Over at Seattlest, the soupe du jour is butternut squash with pear, cider, and vanilla bean, a homespun knock-off of a dish from one of my favorite local spots.

I’ve never been one for trying to recreate restaurant meals, but the soup I had at Crow was sufficiently delicious to warrant a go, and anyway, if I may be so bold—trained chefs of the world, please forgive me!—I thought I could make it even better. The original restaurant version was wonderfully light—almost frothy, really—but unabashedly opaque with cream; and its vanilla flavor, though dainty, was almost veering toward dessert. Using this recipe as a template, I aimed for a velvety but only lightly creamy soup, with just a subtle stroke of vanilla and a good, oomphy dose of pear. The results have me feeling like a proud parent. If you were in the vicinity of downtown Seattle at noon today, that scraping noise was me in my office, going after the last mouthful in the bowl.