Well, as promised, I’m still high on fall. I’ve been sipping hot apple ciders all week and cuddling in my blankets, the windows open, at night. Pretty soon, I’m hitting an apple orchard with two of my friends and co-workers, and I’m already dreaming of the apple cider doughnuts and pumpkins I will buy. How about you? Are you taking in the season where you are? Are your leaves turning colors?
If you live anywhere like Chicagoland, you’ve probably been seeing a lot of gourds and squashes around. I think they’re so pretty, with their autumnal color palette and reminder of harvest. It’s enough to make me want a pumpkin patch of my own (along with an herb garden, green pepper plants, more tomatoes…).
Here’s what you can do with one of those pretty butternut squashes: If you like sweet potatoes and you like french fries, boy, pay attention. No, I’m not talking about sweet potato fries (though I love those). In fact, I’m suggesting squash fries. Butternut Squash Fries. The instructions could not be simpler, and the calorie intake won’t give you the slightest guilt. Plus, just look at the color!
Essentially, this is what you do: buy a medium-sized squash, chop its ends, peel it, halve it and scoop out the insides. Then slice the flesh into long slices, just like french fries. Arrange on a baking sheet covered in cooking spray, top with salt and bake. That’s it.
Well, I say, That’s it, like you’ll barely believe how easy it is. I have to be more honest than that. In truth, peeling a squash is a little tricky. Or least peeling my squash was: the skin is thick! And tough! And my peeler is antiquated and I’m not the most adept with using it. Whatever the case, though, you’ll feel a sense of victory after peeling the thing, and that’s something.
I should also say this: Butternut Squash Fries, though quite tasty, are not quite the deep-fried fingers you may be used to. To obtain maximum flavor, you’ll want them to get very crispy, so watch them in the oven. And you’ll want to eat them hot, so don’t bring them over to someone’s house like I did, eating them an hour or so after they baked. I did, however, hear from at least one reliable 12-year-old boy and a high school sophomore that these were delicious. So that’s something, too.
Now I’ll have to leave you with these for a bit. With all these fall flavors in full bloom, I am headed north to even cooler weather and more vibrant colors, to visit a beautiful, dark-haired little girl who’s not yet one month old and her handsome brother who says adorable things like “Hi, Shanna” on the phone when I call, and their lovely parents, two of the nicest people I know. Fall is good, life is good, see you soon.
1 medium-sized butternut squash
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Chop the ends of your butternut squash and peel its skin. Cut it in half and scoop out all the seeds.
Cut the flesh into wedges or sticks, whatever looks like french fries to you. HG swears by a crinkle cutter, so if you have one, by all means, do. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Cover lightly with coarse salt.
Place tray in your pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes or so, flipping halfway through baking process. Fries are done when they are starting to brown on the edges and get crispy. Serve with ketchup, or however else you enjoy fries or sweet potato fries!