Halloween (“Old Hallows Even”) has been typically associated with the Celtic festival of Samhain. The name means summer’s end. The celebration is to denote the end of the lighter half of the year and the start of the darker part of the year. Ginger loves Halloween, a big kid at heart he loves to buy the candy and hand it out to the many visitors who come by on that evening. Ginger loves the interaction with all the ghosts, goblins, princesses, cats, action figures, pirates and anything else that shows up looking for a sweet hand-out. Nutmeg is not as interested in this process of moving into the darker part of the year. She does however, love to see how her brother (Papa Q) and sister-in-law (Sugar) celebrate the event with much joy and festivity (and crazy outfits).
Ginger and Nutmeg have these friends, who have FOUR children with an age gap difference of under FIVE years, from youngest to oldest. For the last six years, the lead up to Halloween has included a group night of pumpkin carving. As these two friends have had more children arrive on the scene each year, the number of pumpkins carved has grown accordingly. Generally speaking, the guys do the pumpkin carving and Nutmeg drinks wine. It is a great evening of laughs and a few scary pumpkin faces. We are sorry to miss the event this year!!
The French do not really celebrate Halloween, although we are told McDonald’s tried to promote it for a couple of years. So this year Ginger will miss the challenge of carving scary figures on pumpkins and our friends will have to make do without the extra dinner guests. The French do cook with a squash that looks a lot like our pumpkins (see photo). The squash is called courge, it is typically roasted in olive oil and served in small pieces with meat or fish. Alternatively, it can be served like a mashed potato.
So this year Nutmeg has experimented with a courge salad. It certainly may not make Ginger’s top ten favorite recipes but is good for you and very colorful.
- 1 Large Squash, in France we used Courge you can use butternut
- 2 Large Fennel Bulbs, cleaned and chopped
- 1 Large Red Pepper, seeds removed and diced
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Provencal spices (dried rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage)
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Cut the squash in big chunks, remove the seeds and stringy bits
- Clean and cut the fennel in six or eight pieces
- Clean and cut the red pepper
- Toss all the vegetables in olive oil and Provencal spices
- In a large roasting pan, put all of the vegetables in the oven and roast until starting to soften 25-30 minutes
- Remove and cool
- Toss in a light mustard vinaigrette (oil, vinegar, mustard)
- Add Salt and pepper to taste
The great news is Ginger and Nutmeg have been invited to a Halloween party by some friends an American/French couple who are planning to serve chili and various deserts to a crowd of 30 adults in costume. It should be interesting.
Wishing you all a scary time!