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Showing posts from September, 2011

Raw Butternut Squash Salad ♥

Today's salad recipe: It's one thing to eat raw tomatoes and cucumbers and zucchini. But winter squash? When grated small, winter squash is surprisingly tender. Pair it with a little fresh ginger and add some dried fruit for sweetness. This is a salad that will delight the eyes and the tastebuds! A small serving is "low carb" and even a larger serving adds up to only 1 Weight Watchers point (old points) or 2 Weight Watchers points (PointsPlus).
As sweet as vegetables can turn once they're cooked, especially when they're roasted slowly in a hot oven, every once in awhile, "raw" vegetables can really hit the spot.

I first made this salad last fall -- on the very day the recipe was published in the New York Times. I made no notes, I wrote no post, mostly because mid-November didn't strike me as the "right time" for a raw winter squash salad. But I did take a pretty picture and it kept popping up when perusing the photo files for the sco…

Beet Salad with Sumac, Yogurt & Pita ♥

A quick beet salad turned appetizer when served with a garlicky yogurt sauce and fresh pita bread. For Weight Watchers, just three points (PointsPlus) or two points (Old Points).
So I set off to find another delicious way to use the sumac that makes a Fattoush (Traditional Middle Eastern Salad) so delicious. You see, I really want you to seek some out and the fact that I just might be a tiny bit smitten to sumac's earthy sourness, well, that might not be enough so, well, will another temptation help? :-)

But what I accidentally happened onto was another contribution to a meze (also spelled mezze and pronounced [MEZ-ay]). It's a happy style of casual eating, a few dishes, full of flavor and texture and -- let's be truthful here -- lots of garlic. Just one meze-style dish we might call an 'appetizer' but with a handful of different dishes, that would be a meal. It's easy to imagine sitting cross-legged on Turkish rugs eating this stuff but in my world, the kitc…

Butternut Squash Soup with Mango & Toasted Coconut ♥

Today's soup recipe: A smooth almost custard-like soup, served chilled on warm days or warm on chilly days.
But first, it's "back to school" for a quick lesson about vegetables, specifically 'squash'. What's the difference between 'summer squash' and 'winter squash'?

Is it that one grows in summer and one grows in winter? Nope.
Is it that one's eaten in summer and one's eaten in winter? Nope, at least not in today's global food distribution system that delivers year-round availability of many of our staple fruits and vegetables.

This book you can read by its cover, for the difference between summer squash and winter squash is up-front and visible, right in the skins.

Summer squash have tender, edible skins. Think zucchini (called 'courgette' in many parts of the world) and yellow squash.
Winter squash have tough, inedible skins. Think butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and even pumpkin.

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas ♥

A vegetarian main dish salad -- or a side salad -- with a double-dose of protein, one from quinoa, another from chickpeas. This is a classic "concept recipe" -- and seasonal too. Here I've added late-summer vegetables but it's easy to imagine spring and summer versions too. Very filling and satisfying, even a half cup at a time.
It's a lesson an attentive cook learns early: apply heat to food to draw out flavor, to reveal an inner character. We toast nuts to make them nuttier, we toast bread for its warmth and crispy edges. We roast tomatoes and squash to not only cook but sweeten. We brown butter to darken its character and put a little burn on bones to make stock. So what would happen if I toasted the quinoa first, would it make a difference?

Side by side, I cooked red quinoa in salted water in one pot and toasted regular quinoa to a toasty brown before adding water to cook in another. Did it make a difference? Taste-wise, not a smidgin.