Fall in the Form of Butternut Squash

No matter where I have lived, Autumn/Fall has been my favorite season.  Even in places with only wet and dry as the seasons, I have always loved the months of October and November (and not just because that is my birthday month).  It is the month when temperatures start to drop — even 5 degrees makes all the difference in Guam or San Diego — and when I was in school, it was when I was getting into the groove of the new academic year.  Since moving to Boston, my love for Fall has increased ten-fold.  Not only does the weather cool down, but leaves start to change, evenings are longer, and squash.  More specifically, winter squash.  Pumpkin, acorn, kabocha, spaghetti.  All delicious.  My favorite, though, is butternut squash.

Practically all I ate my first fall here was butternut squash (or, as I lovingly address it when I see it in the store, squatter nutbash).  I made butternut squash soup every other week, and even made butternut squash ravioli, which was amazeballs, if I do say so myself.  Last weekend I bought a squash with the intention of making the ravioli again, and then posting it.  However, since it is quite time consuming, I don’t think I will be able to just yet.  Hopefully I will this year, though.

I started thinking what else I could make with it.  Since we’re going to a party this weekend that some of my lady’s classmates are throwing, I decided, what better party food than dip?  So I thought of this dip that can easily be enjoyed with a spoon — it is simultaneously sweet (the nature of the squash), savory (with the addition of parmesan cheese, roasted garlic and onions), and is the embodiment of a New England Fall (with subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg).

So, what are you waiting for? Get your Fall on!

Butternut squash dip, chilled

Butternut squash dip, chilled, enjoying the crisp Autumn afternoon

Gimme more…

Context Clues

Aside from talking about food with people who share the same passion and thirst (hunger?) for knowledge in talking about food, the thing I loved most about being in the Gastronomy Program at Boston University was the snacks.  Because our classes most often were from 6-9pm on weeknights, instructors would incorporate a shared snack situation to be enjoyed during the mid-class break.  A time to stretch, pee, freshen up, socialize (outside of passing notes – not that I did that; I mean, this is grad school… who does that in grad school?), we were also able to indulge in yummies, especially after talking about food for an hour and a half.

On January 31, I presented my thesis as part of the Jacques Pepin Lecture Series at BU.  My thesis is about the foodways of Guam, where I am from.  I talk a lot about the flavor profile of the food preferences of locals, and have a bunch of photos that I took while I was there doing “fieldwork” (yes, it was fieldwork, but I was also there visiting family and generally having a lovely time soaking in the sun and gaining about 15 pounds).  Taking inspiration from the class snack time, I decided to provide topical snacks at the lecture for attendees to enjoy so they had some gustatory context for what they were learning about.

In case you are unfamiliar with the food (or anything) of Guam, basically people there like their food salty, sour, spicy, and meaty.  The most common ingredients used (according to my participants, and my experience living there for the first 17.5 years of my life) are soy sauce, coconut, lemon, vinegar, onion, garlic, black pepper, and donne’ (local hot pepper).

For the snacks, I chose red rice, chicken kelaguen (similar to ceviche, but the chicken is cooked by heat before acid is added), finadene (the preferred condiment), and manha titiyas (coconut tortillas).  I also made roskette (Chamorro cornstarch cookies).   AKA:

2013-01-31 18.05.172013-01-31 18.05.28

Red rice, kelaguen, and finadene are must-haves on the fiesta table.  Shoot, finadene is generally a must-have in the refrigerator.   I know I always have some!  Roskette is something that personally transports me back home when I eat it.  When I lived on Guam, I would only have it on special occasions, though it was usually readily available at certain grocery stores and mom-and-pop shops.  Once I moved away, it was one of many things I longed for in care packages.

Gimme more…