Butternut Squash and Brie Galette

10 . 31 . 13

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The coffee shop I find myself holed up in these days is a six-block walk from my house. I cross two one-way streets, then a busier intersection between a 24hr diner and a yoga studio. On my way home today I kicked up dead leaves that seem to suddenly have engulfed the sidewalk since Monday and considered calling my mom on speaker phone just so she could hear how pretty the crunching and swooshing sound was in the moment. I have a feeling she heard it, without the call. She usually does. Mom-thoughts generally lead to other gratitude thoughts, and today was no exception. Gratitude for friends who let me interrupt their work-day to speculate if the person sitting next to me is either a hit-man or private investigator based on the prolific mess of records, security camera footage, and license plate captures strewn about the table. Gratitude for the way the Universe ushered an amputee-veteran to my check-out line at Target yesterday while I was purchasing pimple-cream alongside halloween candy with even the slightest grudge against my otherwise perfectly functional body.

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I heard an echo of crunching and swooshing behind me as I stopped to cross the last street before our house and looked over my shoulder to catch a glimpse of the situation. Just a teenage-girl carrying a violin case. We acknowledged each other and crossed in tandem when there was a break in the traffic. She carried on ahead of me, swinging her case down the walk and I watched her from our porch for a minute or so, tossing my keys between my palms before going inside. There is an unspoken language between women that had been expressed between us in crossing the street and I wondered if she even knew it had transpired or the power it holds. When I was her age I don’t think I did. We are stronger when we cross together. I was a wildly independent in my youth. The sort of, I-don’t-need-anyone-to-help-me, I-can-do-it-all-on-my-own, type. In those days I associated feminism with unbreakability and ferocity, reserving all my tenderness or vulnerability for those in my inner circle. My relationship to my own femininity (and femininity at large) in those angst-y teenage years has softened as I’ve aged. With each passing season I find myself coming closer to a place where I can honor my emotional expressiveness, impulse to nurture, and keen sensitivity as having equal value to my fiery determination, independence, and fearlessness. Today I actively seek crossing the street with another, not as a crutch, but as a way to understand the female species and learn my place and call within it.

Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette

I set down my backpack on the couch and thumbed through the mail before kicking off my shoes and heading upstairs to check on Shaun. He was at his desk, just as I had left him several hours ago, reading Supreme Court documents for a new film project while sports commentary played in the background. I hugged him from behind, and closed my eyes. Earlier in the day I had confessed to a friend that I felt like I had nothing profound or compelling to write about my life or the world these days in this space. I get to wake up next to my best friend, I am involved in challenging and fulfilling work, and my friendships bring me deep and profound joy. Am I possibly too content to write? Is that even a thing? Contentedness, what is this witchery? Is it possible? Can I only create art when I feel melancholy or restless or at dis-ease? If good writing is a product of emotional carnage then I might be wise to consider a new career path. I kid.

Along these lines, said friend reminded me that I’m a normal human living normal days, as we do, and that I have permission to set poignancy on the shelf every now and again. “Some days you’re just a girl living her life.”  And I’m cognitively very aware of this truth. Anyone who knows me will assure you I’m TEAM REAL-LIFE. And, even though the work I’m most proud of is born from some less-than-awesome mental states, the less-dramatic and emotionally stable days are the ones I like best and know you do too. The ones with walks and thoughts of pimples and hit-men and femininity and questions if I should go to therapy and if we should buy a second car and why my sweater smells like curry and when there will be enough snow to snowshoe and if brie or camembert cheese is a better accompaniment to squash and flaky crust.

And so it goes. This is my life, and I’m just happy to be in it.

Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette

Butternut Squash and Brie Galette

For the pastry:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup ice water

 

In a bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in half of the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Cut in the remaining butter. Pour in water then begin to mix and knead the dough until a ball forms and the mixture is no longer shaggy looking. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette

For the filling:

  • 3-ish lb butternut squash
  • 2 apples (honeycrisp, pink lady, or fuji)
  • 2 cups brie cheese, rind removed
  • olive oil
  • fresh thyme
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 400.’ Peel the squash. Cut 1/4 inch vertical wedges up to the rind. Halve discs. Place on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s okay if wedges overlap. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just softened and a little al dente in the thicker regions. Set aside and cool. With a mandolin or pairing knife, cut apples (with peel) into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside. Cut or tear brie into strips and chunks. Set aside.

Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette

Construction:

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Begin layering cooled squash, apples, cheese, and a bit of salt and pepper leaving a 1 1/2 inch border for folding it all up. Repeat until you run out of ingredients and can top with more cheese. Fold the border over your squash-apple-cheese tower pleating the edge to make it fit. Finish outside exposed dough with an egg wash. Bake for 30-40 minutes in the 400′ oven. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

Happyolks | Butternut Squash Galette

  • Aman

    Gahhh! Kelsey you are so loved.

  • Oh, this looks so good!
    And the pictures are amazing and comforting as always…
    The words too.

  • Beautiful words!

  • There’s something really very extraordinary about being content. I’m happy that you’re there :) femininity really is something to think about, how it evolves over time and space. I’ve found the French are unknowingly challenging my own identity in that regard.

  • Aaaaaand still poignant as ever.

  • Susan

    Thank you for posting re: the normals days. The days where we can re-establish our equilibrium. I’m grateful for them. Off to buy brie to make this delightful creation.

  • Raquel

    Lovely post!

  • the details of your life are so beautiful. they make me want to go out and look at all the tiny things and find beauty just like it.

    too content to write? that is silly talk!

    amazing post.

  • Beautiful writing. Beautiful recipe.

    Somehow, although we’ve never met, your contentment makes me feel content, too.

  • It’s much easier to write about emotional things that tug at the heart strings but you can make poetry out of the everyday and that is truly a gift.

  • Some very important words and thoughts in this post, Kelsey. Normal is beautiful and noteworthy too! We tend to forget that all too often.
    This galette is gorgeous! I’ll make it in the coming days. If I’m really lucky, I’m going to serve this to my family on Sunday.

  • You make it look so easy. I’ve got to try my hand at making one this w/end. Thanks!

  • Beautiful words. Beautiful recipe.

  • Beautiful as always.
    I’ve been thinking along the same lines – is my life to nice to even write about anything? I’m no Ernest Hemingway over here, suffering through cold winters in Paris, giving up everything for lines on a page. But some days I still think I have something to say.

    I loved your thoughts on being female as well. I’ve come from the other side – thinking I needed to be submissive and then slowly moving towards independence and i-don’t-need-anyone-to-help-me. But I think I’m where you are now. I’d rather cross the street with someone. xo

  • Really enjoyed the whole post, it is indeed beautiful. The galette looks amazing, going to give a try soon.

  • As usual, Kels, even when you don’t think you have much to say, you have a lot to say … and you say it so well!

  • what a beautiful post, and lovely images. I have been feeling recently that my posts have been too introspective, a bit too serious if you like. I think it is partly an effort to try and write well, but you have shown that beautiful writing can be borne even from the everyday. thank you.

  • Lovely words! I love how comforting your photos look – both the simple story of your everyday life and the photos create a very cozy image.

  • This sounds incredible. Will be trying it soon. And a lovely photo series to accompany.

  • This galette is absolutely perfect. Great flavours for fall!

  • How lovely. I’m glad to hear you call yourself a feminist — I certainly am one! It’s true, though, feminism can come in many different shades. We can be independent, and enjoy baking at home. Thanks for sharing your everyday — you’ll have it recorded here for the future now too.

  • It’s such a joy to read your blog each time. Lovely words.

  • This looks so autumnly delicious!

  • I first began reading your blog because I was drawn by the lovely images and beautiful recipes, but I have since found myself captivated by the way you express yourself in words. I look forward to each post. I love your thoughts here on the connections between women. I think we often tend to ignore that powerful feeling, maybe because we don’t understand it, but it is definitely present.

