By Jillena Hernandez
The last time a garden grew in my back yard, I was about 10 years old. My brothers shared a tiny plot under their bedroom window and I had a tiny plot under mine. We grew corn, and mine grew tall and strong. Theirs did absolutely nothing. I knew the secret, but didn’t tell them. My garden sat under the vent from the dryer. The moist heat lit a fire under my corn like Jack’s magical bean stalk. Being the only girl, I loved winning this.
Since that time, I have killed every plant that was ever purchased or given to me within days. It is amazing to me that I even kept trying. Alas, I have sustained a garden for two years! Last year, we called it a “starter garden” that included loads of herbs and squash. Two things in gardening are certain: You can not kill squash, and you can not eat it all. I graduated to a larger plot this year, installed soaker hoses and planted chives, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, strawberries and butternut squash.
Everything is growing like those corn I planted as a kid. The butternut squash is absolutely exploding out there. Nothing in my life has given me such a deep sense of accomplishment as going out to the garden and collecting delicate freshly grown food and bringing it straight to the kitchen.
Last night I collected all of the fixings for a well rounded pizza complete with romas, basil, thyme, oregano and squash but I was completely enamored with the butternut. Sometimes my cooking can be quite compulsive. I went back out for some sage and started to saute the squash in earth balance (vegan butter) and this pizzetta took on a life of its own. It became layers of delicate earthy squash with a light buttery, smidgen of sweet, appetizer.
Sage and date butternut squash pizzetta recipe here.