Saturday, January 06, 2007

Roasted Butternut Squash
After a great lunch that included roasted butternut squash, I found myself wondering if my life is so empty and dull that a plate of oven roasted squash gets me excited OR, if on the other hand, I've reached that mellow, relaxed place in life where small wonders fill me with joy -- no need for big extravaganzas. Whatever. . . I'll tell you, the image above is what's left of the best .88 cents I've ever spent.

I bought a little butternut squash that weighed in at just about one pound. With the oven set at 400°, I peeled and diced the squash, tossed it with a teaspoon of olive oil and two teaspoons of tamari and spread the pieces out on a cookie sheet. (I covered the sheet with a piece of foil for ease of clean up).

Bake the squash until the pieces are lightly browned, slightly shriveled and fork tender. The Passionate Vegetarian suggests cooking them to the al dente stage, barely tender, and then tossing the pieces with a teaspoon and a half of honey, returning the pan to the oven to crisp up and brown some more.

I went out to walk the dogs during the first roasting, when I returned thirty minutes later, we'd passed 'barely tender' and were definitely at fork tender. Light brown had come and gone, too. Not to be deterred, I removed the tender, slightly blackened pieces to a serving dish, drizzled them with a teaspoon of unfiltered orange blossom honey and made that the main component of my vegetarian lunch. For those who shy away from an all veggie meal, this will make a marvelous side dish with chicken or the other white meat.
Oven roasting vegetables is a smart way to prepare side dishes simply and quickly. Not only does the produce retain its supply of vitamins and minerals, but the high heat caramelizes the natural sugar in the veggies, bringing out the best of the flavors and adding that bit of crisp browning that we all love. Eating a wide selection of deeply colored vegetables is the best way to help our bodies fight disease. The taste treat above beats a pill any day!
Till next time . . . keep on cooking.

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