Tag Archives: Crescent Dragonwagon

International Carrot Day

Carrot Song

carrot foot

If you’re going to put your foot in your mouth…..

vangogh2carrots

Vincent Van Gogh

Now it just so happens that I like my carrots in sticks to pick up dip – or hummus if I want to appear virtuous or in soups or in cakes but almost never boiled and served as a side and never never frozen and unless maybe they’re for a cake….carrot cake with cream cheese frosting…mmmmm…..and there’s a carrot upside  down cake I’d like to try, perhaps in a savory version…..

And salads – I really like a carrot salad, because they can usually be made ahead and travel well and still taste good, if not better.

And because of my recent moves and the power of the  Internet it seems as if several of my go-to carrot salads of the past 20 years are more or less versions of the same carrot salad.

Which just proves that good is good.

It was a page from Vegetarian Times from February of 2004 that led me to the website that helped put 2 +2+ 2 more carrots altogether….

VegetarianTimesMagazineCover

This is NOT the correct cover for this story…but it is the official sample cover on the Wikipedia site

SOOO – Paula Wolfert in C0uscous and  Other Good Foods from Morocco (published back in 1973) had a several carrot salads : a spiced, a sweet and a grated.

PWcouscous and other good foods

out and about since 1973

and then the story in Vegetarian Times in 2004 in which  Crescent Dragonwagon mentions that the Moroccan Carrot Salad in The Passionate Vegetarian is a version from  the Paula Wolfert… and here I’ve been toggling between each of them, Lo these many years….here’s link to the CD (CD for Crescent Dragonwood) version of

Moroccan Carrot Salad  

CDPassionateVeg

I just LOVE this cover -click Deep Feast, to link with Crescent Dragonwagon’s website

And thus we celebrate yet another International Carrot Day…

carrotwinter1wolfaerts

This is Winter who should be gone by now….see you later Winter, much, MUCH later, bye-bye!

carrots, boy and girl

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Filed under Books, Recipe, Spring

Chayote

Chayote_BNC

Chayote

Evidently, I’ve known chayote all along…..it’s been hiding in plain sight for DECADES right under my very nose. As it were.

JG Veg book

Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book

American pb edition 1981. $6.95 (that’s right – I’ve had this book since 1981 when it cost $6.95. I might have gotten it at Notes & Quotes in Kingston or else the Paperback Booksmith in Hanover)

Back cover text:

“Written with all the author’s customary warmth and erudition, here is a modern kitchen guide to the cooking of vegetables, from the well-loved cabbage and parsnip to the more exotic chayote and Chinese leaf.”

-The Times

Who’da thunk it?????

  • Chinese leaf is Chinese cabbage
  • Only a Brit could mention parsnips, cabbage and well-loved in the same sentence.
  • Chayote has its own chapter…..
  • From the glossary for the American edition in the back:
    1. CHAYOTE: choyote; christophine; mirliton, chayotte
    2. Other names: in Chinese: Buddha’s Hand Gourd
    3. Australia: chokos
    4. From the Aztec chayotl
    5. Also – choko, chaco, xuxu, christophene
      1. While were around the topic – is coyote an Aztec/Native word or European? Nahuatl coyotl .
  • Jane Grigson has a salad; a creole; a stuffed, New Orleans style; a meat stuffing; a cheese stuffing; also a chutney and a la grecque
  • Victory Garden CB
  • Marian Morash in Victory Garden Cookbook Under Squashes (Summer)
    1. “In the South you’d have good luck with chayottes (known as christophene in the Caribbean and vegetable pear or mirliton in the South). Substitute this bland tropical squash with all summers squash.” p. 270
  • Joy75
  • Joy of Cooking  (2006)(but I owned another earlier edition previous to this one)
    1. A tropical summer squash aka christophene & mirliton.
    2. “The harder the squash the better the flavor.”
    3. “ …unless you plan to stuff it, peel with a vegetable peeler working under running water to prevent being irritated by the sticky substance just under the skin, which disappears in cooking.”
    4. Boiled; Louisiana Style (stuffed with shrimps, ham, red bell pepper, hot pepper…
  • CD pasion veg
  • Crescent Dragonwagon  in Passionate Vegetarian  has them under Mirlitons a/k/a/chayote
    1. Stuffed Creole style

Sooooo….

I went the salad route

Chayote Salad

a la Jane Grigson

  1. Boiled 2 whole chayote  in salted water until fork tender, about 25 minutes.

  2. In the meantime, made a dressing of 3 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard and 3 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper and a good amount of chopped parsley. Jane also recommends chervil , but I was right out…..

