Squash Squish!

My husband loves rice, in all its starchy white goodness, hot with butter, salt and pepper.  Me?  Not so much.  So I’m always looking for good side dishes and salads that are just a tad bit more interesting.  Sorry, Honey.

This one is a new favorite. I ADORE this concoction.  Smitten Kitchen has done it again. The combination is just perfect.  I ate it while the squash was still just a bit warm and it was grand.  It has a tendency to dry out a bit, so when I ate it fresh from the fridge the next day I drizzled a little olive oil on top.  I have written up the recipe as I prepared it.  Deb at Smitten Kitchen actually used Ricotta Salata and I think she made a better choice.  The feta was a little bit too tangy, or briny, or something.  I would have preferred something salty and creamy.  (Aside: I can’t type “Ricotta Salata”  without thinking of Zenyatta Mondatta. De-do-do-do, de da da da is all I want to say to you.)  The lightly pickled onions absolutely take the salad to that magical place, so don’t skip them.

Make this.  It is a fantastic side dish that is rice free.  It is fall loveliness in a bowl, and is comforting, but relatively nutritious at the same time. WIN!

Butternut Squash Salad with Farro and Other Yummy Things (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 5-6 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. uncooked farro, prepared according to the directions on the package (they vary)
  • 1/3 C. toasted pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds, the salted ones)
  • 3 ounces of feta (or even better, Ricotta Salata, crumbled)
  • 1 T. sherry vinegar
  • 1 T. water
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • 1/2 small red onion, small dice
  • Salt and black pepper
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss the squash with 2 T. of the olive oil and then place in one layer on baking sheets.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast about 35 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. It’s a good idea to turn the squash over after about 20 minutes of cooking time.
 
While the squash is roasting, cook the farro according to the directions on the package. Drain.
 
In a small glass or bowl, combine the vinegar, water, salt and sugar and stir to dissolve the solids.  Dice the onion and add to the liquid.  Cover and put this in the fridge for 30 minutes.
 
Once the squash and farro are cooked, let them cool slightly then place in a large bowl with the pepitas and cheese.  Pour the vinegar/onion mixture in (all of it!), add 3 T. of olive oil (if you want to – I didn’t add any olive oil until the next day) and mix.  Enjoy!
 

Tuesday. (That’s all I’ve got.)

Happy Tuesday!  Happy Fall!

(Aside: I actually had to research the rules for capitalizing seasons.  And I still think I’ve got it wrong.  My memories of Mrs. Dussault and grade 7 are fading.  I need a grammar refresher.)

Anyway.  My brief thoughts on this lovely autumn day…

1. Everyone claims to LOVE eggplant and/or avocado.  I, myself, enjoy both of them. A lot.  However, I also have had to admit to myself that they are relatively flavorless. They are.  Admit it.  Eggplant = flavorless and gassy.  Avocado = flavorless and slimy.  Both do well with large amounts of fat added (see: eggplant parm and guac with chips.)

2. Mr. Pickle is a potty-training champion.  Really.  Trained by 28 months.  It was a perfect storm: daycare peer pressure, the willingness and ability to dress himself (sort of) and the desire to “help” with anything and everything.  One week. Trained. Done.  I had no idea how much I would enjoy living a life free of diapers. And his little behind waddling around in those teeny Superman undies?  Couldn’t be cuter.  However, I have said the word “poop” more times in the last 2 weeks as I have in the rest of my 34 years.  I’m kind of ready for that to stop.

3. I wear my sunglasses on my head way too much. I hate headbands for the purpose of holding back my hair, but I love using my sunglasses to do this.  I wear them like this so much that when Mr. Pickle puts his sunglasses on, he does not put them on his eyes, he puts them on his head.  I need an intervention.

4. I do not mind answering political polls.  I do mind when they call at 10pm.  Fair warning pollsters: if you call after 8pm, I’m going to lie to you.

5. Miss Plum doesn’t like to eat.  She is an entirely unreliable eater and has been that way since birth. I’m glad I have the photo evidence to prove that I did, indeed, birth her, because otherwise I might be suspicious that she was not actually my child.

6. What is this world coming to?  Everything is all topsy-turvy, I tell ya! I was driving home the other day.  At a light another motorist pulled his car almost – but not all the way – into another lane.  He did not block traffic, but he did cause people to have to drive approximately 2 feet out of their regular line of travel.  Not awesome, but really no biggie – or so I thought.  Until another motorist drove up and maneuvered his car in such a way (while blocking the rest of traffic) that he could look at and yell at the first driver. For making him drive 2 feet out of his way.  Really?  REALLY!?  How is it that this person thought this was an appropriate situation in which to call “Foul!” but a man seeing another grown man raping an adolescent in a shower thought, “Hm, I wonder if I should say something?”  This society needs lessons on when to speak up, sheesh.  John Quinones and “What Would You Do?” we need you!

7. I have said it before and I will say it again.  Pumpkin-flavored is NOT actually pumpkin-flavored.  It is pumpkin pie spice-flavored.  If it was pumpkin flavored, your coffee and donuts would taste a heck of a lot like nearly-flavorless (see #1) SQUASH.  Do you really want your coffee to taste like squash?  Methinks not.

I’m tired.  And that’s all I’ve got.  Cut me some slack.

Until next time (which I promise will be more interesting)…

Forever yours,

Sarky T.