Albeit ironic, I was determined to use Thanksgiving as a brief respite from
my old ball-and-chain the kitchen. In vain, I tried to justify my decision by surveying my mother’s kitchen inventory to find she was not at all equipped to meet my culinary needs.
Alas, I couldn’t, in good conscience, show up empty-handed on National Eating Day. So on the eve of Thanksgiving, to
the farmer’s market Farm Fresh I ventured, in search of my favorite seasonal gourd.
Working in a kitchen that is not stocked with even the lowest tier of my cooking-hierarchy needs (sharp knives, peeler, onion, fresh garlic) causes enough frustration for me to abandon ship and renounce my faith in olive oil.
After unsuccessfully trying to peel the butternut squash with a WWII-era peeler, I threw my hands up and threatened to throw away the whole thing. There is much comfort to be had in getting lost in your craft, and when one is faced with such adversity, there’s just no point in trying to move on.
Thanksgivingfully, before I completely gave up the ghost, my mom jumped in to save the day, using her brute left-handed strength to peel the bejeezus out of my squash.
Finally able to move on, my as-yet to be determined concoction sprang from my hands like Athena from her father’s head.
Speaking of childbirth, this masterpiece is dedicated to my mama.
For never not saving the day.
Caramelized Butternut Squash
- 2 medium butternut squash (squashes?)
- 1 large white onion
- Olive oil
- Fresh garlic, minced
- Brown sugar
- Chili powder
The astute reader will notice I did not specify measurements. This is the beauty of cooking versus baking. It’s less of a science and more of a flavor crusade. Just keep your skillet low and slow, add ingredients as you
taste see fit, and you can’t go wrong.
Using a working peeler, roll the skin off your squash until the vibrant orange is glistening through. Chop in half, scoop out the innards, then cut the phallus into 1-2 inch cubes.
Heat up enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a skillet and you know how to drive a car, stop what you’re doing, get in it and go buy one.
Once warmed, drop a few slices of margarine in. When no one’s looking, plop a few more generous cubes in, as we’re looking to caramelize, not watch our weight.
Chop up your onion and garlic and drop those in early on. Pour some sugar on
me them (a hefty few pinches) to jumpstart the browning.
In a large bowl, toss the cubes in a swirl of honey, more than enough brown sugar, equal parts paprika and chili powder, a couple of shakes of pepper, and a few cranks of sea salt.
Schlep it all into the skillet (keeping it on low heat), and wait for the magic of caramelization to happen.
Enjoy, and don’t be surprised when, going around the dinner table, your entire family lists you as for what they are most thankful.