Recipe: Spicy Butternut Squash Chips

I’d like to take a moment to talk about obsessions.  Everyone has one – even you.  Mine include Harry Potter, Prada pumps, CrossFit, half marathon PRs, Husky football and Bulleit Manhattans (on the rocks with a twist, please).  In a perfect world, not a day would pass in which I didn’t run a half marathon in record time to CrossFit before going home to read Harry Potter and finishing the day off watching a Husky football game in Prada pumps with a Bulleit Manhattan in front of me.  I try to mask my obsessive tendencies by giving each obsession a day of the week.  Saturdays are for football.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday are for CrossFit.  Harry Potter gets Thursday.  Running is slated for Sundays.  Bulleit Manhattans land in front of me on good days and (sometimes) bad days…. I guess moderation isn’t really my thing.

I spend quite a bit of time watching people in my neighborhood.  Seattle is an excellent place to people watch because people are rarely afraid to fly their freak flag all over the place.  Obsessions are easy to spot.  Some examples:

The woman who wears only purple, head-to-toe, every single day.  Her hair is purple, her nail polish is purple, every article of clothing she wears is some shade of purple.  For this woman, purple is an obsession.

The man who dances to Michael Jackson on a street corner every Saturday morning while carrying a boombox, circa 1985.  For this dude, Michael Jackson Saturdays are an obsession.

My puppy Blaze, who is obsessed with fitting as many tennis balls in his mouth at one time.  He can really only fit one, but spends up to an hour sometimes trying to get more in there – you gotta love the determination.

Growing up, I was often cautioned about becoming overly obsessed with a specific goal, priority, activity or opinion.  Leaning too heavily toward one of these things could lead to ignorance of opportunity or a potential adventure.  I’ve found that, in most circumstances, obsessions are just fine – so long as you aren’t hurting yourself or others, there is no reason to prevent yourself from indulging in something that brings you happiness.  Since going Paleo, I’ve had a difficult time letting go of my food-related obsessions.  It’s taken all summer to find reasonable substitutes for my former favorite foods, but I’m getting close.  I’ve perfected gluten-free brownies, marveled at noodle-less lasagna, and found a way to include bacon in every meal of the day.  Last weekend, I was heading to a football-watching party that would surely include a sampling of everything delicious that I don’t eat anymore.  I knew there would be salsa and guacamole and really wanted to partake in chips & dip without breaking the Paleo code… thus, Butternut Squash Chips were born.  Suddenly, I have a new obsession to share on Husky football Saturdays… and soon you will too.

Spicy Butternut Squash Chips

Ingredients:
1 Butternut squash
Spray coconut oil
Seasoning of your choice (liberally used): I used El Gaucho’s Wicked Spice, which includes paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt, garlic powder and rosemary

Method:

1) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  While the oven heats, peel your butternut squash and cut in half.  Remove seeds and pulp before using a mandolin or potato peeler to cut very thin slices.

2) Boil a medium pot of water and blanch the squash for about 2 minutes.  Transfer the squash into an ice bath to cool.  Dry all of the slices with a paper towel and lay them out on a baking sheet.  Spray the slices and sheet with coconut oil and season them with seasoning.

3) Bake your squash in the oven until they are brown and crispy.  Keep a close eye on them, as some will cook faster than others.  They will not need more than 20-25 minutes in the oven total.  Remove from oven and lightly salt them one more time while still warm.  If you manage to get away without eating all of them in one sitting, they will keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people

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