I’ve been a guest at Rancho La Puerta two times with Brenda. The first was as press and workshop presenters and last year as presenters. Brenda discovered it first. She raved about how great it was, and I agree 100%. I believe their repeat rate is approximately 70%. Besides all the wonderful activities, the food is not just good, but delicious. Rancho La Puerta, for me, is one of the best wellness experiences ever and fun at the same time.

Squash-Apple Soup with Thai Red Curry
Serves 6

The colorful kings of the winter garden, squash of all types are packed with beta-carotene and other vital nutrients. Plus, they taste divinely buttery and sweet. Salvador has grown many varieties of squash at Tres Estrellas over the years, but has settled on acorn and butternut (with the occasional pumpkin) as the most practical for kitchen use.

Thai curry paste gives a tiny zing of spice to balance the sweetness of the soup. For a very special occasion, you could serve the soup in hollowed out miniature pumpkins or small squash.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled, and diced
  • 2 leeks, white part only, washed and sliced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
  • ½ stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (see Note)
  • 4 cups basic Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste
  • Thinly sliced chives
  • Thin strips of orange zest (optional)

1. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the squash, apple, leeks, carrot, celery, and basil and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened; do not brown. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the stock, water, brown sugar, and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.
2. Cool for 30 minutes, then, in a blender or in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until absolutely smooth.
3. Reheat and taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Serve very hot, with a sprinkling of chives and the orange and zest, if desired.

Note: Thai red curry paste tastes nothing like Indian curry. Sold in small jars, the paste is pungent and quite spicy, and it will last months in the refrigerator.


Rancho La Puerta

U.S. 1-(800) 443-7565
Worldwide (858) 764-1845

Maralyn D. HillThe Epicurean Explorer

International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)

Board Member, Co-Chair Conference & Media Trip Committee, Past President

Editor-at-Large, CityRoom

Freelance Lifestyle Journalist

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