Looking back over the past year, I think it very fitting that our New Year’s Eve dinner was a gorgeous, delicious representation of our garden-grown treasures. We’ve spent a lot of time working out there, making the extra effort to eat food that is grown close to home. And I am proud to say that it is now second nature for me to plan what I eat around what I am growing and what is available! If that’s not an accomplished goal for 2009, I don’t know what is. And it definitely sets the bar high for 2010!
Looking around our winter garden, I am often struck by all the shades of green I see, from the dark evergreen of the swiss chard to the purple-green of the cabbage plants. But today I was amazed at how many other vibrant colors are out there- burgundy, bright blue, even a reddish orange/yellow marigold that came to life after its companion tomato plants died. The wonders of a garden never cease…
One of my best friends from Philadelphia recently moved out to California with her boyfriend, so we elected to spend New Years Eve at our house. I broke my collarbone on Christmas, so I’m trying to take it easy. I am left-handed, and my left arm is in a sling (to keep my collarbone immobilized), so I can’t do all the things I normally do… including cooking! Which meant I got to boss my sous-chefs around (Nicely, of course).
Fortunately I’ve made all these dishes before in some form or another, so it came together smoothly: mixed greens with roasted beets, celery, and goat cheese (previous post here); Israeli couscous with kale/chard/beet greens and roasted carrots (previously posted here); and roasted butternut and acorn squash with a spicy/sweet spice rub (see recipe below). It felt great to eat such a variety of vegetables for dinner, all prepared in such a way that their textures and flavors played off each other so you never got bored! To me, that’s a true measure of success.
Happy Healthy New Year! I wish you the best in your pursuit of locally grown goodness, and hope you are inspired to start growing your own food on some scale this year!
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Squash (original recipe found here)
1/2 small to medium sized kabocha, butternut, or acorn squash
3 Tbs brown sugar, plus a bit more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper or hot chili powder, more or less to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs soy sauce
Oil for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet or two with silicon baking liner or parchment paper.
De-seed and cut the squash into slices about 1/2 – 1″ inch thick.
Combine all the dry ingredients. Toss the squash slices in this until coated thoroughly. Add the soy sauce and toss
Spread the slices in a singler layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle over them with the oil, and optionally sprinkle more sugar on them. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn over, drizzle with more oil and sprinkle more sugar, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature.
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Toss torn lettuce with a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Top with chopped celery, crumbled goat cheese, and roasted beet slices. Cilantro would also be a nice addition.