Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Light Local Meal

Mixed Field Greens Salad and Mashed Butternut Squash

Sometimes, all you want is a simple dinner.  As a new vegetarian I would like to explain my philosophy.  As I mentioned earlier I wanted to challenge myself to eat more vegetables. But my new diet is really more than that, it is a lifestyle change.  Reading Michael Pollan's "Omnivore's Dilemma", among another articles, has led me to become a believer in the local food movement.  This movement is based around eating food that is produced locally, with the benefit of an established relationship between consumer and grower. With the knowledge of where your food is being grown comes a new level of accountability.  You can expect more from your local farmers, because you see them and talk to them.  They are held to a new standard if they expect you to return to their stand.  AJ and I have made it a goal to buy 70-80% of our food from our local farmer's market. The rest of our purchases, we will try to buy as less processed as possible. If I buy peanut butter, I try to buy some that is produced in California, and the only ingredients are "dry roasted peanuts".  By sticking to simpler ingredients I know what I am eating.

For simple vegetarians, sometimes all you want is a simple meal. I had some butternut squash leftover from the pizza and decided to make a butternut squash mash per AJ's request. This dish is so simple. Simply cut the squash into 1/2 in thick slices, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 min. Remove flesh from skin, and mash with a fork. Add in a tablespoon of butter, tsp grated fresh ginger, tbsp brown sugar, a pinch of salt and mix well. 

The mashed squash has a somewhat stringy consistency, much less smooth than a potato mash. The sweet squash and ginger were a great combination, but I must say I think I prefer my butternut squash roasted in slices. 

We served this mash with a wonderful mixed greens salad with broccoli, strawberries, goat cheese, and a balsamic vinagrette. The classic combination of tangy goat cheese and sweet berries is phenomenal. Simple, local, and healthy - dinner is served.

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