When Eli's out of town, I've been known to do crazy things. I'll sleep diagonally across the entire bed, for example, or cook up half a head of cabbage and call it dinner.
With just my very own mouth and thus my very own taste buds to appease, my diet takes a sharp cruciferous turn. Cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy. One by one, one-on-one, they woo me. And, fleeting heart that I am, when I tire of greens, I trot out the oranges: I cuddle up with a winter squash, brushed with olive oil and dusted with curry, or steal off to the table with a bowl of roasted carrots and pine nuts.
A varied plate has value, I'm well aware, but sometimes a girl just needs some quality time with a lone baked yam, or a single steamed artichoke. While I miss Eli something fierce while he's away, how can I not grin giddily at the thought of having our juicer all to myself? This week, our usual carrot-apple-parsley juice pours forth as the gods intended, as carrot-apple-parsley -ginger juice.
I'm the first to admit that it's hard being away from the one you love. But as my dinner plate will attest, loving the ones you're with has its perks.
Spicy Sesame Cabbage
I like to use Savoy cabbage for this dish because it slices into particularly noodle-like ribbons. A twirl of the fork, and the cabbage obligingly swirls, like pasta. This recipe serves two, but can easily be doubled.
1/2 head of Savoy cabbage
2 T. sesame oil
2 T. soy sauce
2-3 T. rice vinegar (depending on how squidgy you like your tongue. I, for one, love a good, vinegary squidge.)
Sea salt to taste
1/4 t. cayenne pepper, or more, if you like things particularly spicy
1/4 c. sesame seeds, lightly toasted (I was out of sesame seeds, so I used flax seeds.)
Slice the cabbage into fine ribbons, and heat the sesame oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until the cabbage is tender, but still lets out a gentle crunch when you bite in. Reduce the flame to low, and add the soy sauce and rice vinegar. Stir, and taste. Add a few grinds of sea salt, and the cayenne pepper, to taste. Stir in the toasted seeds right before serving.
Roasted Winter Squash
1 acorn squash
2 t. curry, divided
Olive oil for brushing, approximately 1 T.
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
With a very sharp knife, cut the acorn squash in half. I also like to cut a small slice off of the pointed bottom and stemmy cap so that the squash lies flat on the baking sheet. (If you do not own a very sharp knife, ask your grocer or produce person to halve it for you. This squash is delicious, but it's not worth losing a finger over.) Scoop out the seeds.
Place the halves on a baking pan, skin side down, orange flesh side up. Brush each half with olive oil. Sprinkle 1 t. of curry over each half. Follow with a few grinds of salt and pepper.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until the squash is tender all the way through. (Use a fork to test it.)
I like to eat my half out of a big cereal bowl, and scoop the flesh out of the skin with a spoon.
If you're not so into curry or prefer something richer and sweeter, try this variation. (Mom, this is for you.) Use butter instead of olive oil, and brown sugar and cinnamon instead of the curry. Don't forgo the salt and black pepper, though.