I know – it’s the the day before Thanksgiving and you need another recipe like you need a hole in the head. Aside from having the menu planned and on lockdown, you don’t have any mental real estate to grasp a new recipe.
Really. I get it.
But, you’ll need to eat again sometime soon. You may even have houseguests for the weekend and they’ll want to be fed. The Thanksgiving leftovers will be fun and awesome and thebestthingever for about 24 hours, until no one wants to even look at them again.
Yes, you’ll get a little hungry some time late Saturday afternoon. Maybe you’ll have done some holiday shopping and keyed a few cars after they stole your spot at the mall. You’ll need a little comfort and you’ll want “a little something.” Just a little treat to soothe your frazzled nerves.
Besides, your cousins, the ones from nowheresville, USA have decided to just pop by, and they’re hinting heavily at how they had a light lunch. Your sister’s kids are there, too, precious little cherubs that they are. Those little cherubs have been playing Cowboys and Indians for the last 4 hours. Loudly.
You realize the fastest way to keep your guests happy, the screaming children quiet and yourself from positively levitating is to feed everyone SOMETHING. You check the pantry but the the broken and smashed cookies from a few days ago just aren’t cutting it, especially when all the turkey-shaped sugar cookies are missing their heads. It’s a little chilling, if you ask me.
Stay calm. Because you have a magic weapon and it’s this glorious bread and spread combination. The loaf lets you use up some of those odds and ends you have leftover from the holiday, too. It’s moist, orange, and proud from the butternut squash, flecked with fresh cranberries, and hinting of an orange essence. You’ll be glad you made this and stored it in the freezer to have on hand for moments like these.
And the spread? Well, who can resist cream cheese chunked with cheddar and chutney, studded with dates, crystallized ginger, and macadamia nuts? It’s perfect with the bread or any other sliced carbs you have hanging out in the kitchen.
Your family will think you’re some sort of superhero. The kind that slays dragons in stained sweatpants and scuffed Ugg boots. And that’s a good thing.
Because this is the time of year when you really do strive to be a little more like Martha Stewart, even if you normally disdain her year-round precision.
You KNOW that Martha isn’t bustin’ out some broke-ass cookies when company decides to drop by. And neither should you.
Butternut Cranberry Orange Loaf
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup butternut squash puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup raw cranberries, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on low speed after each addition. Add vanilla, orange zest, and squash puree and mix on low speed until combined.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter/squash mixture and stir until barely combined. Fold in the milk and stir in the rest of the flour mixture until just blended. Fold in the chopped cranberries.
Transfer the mixture to greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out dry. Cool and remove from the pan. Slice the bread once you are ready to serve it.
Chunky Chutney Spread
(adapted from Rachel Ray)
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1/3 cup mango chutney
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, minced
1/4 cup dates, chopped
Add all your ingredients to the bowl of food processor and pulse 20-30 times, until well-combined but still a little chunky. Serve or store covered in the refrigerator.