Down time...

So I have been trying to take a bit of down time in preparation for the upcoming life change (baby's due in 5 weeks), but down time is not something I'm very good at.

I directed a Verizon shoot on Thursday in Los Angeles. It was a day of greenscreen and motion control, two of the least interesting parts about my job, but the shoot was fun nonetheless.

Then Beth met me out there for the Visual Effects Society Awards on Saturday - which Synecdoche did not win. I say this will all sincerity and honesty: It was a huge honor to be nominated. We were up against films like the Changling, Dark Knight and Cloverfield. Some of which had higher budgets for their supervisors than we had for the entire slate of visual effects.

After that I worked on a Subway (the sandwich shot) shoot with Alex at Charlex. It was fun.

Since then I've been taking care of my wife an cooking a little bit here and there. I made a Pear and Butternut Squash soup on Tuesday night that turned out REALLY good.

I started in the general area of the recipe below, but I swapped the cream for a little milk and I used Chinese Five Spice instead of cinnamon. The photo is mine.

It's from the Gracious Bowl:

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
Serves 4-6

1 medium-sized butternut squash
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 bartlett pear, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp powdered ginger (try fresh if you have it!)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 good turns on the black pepper mill
salt to taste
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
cilantro for garnish

1. Quarter and seed the squash and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper then roast at 400 degrees until soft, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool and scoop out the flesh. (You can do this up to 3 days ahead of time.)

2. Saute the onion and pear until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the curry, cinnamon, and ginger and let them toast for a minute, then add the squash. Add the chicken or vegetable broth and let it all simmer for another 10 minutes.

3. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (my preferred method) or in a blender (but be careful to do it in small batches...splattering liquids are HOT!) Add the cream and stir.

4. Feel free to garnish with cilantro and a little more cream.