It feels like the older you get the faster time goes by. My husband and I just celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary and with how busy our schedules are these days, we almost forgot to plan to go out to dinner to celebrate. My advice for today and this new year is to remember to take a moment to let time stand still. Let food be part of what grounds you, and let the holiday memories carry forward a bit longer with the warm scents of the winter season.
Our sense of smell has the capacity to transport us to a different time, perhaps our childhood or a special memory of a loved one who is no longer with us. With the holidays behind us it feels rejuvenating to get back to our regular routine with the promise of a fresh, new year, but I encourage you to take a moment to slow down and recognize the impact that the food on your table makes on those who consume it. Appreciate the smell of something delicious roasting in the oven on a cold winter day. No matter what our age, we often take the smell of “mom’s kitchen” for granted. Even if your kids don’t seem to appreciate what’s cooking now, those scents will stay with them many years later. Research has suggested that the smell of food can evoke vivid reflection. It’s been just over a decade since I’ve had the pleasure of smelling my mother’s kitchen, but thankfully I can bring back some of those memories in an instant, which somehow elevates cooking something ordinary into something much more extraordinary.
With winter fruits and vegetables still in season, I’ve paired a roasted butternut squash with tart cranberries in an attempt to forgo the bottled salad dressing and mix in some fresh compote instead. Serve it while the roasted butternut and cranberry compute is warm or cold.
kale, cleaned and chopped for salad greens
olive oil, salt & pepper (to taste on butternut)
goat cheese (1 package which is about 3-4 oz)
1 cup of walnuts
1 package of fresh cranberries (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
Add cranberries to a saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. I do not add any additional water, as the natural juice in the cranberries cooks down to the perfect consistency. Add sugar (if desired) about half way through cooking.
Cube butternut squash, sprinkle with olive oils, salt and pepper, and roast for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
Assemble the salad by crumbling the goat cheese and cranberries over the kale.