Roasted Banana Squash and New Potato Salad

Roasted new potatoes and squash on Spring greens. #vegan #glutenfree
Lovely Spring potato salad- gluten-free and vegan.


After a long and restless night I am pondering potato salad and glitter. Sleep deprivation may be less than pleasant but it often breaks loose the inertia of stalled imagination (who among us has the power of will to maintain the status quo of the literal linear world after a scant teaspoon of sleep?). In my experience it is not prudent to ignore gifts of associative flight and whimsy.

If one begins threading fingerling potatoes with the sequins of burlesque I say, go for it. You never know when such a spinning, sparkling muse will visit again.

It all started with a documentary about the seventies balladeer Paul Williams- a touching story of fame, hunger, redemption and purpose (titled Paul Williams Still Alive because the documentarian had assumed he was dead) that- almost by accident- reveals Paul's award-garnering talent for writing sweet and soulful songs was never balm enough for his childhood wounds. Like so many artists snagged in the media-fueled web of fame plus addiction, Paul's appetite for approval trumped all (imagine the tune-smith who wrote Rainbow Connection for Kermit the Frog posing in an absurdly surreal TV shoot out with sexy Police Woman, Angie Dickinson).

Until he got sober. And redefined success on his own terms. As a side note- and in the spirit of full disclosure- I may as well tell you I once had the pleasure of sitting next to Paul Williams at a Hollywood premiere (he had co-written songs for the soundtrack). I was dating the blue-eyed writer slash star of the movie at the time. Paul and I were assigned to one another while the film stars and director held court down front. I found him to be gracious, kind and self deprecating, with an underscore of sadness that was irresistible.

Looking back last night (from a decades rich vantage point, now that I sport a certain seasoned age) it is startlingly clear how my introverted taste informs who I am and the choices I have made in life- for better or worse. This isn't news, exactly. I have never been a Las Vegas kind of girl (I have absolutely zero desire to visit Las Vegas; living in Los Angeles- twice- was more than enough glitz exposure for me). I avoid rather than seek the whole smoke machine flashing lights spectacle style of pop entertainment. The whole booty shaking stripper hair-tossing move while you're down on your knees is an artistic choice lost on me (though I imagine Jack Nicholson might be a fan).

I don't subscribe to louder is better. To flash over substance. Give me real. Give me some space. Let me in. Trust that I'll get it.

Because music is language.

Language that pierces straight through the sleepwalk of everyday routine. The best music reminds us we have a soul. That life is not merely about being the best consumer on the block. Though for the music industry (then as now) music is more and more about mass consumption. Branding. Hype. Sex sells. And apparently, tongue thrusting is a branding opportunity.

You are what you buy, they try to persuade us.

The lack of evidence supporting this delusion should speak for itself, as any keen observer of human mating behavior at Happy Hour will tell you.

I resist the hard sell. In life. People. Movies. Music. And yes, food. Titillation and marketing is mere embroidery if you've got the goods.

Which brings me neatly back to potatoes. Food should taste like itself. If you're lucky enough to find the tiniest young potatoes, they need no glitz. No spin. No wig and earrings, as Jim Harrison says.

Potatoes as good as these should taste like potatoes.

In an era of shimmer and facade, a radical idea.

Roasted banana squash and potatoes with baby greens #salad #vegan #gluten-free
Warm roasted potato salad with fresh greens. Happiness.

Karina's Roasted Butternut Squash and New Potato Salad Recipe

We found these tiny potatoes at the local organic market. Gold, red and purple bites of root vegetable goodness. If you cannot find such petite potatoes, use the smallest gold, blue and red potatoes you can find and cut them into halves or quarters to make them bite size. As for the squash, I used banana squash (see more on banana squash here), but butternut or even acorn squash would also be delicious.

First: Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

In a roasting pan combine:

Stir the winter squash and potatoes together and coat the squash with the olive oil and seasonings. Place the roasting pan back into the hot oven and roast until the potatoes and squash are fork tender and the squash is caramelized- about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir half way through to help brown all sides, and keep the squash from sticking.

1 bag (1 1/2 to 2 lbs.) tiny young potatoes or small fingerlings
Olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Note: Slice the potatoes in half if they are larger than bite size.

Stir the potatoes to distribute the olive oil and seasonings. Roast for 15-20 minutes or so- till tender but not quite done- you're going to add in the squash and cook them longer.

Add in:

Half a banana or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
A drizzle of real balsamic vinegar


Note: Size matters. Larger potatoes and cubes of squash will take longer to cook than their petite cousins, so test with a fork and keep an eye on them.
When the potatoes and squash are tender, remove the pan from the oven and cool it on a rack while you wash and dry the salad greens.

Plate a mix of fresh, crisp baby spinach and spring greens.

Spoon the warm roasted squash and potatoes onto the greens. Dress lightly with a dab of your best extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with fresh ground pepper.

Note: For those enjoying cheese, add a sprinkle of fresh organic goat cheese or a shaving of Parmesan.

Serves 4.

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Roasted banana squash and potatoes with baby greens #salad #vegan #gluten-free
Tiny potatoes are a favorite addition to fresh greens.

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xox Karina