It’s been fun to see people this week returning from Thanksgiving festivities. I love hearing people’s stories about their holiday―everything from how they prepared their meal to where they traveled to times with family—I love learning about what brought people their greatest joy at the holiday. I also appreciate hearing about the struggles people faced. As much as we love Thanksgiving, there can be times, even in the closest of families, when the holiday brings out whatever difficulty there is happening in our lives. Try as we might to put things aside, they have a way of creeping up at unexpected times. My family has been under quite a bit of stress this past year, and I have to admit I wasn’t approaching Thanksgiving with as much optimism as I had hoped to muster. While I tried to hide it, I found myself in tears the Wednesday before the holiday and dreading the meal preparations ahead.
But the tears were good for me. They were honest and they released some of the fears and the tensions I’d been holding inside. They led to some direct, at times difficult conversations. They led to resolution of some heavy problems and brought me closer to my husband, son and daughter.
I have a tendency to try to take on all the meal preparation on my own, despite everyone’s honest wish to share in the work and the joy of creating our feasts. For me, food preparation is often a solitary experience—one that is more meditative than interactive. Although it’s a challenge for me to step out of that mode, I tried to this year. Everyone had a hand in the meal. My husband prepared most of the potatoes, my daughter the pies, and my son the vegetables and gravy. I admit I did a bit more on my own than I should have. I hope to be more generous about the process during the upcoming holidays and next year. Still, it was the being together, at every stage of the process, that was the most rewarding and satisfying part of the holiday for us all. It was truly lovely.
How was your Thanksgiving?
After the feast, I find myself gravitating toward light meals. These Roasted Butternut Squash Wedges are full of flavor and texture. The squash is thinly cut and then roasted until its edges are crispy and sweet. Dressed with a light yogurt sauce and garnished with seasonal greens, they are immensely versatile. Enjoy them on their own with nothing more than a glass of wine or add some steamed rice and sausages to the table for a fuller meal. Any way you choose, enjoy.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
Roasted Butternut Squash Wedges with Orange Yogurt Sauce
Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 medium butternut squash, rinsed, trimmed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeds removed then cut widthwise into 1-inch slices
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For yogurt sauce:
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons orange juice
- 1 cup spinach leaves, rinsed, trimmed and cut into thin slivers
- ¼ cup golden raisins, chopped
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Sea salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Mix the squash with the olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and spread the squash evenly on the pan. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
- Prepare the yogurt sauce by whisking together the yogurt and orange juice.
- When ready to serve, drizzle the yogurt sauce on the prepared squash. Sprinkle with spinach, raisins and red pepper flakes. Add more sea salt, to taste.
- Serve and enjoy.
- This recipe was adapted from NOPI by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully.
- The wedges can be eaten warm or at room temperature. They are delicious even without the sauce and garnishes.
- For a fancier presentation, transfer the roasted wedges to a large serving platter or individual bowls before adding the sauce and other garnishes.
- For a full meal, consider serving this dish with steamed rice or couscous, a bowl of mixed nuts or olives, some fancy cheeses and a loaf of crusty bread.