I saw a lot of my summer through rose-colored glasses.
But now, autumn is telling me that as beautiful as those rose-tinted moments were, everything was not as it seemed. That's the thing about seeing the world through a tinted lens, it's short-term, and more often than not hides a fairly black and white reality.
I hope someday that I can say I don't regret the decisions I had to make when those rose-tinted glasses were cruelly snatched from my face. I spent a series of days/weeks holding the shards of what once was, and ultimately had to realize that it was never anything at all. Friends fade, relationships dwindle, and future plans take a different turn. And while those rosy moments shine on when we smell certain things and drink certain drinks, ultimately we know that they can never live again, and maybe they never really even did.
And that is sad, and I'm sorry it is sad and that this post comes across as quite sad, too. But this is autumn, and while I'm still stinging from the cuts of broken rosy glass, I can't help but find comfort in seasonal recipes while everything around me tucks away its greenery and embraces the bittersweet change that the north wind can bring.
Right now, taking care of myself means learning to wield a knife again. It means buying myself good food and eating it. It means that I am worth the effort of grocery shopping and a simple, but elegant meal. And if that's as far as I get right now, then goddamnit I'm doing pretty good.
I thought I had nothing in the way of real people food during a particularly dreary afternoon/late morning. Then I found the acorn squash I bought nearly 2 months ago, weeks before I waved goodbye to my very first apartment and embraced my old roommate. I found onions and garlic and potatoes that I bought on a whim when the neighborhood grocery store opened. The feel and look of a Yukon Gold is nothing short of magical to someone who likes potatoes as much as I do. Then there was the container of shaved parmesan I purchased when I decided that a bit of flavor would do me good, and the half sticks of butter I got to make my ex's parents a cheesecake.
Call me crazy, but every ingredient in here has some kind of story. And somehow in combining all of them, it made a little temporary balm for a weary soul and hungry stomach.
I know I've gotten pretty hoity-toity on this blog about cooking for scratch and making your own caramel and whatever, but the reality of it is that sometimes it's really damn hard to even get yourself out of bed, let alone fix yourself a meal that you know only you will eat.
But that's why this is important. These potatoes, this squash, you slicing up a couple of onions, it's important.
Keep eating, cook your way through the seasons and the curveballs life continually tosses. No matter how simple the meal is, it matters, because you matter.
Apologies for the inadvertent depth this post ended up reaching, but I'm pretty deep in the feels these days and I've really missed this outlet. I'm glad to come back to it, hopefully next time will include less morose wonderings and more chocolate <3
Roasted Acorn Squash with Golden Smashed Potatoes
Yield: Enough to feed you for a few days
- 1 acorn squash
- 2 small onions
- 2 giant cloves of garlic, divided
- olive oil
- seasonings of your choice
- 4 Yukon gold potatoes
- tablespoon of butter
- a bit of sour cream or greek yogurt
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed sheet pan with tinfoil.
Prep your potatoes by washing them and cutting them into chunks, throw these chunks into a medium pot and cover with water and add a dash of salt.
With a large, sharp knife, cut your acorn squash in half so you can scoop out the innards/seeds with a big spoon. Then proceed to cut your squash into pieces/chunks/slices, whatever you like. (Word of advice, I did not cut the rind off of my squash pieces and while that's fine, it's definitely not edible and kind of annoying to slice off of each individual piece as I'm eating it, so maybe slice yours off.)
Peel and slice your onions into thin rings, then mince a clove of garlic. Toss everything together on a sheet pan with a generous pouring of olive oil and seasonings of your choice (I used chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and some thyme). Throw the sheet pan into the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until tender. In the last 10 minutes of baking, open the oven and sprinkle some parmesan on top to let it melt and meld with the squash.
While the squash is roasting, place your pot of potatoes on to boil. Once the water is boiling maintain a steady boiling simmer and continue until your potatoes are tender (i.e. can be stabbed easily with a fork). While the potatoes boil mince your other clove of garlic. Once the potatoes are done, place in a bowl and immediately throw in your garlic, sour cream, salt/pepper, sour cream/yogurt, and even a dash of ranch if you're feeling fancy. Oh, and parmesan, absolutely throw in some parmesan. Amounts are up to you, you need only smash your potatoes to your desired consistency.
At this point the squash should be done and cooling, and you need only to greedily heap your plate with everything you just made. Good job, you have a meal.
Sources: an Ellen original