One night last week, when the Frenchman was away on business, I dominated every single one of our wedding invitations. I stayed at the table late into the night, five hours in fact, watching Gilmore Girls for company. I painted the inside of each envelope with gold foil liners–Has anyone else done this? The liners should come with a “tedious work ahead!” label. My first five attempts were embarrassing, but I quickly worked out a system. And then came the actual invitation-stuffing. (The Frenchman and I designed our invites based on watercolors of our wedding flowers, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the towers of La Rochelle, from where the Frenchman hails.)
But now I’m frightening our doorman. You see, the only thing still standing in my way are the stamps, which are taking their sweet time arriving in the mail. Every time I go downstairs I bound toward the desk: “Do we have any packageeees?” Like a demented puppy. It isn’t dignified. Doesn’t he know that stamps are the only thing separating me from the oncoming rush of rsvps?! And eventual table seating charts? With post-its? (Actually, yes he does, since I bring it up regularly.)
If you think I sound a little left of center at the moment, you’re right. In my defense, I’m mostly planning the wedding myself. Also, to say I’m a list-obsessed micromanager is a bit of a gentle understatement. You should see the joint excel files the Frenchman and I have going! I try to show them to people–“Look! Look at our color-coded wedding excels!” And then the person has to say to me, “No, Cris, no. This isn’t a thing. I don’t want to see your excel files.” Can you believe that?!
We have twelve weeks to go. There are so many details, so many little tasks to be completed. But despite my basket case tendencies, the whole process has been really enjoyable. And it’s lovely working with the Frenchman in all sorts of creative ways.
I paused the wedding madness long enough to make these tartines for lunch. I thought they were delicious. I hope you will too.
You can make the butternut squash (up to 3 days) and the cauliflower (up to 1 day) ahead, so serving a crowd becomes the simple matter of preparing toast. You’ll likely have butternut squash spread leftover; a boon for weeknight cooking. The remaining spread can be used as an alternative pizza sauce, as a pasta sauce (thinned with a bit of water or broth), as a dip for chips or vegetables, or smeared on crisp toast, topped with avocado, a fried egg, and hot sauce for breakfast.
Thank you to Jessica of How Sweet it Is for your Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Dip; I made it for an Oscar party and it was completely devoured. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and these tartines are the result!
- 1 medium-sized butternut squash (or 4 cups/567 grams)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic or onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces (227 grams) crème fraîche
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 10 peeled cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 boule sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
- the zest of 1 small lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Heat the oven to 425F/218C. Peel, scoop out, and roughly chop the butternut squash. (If you’re short on time, buy pre-chopped squash from the vegetable section at the supermarket.) Spread the squash across a baking sheet, and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and the garlic or onion salt. Bake the squash for 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until caramelized on the outside and tender inside. Add the squash, along with any lingering olive oil in the pan, to the bowl of a food processor. Add the nutmeg, goat cheese, and crème fraîche to the bowl, and puree until very smooth, about 5 minutes. Season to taste.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop the cauliflower. Spread it across another baking sheet, then use your hands to toss the cauliflower together with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the garlic, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and pomegranate molasses. Bake for 35 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the garlic is soft and the cauliflower is caramelized. Out of the oven, zest the lemon over the cauliflower. (The squash and cauliflower can be baked simultaneously.)
- Toast the sourdough slices. (In the toaster, or if you want to be luxurious, brush the top side of each slice with olive oil; bake at 350F/176C for 10 minutes.)
- Build the tartines: spread a generous layer of still-warm butternut squash spread over each each toast. Spoon on the cauliflower mix. Finish with a flutter of parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy with a knife and fork.