Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Dare You Salad

"Most people will never know what that tastes like raw" Christina commented over my shoulder as I sliced through the side of a patty pan squash.
"What do you mean? They are good raw!" I replied, defensively.
"I know that" She said, stealing a slice of squash from under my knife and popping it into her mouth "but a lot of people don't".

Christina puts things into perspective for me. I forget how strange and intimidating vegetables can be when they are unfamiliar. They trigger a primal fear, and I forget that as animals we are meant to be wary of new foods lest we poison ourselves on unfamiliar berries. Eating new foods requires a sense of adventure. Like kids, we need our friends to dare us, and double dare us, and triple dog dare us to laugh down our fears and boldly walk down the dark path of the unknown.

A flash of lightning blazed up the rain streaked windows. The water trailed down in perfectly chiseled lines and it looked as though the windows had been sliced with a knife. I stood in the kitchen, laughing maniacally as a slice celery greens and patty pan squash, and mixed up a witches brew of plum vinegar dressing. I dare you to try it.

I Dare You Salad
3 small patty pan squash, cut into small pieces
4 long thin carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium cucumber, extremely fresh so that it snaps
1/4 cup celery greens

Creamy Plum Vinegar Dressing:
3/4 cup yogurt
3 cloves spicy garlic
1 umeboshi plum, mashed (these are a type of salty, preserved plums which can be found at the asian grocery store)
1/2 tsp ume plum vinegar
lots of black pepper

Christina's vote: "Ha ha, ate it all!"


  1. I always have up until recently when I was told not to because you give up a lot of their nutritional value. Is this really the case?

  2. Good question!

    Most of the vitamins in squash are water soluble, so I am pretty sure it is not the case that eating patty pan squash raw takes away from the nutritional value! Actually, most likely the opposite is true (vitamin C, and B vitamins can be lost in cooking).

    Winter squash might have a different story to it, as it is probably not so digestible in raw form.

  3. Wow part of my comment went missing. I was talking about peeling carrots. Sorry!

  4. Haha I assumed you were talking about the squash. I imagine that you may lose some minerals by peeling carrots, but I don't think the levels of carotenoids change much. Most of the antioxidant activity on the peel is lost from being exposed to the air.

    If your carrots are really fresh, there is no need to peel them. If they are old (as in..if you buy bagged carrots) I would suggest peeling them (for flavor). I peeled my carrots for this salad, mainly to reveal more of their brilliant color for the photo. Then it rained and I had to take the photo in horrible lighting and the picture didn't turn out that great anyway haha..lesson learned!