dani coleman

I am a private chef primarily based on the island of Nantucket.

A Simple Summer Squash Soup

A Simple Summer Squash Soup

Well I guess if you complain enough, the hot weather eventually will become cold and grey, with a bitey north wind and spit-in-your-face precipitation. Lovely Nantucket!

On a positive note, the cool day gave me a chance to cook food and actually serve it hot. Yay! Best rainy day menu? Soup and a sandwich (okay, there was also a salad, because August-you know?). I looked around at Moor’s End Farm, took stock, and decided the soup would be summer squash and carrot, embellished with arugula pesto. The accompanying sandwich had to be Ruth Reichl’s infamous grilled cheese (don’t ask questions, just click on that link and make it as fast as you are able).


This technique is pretty standard. I could have used any allium or squash varieties for the soup. And the pesto variations are endless! (I’ll tell you all about pesto another day). The idea here again, is to not get wound up about having the exact variety of something. Try to roll with a growth type mindset as opposed to the fixed variety (that’s an education thing, kids).

In the meantime, try this soup on for size and let me know how it works for you.


Any Squash, Flexible-Mindset Soup

Serves 4


2 T ghee (or butter, or EVOO, or canola...)

1 leek (white to palest green part only), minced super finely (look on YouTube if you haven’t minced a leek before). Or use any other kind of onion you have on hand!

2 cloves of garlic, smashed, pressed, minced or grated

2 teaspoons of dried thyme (or 2 tablespoons fresh if you like)

3 medium carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped (peel if you feel a desperate need)

1/2 a russet potato, peeled and chopped

3 cups of stock-I used chicken, but any kind will do. Or water!

1 bay leaf

3 small summer squash (or zucchini or patty pan...), roughly chopped (about 2+ cups)

1 cup of some sort of milk-dairy, soy, nut, coconut (I actually used cream, because I had some that needed to be finished)

Salt and pepper to taste

A few pinches of nutmeg (freshly grated is best)

Arugula Pesto (to finish)

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon of nuts (I used toasted slivered almonds)

1/2-1 cup of arugula

1/2 cup EVOO

Salt to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)


Heat the fat at medium-low in a large skillet that has a lid (if no lid, a large sheet pan will suffice). Sauté the leeks for a few minutes, stirring, until soft. Add the garlic next, stirring still for just a minute, and then the thyme for another few seconds. Throw in the  carrots, potato, bay leaf and stock, and crank the heat till it boils. Cover, turn down to lowish heat so the moisture simmers enthusiastically, and cook until the root vegetables are tender. Add the squash, cover again and leave till cooked through. Probably another 10-15 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, quickly whip up the pesto, either by using your fabulous knife skills and muscle, a mortar and pestle, or a food processor. The idea is to first chop/mash/pulverize the garlic and nuts together into a paste. Then stir/mash/add in the very finely minced arugula and salt. Pour in the oil last, stir to mix, and salt to taste. Set aside.

After the squash is tender but not mushy, remove the bay leaf, add the milk and carefully purée the mixture, either using an immersion blender, Vitamix, or regular blender. Taste for salt and give a grind of pepper. If it’s still hot, serve right away. If not, transfer it to a saucepan and keep warm over a very low heat. Serve with the arugula pesto, dolloped on top prettily.

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