When I first moved to Charlottesville, Virginia after ten years in San Diego, I was kind of shocked. With the heat and humidity and small town culture, I felt profoundly out of my element. I hated it and wanted to move back to the west coast. But one day in late September, everything changed. The mugginess gave way to crisp air and unending deep blue skies. The chilly winds blew the first of fall’s colorful leaves. I shivered, bought a wool scarf, and fell in love. And this morning, looking up at another glorious fall sky and snuggling into my scarf, I’m reminded of why I love the east coast and its lovely autumn.
So this weekend, we embraced the fall. I stumbled out of bed Saturday morning and turned on the oven. I was testing a recipe for our upcoming event, Brunch for Barack (more on that in a second). My mission was to make a butternut squash and sweet potato hash. And it couldn’t have turned out better. The vegetables were cooked perfectly, soft in the middle with crisp, toasted edges and then tossed with caramelized onions, Asiago, fresh thyme, and parsley. It’s simple and perfect, and just the thing to go with some slow-scrambled eggs.
Now, about that brunch. Hosted by Veronica Chan of the Chan Deck, with food by Brian and me, it’s going to be an afternoon spent on a beautiful rooftop overlooking the city, raising political awareness, sipping lots of tasty cocktails, coffee, and tea, and eating great food. Brooklyn Supper will be cooking up buttermilk biscuits with maple-braised pork belly and sausage gravy, this squash and sweet potato hash, slow-scrambled eggs, salads galore, apple slab pie, and ice cream by Cowlicks Ice Cream. To learn more or to RSVP, click here. We really hope to see you there!
If you can’t make it, take the time to make sure you’re registered. You can check here. Check your polling place, confirm your district, and get involved in local and national politics. No matter what your political beliefs, it’s essential to our democracy to make your voice heard. And, especially on the local level, your vote really does matter.
Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Hash (adapted from The Year in Food)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 of a butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into a 1/2″ dice (about 4 cups diced)
1 sweet potato, washed, and cut into a 1/2″ dice (about 2 cups diced)
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons butter
3 red onions, trimmed, peeled, and cut into thin slices
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, plus several sprigs for garnish
1/4 cup parsley, minced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep the vegetables, and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, and turn to coat. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. Turn oven to 450 degrees, and cook for 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, caramelize the onions. In a very large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of sea salt. Gently toss onions in the butter. Continue to stir occasionally, until onions are translucent and the edges have browned, for about 20 minutes.
Turn the heat to high in the skillet. Add the vegetables and thyme leaves, and gently toss with the onions, cooking for about 5 minutes. Check salt levels and adjust if needed.
Use a peeler to trim of shavings of Asiago cheese and gently tuck it into the hash. Serve with a generous sprinkle of parsley, and a final pinch of sea salt, a sprig of thyme, and, ideally, a big heap of slow-scrambled eggs. Get that recipe here.