  • Kelsey, thank you for the stroll through your thoughts as you walked back from the coffee shop; from the crunch of the leaves underneath your feet and the longing to share that with your mom , to friendship and femininity, and back again to the warmth and comfort of your home and Shaun. Contentment suits you well. Contentment, the feeling of Fall, and the warmth of home all shine through in this delicious galette. I know this recipe will be one I return to over and over again.

  • Beautiful pictures with a great recipe! Butternut squash and brie must be good combination, I am going to try this for sure. You are such a amazing person! There were others who inspired us, when we needed it the most and your words always do that magic:)

  • Beautiful words Kelsey. I know that sweet contentment that life delivers when we stop fighting and just be. When we are in this happy space we are more resilient to conflict and therefore seem to attract even more contentment. Enjoy it, it is yours to cherish and see where life will next take you x

  • Chloe

    What you say here has so much truth. When you said, “Can I only create art when I am feeling melancholy, or restless, or at dis-ease?”, I asked myself the same question. It was one of those moments where the writer says something that provokes a thought that you never, ever thought of before in that way, and you hope they answer it. And you did, poignantly and beautifully and it made such perfect sense. So thank you.

  • Thanks, Kelsey. I hope you continue to post no matter your emotions, and I hope you continue in this thoughtful spirit of gratitude and contentedness. So lovely to find yourself there!

  • Anouk

    Just be happy – gorgeous advice. Sounds simple – can be complicated, unfortunately. But hey, you go for it girl! With this (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/154107618472786526/) in mind.

    Small note on the galette: recplaced 1/2 c all-purpose with rye flour: worked like a charm! And used oregano instead of thyme. But what a beauty – autumn at its best.

  • Beautiful post! I don’t think contentment hinders your writing at all :)

  • Wonderful words, girlfran. I can’t make guesses on the second-car purchase or what occupation that secret-agent fella really has, but after two years of counseling myself, I would recommend that (hard, scary, big and amazingly growing) experience to anyone. And my sweaters always smell like last night’s dinner, too!

    So glad you’re finding contented days. This galette looks like it was born of happiness, I admit. It’s beautiful and sounds so delicious.

  • Such beautiful words. I love the way you write….it’s almost poetic. What a beautiful gift. As for your galette, it looks absolutely amazing. Pumpkin is one of my all time favourite ingredients, and this looks like yet another beautiful way to enjoy it.

  • Sounds like a delicious recipe! I just came across your blog and will certainly be back again – your photos are beautiful and the site is easy to navigate and your writing is great :) Pinning one of your recipes now.

    Cheers!
    Chelsea
    http://pistachiojar.wordpress.com/

  • You are a natural writer…what lovely words. And, I must make your galette…today!! Blessings!!

  • Kelsey! Kelsey. I love this so much. I could imagine you going about your day with crosswalks and hugs. Love your real life and your beautiful words…”I’m just happy to be in it”. Warm cheesy galette goodness, yes please. xoxo

  • Oh I totally get you. I’m sure that nobody is really interested in the mundane details of my weekend but they’re what make me happy and, the older I get, the more I just want to focus on the good stuff and not give all the other angsty shit the oxygen of life.

  • Kelsey, loved being a part of your day, and I imagine the crinkling of the dried auburn leaves being crushed under your feet on your walk home; and how true, we are stronger when we cross together. It’s amazing to know that across this world called the Internet – one which a few decades ago didn’t even exist but today is so pertinent and so much a part of our lives – we can find kindred souls with whom we share our innermost thoughts; tested recipes and that sigh of happiness when we are happy just being a part of our own lives.

    thanks for writing.
    felicia

    p.s. I moved in over the weekend to my new place which I wrote you about last week. everyday feels great, beautiful, and while there are things to iron out in my relationship, I believe the move will do both my bf and I good. thanks for your reply & encouragement!

  • Hear the sirens, hear the sirens.

    Hear the sirens,
    Hear the circus so profound.
    I hear the sirens,
    More and more in this here town.

