The Snowy Cabin Cookbook
Meals and drinks for Adventurous Days and Cozy Nights
By guest writer Bobbie Kitto
Photos courtesy of Melissa’s Produce
Recipe included: Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
Ever wish you could get all the family or the old gang back together, but once you start thinking about it, the task seems monumental?
The Pacific Northwest offers many snowy winter retreats. Perhaps you’re planning one? You may have questions like, where to start, what about the invitations, menu, the venue, or what will I do with them once they are all together for more than four hours? The Snowy Cabin Cookbook is the roadmap to sure success.
Both authors have been sharing their knowledge on how to have the perfect picnic, campout, or summer cookout for years. Marinie Hanel has coauthored with Jen Stevenson 4 cookbooks: Summer: A Cookbook; The Campout Cookbook; The Picnic, winner of the 2016 IACP Award for Best General Cookbook, and The Snowy Cabin Cookbook. Marnie is a journalist whose articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Food & Wine Magazine. Jen has a Portland food blog, Under the Table with Jen, and authored Portland’s 100 Best Places to Stuff Your Faces. So, street cred these women have.
The book starts out from the beginning as how to organize an outing by giving detailed instructions on everything from selecting a place to stay to what to pack in your duffel bag. It gives hints on what to pack for clothing, cooking, eating, and games to make sure you take. (You can’t stay outside all the time especially during that freak snowstorm the weatherman forgot to mention was a possibility.)They even have a section in this chapter on 99 ways to use a mug.
Chapter two addresses snacks for the trip by sharing recipes for every kind of taste – sweets to salty to gooey fondue and beyond like Whiskey and Bitters Bar Mix.
Chapter Three helps plan the sides and salads. In this chapter you can find the Radicchio, Persimmon, and Maple Pecan Salad (pg76) demonstrated on the YouTube video for this book on Melissa’s Produce website.
Chapter Four gives you many ideas for main courses and it is here that you will find their second recipe shown in this YouTube Video
If soup isn’t your thing there are lots of other recipes for dumplings, buttermilk chicken, a slow-roasted Salmon bowl, or spaghetti and meatballs.
Chapter five rounds out your meals with creative desserts like Dark Mint chocolate Cold Snaps, and Maple Walnut-Whisky Butter Tarts.
Chapter six is for adult beverages that you may have never heard about until now. I’ll be trying Hot Chocolate Hodgepodge soon.
Chapter seven gives you many ideas for sure to be remembered breakfasts like Pecan Popovers with Spices Apple Butter and Swedish Cardamom Rolls.
What I enjoyed the most was about the book was they took the guesswork out of throwing a great vacation/get away.
Here’s a recipe from the book for you to try.
Excerpted from The Snowy Cabin Cookbook by Marnie Hanel & Jen Stevenson (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup
Roasting everything before blending it together gives this simple soup complexity, as does adding a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of chives and bacon before serving (if you’re serving this on Meatless Monday or Vegan Tuesday, see the Tiny Tip). If you can’t find kabocha-aka Japanese pumpkin, a rich, sweet, intensely orange Japanese winter squash-try a red kuri squash, butternut squash, or sugar pumpkin. If you have a smoker, smoking the squash in lieu of roasting it lends a divinely deep flavor. Serve the soup with thick slices of hot, melty cheddar or Gruyere toast (arrange the bread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with cheese, and broil for 1 minute), or gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.
1 (2- to 2½-pound/910 g to 1.1 kg) kabocha squash, halved and seeded 4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed 1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges 1 large shallot, quartered
4 slices thick-cut bacon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 2 cups (480 ml) vegetable broth
½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
4 teaspoons minced fresh chives
At the Cabin
Preheat the oven to 4002F (2002(). Line a rimmed half sheet pan with parchment paper.
Brush the squash halves with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Place the halves cut-side down on one half of the prepared sheet pan. Combine the onion, apple, and shallot in a medium bowl, then toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper; spread them on the other half of the sheet pan (set the bow l aside-no need to wash it).
Roast for 30 minutes, until the onion, apple, and shallot are soft and starting to caramelize. Pull the sheet pan out of the oven and use tongs to transfer them back to the bowl (if they aren ‘t quite ready, keep them in for 5 to 10 minutes more); set aside. Turn the squash halves so they’ re cut-side up and roast until browned and very soft, 15 to 20 minutes more.
While the squash is roasting, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until just crispy, about 5 minutes. Use metal tongs to transfer the bacon to a paper towel- lined plate to drain and cool slightly. (Save the fat to cook fried eggs in.) When the bacon is cool enough to handle, chop or crumble it into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces.
When the squash is done roasting, remove it from the oven and let it sit on the pan until cool enough to handle. Scoop the fle sh from the skin with a spoon (discard the skin) and place it in a high- speed blender. Add the roasted onion, apple, and shallot, the nutmeg, broth, salt, and pepper and puree until very smooth.
Transf er the soup to a Dutch oven or large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the cream and remove from the heat. Add more salt and pepper, if desired. (If not serving immediately, let the soup cool, then t ransfer it to an airt ight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or omit the cream and store in the freezer for up to 1 month.)
Divide the soup among four bowls. Garnish each with one-quarter of the bacon and 1 teaspoon of the chives, and serve.
Tiny Tip: To switch up this soup’s flavor profile (and make it vegan), swap the heavy cream for coconut milk, the bacon for toasted pepitas (see page 78), and the chives for chopped cilantro.
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This book was given to me for review but that did not affect my five star rating, in fact, I was so impressed with this book that I gave it a 5 star rating and put their other books on my Christmas Wish list.
Note: Roberta (Bobbie) Kitto is a freelance writer based out of Laughlin, NV. Her interests include travel, culinary pursuits and gardening. No fee was paid for this article, but she did receive a copy of the book to review . Her opinions are her own.
To make the best of each recipe, use quality ingredients! I highly recommend products from Melissa’s Produce, available at many markets.