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All American Thanksgiving

OK, I can’t help but go on a little rant here…

Were you shocked/disgusted by the recent U.S. presidential election? If so, you share that feeling with over half of the American public. I went to bed on November 8th extremely depressed, and woke up the next morning feeling nauseous. How could (almost) half of U.S. voters – people that had twice elected Obama – elect this disaster? It is mind-boggling and frightening that so many are so gullible, self-centered, and easily manipulated. The last eight years will be remembered as a golden era. I hope this country can survive the next four.

This Thanksgiving most of my multi-heritage and multi-racial family* is gathering in Nashville. Featured prominently on the menu will be butternut squash, which I’ve just started growing the last two years. For some reason I thought that winter squash wouldn’t grow very well in my Oklahoma garden, but boy, was I wrong! Tomorrow butternut will make an appearance in a dip, a roasted vegetable medley, and in a pie with chai whipped cream. Of course we are having some accompaniments to the squash – turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, arugula salad, Waldorf salad, and these rolls.

butternut squashSo, if you are overwhelmed by your winter squash harvest – as I am – you should try Butternut Squash Queso. I made this for a gathering two weeks ago, and got requests for the recipe. My inspiration came from here, but I used fresh butternut, roasted with onion, garlic and olive oil. I also added 4 oz of cream cheese, some diced jalapeno, and used pepper jack cheese.I saw some other recipes online that called for sour cream, which I would substitute for the cream cheese, if that’s what I had in my fridge. Here’s my recipe:

  •  3 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
Roast on a cookie sheet in a 400 F oven until squash is cooked through slightly brown – about 30 minutes. Add to a food processor along with:
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chili
  • 1 minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Mexican seasoning mix (chili powder, cumin, coriander)
Heat in microwave with
  • 1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese.

Top with chopped cilantro, and serve with tortilla chips.

And if we still have squash to get rid of consume, I’m going to make this butternut hummus.
Butternut hummus
*Some of my ancestors came over from England in the 1600’s. Others came to America a bit later. I’m also pretty sure I have Native American and Negro/Creole mixed in there too. My husband has Slovenian, North African (10%, according to a DNA analysis), and British ancestors. There’s no Hispanic, as far as we know, but our daughter has always been mistaken as Latina. Our granddaughters are mixed Caucasian-Asian. In other words, we are a typical American family.

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mmm... with creme fraiche...
mmm… with creme fraiche…

We have been enjoying Ozark Beauty strawberries from out backyard for about two weeks now. I planted two flats last summer (6 six-packs in each flat, a real find!) as ground cover in the formerly shady part of the back yard. Mike has been picking about a quart every other day, and last night he put a batch in the dehydrator. These tiny intense morsels of strawberryness will be a great addition to the backpacking menu – if we don’t eat them as soon as they come off the drying tray.

An update on the garlic scapes: I made a yummy stir fry the other night with little strips of pork loin, scapes, asparagus, hot pepper flakes, mushroom soy, hoisin sauce, and and dash of sesame oil. Cooking the scapes tones them down, so they were more like garlic-flavored green beans. Tomorrow I’ll put a load in the dehydrator and we’ll see how they come out.

Volunteer tomato plants keep appearing around the yard, in the garden, and next to the chicken house. I’ve decided to plant them in the space reserved (next year) for blackberries, next to the new fence on the north side of the back yard. There is just something so exciting about volunteer veggies – you never know what you might get (sort of like raising children). I remember the year we harvested enormous banana squash-type fruits from a volunteer squash plant. I’d never planted any banana squash

Kale growing next to the chicken yard
Kale growing next to the chicken yard

before, so I guess this was a cross between a summer squash and a pumpkin. They were a pale pink, weighed about 30 lbs, dense, dark orange flesh, and had a very small seed core. I dubbed them “beluga squash.” That fall we ate a lot of (beluga squash) ice cream, pies,  bread, and muffins.

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