Food

In Season:
Roasted Butternut Squash

Here in California, where the seasons are decidedly subtle, I mark fall’s arrival not so much by the weather (which may or may not turn cool), but by the arrival of winter squash. My perennial favorite is butternut squash. It can form the hearty backbone of a vegetarian feast, or provide the perfect accompaniment to any roasted or braised meat.

The easy way to prepare butternut squash is to simply slice it in half with a large, sharp knife, scoop out the seeds and drizzle it with a little olive oil. Toss it in a preheated 400 degree oven for about an hour and finish with a little sprinkle of salt.

If you can invest a little more prep time, slice the butternut into disks or chunks and roast it for 30 minutes in a 475 degree oven along with some spanish onions, purple onions, red and yellow bell peppers, and tomatoes. It’s absolute decadence. The flavors caramelize, and leaving the vegetables in their skins while they cook adds a depth of flavor that can’t be gotten any other way. I learned this way of cooking butternut squash from Clare Ferguson’s Simply Good Food. She calls it “Spanish Roasted Vegetable Salad” and I share her recipe here:

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In Season:
Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

This morning I remarked to my husband that summer was over, even here in L.A. My first clue? The sky was a little grey. second clue? I found myself reaching for a sweater for the second time in less than a week. Clue #3? I made brussel sprouts for dinner.

I love brussel sprouts. They’re one of the many formerly “yucky” vegetables that I came to absolutely love during my “vegetarian years”. My vegetarian years, ten of them in all, happened to coincide with my New York years — or, as I teasingly call them, the years when my sophisticated inner self finally found a sophisticated outer world to gallivant around in. In my fancy new world, vegetables weren’t just tossed in a pot to boil. Non. Flavors were built. Techniques were employed.

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Making Mark Bittman’s
Food Labeling Dream A Reality

Mark Bittman, the influential food writer and New York Times columnist wrote a visionary piece of journalism in yesterday’s New York Times. The article, My Dream Food Label, was an act of imagination from a mind firing on all cylinders, but it was more than that. It was an act of visionary leadership of the kind we most need at this particular moment in human history, when the question of whether we will sustain life on the planet (and whether we will do so in ways that uphold human dignity and the dignity of all life — which at this point is the only true option) must be grappled with in tangible, hands-on ways.

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The Simple Pleasures Of A Farmers Market

The first time I went to a Farmers Market I was in my early twenties and living in New York City. I would ride the subway down from my uptown apartment to the Union Square Greenmarket on 14th Street. There I learned to eat food in season. That’s when I learned how delicious food — the kind grown from the ground rather than purchased in the supermarket — really is. I had just become a vegetarian — and would remain such for the next 10 years until a craving for a pan-fried steak brought that little moment to an unceremonious end. With meat off the proverbial plate, I tried everything, from heirlooms tomatoes to vegetables I’d scarcely heard of. This was back in the days before fancy food was around every corner, so I fancied myself a food pioneer, wandering off to the wilderness of 14th Street to forage for goodies that someone had grown nearby with their actual hands. What I learned is this:

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You Should Know About:
An Everlasting Meal

Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal transforms our experience of reality through the sheer act of telling the truth. That she does so in a book about food, about the process of making it and foraging for it, makes it all the more remarkable a feat. Adler’s subject matter is modest — she writes about sustenance and the work of our own hands and the value of oft-discarded things — but with her beautiful, lyrical prose, and her felt sense of the things that matter, she elevates the food-writing form, giving us the gift of gratitude, that we have enough in a world where so many others do not.

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