How have we already gone an entire month into 2018? I feel like time has flown by. While the time seems to be going faster and faster, I have to admit I am so ready for spring and summer. That’s the thing about January and February. You come off the high and excitement of Thanksgiving, Christmas season, and New Year’s, and plunge right into wet, cold days and the realization the next national holiday isn’t until the end of May. Days like these leave me daydreaming of longer days, warm weather, my garden, and the joy of being outside. For now, it appears as though I will continue to work with the winter vegetables that are available and bear through the cold.
My husband is out with friends for the evening leaving me to cook for one. I don’t mind, this usually means I get to cook something that he would not appreciate (and tonight is no exception). So, I poured myself a glass of wine and set out to find a recipe.
Butternut Squash Salad with Apple and Parmesan Dressing
1 Small Butternut Squash
4 ½ tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ tablespoon Garlic
¼ teaspoon Ground Allspice
2 ½ tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 small Granny Smith Apple
½ cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Peel and seed the butternut squash, then cube into roughly 1-inch squares. In a large bowl, combine the squash, ½ of the olive oil, the allspice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and coat the squash in the seasonings. Spread the squash on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and golden. This should take about 35 minutes. Cool
In a small bowl, wisk together the lemon juice, garlic, remaining olive oil, and a pinch of salt.
Cut the apple into small pieces. In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, cooled squash, apple, and dressing. Add the shaved parmesan and toss once more before serving.
Inspiration for this salad came from Paula Deen’s book “Paula Deen Cuts the Fat.” This is the other half of the book bundle I got at her restaurant in Savannah (it came with the book I really wanted and the lady was a real stickler about that fact).
While my butternut squash roasts in the oven, I thought I would give you a little preview of what will be happening this month on the blog.
Here’s what’s coming in February:
New Website: My OCD has gotten the better of me. I will be moving my website to a platform I am familiar with this month. I have just been having too many issues with this one. Don’t worry if you are one of my faithful subscribers, you will continue to receive email updates from the new website once it goes live. I haven’t quite figured out whether I will be able to migrate comments over, but we will figure that out when we get there.
Valentine’s Day: As a girl who spent maybe a few too many years in the food industry during high school and college, I am adamant that I do not want to go out on Valentine’s Day. My husband at first found this to be unusual, and maybe even that I was just being coy in a “oh no honey, we don’t have to celebrate my birthday. It’s fine” kind of way. He quickly learned, I was serious. If we ever go out for Valentine’s, we do it either the weekend before or after. On Valentine’s Day, I cook. This year, I will be cooking out of a book he got for me from 2017’s #1 Restaurant in North America AND 2017’s #1 Restaurant World-wide (yeah, no pressure on that meal at all). The restaurant is called Eleven Madison Park, and they are based in Manhattan. I haven’t decided what I will be making yet, but if the book is any indication, it will be far fancier than what I am used to cooking.
Garden Planning: February is when I start planning for what I will be planting in my garden this year. I am a bit of an unusual gardener in that while I don’t ever have a huge roaring garden, I start my plants from seedlings. They just typically prove to be more resilient and healthy plants in my experience. I use Southern Exposure Seed Exchange to purchase my seeds. Quick plug for these guys- they are a wonderful co-op organization of several different farmers that focus on organic farming, sustainable agriculture, and seed-saving. They have a knack for saving seeds from heirloom and regionally-significant varieties of plants.
Well, I’m off to go enjoy what is promising to be a great dinner salad for one.