My friend Naomi moved into her new apartment on Saturday - right in our neighbourhood - I could throw a stale bun over the house across the street and might just land it in her new backyard. It's wonderful to have her so close - spittin' distance, as some would say.
She helped Steve and I through our food rut on the weekend by coming over to share her first meal in her new 'hood.
We started with the crack of the cork on a bottle of Prosecco...I really think that should be a daily ritual. Really. I do. New home, new sights, new sounds, and bubbles in a glass...
And then dinner: roasted chicken and vegetables - it's the vegetables I want to share the most (but thank you chicken, you came to a glorious end) - we had: roasted potatoes and parsnips (oh the nose's odes to parsnips), zucchini grilled on the bbq, and...oh...yeah...butternut squash with carrots and ginger.
I am a NUT for any root vegetable. I lunged at the butternut squash when I saw it at the store. It is one of my favourites. So I knew it had to be part of the new home feast.
It is so easy and so wonderful: peel the squash, remove the seeds (and save them - see below) and cut into 1 1/2" chunks. Peel the carrots and cut into smaller pieces - the carrots tend to cook slower. Peel about one inch of fresh ginger and cut into slivers...Throw all this in water and boil until mashable. Get the water out, get out the masher and get to work. Add some butter if you like. And check the salt level...
The flavours and colours blend and meld into an autumn landscape in a bowl - with the ginger perfume heading up to your nose like teasing seduction - you chase it, but it's elusive, you let it be, it comes to you.
The seeds you can separate from the pulp, lightly oil them, if you like, (try canola oil instead of olive oil), and sprinkle them with salt. Put them in the oven at 275 degrees until lightly browned. You'll start to hear them pop if they've been in there too long.
And for dessert Steve baked a pear and peach crumble with the almost last crops of locally grown fruit - he also tossed in some thompson raisins and slivered almonds. It was unbelievable...mmmm leftovers...
I think the spice is back in the cooking adventure - it's so easy once you're cooking for others.
Thanks Naomi, and welcome home.