Roasted Butternut Squash Salad and Happy Halloween!

Halloween and Valentine’s Day are my two favorite holidays. My love for Valentine’s Day is really simple. I love to love. But, my love for Halloween is slightly more complex.

The couple weeks of prep leading up to October 31's really signifies the change of the season. Everything starts smelling of pumpkin and cinnamon and it reminds us that the string of holidays are coming our way. I love that on Halloween, perfectly self respecting adults, who are never EVER silly dress up in absolutely ridiculous get ups. What other day can people dress up like a sexy pirate, their favorite pop star or a Chilean miner and be praised for it? I also love that kids have a yearlong obsession with this holiday. If you mention Halloween to a child in June, their face lights up with the prospect of a bag full of candy. But most of all, I love that at Halloween I get to play dress up. And boy oh boy to I take that and run with it.

Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

Here is a great Halloween salad to eat while handing out candy to the little ghosts and goblins.

Love and Beer Floats

1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.