As part of the Voice’s Feed-a-Student initiative, I was tasked to turn a squash into roasted butternut lentil soup.
It was a curious editorial choice, given that the most complicated dish I can prepare is microwaved instant coffee.
The process of transforming otherwise healthy ingredients into radioactive goo began at the grocery store.
Rummaging through the variety of squashes at the farm market was an exhausting process.
The assorted round, skinny, dark and pale vegetables all looked menacing in the dimly lit store, comparable to a gang of hoodlums waiting in a dark alley, ready to mug a victim.
In this case, I was that victim.
Choosing a squash
Picking up each squash and examining it proved to be a painful process.
Many of the vegetables were not co-operative and put up a spirited fight.
Prickly hides pierced my skin, and lifting the heavy legumes tweaked my spinal cord.
Amidst the pain, I pulled myself together and managed to drag one squash from the farm market to my kitchen.
It was there I would begin experimenting on the vegetable.
But of course, it was a task that could not be undertaken alone.
Muscle was required.
Help needed in the kitchen
Therefore, a starving UBC engineer by the name of Andrew Topalov was enlisted to intern at the kitchen.
A friend of mine, I chose him for the job because I was well aware of his culinary talents.
He is especially noted for his ability to toast bread.
We then proceeded to ready the ingredients.
The squash was decapitated and thrown into the oven at 200 C (or 400 F).
Once reaching a squishy consistency, the vegetable was gutted like a fish and its insides were thrown into a bowl.
Lentils, turmeric and 600 ml (or 2.5 cups) of water were heated in a saucepan for 10 to 15 minutes.
The water was then drained and the remaining condiments were thrown into the same bowl holding the squash’s guts.
All ingredients in the bowl were mashed into a paste.
Onions, garlic and ginger were diced into bits and thrown into a pan lacquered with vegetable oil and curry powder.
Once the ingredients in the pan were translucent, the squash-lentil paste was added, and three cups of water were poured in as well.
Lemon juice was added and stirred into the mix.
Salt and pepper joined the fray.
Objects in pan may not be as tasty as they appear
However, the monster that emerged from the pan was inedible and had to be subdued.
Too chunky to consume, the paste was obviously still trying to evade our stomachs.
Consequently, it was thrown into a blender, eviscerated and garnished with cilantro.
The end product tasted like a delightful cross between prison food and compost.
Topalov will now be able to defer starvation for about a week.
Reported by Steven Chua
If you would like to try the recipe out for yourself and see how well you fare, you can find it here on Alive Magazine’s website.