  3. Drain and peeled chayote under running water.

  4. Cut one in half, right through the seed….cut each half into 4 pieces and tossed into the dressing while they were still warm.

  5. I hard-boiled 2 eggs, because I decided on a more substantial lunch salad, versus side salad.

  6. Peeled and put the hot hard boiled eggs on my plate, topped with several pieces of the chayote, shared the dressing and ate with hot buttered toast.

adapted from Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book,pp. 198-9.

Notes:

I had 2 chayote and they were not from the same places…but they were in the same bin together…one was from Costa Rica – smoother, more pear shaped; the other, more ridges, was from Mexico.

chayoteCR

The Costa Rican chayote. Easier to peel, more texture then taste.

Chayotes

The ridge one was from Mexico – harder to peel, has a very faint, almost evocative taste of asparagus though

Antoine_Raspal_(1738-1811),_Intérieur_de_cuisine_,_vers_1776-80

Cuisine Provencale by Antoine Raspal in Musee Reattu, Arles

This image wraps around as the cover of the Jane Grigson Vegetable Book.

and a little more on chayote confusion: from wiki:

Chayote[1] (Sechium edule) is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, along with melons, cucumbers and squash.

Globally it is known by many names including christophene or christophine,[1] cho-cho,[1] cidra (Antioquia, Caldas, Quindio and Risaralda regions of Colombia),

sayóte (Filipino languages),

guatila (Boyacá and Valle del Cauca regions of Colombia),

centinarja (Malta),

sousou or chou-chou (chow-chow) (Mauritian Creole),

chuchu (Brazil),

pimpinela (Madeira),

pipinola (Hawaii),

tayota (Dominican Republic),

mirliton (Haitian Creole),

pear squash, vegetable pear,[1] chouchoute, choko, güisquil (Guatemala, El Salvador[2]),

pataste (Honduras),

piskot or sikot (Meghalaya),

is-kus (Nagaland),

dashkush (Manipur),

iskut (Mizoram),

is-Kush (Nepal) [3]

su su (Vietnam).

Its tuberous and edible root is called chinchayote or chayotextle in Mexico and ichintal in Guatemala.

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Filed under Books, Recipe

A Tale of Two Recipes, cont

Recipe the Second:

‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; “

I can’t think of A Tale of Two Cities without hearing Ronald Colman ….

roland colman

And now for a far better thing. Not that Broccoli Sauce’d Sicilano was bad…..

When I went to my friendly neighborhood super market and saw these little squashes, cute as bugs ears, live and in living color – and 50 cents a piece – I had to get me 2.  I swear I had seen SOMETHING about them in the last week or so, so I starting poking around……

Chayote_BNC

Chayote – it’s a kind of summer squash

 

But could I find anything that even had that word  in it, that word I’m still not sure how to  pronounce. The cashier called them coyote squashes….hey, she knew they were squashes….

So then I turned to the ‘grow veg/eat veg’, the straight and narrow garden to table books that I have unpacked. Several identified them, but didn’t mention how to use them…..and they have aliases….

Deborah Madison Vegetable Literacy, which I’m thoroughly enjoying and will need to read several times, there’s so much between these covers. No chaypote.

veg literacy

Dominca Marchetti The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, which has a dozen dishes I want to do, as well as small batch of giardiniera (five pints being as small a batch that 1 cauliflower can make) lots of summer squashes and zucchinis, no chaypote.

veg of Italy

Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin not a garden to table, but amazing vegetarian food and lots of great asides …..and the book falls open to the Sicilian Spaghetti with Pan-roasted Cauliflower – and where I sub out the pine nuts I’m not too terribly fond of, so why should I pay THAT sort of money for them, with almonds……shades of saucy broccoli….which may have even been the dish he served up at the book signing. My bus ticket is marking the page, so it was on May 6th 2012, in Somerville. His website is Herbivoracious ,too.

herbivoracious

And then I flipped through The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon.

CD pasion veg

This book is over 1000 pages, a workout in every reading. I love this cover. Shades of Carmen Miranda!

A little back story: Bean By Bean was where I first met Ms Dragonwagon. But not this revised, 21st century edition, no, not at all. It was a slim booklet, like you’d get from some sort of community group edition. Back in the early ‘80’s vegetarian cooking stuff was still very much a small press/artsy/folksy/hippy-ified/ handmade/crafted sort of thing. I read the whole book standing up in a kitchen, oblivious to the gathering going around me. I don’t remember exactly where or what event, because there was a whole book about beans, and the beans were good. The beans were varied. The beans were interesting. The beans were amazing!

