Curried Butternut Squash

I have been traveling like nobody's business.  In fact, Gray and I have been out of town for the last 6 weekends in a row and yes, it has been as fun and exhausting as it sounds.  Among these many weekends we had an amazing trip to Monterey, complete with the most divine calamari of my LIFE and a stop at Happy Girl Kitchen plus a gut-busting, food-frenzied four days in Portland.  (Post up-coming.)  Traveling is certainly exciting as is exploring a city's hot new restaurants however after so many plates of other people's food, I start to crave my own.  And so upon our immediate return home this past Sunday, I hunkered down in the kitchen and went a little crazy.  In 3 hours I made a pot of chicken soup, braised cabbage, sesame cookies, blueberry truffles, and curried butternut squash.  And then I made a frittata and sauteed kale for dinner.  Yes my people, I was on a roll and not stopping until everything in my fridge had been prepped, chopped and cooked.  Shockingly, it didn't seem like a lot of work at the time but rather soothing and meditative as I got back into the rhythm of my kitchen.   But don't let this vision of domestic bliss fool you.  This cooking haze doesn't always happen.  Sometimes when we get back from traveling I'm resentful that I now have to cook after days of sitting in a restaurant and having food placed before me with zero effort on my part.  I envision stealing away the chef to be my daily cook and think how wonderful it would be to never wash lettuce again.  And then I come back to reality, remembering that though I enjoy occasional food pampering, I love cooking and (big shocker here!) like be in control of what goes on my plate.

As we are deep into Fall I thought I'd share with you one of my oldest standbys.  Say hello to roasted butternut squash!  If you cook often, this dish is nothing new.  However, the beauty of roasted squash is its inexhaustible flexibility.  For every season I have a list of must-make recipes and roasted winter squash is one I wait for all year.  The most difficult part of using winter squash is breaking the freakin' thing down.  Cutting open a butternut or kabocha squash can be intimidating enough to forgo the entire endeavor but I promise you, it is SO totally worth it.  In the middle of cutting open a squash I always question why I put myself through such vegetable torment, then I taste my final product and remember.  Oh right, because it is yum-tastic!

Roasted butternut squash

The below recipe is a great take on the standard roasted butternut squash.  Also, here is a quick list of how I like to use said squash once roasted:

Eat directly as a snack or side dish

Add to French green lentils and cranberries for a lovely pilaf

Toss into a frittata

Add a squeeze of lime and dip with tahini sauce

Curried Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash (about 1 pound)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

Dash of sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the bottom and top off the squash.  Halve, peel, and seed squash and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.  In a baking pan mix the squash with the olive oil, curry powder, salt and pepper.  Bake squash until roasted and a bit crisp, about 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and enjoy!

Some other possible flavor combinations include:

Cardamom, ginger and nutmeg

Thyme and rosemary

Cinnamon and cloves

Sage and Parmesan cheese

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