Fall has officially arrived when my counters are filled with pears and pumpkins, hooks are covered in coats, rain boots have a slot next to the dresser, and the warmly spiced smell of change is in the air. We have now celebrated my brother's, my mom's, and my birthday this month. October has always encompassed change, parties, favorite foods, and the milestone of a new age to embrace.
This is one of the bigger birthday years for me. So far in my timeline, 20 felt like a huge jump. Going from teenage status, to an age that began with twenty just sounded incredibly old to me...back then. Although I have generally been someone to celebrate a new age. My parents have always made birthdays a fun celebration in our family, which in turn, has always made it feel like an exciting time. I generally see it as an opportunity to make changes in my life. This is year no different in that regard, but I have a significantly new perspective. I gather it is a result of so much change in the past year. I have completely repaved the yellow brick road.
Butternut squash dip can be a metaphor. Normally I would have pureed roasted butternut squash into a soup with the pears sitting near the window sill, which I did do a few weeks ago. But there are so many new flavors and dimensions to experiment with. So why not give it a try? A new recipe may sprout from this experience, or a new recipe never to be made again may also happen. Either way, a culinary adventure awaits when we open our eyes to the endless possibilities that are at our finger tips. So try something new today or this week. Whether it is putting sweet potato in your smoothie, admitting and embracing the fact that you like a certain R&B song, or booking that trip you daydream about. Regardless of the outcome, you have grown and expanded your horizons into becoming an even better form of yourself. Motto for the day: Just go with it...the future awaits.
Butternut Squash Dip
Makes 2 to 3 cups
This dip was concocted through major trial and error. I wanted it to be a somewhat sweet dip, that vegetables, pita chips, or fruit could be dipped. But I also wanted the squash-like flavor to be mellowed. I suspect the honey and tahini were major players in rounding out the earthiness. Pumpkin or any other squash puree can be substituted for the butternut squash.
2 cups butternut squash puree*
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 pinches cayenne pepper, or more to taste
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
Stir squash puree, yogurt, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cayenne together in a medium bowl. Place honey, tahini, and butter in a small bowl. Heat honey mixture in microwave until butter is melted and mixture is easily stirred. Stir honey mixture into squash mixture until fully incorporated. Serve chilled or warm.
*Directions for roasting butternut squash:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and pulp attached. Seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds if desired. Place squash halves, cut-side up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Brush the squash flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until a knife is easily inserted into the center of the squash, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool. Remove skin from squash. Place squash in a food processor and blend until completely smooth.