Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pureed Goodness Despite a Bay Leaf's Best Efforts

You've just got to love an immersion blender. I've been using mine so much my husband started teasing me about it. Anyone else get teased about their blender use?

I made butternut squash soup this weekend, as you might have read. It's a pureed soup, and a yummy one, at that. However, even though it's written explicitly in the recipe, I skipped the step where you remove the bay leaf before blending. Oops. Having used white pepper instead of black so the soup would look just perfect, I was surprised to see a dark bit floating around when I began blending the soup. I realized pretty quickly what it was.

Can you see all the pieces of bay leaf I picked out of the soup? As soon as I saw a piece floating in the soup I stopped blending and began picking. After a while, the picking got old. That's when I turned to my trusty friend, the internet. What? You know Internet, too? Does yours also have the uncanny ability to tell you all sorts of information, like what happens if you accidentally eat a bay leaf?

Well, here's what I learned:
Clearly, the bay leaf isn't poisonous, or you wouldn't cook with it at all. And it's ground up fine in Old Bay, so consuming it is ok. HOWEVER, it doesn't even wilt when cooked for a long time, and the edges of the pieces of leaf, when broken, can be very sharp. According to a number of online sources, the sharp leaf can cut the throat and stomach lining. Yeah, not something you'd want to do.

So I quit picking out the pieces, and pureed the hell out of my soup. If I saw a big piece of leaf I removed it, but otherwise I just made sure to chop the pieces up so tiny that they wouldn't perforate my esophagus. Good plan, right? Anyway, if you make this soup, which I highly recommend, save yourself some time and trouble by remembering to remove the bay leaf.

We had the soup last night with fresh multi-grain bread (from the store. I don't make EVERYthing.) and a favorite salad. Here are the recipes...

Butternut Squash Soup

(Serves 10-12. Use 2 med sized squash, and 4 cups broth for 6-8)

8 ½ pounds whole butternut squash

2 chopped medium white onions

Tbsp chopped ginger

Zest of one orange

3 large carrots

1 bay leaf

olive oil

7 cups vegetable broth

heavy cream-optional

1. Cut carrots into large chunks and place on a baking sheet with halved squash placed cut side down. Roast until you can pierce the skin of the squash easily with a fork.

2. Let squash cool. Remove all flesh with a spoon and discard skin.

3. While squash is cooling, sweat onion in 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot.

4. Add bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir.

5. Stir in squash and carrots.

6. Add broth, ginger, and orange zest. Stir well, and bring to a boil.

7. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.


9. Blend until nearly smooth either in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender.

10. Stir in cream if desired, totally not necessary.

11. Great garnished with frizzled, salted leaks.

Tri-Color Salad with Dried Cranberries
1/2 a head of radicchio, sliced across the grain into thin strips
1 bunch watercress, washed and thick lower stem removed
1 endive, leaves and core sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
blue or goat cheese- optional
You can use any vinaigrette. I make one with
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
a splash of water
Tbsp dijon mustard
Tbsp honey

Mix all salad ingredients except cheese. Dress and toss. Top with cheese if desired.
Yummy Yum!


  1. I tease my husband about his blender use. He uses the super chopper-yup the one from the infomercial at least 5 times a week. I feel a little guilty teasing him though because I am definitely the beneficiary of some delicious salad dressings! Love you!

  2. I have a GREAT recipe for an immersion blender. Remind me. . .