Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CSA roulette, squashing my squash issues

We went full throttle with the CSA this week, forgoing our right to chose our own adventure and instead embarking on the perilous journey known as “the single vegetable box.” We took a risk, threw caution to the wind, and let the fates decide our vegetal future!
Well, the unknown turned out pretty unknown. More unknown than expected. Irv and Shelly gave us an estimate of what would be in the box this week, however—much like estimates from contractors on the length of a home remodel project—they were wrong. We got none of the produce listed. No safe red potatoes, no trusty Brussels sprouts. Where were the kale, fennel, and onions I had been promised? What is that green spore thing? Is that white carrot a turnip or a parsnip? And what do I do with it? It seems, the botanical fates wanted me to put me in the hot seat.
What hotter seat is there than the oven? This week, we’ve roasted… everything, pretty much. I know summer has a reputation as the sweet season—ripe fruits and berries, bursting with sugary juice—but the winter vegetables are striking me as unseasonably (see what I did there?) sweet this year.
Roasted carrots, roasted parsnip (it wasnt a turnip), roasted garlic (obvs), with crisp apples over celery heart salad—so sweet and earthy.
A savory frittata studded with roasted romanesco broccoli, bursting with natural saccharinity (who knew!).
And roasted winter squash—yes, squash!—it turns out I like squash!—in lentil salad of all places. With a few tweaks (reflected below), this is the recipe that changed my mind:

Coat two cups (I went heavy on the lentils, light on the squash) of cubed squash with olive oil, ¼ teaspoon curry, ¼ teaspoon paprika, and salt/pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and cook 1 cup of lentils for 30 minutes, or until tender.

Drain the lentils and put them in a large bowl, mix in roasted squash, one tablespoon raisins, a glug of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. Top with toasted almonds and fresh goat cheese.
Building a salad is a lot like building a set of foursquare rules: How would a round of “monkey house” function without the incessant cherry bombs, “Bananas!,” and general anarchy? You have to contrast textures while melding flavors to create excitement and cohesion.

Tangy goat cheese, sweet squash, and warm curry set off hearty lentils and make this salad a satisfying dish—appropriate for all your winter noshing needs. 


  1. Very impressive, very delicious-looking!

    But what is that green thing?

  2. Are you sure you weren't switched at birth? Can I pay you to cook for me?