Fall in New Orleans is very different than what I grew up with in Connecticut. It’s almost Halloween and things are hot, humid, and green down here. Sure, we still have pumpkin spice flavored everything and even the occasional day that you can wear a sweater, but it’s just not the same. I’ve spent the past month complaining about how I miss “real” Fall. I’ve been whining about everything I can think of. Not being able to watch the leaves change, how it’s too hot out for all of my favorite cold weather recipes, and how I can’t wear any of my cute Fall clothes.
So you can imagine how pumped I was to fly back to the dirty CT with some of my friends for a long weekend! Suddenly every aspect of Fall that I had been obsessing about missing was right there in front of me. The leaves were obviously beautiful, my Mom had chili waiting for us on the stove, and I felt completely at home with my favorite pair Doc Martins on my feet.
But after awhile, I started to remember all of the things I didn’t miss about “real” Fall. Why did I have this delusional fantasy that it was perfect sweater weather every day? It started snowing. I didn’t bring a jacket. I was very cold. In mid-October.
I also ended up being way too busy to cook anything. I didn’t roast any vegetables or make any soups. We ate a lot of pizza and drank a lot of beer. I ate like a total schlub the entire weekend because I wanted to show my friends the very best pizza, bagels, and Chinese food the North East had to offer.
After stepping off my flight back to New Orleans, I spent a lot of time thinking about my definition of “real” Fall. As I laid by the pool in 80 degree weather, green juice in hand, I scribbled down some ideas for my first Fall recipe on the blog. The butternut squash is traditional, the gochujang provides a funky heat, and everybody loves pancakes. I decided to top my stack with harissa toasted butternut squash seeds, a runny fried egg, and jalapeño cilantro pesto. It was absolutely delicious so feel free to do the same, but I also suggest that you take a minute to get creative and make this recipe your own.
- 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons harissa
- 3 tablespoons gochujang
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 red onion, diced and lightly caramelized
- 1/2 butternut squash, roasted and pureed
Toasted Harissa Butternut Squash Seeds
- Cleaned seeds from 1 butternut squash
- Cumin to taste
- Harissa to taste
- Salt to taste
- Small amount of neutral oil such as coconut or canola. Approximately 1 teaspoon for 3/4 cup of seeds
- Fried Egg
- Cilantro Jalapeño Pesto
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Prep squash for roasting by cutting it in half vertically and removing the seeds. Reserve 1/2 squash for other use. Clean, season, and set aside the seeds for toasting. Coat butternut squash half with coconut oil and salt. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 40-60 minutes, or until fork tender.
While squash is roasting, lightly caramelize the diced red onion by heating 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Add red onion and stir frequently until they are lightly caramelized. Remove from heat and add to food processor.
When the squash is almost done, spread seeds on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for a few minutes. Watch seeds carefully and remove when they are sufficiently toasted. Once squash is fork tender, remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop out the squash out from the skin and place in food processor with caramelized onions. Puree until smooth.
Now start to make the pancake batter. Sift together all of the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, cumin, and harissa into a bowl. Mix dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Beat the eggs, add buttermilk, gochujang, and then mix in the butternut squash puree until everything is combined. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until everything is just combined, it’s okay if you have a few lumps!
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly coat the pan with your choice of neutral oil. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into skillet and cook until the surface of pancakes have bubbles and some have burst. Carefully flip pancakes with a spatula and cook until the other side is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
Keep the cooked pancakes warm on a baking sheet in a 200°F oven while you finish cooking the rest of the batter. Continue to add oil to skillet as needed.
Finally, plate up the pancakes and top with toasted seeds, fried egg, cilantro jalapeño pesto, or whatever your heart desires.