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This salad takes a little planning and has a few steps to it, but with a little bit of strategics it is easy enough. And the work that goes into this is rewarded with lots of clean flavor and crunch. Although substantial on its own, if you need more protein, it will take easily to some chicken or bacon.

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A variation on a theme, where carrots get cooked in some water and then a glaze is made of the cooking liquid. Pomegranates are in season right now, and if you see a white pomegranate, the seeds would look lovely in this dish and would add a nice textural and flavor “pop” to the whole.

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Be sure not to overcook the spinach. This recipe yields some nice color on the plate. The pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are there to provide a crunchy contrast, but if you don’t want to take the time to clean the seeds or if they are just too few to be worth the effort, use store bought or substitute toasted pine nuts instead. The ingredients list looks long, but half of it is just options you can choose from. This is a fairly simple recipe that can go in many directions with ease.

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This is another “vegetable as sauce” recipe, and is simpler than the others, both in method and ingredients. This was first made to go on roasted cabbage but is really nice on other things. See notes.

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Another dish with vegetable as sauce. The kids are not too fond of cabbage (except in egg rolls) usually, but seem to eat anything roasted. So this was a logical next step. And they really like carrot sauces, so here you go…

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This came about as a result of eating out and having pork cutlets with fried capers. The capers stole the show for me. One night I was craving the capers and had a different meat dish planned, so this came about. Be sure to dry the capers really well so they open out more and get crisp.

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This recipe takes my riff on the classic French peas cooked in lettuce as its inspiration. The squash stands in for the peas, and the trick is to not overcook the squash or it will turn mushy and bitter. The little bit of sugar helps with the flavors as well as helping get some color on the squash. This dish comes together quickly and is a boon when in a hurry or making something fancy on the other burners.

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Persillade is a condiment or topping, the most basic version of which is a mixture of chopped flat leaf parsley (persil in French) and garlic. Here is a riff on my variation that includes toasted bread crumbs that add a nutty quality, as well as crunch to a dish. This version uses grated or chopped carrots to add moisture and sweetness. The carrots must be chopped fairly finely to release enough moisture to achieve the desired effect. To that end, coarsely grate the carrots and then use a knife that is not razor sharp, or pulse in a food processor or blender.

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Here, the nutty earthy flavor of roasted broccoli is countered with a slightly sweet carrot inflected persillade-the classic parsley garlic mixture used to top many a bistro dish. The persillade has the crunch of toasted bread crumbs as well as carrots-and if you like, pistachios-to play off the slightly chewy broccoli. Serve as a side with steak, duck, tuna, or other items with a deep dark flavor.

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Roasting concentrates the flavors of the squash and tomatoes, and adds sweetness as well.

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With the orange squash and almost black ribbons of lacinato, this dish is great for Halloween parties, although anytime is a good time for these flavors. It is great as a side dish with poultry, pork, and sausage, or add grains and mushrooms to it for a hearty vegetarian main course.

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Orange flavored, not orange colored. This dish takes its inspiration from Sicily and the Mediterranean. It would work well with some olive slivers tossed in as well, or without the olives, use this as an accompaniment to smoked trout or large-sized grilled prawns.

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While good all summer long, this salad is brilliant with end of summer tomatoes and squash. Here the quickles are made with oregano, but you can use whatever herbs you have to hand. If you have chervil, or marjoram, or thyme, so be it. Use the herbs in the dressing to link to the squash. Feel free to gussy up the salad with a little crumbled goat’s milk cheese and pine nuts.

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These are nice to just have around in the refrigerator, ready to jump into a salad or sandwich, or just as a snack. You can change the shape of the cuts based on the shapes of the squash. Cube-ish shapes if you have a patty-pans, crook-necks, and typical stick shapes, or if you just have cylindrical zucchini shapes, just cut into quarters or halves, or leave whole then cut into ¼ inch slices. Just keep things to a ¼ inch thick and roughly all the same size so they change from “raw” to “pickled”.

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INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon herbs; such as chervil, oregano, basil, marjoram, or a combination of the above-leaves plucked and chopped with a very sharp knife

1 tablespoon minced shallot

Salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, peeled

¾ cup light flavored olive or neutral flavored oil

 

METHOD:

Rub a non-reactive bowl with the garlic clove vigorously enough to leave streaks of garlic oil behind. Discard the clove or use for something else. Put the vinegar into the bowl, and add half the herbs, shallot, and the salt and pepper. Allow to macerate 10-15 minutes.

