It has taken me a loooong time to get comfortable in my new kitchen. But as I sit here listening to music and waiting for my squash to finish and grill to heat up, I can say my heart is back in it and I am feeeeeling the joy of cooking that I grew up with. I don’t know if anyone will ever watch me cook the way I watched my grandma, aunt and mom, but if they did, they wouldn’t just see it…they would feel it. In my southern family, you cook for people to show them that you love them. Be sure that if I’ve ever cooked for you, it was with that sentiment as well.
So as I got my groove back, I realized that I was experiencing two of my favorite childhood things; the smell of celery, onion and sage cooking together and snappin’ beans. I have literal days of memory snapping beans and despite the chore as a kid, I still love doing it!
At the farmers’ market two weeks ago, I picked up some winter squash. They were beautiful and I love mashing squash up with curry. However, there was also some seriously gorgeous sage so I decided I would combine the two. Little did I know I’d be recreating my grandma’s Thanksgiving stuffing only sans the bread! But the flavor was spot on and it reminded me of many Thanksgivings of my childhood.
2 winter squashes
*It really doesn’t matter which kind although I’d stay away from butternut
1 celery stalk, finely diced
¼ onion, finely diced
2-3 Tbsp fresh sage, finely diced
2 Tbsp butter
Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour (until soft). In the meantime, sauté celery and onions in butter with just a pinch of the fresh sage until the veggies are soft. Spoon out the squash in a bowl, add onions and celery and fresh sage. Smash it until it is smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
I grabbed some bone in pork chops from Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm, seasoned them with Borsari and grilled for 5 minutes a side. Done and Done.
Served the pork and squash with roasted brussel sprouts and beans. You know the drill, 425 degrees for 18 minutes. Always perfect!
In a moment I was back in Terre Haute, Indiana at Thanksgiving with my family. Funny how food can be so important to your memories. I hope you’ll try this and pack it away as something you share with your friends and family!