Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!!
I am so excited for Thanksgiving! Mostly because Scott and I will be able to go home and spend some sweet and treasured time with our families. I’ll be able to see my dad’s new hybrid car, “ooh and aww” over the newly finished basement that my dad and brother worked so hard on together, and tease my little brother about asking an older girl to the high school winter formal. I will proceed to grill him on how he asked her (so far he’s refused to tell my mom), if she’s a nice girl, whether or not he likes her in a romantic way, if I would like her, and finally remind him that dirty dancing is not good and I expect him not to do it. I know, I am a tough older sister, but I feel like it’s my duty and my right. With the new basement came a new ping pong table, and I’m sure with my competitive family we’ll be having ping pong tournaments. The problem is multifold: 1) I’m not very good at ping pong, 2) I played collegiate varsity tennis and somehow people relate tennis and ping pong and expect me to be good, and 3) my brother plays all the time with friends and my mom, I’ve heard stories of my mom winning tournaments when she was younger, and my husband is naturally good at just about everything. Thus, I hope I can at least beat my dad, but even that is not guaranteed!

Another reason I am excited for Thanksgiving is because, for the first time, I will be bringing a dish to set next to all the others on the buffet table. My debut dish! I will join the ranks of the adults-who-bring-side-dishes. Though I was promoted from the “kids’ table” to the big, nicely decorated, “adult table” a few years back, I feel that what really signals that you are truly an “adult” is when you start to bring side dishes for the meal. Then you have “arrived” and are no longer in “transition.” What I’m going to bring for my debut dish is not your typical casserole (It is prettier than that!), instead it is a butternut squash and caramelized onion galette. What makes this dish particularly special to me is that it is with this dish that I learned to like butternut squash. Turns out that it is actually quite good and the dish as a whole is totally delicious! Since I learned to like butternut squash with this dish, I strongly believe that I can convert others as well and hope to do so on Thursday. So wish me luck as I try convince members of my non-squash eating family to give it a try!

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe

The squash is presented in a wonderful, flaky pastry dough, surrounded with sweet, caramelized onions and salty, melted parmesan cheese, and sage (a holiday favorite) grounds the dish and gives relief to the palate from all the other rich flavors. I also like that the squash is cubed and roasted in the oven first, which is by far my favorite way to prepare and eat vegetables. To me they usually achieve their peak flavor using this method and the chances of me liking the vegetable increase greatly.

Serves 2 as a meal, 4 to 6 as a side
For the dough:
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3-5 tbsp. ice water

For the Filling:
1 small butternut squash, about 1 to 1 ½ lbs.
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 large yellow onion
Pinch of sugar
Generous ¾ cup grated Parmesan, Fontina, or Feta depending on your preference and availability. I usually do parmesan because I always have it around.
1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh sage or a generous ½ tsp. dried

Assemble Pastry dough:
Place cubed butter in the freezer for ½ hour to get nice and cold. Place flour and salt in food processor bowl or a medium sized mixing bowl if you do not have a food processor. Place this bowl in the freezer too so it can be chilled. I have skipped putting the bowl with the flour in the freezer and used cubes of butter that I had frozen hours before and this turned out fine. The most important thing is to have the butter and water cold.
After a ½ an hour, add the butter to the flour and cut in with a pastry blender or a food processor until the butter is no larger than the size of small peas. Add lemon juice and 1 Tbsp. of ice water and mix. Continue to add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing in between additions until the dough just starts to come together and “clump.” At this point you should stop adding water and transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and pack into a disk, wrapping the plastic wrap around it as you go. Place disk into the refrigerator for 1 hour. Can be done a few days ahead of time.

Prepare filling:
Preheat oven to 375F. Peel butternut squash (I do this first with a serrated peeler to get the outer peeling off and then again for the second time with the peeler or a knife to remove the layer with the green “veins”) and cut in half widthwise so you have the bottom bulb half and the top narrow half. Cut both sections in half again, only lengthwise this time, and scoop the seeds out of the bottom halves. Cut squash into ½ inch dice and place on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with about 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and toss cubes together to evenly coat the cubes in the olive oil. Roast squash for about 30 minutes or until cubes are tender.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Slice the onion and add to the warm skillet. Sprinkle with ½ tsp. of salt and a pinch of sugar. Let onions cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. (On my stovetop I have to do medium heat, otherwise I’ll caramelize for an hour!)

Mix squash, onions, cheese, and sage together in a bowl. Turn up the oven to 400F and take the pastry dough out of the fridge. On a floured surface roll out the dough keeping everything well floured to prevent sticking. Once the dough is about ¼ to 1/8 of an inch thick stop rolling and measure a 12 inch circle for the galette and cut off any excess dough. Save the excess dough wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a zip lock bag in the freezer for another galette or quiche. It will be good to use for at least a month. Transfer dough circle to an ungreased cookie sheet and spread filling over the dough leaving a 1 ½ inch border. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to turn “corners.” The center will be open. Bake until golden brown 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for five minutes, and then slide it onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges with a pizza cutter. This even tastes good at room temperature, so don’t fret if it cools off before your guests get to it.


  1. oh my goodness, that looks like an intense recipe! yes, my dear whitney, you have truly "arrived"! my contribution to the thanksgiving potluck with my friends this year was cornbread and cranberry sauce. one of the two was out of a box... :)