What’s cooler than cooking? Not cooking

| 15 Jul 2013 | 03:23

I may have one up on the raw food movement. I have been not cooking veggies for years, before it became trendy. Preparing a nutritious meal in my scorching hot kitchen in under thirty minutes makes eating raw not only appealing but necessary.

Many vegetables improve in flavor and texture when cooked, but delicate summer squash has a pleasant sweetness and crunch in its raw state. Reserve the foot long varieties to stuff or grate into zucchini bread and choose small, tender squash with soft seeds for this “pasta” dish. Use the smooth edge of your vegetable peeler to create long thin strands of fettuccini-like green and yellow squash ribbons. A light cashew cream blended with fresh lemon juice and the summer’s first garlic scapes transform the squash from simple salad to satisfying supper.

Not fond of cashews? No problem. A rustic sauce of fresh chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic with a drizzle of olive oil or a fresh herb pesto are tasty alternatives.

Whether you turn on the stove, fire up the grill or choose to eat raw this summer, embrace your favorite veggies and visit your local farm or market for new inspiration. My farm market discovery du jour: containers of edible onion flowers, a perfect garnish for the squash. Each tiny petal is packed with a burst of onion flavor. Innovative restaurant chefs are adding them to sautés and stir fries, but I’ll just eat mine raw.

Ribbons of Summer Squash with Garlic Lemon Cashew Cream

Serves 4 1 cup unsalted raw cashews soaked in water overnight in the refrigerator and rinsed

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 small garlic scape, chopped ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Pinch of freshly ground pepper 2 small green summer squash

2 small yellow summer squash Onion flowers, fresh basil, grated radish for garnish

Place the soaked cashews in a blender with enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high until smooth. Add lemon juice, chopped garlic scape, salt and pepper. Blend again until combined.

Using the smooth edge of a vegetable peeler, create half inch wide, thin strips of squash. Pile high onto a serving platter, top with cashew cream sauce and garnish with onion flowers, basil and grated radish.