In a slow steady stream, drizzle in the oil, whisking vigorously the entire time until all the oil is emulsified.

Gently fold in the rest of the herbs, taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed.

Will keep 3-5 days before the fresh herbs begin to breakfast.

Yield: 1 cup

Source: Chef Andrew E Cohen

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The sweetness of the apricots and the jammy mouth feel works with the slight minerality and “furry” texture chard has as a result of the oxalic acid in it. Pine nuts or almonds would be good substitutes for the pistachios, and changing the seasoning from herbs to cinnamon and a touch of cumin, allspice or saffron takes this dish straight to Northern Africa or the Mid-East. Use this as a side dish, to stuff poultry or “pies”, or in a frittata.

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The “sauce” is similar, I suppose, to a salsa verde (Italian, not Mexican), except it has nuts. And no capers or lemon. Anyway, the bright herbaceousness and the nutty flavors work really well with the earthy sweetness of the squash. Kabocha tend to be drier than other squash, such as acorn or butternut, so the topping is stands out all the more. Pine nuts are a great choice in lieu of hazels, and you could even give this dish a South West slant by using cinnamon and coriander seed on the squash and adding a little cilantro to the garnish. The peel is edible on kabocha by the way.

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Quite easy, with big flavor. The sweetness of the tomatoes and mint, and the clean aromatic “whiffiness” are a great foil to the earthy kale. This dish would be fine with other kales as well as collards cut into ¼ inch ribbons.

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The broccoli is blanched just enough so it is no longer raw, and then seared in a hot pan to crisp it up a little before being tossed with a sweet and savory mélange of pancetta, diced tomatoes, and herbs.

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This is a dish that is fine served hot or room temperature. The sweet flavors of fennel, onion, and tomato play off the earthy quality of the chard, and while the topping is optional, the crunch really is a wonderful counterpoint.

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…and maybe other things too, if you wish. You could add chard and chard stems, or just stems if you have them left over from another dish. Olives, artichoke hearts, beans, mushrooms…Serve with avocado chunks, labne (I use it instead of sour cream), some fiery hot sauce and slabs of toast.

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I do get a lot of interesting looks when I mention cooking cucumbers, but they are really good. Much of their appeal rests on cooking just enough so they get hot all the way through, but are still succulent and crisp. This dish relies on temperature contrasts (hot cucumbers and cold tomatoes) and sweet/bitter contrasts (cucumber has a slight bitterness in the background, tomato has a slight acidity, and they both have sweetness) for interest. A very simple dish that is easy to play with; add garlic, basil, pine nuts, etc. for variation.

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Silky slightly bitter escarole contrasts with slightly sweet and toothsome beets. It is also a pretty dish.

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A very simple sauce. That means you need good tomatoes, and it is very important to cook the garlic slowly so it will caramelize, not burn. Mexican, or Korintje, cinnamon will give a lovely floral flavor, and the recipe is written with this in mind. If you use another type, start with less as they will provide more of a red-hots candy flavor which can easily overwhelm the dish. Use this sauce anywhere from delicate pastas to fish, chicken, or goat, or on vegetables such as escarole or greens, or with a mélange of summer vegetables a lá ratatouille.

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Here is a salad with nice textural contrasts that is light but very satisfying. The beans can be done a day or two ahead of time. Making extra beans allows you to use them for other things such as a smashed paste as a dip for chips or crackers, part of a vegetable braise, or an accompaniment to sausages.

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This can be used as a sauce or a glaze, depending on far you choose to reduce it. Leaving it wet and slightly chunky yields a nice quick sauce for most major proteins, pastas, and summer squash. Pureed and strained is excellent for things like broiled salmon, pork chops, or a sauté of corn and peppers. Cook down the pureé for a glaze for things like this dish. Depending on how intense or thick you like it, thin with a little water or pasta cooking water. Cooked down enough you can use it as a syrup for something dessert-y.

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A nice autumnal dish that is satisfying without being too heavy. Use it as a side dish for pork chops or sausages, or top with fried eggs and have it as supper or breakfast. Make it into a more substantial meal with some additions-see Chef’s Notes for ideas.

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Here is a wonderful side dish that can easily convert to a main course with the addition of a few carrots and some sausage.

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