Age 26 is stressful; everyone seems to be figuring out their lives – and yet they are all having the same internal panic attack: I am not where I want to be. It seems silly that we are all walking around this crazy city with the same fears, quietly staring at one another on the subway, shoving past each other in the street. I have had countless conversations with my friends about these very fears – so many conversations, in fact, that I am beginning to think that nobody has their life figured out yet.
I am excited to leave 26 behind me in a few weeks and, I must admit, I think I do have a few things figured out. I will spare you the laundry list of self reflection and only cover a few highlights:
-Riding the subway home alone after 11:30pm is no longer acceptable. Sometimes the taxi is just worth it.
-One should never feel guilty about getting popcorn at the theater or ordering dessert at a restaurant. Life is too short.
-Better than any crowded bar or exclusive club is a night in with a friend, a bottle (or more!) of wine, and a home-cooked meal.
Which brings me to today’s recipe – a perfect Friday girls’ night. I must admit, I have been lacking inspiration lately. For this meal I wanted a healthy, seasonal, all-in-one dish. With a bit of kale and butternut squash, I knew I could make a mean roast. Somewhere along the way I decided to go all out with the fall theme and throw in a honey crisp apple, which ended up being the crowning jewel of the recipe. This dish has everything you could ever want: creaminess from the goat cheese, spiciness from the jalapeno, crunch from the kale, tart from the apple. To vegan-ize this dish I would top with dairy-free crumbles or a cashew cheese drizzle. Enjoy!
1/2 a butternut squash (4-5 cups of cubed squash)
1 honey crisp apple
8-10 large Brussels sprouts
1 bunch of kale (I used red kale)
3 tablespoons of goat cheese, crumbled
Olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cube the squash. Trim the Brussels sprouts by chopping off the bottoms and slice in half, or quarters, depending upon preference. Combine the squash and Brussels sprouts in a large mixing bowl and toss with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir until fully coated.
Pour the mixture into a roasting dish or oven pan and spread evenly. Top with salt, pepper, and a few shakes of garlic powder.
Roast at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Switch the oven to broil and remove the dish and set aside.
Meanwhile, wash the kale in a colander and tear up the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Cube the honey crisp apple. Remove the stem and seeds from the jalapeno and slice into small strips or squares.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauce pan for a minute, then add in most of the kale (set aside 1/4 for later). It will shrink as it cooks – continue stirring as it sautes over high heat.
When the kale has reduced in size a bit (but is not completely wilted), add in the apple cubes and the jalapeno. Saute together for another few minutes until the kale seems fully sauteed.
Evenly distribute the kale mixture on top of the roasting dish of Brussels sprouts and squash. Top with the last 1/4 of the kale and the crumbled goat cheese and place under the broiler.
After about 7-10 minutes, the raw kale will grow crisp and brown at the edges, which you want. When the kale has crisped and the cheese seems softened, remove from the oven and serve. We ate our portions with a bit of Sriracha sauce!