Monday, July 28, 2008

The Verdant Movement

This morning I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR (National Public Radio, aka the source of my daily cup of delight) and I heard an announcement of support from The MacArthur Foundation. Their tagline is “to help build a more just, verdant and peaceful world…etc.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m all about the “Green movement.” My top five food-related favorite things about it:

1. More farmers markets, which means more local produce and more local goat cheese (at least in ‘Bama). Hooray!

2. An excuse to buy and carry around really cute bags with silk-screened sayings like, “Live. Love. Green.” on them under the premise that they are environmentally-sustainable grocery bags that cut down on waste like CRAZY.

3. The ability to run my car on used frying-oil from local restaurants. I haven’t quite figured out how to modify my engine so I can do this, but believe me, I’m thinking.

4. I save a lot of money on bottled water because I don’t buy it anymore. 30,000 plastic water bottles are dumped into Miami landfills EVERYDAY. I’m having Wall-E nightmares already.

5. Smart cars!

Okay, so the last one isn’t food-related, but they’re so dang cute! I want one.

Anyway, back to The MacArthur Foundation. I just got a kick out of their use of the word “verdant” to replace the word “green.” I understand their extreme commitment to intellectual pursuits, but seriously, I don’t think “The Verdant Movement” is going to catch on. Or maybe their point was to shun the “trend” label, yet still be perceived as environmentally friendly.

This doesn’t really have anything to do with food, I’m realizing, so I’m going to tie the subject matter in immediately.

One of my favorite summer vegetables is squash. You name it, I love it. Zucchini, yellow squash, and especially pattypan squash. These little jewels are light green (verdant) and excellent when roasted, sautéed, or grilled. I made a nice salad last night for dinner that encapsulates the word “verdant,” and will make a nice addition to this blogpost. Eat more squash.

Grilled Pattypan Squash with Dill and Lemon

1 pound pattypan squash, blossoms removed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper
3-4 sprigs of fresh dill
juice of ½ lemon
zest of ½ lemon

Ignite your grill to the hottest setting and put a grill pan on the top rack if you have no grill, a 450-degree oven works just swimmingly).

Cut each pattypan squash into 1” pieces depending on the size of the squash. For the really tiny ones, just half them.

Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour squash onto hot grill pan and shut the grill top. During grilling, move squash around on the grill pan every few minutes to ensure even cooking on all surfaces. Make sure some browning occurs, so don’t stir too prematurely.

While the squash are grilling, chop fresh dill, zest and squeeze lemon and combine ingredients in a large bowl.

Remove squash from the grill and dump them into the mixing bowl with the dill, lemon zest, and juice. Toss to coat evenly.

Serve with grilled meats or even on its own. Great warm or cold.

Viva la verdant!

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