Roasted butternut red pepper and goat cheese pie

Roasted butternut and red pepper pie

Roasted butternut and red pepper pie

There’s this thing I’m quite taken with at the moment. It’s an “app,” I guess, but I’m not sure exactly what makes something an app. It’s called What Would I Say, and it takes random words you’ve written and combines them to create short statements. I suspect it’s only remotely interesting to the person whose words are being combined, and most of the statements are repetitive or very dull or so nonsensical they’re not worth reading. And yet there’s something very addictive about it! I love words, of course, and in a very self-involved way I’m fascinated to see which words I use very often. And I love the randomness of it. There’s something freeing about having words combined for you, about not having to think about it at all, and having completely no control over it. I spend so much time thinking about how I’m going to put words together that it all starts to feel very heavy and tangled. This is like throwing the words in the air, and watching them flutter all around you, or float away, and searching for meaning in the patterns that they make. It’s like found poetry, and I love the fact that words mean different things when combined in different patterns, and I love the feeling of my brain scrambling to make meaning of it all, and to remember why I used the words in the first place. It’s like a confused, shifting memory, like a dream of only words. I like the fact that many of mine end with the phrase, “And Isaac’s the lead singer.” This is a phrase I feel we could all end more sentences with, as we go through our day. This one, for instance, “Isaac, holding a crescent of cantaloupe, I stole the mooooooon, and Isaac’s the lead singer.” I like this one, which sounds like an ee cummings poem, “If you have a field far away to the air, but we’d glued the boys’ feet behind me, waving them sit on the flowered air, beneath the rising from mounds of the 2 coryadoras, and we don’t know” And this one sounds like a poem to me, too. Maybe cummings via Basho, “A little boy oh boy who could not sure the best lack all conviction, while I’m depressed by the windbeaten orchard, near the way.” But mostly I like when they’re very simple, and oddly perfect. LIke this one, “Watching around town, we have the best kind of each other.” And my favorite of all, “Thanks for there is a handful of today.” I love that! I wish I’d thought of it myself!

Roasted butternut and red pepper pie

Roasted butternut and red pepper pie

I sort of thought of this as a savory pumpkin pie. It’s got a yeasted whole wheat crust, which is vegan, although the rest of the pie is not! It’s got a soft custard of roasted butternut squash and ground pecans, a pecan frangipane, almost, which is flavored with allspice, nutmeg, ginger, smoked paprika and sage. It’s got goat cheese to cut through all of the sweetness of the squash and peppers, and smoked gouda to add to the roasty smokiness of it all. I thought it was very tasty! Maybe next time I’ll throw all the ingredients in the air and let them combine themselves randomly, and see how that works out!

Here’s Word Play by A Tribe Called Quest.


1 t yeast
1 t sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 t salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar and water. Set aside for about 15 minutes to get frothy. Stir in the olive oil, and then add the flour, salt and pepper. Mix with a spoon until everything is combined, and then mix with your hands, adding just enough warm water to make a kneadable dough. Knead for about seven minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour and a half to two hours. Punch/fold down, and let rise again for 45 minutes to an hour.

Lightly butter a tart pan, and press the dough into the pan, making a thin even layer that goes up the sides to form a crust. You can roll it out if you like, but I find it easier to use my palms (and more fun!)


1 butternut squash of medium size, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scooped out
1 plump clove garlic, skin pierced
3 eggs
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup grated smoked gouda
1/2 cup goat cheese, plus some more crumbled
1 t dried sage, or 3 or 4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 t smoked paprika
pinch each allspice, nutmeg and ginger
2 roasted red peppers, sliced (I roast mine in the broiler, or you can roast them on the burner if you have a gas stove.)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Put some tin foil on a smallish baking sheet, and place the squash cut-side down on the foil with the garlic tucked inside the hollow part. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes until the skin is brown and the flesh is falling-apart soft. You should be able to poke it with a spoon and it will collapse under the flesh. The squash should release some juice, and then absorb it again.

In a food processor, combine the squash, the eggs, the pecans, the cheeses, the sage and the spices, and process until completely smooth.

Pour this into the crust. Scatter some crumbled goat cheese around the top, and arrange the red pepper slices however you like.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the pie is puffed and golden and firm to the touch. Let cool briefly, slice and serve.


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