Each and every one of the 12 years since we moved here to Austin my husband and I have attempted to grow a garden. We have had some years that lettuce or peppers or tomatoes grew in abundance. We have had others that were epic failures. In fact you could probably say that we have had more losses then wins when it comes to fresh, homegrown produce. One ideal I have held firm to is that I will not let those losses give me an excuse to give up. I am still learning about this Texas soil, the timing of the seasons, and what varieties of plants to grow (and not grow) and I have a dream that our garden will someday be a fairly reliable food source for our daily meals. Until then, I will rejoice quietly when something grows and say a prayer back into the earth when something dies before hopping on over to my local farmer's market for backup.
This summer I attempted to grow butternut squash. I say attempt, as my expectations were not high. However, when I saw the first little flower set and and start to grow into a squash - I'm not going to lie - I was downright giddy inside. But because of my garden karma and squash history, I refused to allow myself to get too excited. Each day I waited for that little butternut to break off, die in the heat or get eaten by outdoor varmints (including my dogs!). But that little squash just kept on holding firm and growing on that vine. Finally, the day came when he was the perfect pale color of ripe. I took pride while gently taking him from his cradled nest of hedging in that bed. So much anticipation over whether I would even have this moment, that I never gave much thought as to how I would prepare it.
Roasted? Mashed? Braised? So many choices! Being that this was my first butternut squash I wanted to celebrate in its glory by making it the star that it was. I decided oven fries would bring out the sweetness and showcase the beauty of its orange flesh. Oven fries? Yes, why not? We seem to take every other root vegetable and starch out there and turn them into fries so why not a squash?
I peeled and julienned 1 butternut squash (they come in all sizes so you can improvise with this recipe.)
I tossed them in a bowl with 1 tsp. of coconut oil.
I laid them in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkled them with truffle salt (you could sprinkle with sea salt or really any seasoning of your choice.)
I placed them in a preheated 350º oven for approximately 25 minutes (depending on how many fries you have) until brown and crispy. (You may want to turn pan in oven half way through cooking)
I then proceeded to eat the whole bowl. Yes I went there. With a smile on my face down to the very last fry. I'm jus' sayin'!