My latest food shopping adventure has been to buy a new vegetable each week. Lucky for me, the immigrant population in Chicago means that any decent produce store is stocked with veggies I not only have never tried, but I can’t even pronounce. The stores are also full of employees from cultures steeped in home cooking traditions. These folks can name more ways to use a tomatillo than I can a potato.

Here’s how today’s adventure went:

Me, holding up some kind of green, hard vegetable that seems to smile without dentures: “Excuse me, do you know how to cook this?”

Employee (insert thick Mexican accent here): “Oh, yes! You put that in your soup, with a little of this and a little of that. Very good for baby.”

Apparently, what I had was a form of squash. Chayote, to be exact. And here’s what I did with it. Turned out fabulous. Oh–but before I did that, I drew a face on it. Couldn’t resist.

1T olive oil
1t minced garlic
1 chayote squash, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Dot of agave syrup
1T red wine vinegar

Saute garlic, squash, salt, pepper and agave for 2 to 3 minutes. Add vinegar and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, until the squash is slightly wilted, but still firm and crunchy.

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