We’re enjoying a picture-perfect long weekend in southwestern Ontario. I know my American friends celebrate Thanksgiving in late November, but our early-October celebration allows us to enjoy harvest weather and the beauty of leaves as they change colour.
It’s hard to believe that just last weekend I posted a recipe for hot chocolate cookies because the weather was so cold. Yesterday, Andrew and the girls had a spirited game of football. (I'm not sure how three people play football, although I'm told that my oldest daughter quarterbacked both teams.) Today it was warm enough to sit out on my mom’s back deck in our short sleeves. My sister and her family visited too, and we all enjoyed a fabulous meal of turkey and the trimmings. I’m pretty sure we won’t need to eat again until Tuesday.
At least, all of us except my youngest. After our enormous noon meal and a few hours of chatting, my mother specially prepared her some leftovers before we drove home. On the way back, my daughter asked what we were going to have for dinner. When I said that none of us really needed more food, she asked in alarm, “You’re going to send me to bed without dinner?” For the record, I made my famished 14-year-old a bacon and cheese sandwich when we got back. I trust that will tide her over until breakfast.
So, among many other things, I’m thankful for the love of good food. I’m also thankful that my husband was able to photograph my butternut squash salad while I was helping my mom put a turkey dinner on the table.
Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing
(from smitten kitchen)
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp olive oil
one 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
For tahini dressing:
1 medium garlic clove, finely minced with a pinch of salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 – 4 Tbsp well-stirred tahini
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the butternut squash, garlic, allspice, olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Toss until squash pieces are evenly coated. Roast them on a baking sheet for 25 minues, or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, make the tahini dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini and whisk to blend. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well and taste for seasoning. The sauce should have plenty of nutty tahini flavour, but also a little kick of lemon. Add more tahini to taste, or more water to thin out.
To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas and onion in a mixing bowl. Either add the tahini dressing to taste and toss carefully, or you could serve the salad with the dressing on the side. (Note: I used the dressing sparingly and had quite a lot left over. Next time I’d either cut the dressing recipe in half or save the remainder for another salad!)
I prepared everything ahead, because I knew the turkey would be dominating my mom’s oven this morning. I simply reheated the squash mixture for 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees right before the meal, added the dressing and served.