then, I had never even tried it. 

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Can I tell you how amazing onions sautéing in oil + curry smelled?  Freaking amazing.

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Enter the butternut squash. 

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I am a squash LOVER.  I’m sure there are some of you out there who are gagging at all of the fall themed blog posts lately.  Any squash haters reading?  Chris is about half + half with the squash family.  He likes acorn + spaghetti squash but does not like pumpkin, butternut, or zucchini.  He used to like zucchini but then I cooked too much of it, hehehe. 

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Well, this issue causes problems come fall.  All I want to do is eat squash + more squash.  Each year I try to convince Chris that he is going to love butternut squash + pumpkin.  Sometimes I try to sneak it into dinner and then say “so do you like it?” And if he says yes, I reply with “There is pumpkin in that!!  See you do like it.”  Evil, I know. 

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I really thought he was going to love this butternut squash soup.  He LOVES curry, so I thought that would win him over.  No such luck.  He said, “it’s not terrible…I would eat it…I just like other things better.” hahaha

Look at how thick + creamy!!!!

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I’ve been more into telling stories and talking about life things more than just food lately.  Anyone notice?  I don’t know what’s up with that, but I’m just going with it.  :)  I don’t really pre-meditate my posts.  I just know what food[s] they are going to include and my fingers to the rest!

Back to the soup.  It was divine.  Luxurious.  Delicious.  Fall.  Yum.  Better yet, I used about about 6 of my mini apples!!  Yes, this was a butternut squash apple curry soup.  I take no credit for the recipe.  I’m not about to just start wingin’ it for soups.  I’m a beginner in the soup department!

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The hardest part of this soup is dealing with the squash.  You can either peel it, cube it, then boil/roast, or you can slice it in half and roast the 2 pieces, then scoop out the squash.  Peeling is not the easiest task because of it’s odd shape and thick skin.  I opted to slice in half + roast.  However, unless you have ample time to let the squash cool, you will burn your fingers.  I suggest roasting the squash a day or 2 ahead of time.

The recipe I used came from, Adriana at A Cozy Kitchen, who adapted it from Barefoot Contessa.  I googled “butternut squash apple soup” and looked at about 6 different recipes.  This sounded like a winner!  The only change I made was using veggie stock [I like Imagine or Pacific brands] instead of chicken stock.  I only had small apples, so I used 6 small, instead of 2 normal sized.  They are really small!  I picked up “Simply Apple” for the juice and used a total of 1/4c.  To blend the soup I used my Vita Mix. 

I just loved this soup!  The creamy texture [without having to add milk/cream] was amazing.  You could taste the squash, apples + curry.  Nothing was overwhelming.  All of the flavors worked really well together.  

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Why is it “flashy friday?”  Because I got a flash.  Well, I’m renting a flash for a few days.  I know you’ve heard that flash + food photography are a no-no.  However, there are flashes that are okay to use!  Enter, the external flash!!  You can direct the light to a wall or ceiling to bounce from, which then diffuses the light, softening the photo.

This was the first photo I took with it.  I have a TON to learn.  Laura + Travis gave me a quick 101 today, but Laura said using flash is a whole art in itself!  Agreed.

I forgot to tell you why I rented the flash.  I was asked to shoot a big event here in Fort Collins this weekend.  It’s called Battle of the Burners and is put on my a local company called Beet Street.  This month has been deemed “homegrown” month in Ft. Collins, by Beet Street.  There are events all month long that have focused on local food.  Pretty cool!!  I’m very excited that I get to be a part of it.  This event is basically like Iron Chef.  There will be 6 local chefs battling it out creating unique dishes with locally grown food.  There should be a lot of people there, paying $35/ticket, to get to taste all of the fabulous food!  It’s a five hour event!  Eeek.  Did I mention I’ve never shot an event before?  Wish me luck.  Seriously!!

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I am so very excited about this flash.  Here are my first attempts at using it with food.  The light is still a bit harsh.  I’m workin’ on it!

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I should have taken a “no flash” photo to show you the difference.  I’m going to cry when I have to ship this flash back on Monday!

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Oh, what did I make?  Kind of an odd combo, but I just threw together what we had on hand.  It was simple and ended up being delicious.


  • heirloom kale
  • wild rice
  • grilled eggplant
  • 5min pasta sauce

The kale + eggplant were from my weekend trip to the market.  The eggplant was a smaller white/green eggplant.  It had a firmer texture which I liked and the skin wasn’t quite so rubbery.

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Kale – I pan sautéed it with a little olive oil + salt.  The heirloom kale is awesome.  It’s a bit softer and easier to chew but I doubt you could make kale chips with it.

Wild Rice – Cooked in water, with olive oil.

Eggplant –

  1. Preheat your grill to 350*
  2. Slice 1/4” thick slices.
  3. Toss with 2-3T olive oil, 2T balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano. [add more if needed]
  4. Grill for about 5min/side, until softened with grill marks.

I am not an eggplant lover at all.  This is really the only way I enjoy it!! 

5 Minute Red Sauce

  • 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes, [drained]
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ~1/4-1/2t sea salt
  • 1t dried oregano
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3-4T olive oil
  1. Combine all in food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Taste and add more salt/pepper/garlic if needed and blend again.
  4. Heat over low for a few minutes. 

Top this on veggies, pasta, rice, or just eat it with a spoon.  You won’t believe how much flavor this has and how easy this is to make.  I’ve tried this a few times now and it’s just so flavorful + fresh.  I haven’t bought a jar of pasta sauce in months.  Between this simple recipe and my 1-2-3 Pasta Sauce, I’ll never be going back to jarred!

Have some fresh basil?  Throw that in too!  No fresh garlic?  Just use dried. 

I ate every last bite of the sauce out of the pan. 

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Might be a little MIA this weekend preparing for this event and then starting to edit photos on Sunday.  I might pop in with a short post though.  Either way, I’ll be back in full force on Monday! :)


<3 Ash