How very very quickly the month of September flitted past us. I am determined to put a lock and key on October and make it last a little longer! The opposite of spring, fall, by my definition means a time of reflection, rest and leaves, leaves and more leaves. No, seriously it is my favorite times of the year. Blue jeans, sweatshirts, campfires, some mores, pumpkin, squashes and apple cider. That’s just to name a few. If we ‘really’ get serious I’d say:
…..Opening the back door at Mom & Dad’s and smelling a fresh apple crisp, after a long day at school.
…..A trip to the local apple orchard and drinking too much cider!
…..Squash dishes of every kind, especially lots of crooknecks, back home.
…..Donuts on Halloween
…..Picnics along the river near Nauvoo, Illinois
(These would not be a sandwich either, fried chicken, baked beans, the works!)
…..Making apple pies for the freezer.
…..Raking leaves and smelling like burning leaves!
…..Church hayrides at the VanMeter Farm.
…..Cracking walnuts and picking them for winter baking.
…..Putting in a cord or two of wood for the fireplace.
Now, your assignment!! Create your own list and be sure to share them with the kids and grandkids. Keep building those memories.
I feel blessed that I acquired an admiration for practically every squash grown in the Midwest. My favorite, however, is butternut. The recipe today reminds me of a yummy butternut custard with a crumble topping. Oh no…. in slips another fall memory: Mom would prepare squash or pumpkin pies and make extra filling to bake in ramekins. Just set up a 9 x 13 pan with boiling water in the bottom and set the ramekins in to bake/steam. It’s a wonderful way to cut the carbs and/or gluten and enjoy a nice dessert. Just a little tip there.
The wonderful thing about the butternut casserole is how it freezes for a later baking. At my home I often bake half of the recipe and freeze the remaining.
There is wiggle room for creativity with the dish too. Pumpkin, squash or sweet potatoes can be used in the base. The top of the casserole has a crumble topping. Go crazy, use all kinds of things for a crumble. I enjoy crumbled ginger cookies on top. Or a flour and ginger cookie crumble with nuts, etc.
Since I’m talking about the butternut I would be amiss to not mention how much I enjoy it grilled! I do slices about 1/2 thick, savory on one side and sweet on the other. Leave the rind in place, guests can easily cut it away at the table. For my sweet I use maple syrup or a light sprinkle of brown sugar. For the savory I spray one side with butter flavored vegetable spray and sprinkle with my favorite seasoning salt. You can do the same exact thing with small pie pumpkins. (3-5 lb. pumpkins, also called sugar pumpkins because they are sweeter than large pumpkins.)
Definitely don’t wait until Thanksgiving to try this dish and other squash recipes. They’re so good! Early day tomorrow, enjoy my friends. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Butternut Squash Casserole
3 cups butternut squash (cooked & mashed)
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix the above ingredients and spread in a greased one and a half quart casserole.
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup chopped pecans
Cut the cold butter into the flour and brown sugar. Stir in the chopped pecans and sprinkle over the top of the squash. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees. The can be mixed ahead of time and frozen. Thaw and bake. You could also use sweet potatoes for the dish instead of squash if desired. Serves 4-6 persons.
To make cutting easier pierce the rind of the squash with a parey knife, in a couple of places. Cook in microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. It does get warm, so be careful. Now you can easily cut the pumpkin or squash without the fear of cutting yourself.