The curse of being a cook.  Or, rather, of having a knife and three minutes of time.  And an active imagination.

The basis for tonight’s dinner came about after seeing bags of diced butternut squash.   They looked beautiful – bright orange, fresh-looking…  The mind started playing all sorts of recipe-games.  It’s fun to play the “what if I did this…” game.  The mind can really start racing with ideas.  As I was contemplating what I could do, I espied whole butternut squash.  Immediately I knew I was bringing home a whole squash.  Try as I might, I just can’t justify someone else cutting my vegetables for me.  I know that packaged, pre-packaged, pre-cut/chopped/diced everything is the wave of the future.  I know that there are many people out there who believe that pushing a button on a microwave is too much work.  And I know that not everyone likes to cook.

I just don’t happen to be one of them.

I plan on being a cranky old man when I grow up spouting things like “When I was your age I used to get lemon juice from a natural container – a lemon!”  Or…  “I remember when we used to buy fruits and vegetables that looked like fruits and vegetables.  Before they were all genetically modified.”

I think it will be fun.

But back to dinner tonight…

The squash was easy.  I peeled, seeded, and diced the squash and drizzled it with maple syrup, sage, salt, and pepper.  Into a 375° oven it went for 20 minutes.  I used the same timer for the rice.

I heated the pumpkin puree (I still have lots!) and then added a handful of fresh cranberries, salt, and pepper.  Very simple.  I wanted the flavor of the pumpkin to predominate.

I cut a small pork tenderloin into about 1/2″ slices and covered them in a mixture of flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  I sauteed them in a bit of olive oil, and after flipping them over, added the pumpkin and cranberry mixture and simmered everything for about 6 or 7 minutes.

The timer went off and everything was ready!

Butternut squash with maple syrup is a natural combination and a hint of sage balanced the sweetness.  The tart cranberries balanced the sweetness of the pumpkin and the garlic in the flour added that little bit more of a savory edge.

It worked on every level.

I love Fall.