A Sunday Do-Over

greenlakeI didn’t know this until last week, but Seattle has a way of gripping you in the fall. Sure, our leaves change in the Bay Area, and the light basks down glowingly in the afternoons and evenings in a much different way than it does in the summer. We get golds and touches of amber. Because I went to graduate school on the East Coast, I’m used to boldly-hued falls, but in Seattle the colors are more muted and in this way maybe even more beautiful. The air is brisk and crisp and you need to break out your coat. A scarf would be good, too. You may want to even leave the heat on overnight or turn it on the second you patter out of bed to take the chill off.

I spent Halloween in Seattle this year — a Monday that, for some reason, felt like one big ol’ Sunday. So we treated it as such. This was a Megan & Sam Sunday Do-Over — something that, should we both never need to work again for some odd reason (very unlikely)–I’d like to repeat again and again. When you find yourself in the position to reenact a Sunday, siting at a cafe with coffee, broiled eggs, bread and mustard, and yesterdays paper is a good option. You don’t get to do it everyday and a Monday that feels like a Sunday is the best of times for this sort of thing.

When you’re embarking on a Sunday Do-Over, time shouldn’t be a huge consideration. You’ve got to really do it right. Feed the meter heartily and just sit with the afternoon. Order Pastis after lunch and people watch.

The quiet afternoon turned to evening quickly (as it’s known to do), and we were a little late with our pumpkins, racing around and looking under car seats to find a lighter or matches as the first family rounded the corner. I headed out to the store to pick up a baguette and a few things to make a quick soup, Sam was playing Ethiopian jazz out on the porch, we took turns fetching all of the little slippery seeds from the pumpkins to roast later, and shared a few bottles of beer.

This was actually the first Halloween that I’ve ever had trick-or-treaters. I’ve always lived in city apartment buildings, but Sam has a little house in a very sweet neighborhood by the lake and there were quite a few kids coming up the walk. If you think of Halloween as an actual holiday, it was our first together. And it was cozy and warm and wonderful.

So in the spirit of do-overs, the soup quickly became one of my new favorites. So much so that I recreated it again here in Oakland last night and am excited to share it with you today. It’s a simple soup but, because of the coconut milk and warm spices, it’s almost decadent. It’s perfect for anytime the opportunity strikes to have a Sunday Do-Over. Or, really, just a moment to sit in the spirit of a Sunday. Let’s take what we can get.

Gingered Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

Gingered Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

  • Yield: 4 as an entree; 6 as a side
  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cook time: 1 hr 5 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr 20 mins

As with most soups, this is better the next day and freezes beautifully. That being said, we very much loved it right off the stove-top. If you prefer butternut squash or pumpkin, either would work well here, too. Spend some time pureeing it well; this will result in a rich fall soup.


1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large potatoes), rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
fresh pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400° F. Put the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil (makes for easier clean-up) and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft all the way through. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, skin the potatoes — the skin should essentially just peel right off and cut into 1-inch chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sautée the onion and garlic until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and broth and gently bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the potatoes, garlic powder and paprika to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a stand-alone blender, puree the soup in small batches until smooth and creamy. Stir in the  salt and pepper.


  1. Anna

    Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a day. I hope you get lots more like that!

  2. eM

    this autumn in seattle has been the prettiest one in my 7 years here - I'm so glad you got to see it! (I joke that this autumn in seattle has been like a SF Bay Area winter - ha!)

  3. Dana

    My kind of soup! I'm so glad to have you fall in love with Seattle. I love your idea of a Sunday do-over. And boy do I miss those long unscripted days - enjoy them for me.

  4. Anne Zimmerman

    I love Le Pichet! One of my favorite Seattle haunts. Glad you got to experience it.

  5. Janet

    I'm having a do-over kind of day today, myself!

    Soup sounds totally delicious. Very happy to see sweet potatoes instead of winter squash (you know my feelings on this - I'm already over squash and I haven't even had any yet!). ;)

  6. Kasey

    I love Sunday do-overs...they're sort of the ideal way to spend a vacation, I think. Sounds like a glorious long weekend :) xo

  7. Amy

    I'm a student so Sundays currently have quite a different implication for me...I'd rather fast forward to Monday, or maybe even the next Friday or Saturday. :) But your Sunday "do-over" sounds lovely (and so does the soup).

    1. megang

      Hi Amy...I remember those days well where you're just thinking about the school week ahead. Sundays will mean all the much more when you're finished!

      Kasey: Hi and thank you. Can't wait to catch up soon!

      Janet: I forgot your feelings about squash. I think this soup was designed for you :)

      Anne: Le Pichet was on my list for awhile--it's pretty great.

      Dana: I'm going to steal you away for an unscripted day sooooon.

      Anna: thank you!

  8. lori

    Hope you and Sam have dozens of Mondays that feel like Sundays.

  9. Kathryn O

    Sounds like a really wonderful way to spend the day, and the soup looks delicious. Great call on the coconut milk!

  10. Jen

    Oh, I love your sweet pumpkin with the stars in her eyes. And this recipe looks delicious. I'm simply in love with coconut milk lately and can't get enough of it.

  11. Aaron from The Amused Bouche Blog

    Any day that can feel like a Sunday makes me smile...
    I was shocked when I first when up to the Pacific NW during fall. I thought we had it good with our fall in Sonoma County with the vineyards changing colors. But fall in Portland and Seattle are like incredible. I remember seeing all the colors while the plan was landing and thinking, "It can't possibly be colored like that everywhere," and then it was... Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. megang

      I know, Aaron. Agree! Thanks for visiting the blog, and for your sweet comment.

  12. Denise | Chez Danisse

    I just made sweet potato soup this week, but a different version. I'm looking forward to making some more with ginger and coconut milk. Great ideas. By the way, I quite like your iPhone photographs. No matter the tool, you have the eye.

    1. megang

      Thanks, Denise. Yes the iphone certainly makes it easy when traveling. I feel kind of guilty sometimes because it seems to easy, but hey, we've got to cut ourselves a little break sometimes! Happy weekend.

  13. Rose

    I tried this recipe tonight. I followed it pretty much exactly except I only had coconut cream (not milk) so I used a 1/3 of a can of cream instead of a whole can of milk. The soup is pretty good. I served it with fresh bread. I think it's too sweet as a main course, and if I were to make it again I think I'd skip the coconut milk altogether because the soup was just so sweet.

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