Dining In

Give Your "Unfavorites" Another Try
By Nancy Finch, Food Columnist

January of a new year. A good time to take a look at your eating habits. 


I donít like beets. Iím not wild about acorn squash. Iíve tried hominy, but it doesnít occur to me to serve it.

Although I consider myself a ďMikeyĒ type eater, there are some longtime biases and once theyíre stuck in your mental menu planner, they donít easily get unstuck.

My husband likes beets and greens (another mental bias), acorn squash and, who knows if he likes hominy, he never gets it. So, my New Yearís Resolution: Do Different(ly).

We practiced ahead of the New Year. Beets can be better, even enjoyed. Serve them as Harvard Beets. Dressed up helps ó some.

Acorn squash? Again, jazz them up a bit with some other flavors for the, to me, pretty flavorless winter squash. Grapes with celery and nuts drizzled in a brown-sugar-and-butter combination add interest and taste!

Hominy? One of the childhood unfavorites that I learned to modernize a few years ago. I found a Mexican-inspired salad version is good. I donít usually recommend brands, but Mrs. Manningís hominy is best for this recipe.

O.K., so what donít you like or what do you avoid? Time to broaden your horizons and add interest to your 2003 table! (I didnít go so far as trying turnip greens, I must confess!)

Winter Squash With Grape Topping


bullet2 small winter squash (acorn, butternut) 
bullet1/2 cup chopped celery
bullet1 T butter or margarine
bullet2 T brown sugar
bullet1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
bullet1 cup grapes, halved
bulletDash of salt

Directions: Prick squash with fork. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until squash is tender. Cut squash in half, remove seeds. Microwave chopped celery until tender, about 2 minutes on high. Melt butter in skillet or microwave container. Add brown sugar, celery, nuts, grapes. Mix well. Fill halved squash with grape mixture. (Can hold at this point to serve later.) Cover filled squash with waxed paper and microwave on high for 5 to 7 minutes or dot with additional butter and bake at 350˚ for 15 minutes. Serves 4.

Harvard Beets


bullet1/3 cup sugar
bulletT cornstarch
bullet1/2 t grated lemon rind
bullet1/3 cup lemon juice
bullet1/3 cup water
bullet3 cups sliced cooked beets (about 2 lbs. fresh beets) or 2 cans (16-oz. each)

Directions: Mix together the sugar, corn starch, lemon rind, juice and water (substitute beet liquid for water if using canned beets) in saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute. Add sliced beets and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Southwestern Hominy Salad


bullet1 can (20-oz.) Mrs. Manning's hominy, broken apart
bullet1 can (15-oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
bullet1 can (4-oz.) mild green chilies, chopped
bullet1/2 cup chopped red onion
bullet1/2 cup chopped green pepper
bullet1/2 t salt
bullet1/2 cup medium or hot salsa
bullet1/2 cup or more cilantro, optional

Directions: Combine hominy, beans, chilies, onion, green pepper and salt. Mix well. Add salsa. Lightly mix in chopped cilantro. Serves 6 to 8.



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