I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a bit of an extra nudge to eat more veggies. Roasting them to coax out their natural sweetness is defnitely my usual approach, but you can’t beat it when they masquerade as something even more luscious. A tall order? Sure. But boy does this winter squash carbonara ever achieve it… and well.
Ah, the age-old relationship dilemma: one person loves to eat XYZ, the other not so much. For my folks, acorn squash is one of those things, and my self-appointed challenge this fall was to come up with a couple ways to prepare it that everyone would enjoy.
The charred fall vegetable tacos were a big hit with them both, but when Dad showed up at home with the BIGGEST acorn squash from Trader Joe’s — after all, they’re all sold for a buck and change no matter the size — tacos alone were not going to cut it. And they were definitely looking for something a little less rich and involved than pumpkin stuffed with everything good.
Sweet and sour Swiss chard should definitely be considered for your Thanksgiving table — especially if you channel Jennie’s4th Annual Thanksgiving and choose to serve a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin with roasted apples in lieu of turkey. Ohhh, do these apple cider vinegar-laced greens play ever so nicely with pork. While it isn’t the most gorgeous vegetable dish ever — I try to focus on how the prosciutto brings out the crimson-hued veining in the chard, it helps — this sweet-sour-salty side is certainly a pretty darn tasty, lighter change of pace from creamed greens.
For years and years, my Chinese takeout orders centered around egg drop soup, potstickers or egg rolls, lemon chicken, Szechuan string beans and my first noodle love, lo mein. (And let’s not forget the complimentary baggies or dishes of fried wonton strips with packets of duck sauce for dipping, two things that seem to be a uniquely East Coast Chinese restaurant treat.) Over the years, I’ve successfully knocked out a few homemade versions of the items in that list (as you can see if you click on the links), but lo mein continually escaped me. It’s not because it’s a terribly involved dish to make — au contraire, it’s done in about fifteen minutes start to finish and utilizes store-bought gluten-free linguine — but I just couldn’t get the flavors quite right, there’s clearly more to it than just soy sauce-drenched noodles.
As a kid, I knew mom was making this salad when her order at the West Side Market deli counter contained small amounts of pepperoni, dry salami and ham. Once the salad was assembled, the slices would be carefully rolled and slipped down the outside edges of a clear glass serving bowl, alternating each slice of meat to create a mouthwatering pattern. (I think it’s safe to say my lifelong love of salumi can be traced back to this antipasti-meets-green-salad salad.)
Since this was one of those dishes usually reserved for family get togethers, what else went into the bowl depended on who was coming to dinner. Celery was added for Grandpa Doyle, raw sliced mushrooms (aka mad dogs, really not sure where that came from) were left off and served on the side for Aunt Kathy, and a bowl of whole black olives was included for me (I’m pretty sure more olives ended up on my finger tips than in my salad bowl — either way, their eventual destination was my mouth, of course).