So school is back in session, but only for about 2 more weeks and then I go on fieldwork for another two and a half weeks. This semester we have been learning about occupational therapy (OT) practice in a community setting as well as with Mental Health and it has been interesting to learn about settings that I never really envisioned myself practicing as an OT. Yet, life has a funny way of making a full circle and I find myself relearning a lof of the theory and practice that I learned at Clark while studying International Development with a focus on Community Development. With the changes in the health care here in the US there is a shift happening toward health prevention and promotion and OT practitioners have mostly been working in more of a medical model (you get sick you go get treatment model) we are needing to dig deep into our roots and return to work in community settings preventing and promoting health and wellness.
In speaking about health and wellness and school being back in session, I find myself retraining my mind and body to being in class again this summer after a five week break! The body sure does forget the running around and trying to get as much done in such a short amount of time but it also quickly recovers and remembers. Over the break I was able to do a lot of what I set out to do, yet never enough because when is it ever enough! I was able to read my book, and I am so ashamed to have only read one because as great as it was, I would fall asleep after a few pages just because my body needed to rest. I also got to spend a lot of time with family and some friends and even take my son to one of our first playdates!
Enough about that, break is done and I am looking forward to another five weeks once I am done with this course mid July. During the break I got to spend a lot of time cooking and exploring new and old recipes which was amazing as during the ‘school year’ we end up eating pretty much the same thing all the time due to lack of time and energy.
This weekend is different as it is a big weekend for us. Our little guy turns 2, and boy is he excited! I really did not expect for him to truly understand the meaning of a birthday so soon but he does. We have had a few birthday parties lately and he has learned and we have been getting him excited that everyone will be singing “happy birthday to you matan” this weekend. He is also excited that all of his ‘amigos’ will be there to celebrate. Last year we stayed low key and had an adult dinner for his birthday as it was on Shabbat but this year we are having a pool party for a few friends at his grandparents house. Just a gathering of our close friends with their kids (all ages) to hang out and celebrate the fact that he turns 2! It is so hard to believe he has already grown to be such a smart, funny, loving, and curious little man and I cannot wait for what the next 120 will bring! For his party I made Mac n’ Cheese bites, rice crispy treats, and serve some other treats for the kids as well as the adults. If I had the time, it would have all been prepared by my but due to lack of time we improvised and outsourced, even the cake. To tell you the truth, last year I made his cake and it turned out to be so bad that this year I want it to be good since he loves cake!
It is also father’s day this weekend and regardless of what we think about this day, whether Hallmark invented it to sell more cards, I love celebrations and being celebrated. This weekend I have the privilege of celebrating many fathers in my life. My dad who has been a great example to my siblings and I and is now an example to my son. He has taught us how to always reach for the stars, has instilled confidence in us, and has been a great guide and friend. My grandfather who is also turning 83 years old this month and has always been a supporting and caring figure for my family. I also have to acknowledge my father in law because he has been a role model for my husband Adam on how to be a father, a friend, and a husband and I thank him on a daily basis. And Adam, who is relatively new at being a father has picked up the gig with such grace and has become an incredible, loving, dedicated, and caring father.
We were invited to dinner to our friend’s house and she is a vegetarian which makes baking and cooking so much fun if you keep kosher because you do not have to worry about mixing dairy and meat. She asked me to make a Francine specialty so here it is. I have been really successful at making the dough for quiches and pies using Smitten Kitchen’s recipes and since I recently got The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook as a gift today was a good day to see what it is all about. It is a phenomenal, her pictures are gorgeous, and I love reading about her adventures in the kitchen.
I made the Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette, which is also on her blog. I made a few changes as I usually like to use what I already had at home. I used a big red onion together with two small sweet onions and substituted Feta cheese for Italian Fontina cheese. At this point my mother will make fun of me because I usually change every single recipe, but I think that that is what makes cooking and baking adventurous, especially when you are a self-trained one.
Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
Yield: 1 12-inch galette, about 8 servings
For the pastry:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (including 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour if you like), plus more for the work surface
- 1/2teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
- 1/2 cup Greek Yougurt
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup ice water
For the filling:
- 1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
- 2 small sweet onions halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 2 cups Feta cheese grated or cut into small bits
- 1 teaspoon of oregano and 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water for glaze (optional but gives it a nice finish)
1. Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the whole sticks of the butter and using your hands or a pastry blender, break up the bits of butter until the texture is like cornmeal, with the biggest bits the size od pebbles. Ina small bowl, whisk together the greek yogurt, vinegar, and water, and pour over the butter-flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until the dough forms; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
2. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.
4. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.
5. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 16-17-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 2-to-2 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. Leave the center open.
Happy Father’s day to all fathers out there and Happy Birthday Matush, you make our lives brighter and happier on a daily basis!