The cover was torn off, so I never saw it till I found it on the internet, much more recently.

CDBean bokk1only

The little pamphlet like book on the left is the first BBB that I met up with – without the colorful front cover.The one on he right is the new, revised edition.

The recipes were all beans and were all vegetarian. Since I knew if you give an Italian woman a pound of beans, she can feed a horde 30 different courses….I naturally had to wonder,

“What was ‘Dragonwagon’ before Ellis Island changed it when they came from Italy?”

Yes, I immediately and completely Italianized Crescent Dragonwagon.

I carried this assumption around for a really long time. Hey – there was no internet in the olden days! When The Passionate Vegetarian came out early 21st century, the cover image only reinforced my belief. Look at her – she’d fit right in an Italian crowd. My people do things with flair. And she was certainly my people…ironically, the very heft and size of The Passionate Vegetation kept me from it for a while.Not forever, but still…

arcimboldo friut basket

Another Italian, another fruit basket worn as a hat…..

Fast forward to 6 or 7 years ago.

I join Facebook.

I join to keep in touch with people who I’d worked with. I re-connected with some people I had seen or heard from in years. Then I discover Groups  – places with topics for like-minded people to gather….groups that talk about food and cooking….and in one of these Groups was

Crescent Dragonwagon

She also had her own pages, and she can tell you her own story – like about her name….. (Here’s a hint – she’s not the least bit Italian) This is her website about her, her writing,and workshops . Because she was commenting on some of the same pages I was reading, and I was even daring to offer some sort of comment from time to time, there were some occasions we were part of a ….conversation.

Now, if you want to continue to converse with certain people on Facebook, you have you request to ‘Friend’ them. You can also un-friend people, which isn’t as drastic as it sounds, and you can downright block people, if they turn out to be a troll (an apt image if ever there was one), and you can also set your privacy settings which helps you control where your stuff goes when it leaves you. In short, though – don’t say anything on the internet you wouldn’t want on the 6 o’clock News, film at 11.

So, I send a Friend request to Crescent Dragonwagon.

She wrote back and said the word friend was one she didn’t take lightly, and could I tell her something about myself that we might have in common (she phrased it much, much better). This is the only time anyone on Facebook has responded this way.

I was thrilled. Where to begin????

So I told her about my Aunt Eileen, who gave me my first cookbook and said,

“Every recipe is a story. And not all of them have happy endings.”

(Good Housekeeping).

I was particularly thrilled because she was working on revising – and by revising she pretty much re-worked it from stem to stern – Bean by Bean

cd bean by bean

Sooooo, as I was looking for chayote…..which in the index said, “Chayote. See Mirlitons”, which in turn brings me to the Squash Family which brought me to Pasta with Pumpkin. A pasta recipe on the same page as Pasta with Hearty Greens and Beans, which is rather a way of winter life for me….and because I had taken some of the roasted pumpkin out of the freezer to make a pumpkin panzanella but what I really wanted as a hot dish, which meant I would have to invent savory pumpkin bread pudding….OR I could just make the Pumpkin with Pasta, have my hot meal and be done with it.

But

WAIT

Read the recipe, the whole recipe and nothing but this recipe right NOW.

I have the actual ingredients, except my punkin is already cooked, so just needs to be heated through…..

And so

Punkin’ Pasta

7 oz fettucine or linguine (half a box)

1 # roasted deep orange pumpkin/squash (no peels, no seeds – I don’t really need to add that, do I?) PS – I love my freezer gold!

1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving

3 cloves garlic, pressed

Salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook the noodles. Save about a cup of pasta water before you drain.
  2. Put the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and the garlic, stir madly about, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Breakup any of the larger pumpkin chunks – the smaller ones with break down mostly on there on to make the sauce.
  3. Combine the cooked noodles with the hot pumpkin. Adjust season. Add some of the pasta water to loosen, if that’s what you like (I find there’s such a moisture variation with different gourds, that a little extra water is always good to have on hand.)
  4. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese on top.

2 servings.

Note: These are generous servings. I’ve been eating a big bowl and had enough for a whole ‘nother meal, and still had the orphan portion that was just right for a 3 egg frittata.

Adapted from  Pasta with Pumpkin in Crecent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian. Workman Publishing: New York. 2002. p.858.

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Filed under Books, Influencers, Recipe, squash, winter