Before I worked in my office, I’d never heard of the term “flex schedule,” but now I have a hard time imagining my life without a paid Monday off every other week. Though it’s nice when Cameron’s free, too, I’ve come to savor that day alone for the uninterrupted writing time.
My novel manuscript is still far from what I want it to be, but I’ve made substantial progress in the weeks since starting my second draft, and by Monday’s end, I’d finished the first half of the draft. You may remember that the first draft took three years of my life, so I’m baffled by how much easier it’s been to cut 150 pages of the that manuscript in less than a month. Kill your darlings, goes the old writing adage. I can definitely check that tip off the editing list.
Beyond the solitary revision party over at Chez Middleton and Turner on Sunday and Monday, Cameron and I threw down our work on Saturday to get outside. We’d been talking up a morning hike with our friends Joel and Sean for over a month, something low-key and dog-friendly for their big bundle of Golden Retriever joy, Reagan. We settled on a short loop trail in Evergreen’s Elk Mountain Park and met up there bright and early Saturday morning.
Part of Jefferson County’s Open Space plan, Elk Mountain Park is a half-hour drive from Denver and boasts nice trails for hikers, mountain cyclists, runners, and canine compadres. Besides dodging a few aggressive guys on mountain bikes, we had a good time ambling along the trail and catching up. If you head out to Elk Mountain I recommend an early start since most of the path is exposed. Even with a cool breeze, Colorado sun heats you up in a hurry, and you’d be surprised how quickly you can become dehydrated, even on on a mild morning.
Though we lucked out with warm, sunny weather during our hike, autumn is definitely on its way, delaying the sunrise more and more each day and transforming the aspen leaves into flickering gold in the mountains. Colorado, thanks for not skipping the season just to get to money-making winter.
Below you’ll find a Smitten Kitchen cookbook recipe for the tasty autumnal galette I made over the long weekend. Roasting the squash prior to filling the pastry allows for the vegetable’s sweetness to shine through, melding nicely with the ample dose of tender caramelized onions. This recipe yields a 12-inch galette so you’ll be able to feed a big family or have plenty for leftovers. I served this as a main dish with a hearty side salad to balance the meal.
Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
(adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe)
Makes 8 servings
For the pastry:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 16 TBS (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
– 1/2 cup sour cream (I used Greek yogurt, and it worked great.)
– 1 TBS white wine vinegar
– 1/3 cup ice water
For the filling:
– 2 small or 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs)
– 3 TBS olive oil
– 1 TBS butter
– 2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
– 1/4 tsp sugar
– 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
– 2 cups fontina cheese (about 6 1/2 ounces), grated
– 2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
– 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water, for glaze
1. Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt, making a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (To expedite this step, I combined ingredients and then processed in the food processor.)
2. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream (yogurt), vinegar, and water, and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Dough can be made up to 1 day in advance.)
3. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Toss pieces with 2 TBS olive oil and a 1 tsp of the salt and roast on foil-lined or parchment-lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter with remaining 1 TBS olive oil in a heavy skillet, and cook onion over low heat with the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes. Stir in cayenne.
5. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese, and herbs together in a bowl.
6. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 16-inch round. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion, and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
7. Brush the dough with the egg wash, and bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, and then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Serves 8.