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Archive for September, 2009

Dear Mom,

Researching vegetarian recipes at work. Found the most amazing idea for a hot and spicy potato salad with avocados. How good does that sound? Kick up a normal potato salad (I was reminded of your curried chicken salad you sometimes make) with jalapenos or a dash of cayenne and then use creamy avocadoes to cool it off? I want to make some ASAP.

Other great ides I found:

A bean and collard green soup (I guess I always think of beans and collards as side dishes to meat entrees, but they would blend together so nicely as a soup, don’t you think?)

I also like the idea of taking flavor profiles used in famous dishes (i.e. bourguignon, putanesca, carbonara, etc. and applying them to non-typical items. Like beans bourguignon or the cauliflower ragu I made a few weeks ago. Keeps flavors classic but ideas fresh. 

I can’t wait to cook dinner tonight.

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zucchini blimp

DearErin,                                                                                                                                          I don’t utilize squash in my cooking as much as I should although I find it quite delectable and satisfying.  I think that any food at it’s prime is best prepared and served as simply as possible.  One reason that I don’t fix squash often is that you do have to think about it a bit in advance, so I like your idea of baking it one day to use in a meal another day.  I do love gnocchi made with winter squash and served with sage butter but I think that I would like  to try baked winter squash on a salad, too.  Another thing that I have been thinking about lately is how easy it is to overeat highly processed food, and how fresh, local food satisfies you sooner and more fully so that you do not tend to overeat.    

Look at this zucchini, the size of a small blimp, that I stubbed my toe on in the garden this morning!  I generally end up with a simple zucchini saute or just add it raw to a marinated salad.  Lately, I have been hungry for ‘zucchini parmesan’  so I think that I will use this bad boy for some thick, fried slices served with some tomato sauce that I made (and canned) from the san marzano tomatoes we grew in the garden.  I didn’t grow any winter squash in the garden this year so I guess that I will have to hit the farmer’s market to pick some up.    

Love, MOM

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Dear Mom,
I used to be scared of squash. The whole process, from beginning to end, horrified me. I found them impossible to cut through (which made preparing them foreign and a bit of a nightmare to me) and it seemed like they took forever to cook. I’ve since learned to calm my squash fearing nerves and embrace this delectable veggie.

Look at these. So pretty. I’m not going to lie – I bought these three just so I could take this picture to show you. Though they do all have different flavors. I especially love the golden (orange) acorn squash – wonderfully nutty. These were perfect for me because they are so small (and cheap – thanks fall!) so I could buy three different kinds and not have tons of leftovers or wait forever for them to roast. I cut them in half, rubbed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them at 375 until they were tender (about 25 minutes…I put them in while I ate my dinner and read). Then I diced them up for a salad I’m going to make tomorrow. I’m thinking a bacon vinaigrette – what do you think?

Love,
Erin

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Dear Mom,

Do you cook broccoli rabe much? I remember when I first came to the CIA we thought it was so funny that it was everywhere – even on the “sides” list at the nearby diner. Truth be told, it’s not one of my favorite vegetables. It can be so bitter. And while it holds up well to lots of spice (mmm red pepper flakes) and is often good as a component of a dish (with sausage, pasta, in a salad, etc), I don’t usually eat it on it’s own.

But it looked so pretty at the market, so I grabbed some up. First, I sauteed some for a pizza. I saved the rest figuring I’d use it as a side over Labor Day weekend, but we were so busy eating massive quantities of meat, that I didn’t use it. Not wanting to waste it, I sauteed it in sesame oil with red pepper flakes at about 9 am on Sunday. Matt and I ate some for breakfast. It was good, and this time I blanched it briefly first, which did take away some of the bitterness. (With good greens like that, I usually just like to saute them – especially green beans! I think blanching them takes away some of their flavor…or at least the crispness that I love). Anyway, it turned out good, though there is still some in the fridge. Maybe for dinner tonight I’ll have a plate of leftover sides!

Much Love,
Erin

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