Taking the First Step

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

On Monday, I not only enjoyed a day off, due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I also had the pleasure of having my sister in law and niece over for dinner. Roasted butternut squash, mashed rutabaga, and a salad with homemade dressing seemed to be the ticket. In all honesty, I had never made rutabaga before, however, it had caught my eye in the produce department the day before, so I thought “Why not?”. Now what possessed me to test this new vegetable out on my pregnant wife and sister in law (who is also expecting), I’ll never know; but I’m glad I did. Even our 16 month old daughter liked the rutabaga enough to discard her spoon and begin eating it by the handful, before asking for seconds.
The butternut squash becomes caramelized while roasting in the oven, this adds a sweetness to its already rich flesh. The rutabaga contrasts nicely providing a buttery, earthy flavor that you would expect from a root vegetable related to turnips and parsnips. To lighten the flavors, a side salad was served with  an Italian Parmesan dressing, made with Greek yogurt.

Making the dressing:

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend well.
Funnel into bottle or jar and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to meld. This should keep in the fridge for up to a week.


Roasting the Butternut Squash:

Preheat oven to 425°
Select squash that feel heavy for their size, and have an even colored tan skin.

Split the squash lengthwise, leaving the seeds in for now, they’ll help give some moisture and steam the flesh while cooking.
Rub oil on the cut side (I used extra virgin olive oil) and sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, and any other spices, on oiled surface.

Now its time to flip the squash face down on a heavy rimmed baking sheet.
Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.
When they’re ready come out, flip over and use a spoon to remove seeds and stringy parts. Serve hot.


Cooking the Rutabaga:

Start by slicing 1/2″ from top and bottom of rutabaga. This gives a nice flat surface to work with.
Peel rutabaga.

Rutabaga are covered with a food grade wax when shipped, so you’ll most likely be unsuccessful if you try using a traditional kitchen peeler. I would recommend a small paring knife, it is both simpler and quicker.

Cut into chunks and place into 2 qt pot with lightly salted water.
Bring to a boil. Continue to lightly boil for 30-40 minutes until tender.
Add butter, milk and spices. Mash until mostly smooth, some lumps are OK.

(I forgot to take a picture once i was done mashing, but they should resemble masked potatoes, just a little yellow)


For our salad we had chopped tomatoes, chopped hard boiled egg, diced avocados, mozzarella cheese, spring greens with spinach, and chopped cilantro.

List of Ingredients:
3/4 C Greek yogurt
1/4 C sour cream
1/4 C Parmesan cheese
1 t Italian seasoning
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
Pinch smoked paprika
1/4 C milk
1/4 t lemon juice
1 t sugar

Butternut squash:
2 large butternut squash
2-3 T olive oil
Salt, pepper, garlic or any other seasoning you think might blow your hair back

1 large rutabaga (about the size of a softball)
4 T butter
1/4 C milk
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/8 t kosher salt


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2 responses to “Taking the First Step”

  1. Tim Fout says :

    I will be making this salad dressing as soon as I get all of the ingredients. More than likely I’ll make the other items as well.

  2. areaderscorner says :

    Reblogged this on A Reader's Corner Bookstore and commented:
    This is going to be a great blog.

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