Herbal Recipes for a Holiday Feast: Butternut Squash and Chive Cakes

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Makes 1 1/2 to 2 dozen cakes

These spicy cakes would make a fine holiday brunch dish, too. The white and cayenne peppers enhance the flavors of the traditional sweet spices, giving the cakes a subtle bite.

• 1 medium butternut squash
• 1 cup unbleached flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 eggs
• 2 tablespoons melted butter
• 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
• 1 tablespoon oil

1. Pare the squash, cut it in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash in pieces, place them in enough boiling water to keep the squash from sticking, and cook them until they can be mashed with a fork.

2. Drain the water and process the squash in a blender or food processor until smooth. Let the puree cool.

3. Combine the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs into 2 cups of the squash and then stir in the butter. Stir in 1/3 cup of the flour mixture, then 1/3 cup of buttermilk, and continue alternating in this way until the mixture is well blended. End with buttermilk. Stir in the chives.

4. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.

5. Heat a skillet over medium heat and lightly oil it.

6. Cook the batter like pancakes, making them large or small as desired. Serve immediately with Wild Mountain Huckleberry Compote.

David Daggett is executive chef at Fox Acres, a secluded golf and country club at Red Feather Lakes, high in the Colorado Rockies. He received his training at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

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