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New Cookbook Features Twin Cities Chefs' Best Recipes

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- New restaurants keep popping all over the Twin Cities. Minneapolis-St. Paul is the restaurant scene to be featured in a book series.

The book, Twin Cities Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the City of Lakes to the Capital City, is by Minneapolis-based food writer Stephanie Meyer.  She writes a popular food blog called Fresh Tart.

"I tried to find a little bit of everything. Easy quick dishes, like hummus, to the recipe we're showcasing at Birchwood Café in Minneapolis, mapled butternut squash soup," Meyer said.

"The squash soup is very easy to make at home and is one our signature dishes here at Birchwood Café," Chef Marshall Paulsen said. Paulsen cooked the excellent dish for the WCCO This Morning team.

The book features locally-grown foods that you can cook in your kitchen.  The food book was just released in early November. There are plenty of pictures so you can make sure you know what to expect when preparing your meal. It features 100 full-color photos of famous Twin Cities chefs, favorite local dishes, and more than 50 of the two cities' most celebrated eateries.

"There are some recipes that are a little more detailed, but when I chose, those meals were too distinctive. I had to put them in," Meyer said, referring to pancetta-wrapped pheasant breasts with sweet garlic sauce.  The recipe comes from Corner Table in Minneapolis.

Here is the recipe to the mapled butternut squash soup prepared by Chef Marshall Pauslen at Birchwood Café in Minneapolis.

Mapled Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6

6 medium butternut squash
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoons sambal or siracha
1/2 cup maple syrup
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For garnish:
Crispy bacon
Unsweetened yogurt or whipped cream
Spiced pepitas

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush or spray lightly with oil.
2. Slice squash crosswise, separating the bulbous (hollow, seed-filled) base from the (solid) neck. Reserve the base portion for the soup bowls (recipe below). Halve the top portions lengthwise and place flesh-side down on the prepared baking sheet.
3. Roast squash until skins are scorched and flesh is soft, about 45 minutes (check progress at 30 minutes). Scoop flesh into a medium bowl and discard skins. (Note: while you prepare the rest of the soup, roast the squash-bottom bowls, below).
4. Working in 2 batches, puree squash with cream, stock, sambal, and maple syrup. Transfer soup to a Dutch oven or other large soup pot, season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside while you finish the soup bowls.
5. When ready to serve, heat soup over medium heat until steaming, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve in squash bowls with garnishes.

Squash Soup Bowls

Makes 6 bowls

6 butternut squash bottoms, seeded
2 tablespoons melted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush or spray lightly with oil.
2. If necessary, trim the bottoms of the squash bowls a bit so they sit evenly on baking sheet. Brush insides of bowls with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
3. Roast squash bowls until just-tender and lightly golden brown (but not so soft that they won't hold their shape), about 30 minutes.

Spiced Pepitas

Makes 1 cup

1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. In a small mixing bowl, combine pepitas with oil, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
2. Spread pepitas evenly on a baking sheet and roast until seeds are golden and crackling, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with additional salt, if desired.

More about Meyer: Stephanie Meyer's delicious recipes and photographs have appeared in magazines, cookbooks, and websites including Food & Wine, Cambria Style, and Edible Twin Cities. Meyer has dabbled in little bit of everything when it comes to food -- photographer, cooking instructor, and recipe developer. She is also the founder of Fortify: A Food Community, it's a group of Minnesota food writers and industry professionals who host educational events and raise money for local charities.

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