Thanks, Martha.


February 7, 2013 by Kriscinda Lee Everitt

Last week, we had our first dinner guest, ever. Not just here at the house, but anywhere. I think in the two years or so we spent in the last apartment, we had one person over there, once. And not even for dinner. So, first dinner guest…of course, it’s a big deal.

Cut up a large butternut squash.

Cut up a large butternut squash.

I had this awesome plan to make this really nommy-looking baked butternut squash rigatoni, but I was ill prepared. Or, I could have been prepared, had it not started snowing. I didn’t (and still don’t) have a glass baking dish. I thought I could run out really quick the day before (or, that’s when it ended up happening) and grab that, along with whatever other ingredients I needed. Alas, no. It started snowing, and it’s sort of been snowing on and off since then.

Cut it up some more.

Cut it up some more.

I may have complained about this in another post, but…my tires are crap. Complete crap. Which is sad because they’re only a couple years old, and they are supposed to be all-weather tires. They are one-weather tires. Sunny/Dry. They even want to slip a little when it’s just raining a bit. So, you can imagine that, when there is but an inch of snow at the top of our driveway—which, in a terrible design, slopes abruptly up just before it meets the busy road—my car starts to slide back when I slow down to, you know, check for oncoming traffic and try not to die. Little bit of snow? I’m house bound.

Garlic is the best thing, ever.

Garlic is the best thing, ever.

Obviously, no glass dish, and no cheese, which was important. No baked rigatoni. So, it’s the day of and I need to work with whatever we have in the house. I’m determined to use the butternut squash I got, at least. I’ve got the pasta. I do what everyone does—I Google it. The very first recipe that comes up is a Martha flippin’ Stewart recipe, and I’m like, “Really?” Really. I know, not at all metal, but then I think, well, she’s done some hard time, so maybe she’s a little metal now. I check the ingredients: I have them all. It’s a recipe for a butternut squash sauce. Sounds good.

Toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and sage.

Toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and sage.

When the time comes, I start a-cookin’ and all’s going well until about fifteen minutes before the guest is supposed to arrive. Everything’s pretty much ready, seems to taste good. All I have to do is roast the crumbled walnuts, except that I am also doing some last-minute tidying. You guessed it. A just minutes later, I notice some exciting lights fluttering around through the oven window. Lo and behold, my pan of walnuts are on fire. And not just a little on fire either…those oily bastard are really quite on fire.

Puree in a processor with some half-and-half, and then water until you get the consistency you like.

Roast, and then puree in a processor with some half-and-half, and then water until you get the consistency you like.

Into the sink they go, me hoping my oven mitt doesn’t also catch on fire. *sigh* No roasted walnuts. Or, at least, I’m not going to make another attempt. So I go around and open some windows—luckily the place is a little warm from the cooking, so it could use the breeze anyway. I crushed some raw walnuts, put them in a bowl with a little spoon. It’ll have to do.

Roast some crushed walnuts.

Roast some crushed walnuts.

Now, everything’s ready and warm on the stove. But when our guest arrives, I did not consider actual socializing time. We had a lovely chat in the living room with some wine—relaxing at the end of a long, hard day. It was nice. Unfortunately, everything was cold or just barely warm by the time we got to it. My steamed broccoli was now soggy. And butternut squash sauce, coldish? Not so great. The flavors come out more fully when it’s warm/hot. You can’t add enough salt and pepper to cold butternut squash sauce without it just turning into a dish of salt. It lacked some serious zing, and of course, what gives a dish zing? Cheese. A little grated Parmesan would have worked wonders. But, no. There is, though, a lovely coating of snow on the ground outside. And wine. Thank the Universe for wine.

Take your shot of the final plated dish after the sun's gone down and you've lost your natural light, so it looks about as good as it turned out.

Take your shot of the final plated dish after the sun’s gone down and you’ve lost your natural light, so it looks about as good as it turned out.

That could have gone better, but Big A and our guest were kind, and they ate it all. Oh if every food post on a blog could be a magical experience—oh, wait. Mostly, they are. No this post, folks. Not on this blog.

If you’d like to underwhelm your guests with this dish, it’s right here. Don’t forget to set the walnuts on fire.

Here’s a lil’ summin from Kreator: “Mind on Fire.”

8 thoughts on “Thanks, Martha.

  1. Mmmm, so winter cozy. Love your illustrations!

  2. I love that you just made it all work. I’ve done the internet search based on a few ingredients and been happily surprised several times and dangit if it isn’t usually either Martha or Rachael Ray who create great dishes with a few off the cuff items.
    Sounds yummy. Wish I were there!

  3. 43fitness says:

    I’m also not a multitasking cooker. So glad to know I’m not alone out here : )

    • Kriscinda says:

      I think I do okay if the multitasking is confined to the cooking itself. Yeah, the moment I’m like, “Oh, I should put that load in the dryer,” the house is on fire. Be careful! =)

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