I tried my hand at growing butternut squash this year.
By late summer I’d realized that vine borer worms had lived up to their name and indeed bored a new home for themselves deep in my pumpkin vines…..for the second year in a row (tear drop emoji face). I was pretty positive they had set up shop in my butternut squash as well, but to my joy and amazement the squash vines seemed as green and vibrant as ever (not to mention creeping their way into every square inch of the garden). Open-mouth smile emoji face!!
So while my pumpkins didn’t live to be hacked into scary Halloween decorations, my squash will be gladly eaten until at least Christmas, if not longer. At last check I had twelve of them out there so depending on our empanada intake, I’m guessing I have some time.
Aside from the squash, the garden is just about finished for the year but I’ve loved having all those veggies to play around with. I feel more freedom to create and experiment when I’ve plucked something out of my backyard and not paid $5.00 a pound for it at the grocery store.
My contribution to this fiesta are these butternut squash and maple empanadas. They are my interpretation of the famous sweet pumpkin empanadas made with piloncillo—the pure, unrefined cane sugar that is pressed into a cone and very common in Mexican baking. The burnt sugar notes in maple syrup have a similar flavor to the ones found in those hunks of sugar but is significantly easier to find in your average grocery store, just please do me a favor and don’t use Aunt Jemima.
The filling is wrapped in a cornmeal crust made with extra virgin coconut oil making them exceptionally delicious and dairy free! The contrast of the crunch of cornmeal with the smooth, creamy filling is a completely gratifying way to dip your toe into fall.
One More Thing
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