So two things first.
1.) Figs are amazing!! I saw a few comments with questions that I’ll respond to momentarily, but I had never had a fresh one before a few weeks ago, and you just eat them skin and all. They have a really short shelf life so its best to eat them within a day or two of buying them, but you just wash them thoroughly and then enjoy! You can eat them straight up, or also have them grilled or baked on a pizza with gorgonzola and red onions (YUM!!!) or whatever else you can think to do with them, but they are unreal. The fruit itself is pretty sweet but in a wonderful way and the inside is very fleshy and just amazing. They go superbly with honey and all I can say is that now I want more. 🙂
2.) Can I also just say how wonderful vision insurance is? I just went to the eye doc to get glasses because I wear contacts every day and have the extended wear ones that you can sleep with but I abuse them. I can’t even tell you the last time I took them out and you’re supposed to at least 1 night a week, and I woke up today with one red eye. It’s not pink eye (don’t worry), I just have signs of overuse of contacts. shocker. Anyways, I went to get the glasses and because my vision is so bad (-4.25 correction in both eyes!) I had to get a few upgrades including thinner lenses so the glasses are not so think that other people can actually see my eyes behind the glasses… The lady added up the amount the glasses would cost and it would be $576 without insurance. Instead, it cost me just $90 for the exam and glasses with the anti-glare and thinner lenses, and they are cute too! I’ll show you when I get them back in 7-10 days.
Now, onto the main event… butternut squash!
Butternut squash (and squash in general) is one of my very favorite parts of the fall, but they can be intimidating. I usually buy the precubed butternut squash, but lately I’ve been really trying to watch my budget and the amount you get of the pre-cubed stuff is just not worth it to me, especially when the whole squash will be on sale more and more this season (usually around .99 cents a pound near me). So last night, I took on the challenge.
When picking out a butternut squash, you want to pick one with a long, thick top part (neck?), and a smaller bulb on the bottom, because the top part is all flesh, and the round part on the bottom is mostly full of seeds and stringyness that you have to remove.
First step, cut the top and bottom of the squash off.
Second step, peel the squash as best you can with a veggie peeler.
A trick Wil taught me is to have a container/bowl near you while you’re prepping any veggie to throw waste in so you don’t have to go back and forth to the trash can or compost to throw out the peels are you produce them.
Next, cut the squash in half, removing the neck from the base. You will need a sharp knife for this and some muscle.
As you can see, I couldn’t get all the peel off with the butternut squash whole, but I was able to get the rest of the peel off after cutting it like this.
Next, cut the base and the neck in half lengthwise.
Remove the seeds and stringy pulp from the inside of the base with a spoon (or your hands) and throw it in your waste container.
You can save the seeds and roast or toast them in a pan just like you can with pumpkin seeds, or put them in a container in the fridge if you’d rather save them for later.
Now, you’re ready to cut it up! Keep cutting and cutting until you have it in mostly similar sized cubes…
Pat yourself on the back for all your hard work before moving onto the next step… cooking!
Preheat your oven to 400º, and then toss your butternut with 1 tbsp olive oil. You want to toss the olive oil on the squash first, before adding all the seasonings. This helps everything stick to the butternut squash and might seem obvious to some, but I only learned that a little while ago from Wil when he asked me why I was adding everything at once…
I just kept it simple with some salt and pepper, and then spread it out in a single layer on a baking sheet…
Into the oven for 20 minutes, mix it around, and then back in for 20 more minutes and you are DONE.
I loooooved this butternut squash. It felt really rewarding breaking it down myself rather than buying the prepackaged kind, plus this was WAY cheaper. This was super simple but you can get creative with your seasonings if you want to live on the edge.
You can also use the same method to make butternut fries, just cut the squash into the shape of fries rather than cubes.
What’s your favorite way to eat squash? Do you buy it prepared or break it down yourself?