    Let me catch my breath
    To breathe and reach across the bed.
    Just to know we’re safe.
    I am a grateful man.

    The slightest bit of light, and I can see you clear
    Oh, have to take your hand and feel your breath.

    For fear this someday will be over
    I pull you close. So much to lose
    Knowing that nothing lasts forever.
    I didn’t care before you were here.

    I danced with laughter,
    With the ever-after
    But all things change.
    Let this remain.

    Hear the sirens
    Covering distance in the night.
    The sound echoing closer.
    Will they come for me next time?

    For every choice, mistake I made, it’s not my plan
    To send you in the arms of another man
    And if you choose to stay, I’ll wait, I’ll understand

    Oh, it’s a fragile thing, this life we lead.
    If I think too much I can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live our lives with death over our shoulders.

    Want you to know
    That should I go,
    I always loved you,
    Held you high above, too.
    I studied your face,
    And the fear goes away.

    It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead.
    If I think too much I can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live our lives with death over our shoulders.

    Want you to know
    That should I go,
    I always loved you,
    Held you high above, too.
    I studied your face,
    And the fear goes away,
    The fear goes away,
    The fear goes away.

    The fear goes away.

    Sirens – Eddie Vedder – Pearl Jam

  • That looks absolutely delicious!

  • Absolutely beautiful!

  • Kelsey– I made this galette last night for an old friend. This morning I was giving away the leftovers to people at church because it was so delicious they absolutely had to share in it! I am planning a dinner party just to make it again!

  • Willow

    Kelsey, this was lovely to read and to review for the beautiful dish. Thank you for sharing both your thoughts and your recipe.
    Before I married my wonderful Jon, I wrote like mad and created portfolio after portfolio of what (sometimes) turned out to be my best photographic work. That was such a sad, rich time for me.
    Now, I am discovering that the world looks different and I respond to it differently. I now write because the life that flows out on the page is my very own – fully and freely mine. It always was, but now I know. I am moved to photograph things that I passed by before and find beauty in even the most mundane things.
    I read your blog and make almost every dish and explore the web for more…more…more to fill the house with aromatic love. We are making our home on this side of the pond (the US) for now and I am happy to be so alive under the canopy of yellow and orange, filtering like lace the sun that warms me through the chilly fog. I love that chill and the warmth that lives within.
    Oh, please forgive me for going on and on…when perhaps I should have just said, “Thank you…for living into this digital space and holding a light…”

  • Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. The food, your thoughts, this space. xo

  • I enjoyed this so much — truly lovely. It can be a challenge for me to find blogs whose writers inspire. You’re one of the few. I also wanted to say that the friend whose husband has melanoma and whom you graciously gifted me a cookbook to share recipes with has had good scans for nearly a year now. Stability. And that’s good enough for now. Miracle broth, indeed. Thank you.

  • Beautiful photos and I love your writing style. Also, I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious!!!

  • Kelsey

    Willow I tried to respond to you by email (as I usually do for comments) and the internet sent it back! Just wanted to say that you cannot know how much notes like these mean to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share your story. No rambling, whatsoever. It is the simple truth that there are fantastic, soul-good folks like you around the world, near and far, that make being human so special.

    Cheers to the richness and art in sadness, contentment, joy, and everything in-between.

    Love from Denver,
    kelsey

  • Stop it. It’s too good. Galettes, butternut squash, apples, and brie are some of my favorite things. And you put them all together in a buttery crust. *faint*

  • What a beautiful blog you have! New follower :)

  • These concepts are so basic and resonating – I truly enjoy reading and imaging and agreeing and contemplating. Thank you for this post. I daresay you have turned me into an eager, new reader! (I also plan to make this galette for dinner. I think I will use manchego in place of the brie!)

  • Mike Sully

    Yours is a truly awesome blog that resonates with every food lover surely.

  • Apples, squash and brie? I think I’ve died and gone to heaven! This tart looks like my dream come true. Loving your recipes, writings, and photography – thank you so much for sharing them with us.

  • Thanks. Valuable information.

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Let's get in Touch

I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.