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The Food of the Times [Fierce Foodie]

I have a penchant for reading cookery texts, from M.F.K. Fisher on transatlantic shipboard cuisine in the 30’s to Apicus on Roman cuisine. I enjoy imagining what a paste of stewed calf’s brains seasoned with pepper and cumin, and cooked with broth, wine, milk and eggs might taste like.

Foods come in and out of fashion just like modes of dress, and tastes evolve with the inclusion of other cultures. There was a time when the now ubiquitous pizza was considered exotic or when the tiny breast meats of thrushes and other small songbirds were looked upon by many as delicacies and not potential SARS carriers.

Today’s modern cooks have nearly unlimited access to ingredients and cuisine, but very limited time for cooking. Luckily fresh garden produce goes from kitchen to table with little or no cooking. My mother, the green thumb of the family, has donated many a zucchini to my pantry. This recipe makes great use of them and also includes fresh basil and mint.

Zucchini ribbon salad with ham
(courtesy of Good Housekeeping)


2 pound(s) (5 small) zucchini, ends trimmed

4 slice(s) (1 ounce each) deli ham, sliced into 1/2-inch ribbons

1 lemon

2/3 cup(s) salted pistachios, shelled

1/3 cup(s) packed fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup(s) packed fresh mint leaves

1 clove(s) garlic



3 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon(s) water

8 slice(s) whole wheat baguette, toasted

1 1/2 ounce(s) goat cheese, softened


With vegetable peeler, peel zucchini into wide ribbons. Transfer zucchini ribbons to large bowl and add ham. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. From lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. Cover and refrigerate lemon peel.

Prepare pesto:
In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse pistachios until finely chopped. Add basil, mint, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Process until finely chopped. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil and water. Puree until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. (If serving right away, transfer to bowl with zucchini and ham; toss until well combined.)

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featured image credit: Muy Yum