A concept of community has been resonating with me for the past while and has really come to the for front these last months.
There have been some difficult decisions in our household that have had to be made recently. Change is constant and predicting the outcomes are sometimes just that, a prediction. You never know what may come of it, but you always hope for the best. As life sometimes dictates, moving on is never easy.
A big change is coming with the onset of a ‘new to school’ age daughter and the schedule of commitments that come along with that. On paper it makes sense sometimes to make a change, but your heart can hurt as well.
The same childcare centre has provided a safe haven for my daughter since the age of 18 months, but sadly it is time to move on. It is much more than a childcare centre in so many ways. Yes there is the supervision and structure of a care facility but it is so much more than that. It is a community that has been a part of daily life for many years.
A lot of the kids have been there from the very first day. They have grown up with one another from stumbling around to walking to the first days of school. They are like siblings to my daughter. They play, they fight, they make up and play again. They know each other’s secrets and socialize like seniors (it is really quite funny to watch). They know each other’s parents, the vehicle’s they drive, and run up to you to tell you something really, really important like ‘I’m having pizza for dinner tonight’ when you come in at pick up time.
The teacher’s are like second parents that encourage, discipline and give comfort when needed. They have thoroughly prepared each of the kids for the next stages of life and all with a gentle hand. It is much more than a job to them. It shows in every way. They have established relationships with each little one and there is always time for a joke or two. The banter of inside jokes and laughter can be heard at any given moment.
For me it is more than a place that provides a service. Many parents live in the same area of the city and have not only rallied together to build a new playground, but socialize with one another. It is a community that I will greatly miss.
These words can not even begin to describe how much having that support, friendship, understanding, security and love means.
There is something to be said about the importance of community. It is often over shadowed by personal goals or taken for granted as a daily part of life. It is truly special and I wanted to make tribute to that with a ‘community’ or family style dish. The soufflé does not look pretty when it is broken apart, but as one it is a stunner. Made from simple ingredients carefully combined and baked with the gentleness one needs in life. The warmth of the butternut squash along with the creamy texture make it comfort food perfect for fall.
Hoping you have the same special support of a community as I have described and can share this dish with them.
Fall Butternut Squash Soufflé
Cozy up your meal with this sure fire fall comfort soufflé.
- 1 medium-large butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prep a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Prepare a 1 & 1/2 quart soufflé dish by lightly greasing with butter and lightly flour.
- Cut away the rind of the butternut squash, cut in quarters and remove the seeds. Cut into wedges and place on the baking sheet in single layer. Brush the olive oil on top of the cut pieces and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the butternut squash can be easily poked with a folk. Remove from the oven and let cool until room temperature.
- Place the cooked pieces in a blender and puree. Separate the eggs and place the egg whites in the stand mixer bowl and whip until there are stiff peaks.
- In a separate bowl add the yolks, the puree, butter, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, thyme leaves, chili powder and orange zest. Mix until blended. Fold in 1/4 of the egg whites and combine. Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites until blended without losing volume.
- Gently place the mixture in the prepared soufflé dish. Bake for 55-60 minute or until the top is slightly puffed up or the centre is set. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.