Cafeteria Style

           SUMMER REHASH:Heavy with hamburger, sweet corn, and watermelon? Fie, you can still embrace summer with your mouth wide open; all you need is a bit of inspiration. Chef Ann Cooper, Executive Chef of the famed Putney Inn in Vermont, offers the following recipe, which can be found with other recipes by noted chefs in the American Dairy Association's free leaflet, "Sizzling Summer Celebrations." To order your own, send a self-addressed business-sized envelop to Sizzling Summer Celebrations, c/o American Dairy Association, P.O. Box 760, Rosemont, IL 60018-7760. If you like to be extra cautious before you go around ordering free leaflets from god-only-knows-where, get more information on the leaflet by visiting the ButterNet website at http://www.realbutter.com. And now, the recipe you've been waiting for...

           Butternut Squash Soup

* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted
butter

* 2 pounds squash, peeled,
seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks

* 3/4 cup chopped onions

* 3/4 cup chopped celery

* 2 1/2 cups chicken broth

* 1/4 cup bourbon or apple juice

* 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

* salt and pepper to taste

           Ginger Butter

* 1/4 cup unsalted butter,
softened

* 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

* 1 Tbsp. bourbon, optional

* 1 tsp. maple syrup

* 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

           Heat butter in a large saucepan until melted. Add vegetables and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for five minutes, until onions are slightly transparent. Add bourbon or apple juice to pan; cook 30 seconds. Add chicken broth. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Puree mixture in blender or food processor, half at a time. Serve in individual bowls with a small dollop of Ginger Butter. Makes 8 one-cup servings.

           For Ginger Butter: Heat one tablespoon of butter in small skillet over medium heat until melted. Add grated ginger. Cook 30 seconds. Stir in bourbon, maple syrup, and ground ginger. Cook and stir about 30 seconds longer. Remove from heat. Let cool several minutes. Combine remaining butter with ginger mixture in a small bowl until smooth. Makes 1/4 cup or eight 1/2 tablespoon servings.

           TANDOOR DAYS:On August 15, celebrate the 49th anniversary of the day India gained its independence from British rule. On that occasion, Tandoor Restaurant (8062 Morgan Circle, Bloomington; 885-9060) plays host to two nights of feasting. On Thursday, August 15 and Friday, August 16 beginning at 6 p.m., enjoy a three-course Indian feast, a champagne toast, live sitar music by Bill Stelle, and Indian dancing by Sooriya Gunaseelan. The entire evening is yours for a mere $15. Reservations are requested.

           CEDARFEST ALTERNATIVE:Halfway between the equator and the north pole is a little town called North Hudson, Wisconsin. This humble burg is the site of the Pepper Festival, an annual community festival celebrating Italian heritage. The hometown celebration, starting this Friday (August 16) and lasting until Sunday, features a whole mess of clowns, a parade, queen coronation, a carnival, races, a fishing contest, talent contest, live music, and a beer garden. My favorite event, which I recommend highly, is the hot pepper eating contest. There's $200 in it for the first five-member relay team to stuff down a pound of Hungarian hots. Nothing like witnessing that on an empty stomach. If you like your contests to be on the more athletic side, or want a free T-shirt, register to run one of the races (5 k, 10 k, and one mile fun run). Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.; races begin at 8:30 a.m. To get to North Hudson, take I-94 to Exit 1, go north on Hwy. 35 about two miles, turn east on Monroe St. N., go one block, and you should start smelling cooked peppers.

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