LiveSTRONG with a Taste of Yellow

April 23, 2008 · 0 comments

in goat cheese,healthy,vegetables,vegetarian

As I mentioned, there are so many great blogging events going on right now and sadly, I haven’t had the chance to participate in as many as I would like. Thankfully, though, Barbara at Winos and Foodies extended the deadline for this year’s Taste of Yellow, so I was able to sneak a submission in tonight before going out of town tomorrow. If you haven’t already participated in LiveSTRONG Taste of Yellow 2008, definitely try to!

I picked up some yellow squash the other day, and sort of decided what I was going to do with it about 5 minutes before cooking it. The filling consists of ingredients I always have around, and that I love in combination with one another. Plus, I think it makes for something quite pretty!

Taste of Yellow is to show your support of LiveSTRONG Day 2008, which is May 13. Cancer. It’s one of those things that I feel affects nearly everyone in some way, unfortunately.  It hit me the hardest as a freshman in high school when my grandfather was diagnosed with colon cancer.

I lived with my grandparents from when I was 3 years old until I was 10 years old. They were obviously like a second set of parents to me. My yiayia (grandma) and pappou (grandpa) took me on their biannual vacations, gave me my first job as a “hostess” at their restaurant, and, well, made me talk to anyone who called because they couldn’t speak good English :) Speaking of poor English, one of my earliest memories is of my pappou yelling at my preschool teacher. See, when I started preschool I was armed with a very small set of English words as I spoke Greek to my whole family. I was also armed with quite a temper and stubbornness (some things never change). One day, we were supposed to be napping in cots. I was not used to taking naps in the afternoon and I tried to let my teacher know that. The teacher, increasingly frustrated with me, eventually dragged my cot (and me) out to the hallway and made me sit there for the rest of the afternoon. When my pappou came to pick me up and saw me crying in the hallway, he was absolutely furious. You can imagine the the screaming in incredibly broken English that ensued.  

I was alway close with both my grandparents, but my pappou and I shared a special bond. I was the typical spoiled only grandchild, but it was so much more than that. We always had a good time together, and he loved me more than anyone. I’d stay up waiting for him to come home from the restaurant and practically every night, like clockwork, he would eat a steak and drink some ouzo. So now you know where I get my adoration for both steak and ouzo :)

When my pappou was diagnosed with cancer, it was obviously a scary thing for me but more than anything, I assumed he would pull through it. My grandpa was tough. He was a big guy. He came from Greece on a boat and became successful in the States. He raised me in addition to raising three of his own children. Cancer? He could beat cancer! Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Watching someone you love so much get weaker, get thinner and just get sicker as the cancer spread is something I hope I never have to go through again. My pappou lost his battle with cancer in 1995. It was devastating. And, it’s still devastating. I still think about him all of the time, and I often wish he were here to share so many things with me. On our wedding day, Tom and I wore the “stefana” (crowns prevalent during an Orthodox ceremony) that my yiayia and pappou wore on their wedding day in 1959. It was a way for him to be there with me on my special day, and I know that he is still “here” for me on other special days. Or maybe on a day that doesn’t even seem that special…watching over me, wondering why I am eating chicken and drinking wine when I could be having a piece of steak with a shot of ouzo instead.

 

Mediterranean Squash Boats

2 yellow squash
a little olive oil
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
1 large clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
fresh parsley or additional basil for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Wash and scrub the squash, and then cut lengthwise. Scoop out the “meat” of the squash, chop it, and put it in a bowl. To the bowl, add the sundried tomatoes, basil, pine nuts, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Brush the outside of the squash with a little olive oil (or spray with a Misto) and sprinkle the insides lightly with salt and pepper. Fill the zucchini with the mixture from the bowl. Drizzle each piece with a little balsamic vinegar. Top with the crumbled goat cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender and cheese is warm.

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