Someone asked to see the buffalo skull so here it is:
Excy and I love Native American stuff. Nine years ago he saw a skull in a magazine that was exquisitely painted by an Indian artist. He thought he'd like to do that. I assured him that was fine, but I didn't want dead animals on my walls, and it'd have to go down in the studio.
He is extremely difficult to surprise with presents. One of those irritating people who always correctly guess what the gift is. So a year after this conversation, I looked up some ads in the back of Western Horseman and found a buffalo skull and had it sent to the p's so he wouldn't even see the box (good thing, as it was HUGE). When he saw it wrapped under the tree, he thought it contained horse blankets, since he had mentioned those, too. I got him this time. He was very surprised when he unwrapped this gift! As you can see, it still isn't decorated, but for Halloween I string lights inside, which makes it look slightly demonic.
For all you soup-lovers, here is the recipe for the Roasted Squash and Apple Soup -- enjoy! I am making White Bean and Carrot soup this afternoon...
Roasted Squash and Apple Soup -- serves six
1T. unsalted butter, melted
1T. olive oil
1 med. yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic (or two spoonfuls of minced garlic from a jar)
1 lb. butternut squash peeled and cubed one inch pieces (I used two)
2 granny smith apples peeled and cubed (if making garnish, reserve half an apple)
1 mcintosh or gala (sweet) apple peeled and cubed
1T. rosemary, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t pepper
4 c. chicken broth or vegetable stock
1 sprig thyme plus more for garnish
cream or milk
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl toss together the onion, garlic, squash, apples, rosemary, salt and pepper with the butter and oil. Spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet and cook 30 minutes, turning or rotating after 15 min. so veggies cook evenly. They should be brown and soft. Scrape veggies into a soup pot, and if any have carmelized and stuck to the sheet, add some broth or stock to scrape it up and into the pot.
Add remaining stock or broth and sprig of thyme and simmer partially covered for 10 min. Remove thyme sprig and use your immersion blender (LOVE THIS), or puree in a blender. (If using blender, go out and buy a immersion blender to save yourself a lot of trouble. Okay, for now, if using a blender, let the soup cool and do in batches making sure the blender isn't too full). Soup needs to be smooth.
Reheat and taste and then add cream or milk and more broth to desired consistency and season to taste. I always end up adding more Ms Dash salt and pepper
If serving for a party or just wanting it to look pretty -- For garnish: saute some apple chunks in butter until brown and tender. Spoon in the center of each bowl and finish with a spig of thyme.