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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It is hard to go wrong with good ingredients



It snowed yesterday and the city failed to plow our street. We were stuck. I had planned on going to the nearby grocery store but with the deep snow I decided not to walk nor to drive. Too cold to walk and too difficult to drive. I decided to make do with the ingredients in the house.

I had a cauliflower I got on sale at Metro and some cherry tomatoes from Costco. First, I fried the tomatoes in a little olive oil in a large wok. After a couple of minutes I added some minced garlic. When the tomatoes began to split, I put them in a small, colourful roasting pan. I put a dab of tomato pesto on each, spread some sun-dried tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese on top and put the pan in the oven to bake at 350-degrees.

While frying the tomatoes, I lightly cooked the cauliflower in the microwave. After moving the tomatoes into the oven, I added the cauliflower to the remaining olive oil in the wok. I also added a little more minced garlic. I fried the cauliflower until it started to brown while taking care not to burn the garlic.

While frying the cauliflower, I partially cooked some butternut squash in the microwave. Before the cauliflower had browned, I added the squash to the wok. Then, I added about 18 coarsely chopped cashews. When the cauliflower browned, I mixed the cauliflower, squash and nuts thoroughly together before spooning all into a small rectangular Emile Henry roasting pan. I sprinkled some chopped broad leaf parsley and grated Parmesan cheese on top and placed this dish, too, in the oven to bake.

With two pans roasting in the oven, I baked the remaining butternut squash in the microwave with a little butter. Actually, I used Becal margarine as my doctor has ordered me to forgo butter. The squash may seem redundant but actually it adds a much needed focal point to what had to be a meatless dinner -- more directions from my heart doctor.

A big slice of butternut squash looked great on each plate. The cauliflower and squash mixture also looked nice. And the tomatoes not only looked great but they tasted absolutely wonderful. Hot, full of flavour, with a taste nicely accented by both pesto and dried tomatoes.

Leaving meat out of the dinner made it healthy for me and point-friendly for my Weight-Watchers-attending wife. Buying the ingredients on sale and at Costco kept the price low. As I've said before, there is no reason to spend a lot on food in retirement unless you want something expensive and special. (And often even those ingredients can be bought on sale. Here I'm thinking of lobster.)

When reporters warn seniors about the possibility of eating pet food in retirement, I shake my head in disbelief.

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