Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Redux: Herbed Butternut Squash + Cranberry Jam

Once I was in a hairdresser's in North London off the Seven Sisters high road, at a shop recommended by a friend. It was November, and as I sat quietly in the African salon I listened to the customers around me. The man next to me remarked that the following day was what 'the Americans' refer to as Thanksgiving. He mentioned that he had been once, and that for Yanks the holiday is bigger than Christmas. I suppressed a giggle.

However, having spent both holidays at home in 2009 I am now thinking he wasn't so far off the mark. A completely secular holiday, Thanksgiving is celebrated by my Muslim and Jewish friends, the small and large families, recent immigrants. It's the only day a year the Chinese restaurants close! This year I spent the entire night (literally) helping my mom with the turkey and stuffing (gluten free!), plus a couple of dishes of my own. The delicious butternut squash recipe was inspired by the cooking class I took in Züri, and the sugar-free cranberry jam is friendly for any kind of food allergy.

Roasted Butternut Squash w/ Toasted Walnuts
pictured above
1 butternut squash, cut into cubes
1 cup haricots verts/french beans
1/2 cup walnuts
2 t walnut oil
2 - 3 T ghee or butter
1 t herbes de provence
1/2 t cinnamon (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F/190 C. In a bowl toss the walnuts (I shelled fresh nuts) in the walnut oil and add a sprinkle of salt.

  • Spread coated nuts onto a baking sheet or foil and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove to cool.

  • Warm oven to 425 F. Melt the ghee or butter in a small frying pan and add to a medium bowl.

  • Add the herbes de provence and then toss the cubed butternut squash and haricots verts to coat. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and a dash of cinnamon to taste.

  • Spread the squash and beans evenly onto a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning halfway through.

  • Serve the herbed, golden squash topped with the roasted walnuts!
My family loved this dish, and it reheated well the next couple of days.

Sugar-Free Cranberry Jam
1 cup cranberries
1.5 T arrowroot
3 T apple cider vinegar
Stevia to taste (I used a blend of liquid and powder)
1/4 t cinnamon

  • Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer and simmer for roughly 12 - 15 minutes as sauce thickens to a jam.
  • Remove from heat and once cool, remove to a jar to spread on breads/crackers or mix into yogurt!!
I made endless use of this jam for breakfast - spread on my version of almond flax bread from Elana's Pantry with homemade almond butter (a not-so-classic PB&J), or in greek yogurt with an extra drop or two of liquid Stevia (I use Whole Foods brand). Dig the pics :)

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