Wednesday, January 2, 2013
ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH
All together now - BIG SIGH. Holidays are over, families are back home, travels' wrapped up. Kids are becoming themselves again, snow is falling [depending on what latitude and longitude you call home], and what do you know - it's a new year.
For as much as I love the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I equally look forward to the soft quiet of January. To me it's like a warm blanket to wrap myself in as calm and peace descends It is in this month I hope for snow. Not just a dusting but a real snow storm - ten inches plus.
There is brilliance behind each of the seasons. Spring is full of newness, restlessness, and energy. Summer is marked by beach time fun, long hot days, and hard outdoor work. Bounty, gratefulness football games, and more hard outdoor work lace the Autumn days. But winter - winter is for rest, rejuvenation, reflection, and hunkering down by the fireplace. It's the time for looking at your life and recognizing areas you are doing really well, finding areas you want to change, and building good habits to take with you throughout the year.
Enter New Year's Resolutions.
I have never been the biggest fan of January 1. The pressure to be better, do better, always weighed heavy on me. I would half-heartily make a resolution or two knowing that within a week said resolution would be long forgotten - replaced by guilt. Happy new year to you too.
This year however I'm going about it a bit differently. Rather than ruthlessly picking my persona apart, I've decided there may be a more constructive [and feel-good] way of going about change. This year I have listed things I want to do, to change, to work on, to accomplish and am giving myself the entire year to do them. Real novel, huh? I'm also giving myself the freedom to fail. I'm beginning to realize that life throws curve balls, God has other plans [wait, what?! I'm not in control????], and that two little girls really drive my life these days.
This brings me to one of my goals for the 2013 year - cooking with my 2 1/2 - year old. Time if precious these days and generally I am frantically trying to throw dinner together before the girls wake up from their generally-to-short naps. I'm half way into the meal preparation when one or both yell / cry for my attention. Stress and under-my-breath muttering ensues.
Then, the other day, I brought the step stool to the counter and had my daughter climb up. While I was cutting potatoes, she dutifully cut her wooden produce alongside me. It was beautiful - a memory I won't soon forget. And thus, a goal was born. If my daughter is up, and the baby allows, we cook together - side by side. Maybe she'll get bored with it [okay, she is bound to get bored with it], but for now it's a way for me to turn what would be a stressful, draining activity into fun, teachable moments - especially in this season that should be laced with slow and intention.
Now, what you've been waiting for - the tie into squash [I promised you I would get there]. This is one of the recipes I have my daughter help me with. It is fantastically easy and one she absolutely loves. The beauty in delicata is the skin is tender enough to eat - no peeling required. If you have ever tried to skin a butternut you are saying "hallelujah!" right now.
If you have never tried any recipe from this blog - start here. You can find delicata squash almost everywhere and will probably have all the other ingredients [all 4 of them] in your cupboard or pantry. If you don't like rosemary, use sage. If you don't like sage, use cinnamon. If you don't like cinnamon, go plain or use whatever herb you do like. If you don't have oil, use melted butter. If you have never tried squash, this is the one to start with.
In this season of reflection, may you be gentle with yourself as you look at ways to work towards wholeness and well-being in your life. May you give yourself the room to fail and recognize the constraints in your life. May you hunker down by a fire and enjoy a cup of tea. May you find the beauty in winter and this new year.
1 medium size delicata squash
extra virgin olive oil
Celtic or other sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half length-wise. With a spoon, scrape out seeds [you can save your seeds and roast using one of these recipes]. Cut each half into slices about 1/2-inch thick.
Place cut pieces in bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil. Using your hands, rub oil onto each all sides of each piece. Place oiled squash slices onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Lightly all pieces with salt, pepper, and ground rosemary.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes or until a deep golden brown and a little crispy on top. You can also broil once the squash has become soft to get that color and crisp.
Remove from oven and cool slightly. Serve hot. This goes really well with black [forbidden] rice.