Ana Sofia Joanes is the Director and Producer of FRESH, a new documentary celebrating the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system.

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My little girl, Maayan, is almost 4 months old and ready to be introduced to the world of flavors beyond milk.  I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to cook delicious but simple and easy recipes (while handling a baby!) using the same set of ingredients for her and for us. In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I would share these two squash recipes, which mark the beginning of our shared meals.   Both recipes use fresh, local ingredients available this time of the year.

Baked Butternut Squash with Apples and Maple Syrup

  • 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds butternut squash (about 2 medium), peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
  • 2 1/4 pounds medium-size tart green apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, quartered, cored, but crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
  • 3/4 cup dried currants
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook squash in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Combine squash, apples and currants in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Season generously with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Combine maple syrup, butter and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Whisk over low heat until butter melts. Pour syrup over squash mixture and toss to coat evenly.

Bake until squash and apples are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Cool 5 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil; chill. Re-warm covered in 350°F. oven about 30 minutes.)

Baby’s Rice with Apple and Butternut Squash Purée
(4)6 months+

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 or 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup applesauce


Preheat oven to 400°F, Cut acorn or butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds.  Place halves face down in a pan and cover with an inch of water.  Bake for 40 minutes or until the “shell/skin” puckers and halves feel soft then scoop squash “meat” out of the shell
Place squash "meat" into your choice of appliance for pureeing. Add cooked rice and applesauce and blend.  Add water as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency.



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