Last weekend, my family enjoyed a spontaneous and somewhat silly holiday feast.
A few days earlier, we had finally gotten around to baking an acorn squash and two butternut squashes we’d received in our CSA farm share back in November. Each of the three of us ate a big chunk of squash as a side dish to the Honey Baked Lentils we baked at the same time. Actually, I like to eat my lentils in the mashed and buttered squash, and I packed up another portion for my lunch the next day.
Then we were left with 5 servings of baked squash and no more lentils. On Saturday I asked my nine-year-old Nicholas to help me decide what to make for dinner with the squash–Butternut Squash Burritos? No, he wanted it to be a side dish to something. Okay, how about fish? We had 4 fillets and some odd bits left in a big bag of frozen pollock. Nicholas agreed to a meal of fish and squash.
Suddenly he said, “Can we make the squash like Grandma’s sweet potatoes?” I was sure that we could adapt the New England Yam Bake recipe to the squash. Nicholas and his father Daniel were planning to go to the supermarket in the afternoon anyway, so I checked the recipe and the pantry and put canned pineapple on the shopping list.
I was getting out the fish to thaw when Nicholas had another inspiration: “Since we’re having the squash like at Thanksgiving, can we have cranberry sauce?” We happened to have a can of cranberry sauce in the pantry–and thinking of Thanksgiving reminded me that we still had a quart of stuffing and a quart of mashed potatoes in the freezer! (We were among the few relatives who traveled by car rather than plane to Daniel’s family’s large Thanksgiving gathering, so we brought home all the leftovers we could manage.) I got those out to thaw, too.
We baked the fish plain, with just a little olive oil for moisture. We scooped the squash out of its skin and mashed it into a large flat baking pan, put the pineapple on top, and mixed up the crumblies according to the Yam Bake recipe. Nicholas coaxed the cranberry sauce out of the can onto our official cranberry sauce server, which Daniel and I bought at a yard sale years ago when we were first living together because we just couldn’t resist the idea that for only 50 cents we could own a crystal plate and silver serving tool specifically designed for the elegant serving of canned gelatinous cranberry sauce! (We think it’s from the 1950s, judging by the art on the box.)
Fish with Thanksgiving side dishes is just as good as turkey. The squash bake was excellent. We really enjoyed our festive meal! Nicholas began speaking of “Fishgiving Dinner,” and I tried to make up a legend about how this was the commemoration of how the Indians taught our ancestors to eat fish, but he wasn’t buying it. We had enough left over from our meal of leftovers to reprise Fishgiving Dinner on Sunday night.
Enjoying the autumn harvest to the fullest, with a random celebration in March, works for me! Visit the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop for more food-related articles! Visit Waste Not Want Not Wednesday and Fabulously Frugal Thursday for more ways to make the most of what you’ve got!