Had the most wonderful butternut squash enchiladas last night at Bar Annie. It was a lovely night in so many ways — I was out with Jo Ann Fleischhauer, a brilliant artist, John DeMers, a local foodie here in Houston, and my long-time good friend Nancy Galeota-Wozny. I always love meeting new people — I learn so much about so many things — very stimulating, not to mention just plain fun. Jo Ann, the true vegetarian among us, asked about good options for her, and as soon as the waiter rattled off the description of the enchiladas, I knew what I wanted.
John asked me why I got that particular item off the menu when I’m not a vegetarian. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a good steak is the only thing that will hit the spot, but most of the time when I’m out in public, I seek out the veggies. I happen to think they taste wonderful, and they make me feel healthier after eating them. (Please do not correct this impression. My waistline is very happy this morning.)
This morning I looked up recipes (none of which I am sure comes close to Robert Del Grande’s creation) for butternut squash and found tons. Not surprising — as a winter squash, it keeps well, plus it’s versatile as heck.
Butternut squash is a relatively new variety, and definitely a New World kind of veg. Various internet reports have it originating in Massachusetts or Mexico. Since both start with M, we’ll let that interesting discrepancy slide. It has since reverse migrated, becoming a favorite as far away as South Africa. The orange color gives you a clue that it is high in Vitamin A and C, fiber (of course), manganese, magnesium and potassium. In other words — great for you.
My favorite home-cooked recipe for this veg is Butternut Soup. Grab a hunk of fresh baked bread, a crossword puzzle and enjoy. The apple in this particular recipe brings out the butternutty goodness of the squash really well.
Another favorite for a cozy dinner night at home is Butternut Squash Risotto. This is a dish that ranks pretty darn high on my comfort foods list. Light the fire, dish it up in a chunky bowl, grab a blanket to share with your spouse and Mmmmm.
So the next time you go out — or stay home — try a vegetarian option. It’s good enough to eat!