Savory Squash and Black Bean Crepes

With The Big Day coming up so quickly, I felt a tinge of obligation to serve up some fabulously traditional roasted turkey, a big first in my book. I got my free turkey coupon (which, as it turns out, was actually my mom's), I cleared my schedule on Saturday, and I geared up for the epic tale of Floptimism's First Turkey Extravaganza. But then I got to thinking: the following day would be my apartment's Thanksgiving dinner before we all parted ways to see our families, and then there'd be tons of turkey on Turkey Day itself, and then, of course, are all of those leftovers. I am in the process of being up to my ears in turkey, and you know what?

I don't even like it.

There, I said it. I'm one of those people. The ones who really couldn't give a hoot about the stuffing and the tryptophan and the jar of cranberry "sauce" that never unmolds from its container. Now the pies, those are a different story. But green bean casserole and a 16lb bird on my table just don't do it for me. So why would I go out of my way to add another day's worth of turkey to this week? Not to mention the days and days of ensuing turkey leftovers that a full sized turkey would yield, all for me. So, no Thanksgiving-themed post, but that's okay. This one is still fall-festive, which is even better, if you ask me.

Back in October when fall was just creeping up on us, I walked into my local Giant and found a big display of all these different types of squashes - all for just 79 cents! I couldn't resist myself. I've never really cooked squash before, just once for a cooking class. I didn't have a recipe in mind, I didn't have anything in mind. I just picked up a cute looking Carnival squash (which I had never heard of, by the way), added it to my cart, and marched out of that store quite happily (I paid for my food between those last 2 steps, fyi).

What I came up with was a crepe filled with pureed roasted squash and black beans, with some kale, maple syrup and cinnamon mixed in for good measure. It's not the fastest recipe out there: first, you roast and puree the squash; then you have to put the filling together and actually make the crepes. It's a process, but this is so worth it. It's light and makes you feel very sophisticated, and yet it is one of the cheapest meals I've thought up in this little head of mine. The only thing I'll say is that I tried a whole wheat crepe recipe, and I wasn't impressed. I know you might say duh when I tell you this next thing, but I was really crossing my fingers that it wouldn't be the case: they were heavy. And a whole lotta bit eh. Double dose of eh. They were little more than a vehicle to get the squash and beans in my mouth, and I was expecting much more. So, for this, I would advise you to search for your own crepe recipe until I can come back here with a more acceptable one.

Savory Squash and Black Bean Crepes
Yield: 1 serving (unfortunately)
The Ingredients
1/2 crepe recipe (you'll still have extras, but for dessert or breakfast throw some yogurt and fruit inside and you're as good as gold)
1 carnival squash
1/4 - 1/2C black beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
1/2C frozen kale (if you use fresh, I'd imagine that you'd just need to add a little extra to account for wilting)
black pepper, cinnamon, and maple syrup to taste

The Method
1. Roast the squash. I halved it first and stuck it in the microwave with a bit of water and some wax paper. You could also do it in the oven, just allow for the extra time that this requires.
2. Scrape out the insides of your squash as best you can, once cool enough to handle - one squash doesn't yield too much flesh, so you really want to be stingy here. I found the consistency to be a little bit rough and stringy, so I stuck it into my little food processor to try to smooth it out a little bit more. Adding some milk to this process might be nice.
3. Combine the squash, beans, kale, pepper, and cinnamon in a small sauce pot over low-medium heat. You just want to warm it and keep it warm while you make the crepes, so that they're ready as soon as the crepes finish up. Alternatively, you could keep the oven at a low temperature to hold the crepes (filled or not) at a nice temperature while you assemble everything. Honestly, I nuked mine in the microwave after pictures and before eating. Not the most glamorous technique, I admit.
4. Make the crepes. If you're planning to have extra, allow the first bunch to be the ones you save for later. Crepes lose their heat extremely quickly (hence the reasoning behind my blathering in #3), so you want to be pretty speedy in getting the crepes assembled and onto the table.
5. Drizzle 2 crepes with maple syrup, and then divide the squash mixture evenly between them. Roll according to your favorite crepe rolling school (I went with the school of thought of, "if it rolls and stays rolled, it's good!"), and serve! As you can see from the picture, I also had some extra filling (maybe enough for another small crepe) and so I used it as a bed for the crepes. If you're making this for more than just yourself, refer to #3 and seriously consider sticking them in the oven for a couple of minutes to heat up and give you a chance to regain your sanity (if you're anywhere near as frantic as I can get in the kitchen).

Now, this entire recipe is under construction and subject to revision, since it was very much a throw-stuff-into-a-pot-and-see-what-happens kind of thing. First of all, I originally made it without the syrup, but I sat down to eat it and it was missing something; it was very nearly as eh as the crepe by itself: good, enjoyable, but just...not on the level that it should be. So I got up, grabbed my maple syrup (infused with cinnamon, mmm), and drizzled it over the top. That was it! That was all this squash and black bean crepe needed to take it to the next level. Of course, next time I'll try mixing this in, but if that diminishes the flavor I would advise just drizzling it over the crepe before spooning in the squash and bean mixture, as I've noted in the recipe. I can picture it being just as lovely with another variety of squash and, as I said earlier, certainly another variety of crepes.

You see, talking about this recipe - even in its tentative, not-yet-perfected state - makes me so much more excited than thinking about tomorrow's meal. Except for dessert. I made this upside down cranberry cake that I can't wait to cut into...

You'll be hearing from me again soon, I'm sure. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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