Article and photo by Lisa Crockett
This is the time of year when my children start dreaming about how they'll dress up at the end of the month. This year it appears we'll have a robot, a computer, and some sort of witch going from door to door in search of candy.
While I think all the tricks and treats are a lot of fun, this is when I start thinking about ways I can dress up simple foods to make them festive. In my mind, the holidays really begin now, with colder weather leading us indoors to spend time with friends and family. And what's more autumnal than a beautiful squash, fresh from the farm or garden?
Squash can be roasted, sautéed, baked and even fried. Some of my
favorite squash dishes involve the addition of lots of sugar or butter –
or both. But roasted in its skin, then scooped out and enhanced with
just a sprinkle of salt, squash makes a tasty side dish.
For something a little more elaborate, melt a stick of butter, sauté some garlic and onion, then add about a teaspoon of nutmeg and a tablespoon of fresh, chopped sage and toss with roasted butternut squash and a basic cheese tortellini for a simple, hearty meal.
But my favorite (as always) is dessert. Pumpkin pie season will soon be upon us, but there are countless ways to use pumpkin and other squash in sweet treats. I've tasted several versions of pumpkin cheesecake (I particularly love it when it's made with a ginger-snap crumb crust), pumpkin scones and pumpkin loaf smothered in cream-cheese frosting, all warm and inviting and creating a delicious smell in the kitchen.
The recipe here is one I've been making for roughly twenty years, given to me by a dear friend. It's quick, easy, and is a great treat for a fall potluck or in lunchboxes. It's also a great way to end a Halloween party for the kids – not too fussy and always tasty. Serve up a batch of these, and everyone will agree it's a great trick to make treats like this.