Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Over-did It

When people quote Shakespeare’s As You Like It, saying “too much of a good thing,” they are often implying that too large an amount anything can be harmful or excessive. And typically, someone else replies by quoting Mae West: “too much of a good thing can be wonderful!”

Well, my consumption of food this past week is somewhere in between the two. I don’t typically overdo it on food, especially sweets, so my intake this weekend of pumpkin pie, apple cake, chocolate-pecan tart, sand tart cookies, homemade whipped cream, chocolate cream pie, and, oh yeah, donuts, cream puff and eclair…is rare, and pretty disgusting* when I list it all out like that.

I hereby vow to eat salad for one meal every (week) day from now until Christmas. Yes, seriously.

And anyway, this salad is the perfect place to start because it doesn't feel like a “diet” salad. It's warm and hearty and flavorful and surprisingly filling. If you’re hesitant on the bleu cheese, you could substitute something else; however, I will tell you that the flavor is far less jarring next to the slightly sweet squash and vinegary-dressing.

-1.5 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
-5 tbsp. olive oil
-1 tbsp. maple syrup OR packed brown sugar
-kosher salt and black pepper
-1/2 cup hazelnuts
-1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
-6 cups mixed greens and/or well-chopped romaine
-1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
-4 oz. bleu cheese, crumbled

-Heat oven to four-hundred degrees. Toss the cut squash on a baking sheet with ~2 tbsp. olive oil, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper and one tablespoon packed brown sugar or maple syrup. Be sure that all the squash is well-coated. Roast until tender, about thirty minutes, tossing midway through. Allow to cool while you assemble the rest of the salad.
-Meanwhile (you can do this as you are roasting the squash), spread the hazelnuts evenly on a second baking sheet. Toast in the oven just until you can begin to get a whiff of them, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly, and then rub in a dish towel to remove the skins. Chop roughly.
-Make the dressing. Stir together the vinegar, mustard, 3 tbsp. olive oil, and ¼ tsp. each salt & pepper in a large bowl. Add the greens, squash, hazelnuts and onions and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the blue cheese and ENJOY!!

*By disgusting I mean delicious

Recipe adapted slightly from here.

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