Showing posts from September, 2005

Day 169: Zucchini Pumpkin Bread ♥

This quick bread might have an identify issue. It's part spice cake, part zucchini bread, part pumpkin bread. But it's also moist and full of great spices. Best made one day and served the next.
Warm out of the oven? Disappointing.

But by the next day? Rave reviews.
"Alanna, this is excellent!"
"We warmed it up a little and oh, it tasted good." This is a moist, flavorful zucchini bread. On first taste, I missed a bit of oomph from currants or walnuts but by the second, the cinnamon and nutmeg took hold and I, too, savored every bite.

This is a winner, a definite keeper.

"This Zucchini Pumpkin bread is amazing. So flavorful!" ~ Stephanie
"So moist, with a rich sweetness." ~ Darby
"I made these as muffins and you're right about the wow factor the next day." ~ Robin
"This is indeed better the next day! What a super moist bread!" ~ Daisy

RECIPE for ZUCCHINI PUMPKIN BREADHands-on time: 15 minutes
Oven/cooling t…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Dutch Apple Puff ◄

With the outside air surely turning from summer's over-stayed heat to fall's welcome cool aaaannnny day now (please!), mix up an easy, ingredients-on-hand Dutch Apple Puff featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

Day 168: Tomato & Rice Salad ♥

A refreshing summer salad, so so simple, just a mix of ripe and juicy summer tomatoes and leftover cooked rice. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.
WAY BACK IN 2005 Maybe it was the picked-yesterday tomatoes? Or the moist and nutty oven-baked brown rice leftover from the other night? Either way, this tomato-rice combination really works. But you needn't wait for leftover rice – unless there's a cardboard Chinese take-out box in the fridge – or are watching carbs because it's also really good without the rice, just tomatoes. And it makes up in 10 minutes flat. This is great summer eating!

WAY BACK IN 2007 FOR A PHOTO UPDATE Just as good as remembered, this time with a mix of cooked brown and wild rice, an heirloom tomato, no olive oil (!) and Splenda as a sugar substitute. Very good!

AND AGAIN IN 2018 FOR ANOTHER PHOTO UPDATE Totally good! This time I used cooked white rice leftover from Stir-Fried Shrimp with Asparagus or Oth…

Meme: 5th Sentence in 23rd Post (Sort of)

Thanks (I think!) to Nupur at One Hot Stove, whose Indian/other creations are regularly drool-icious and who's tagged A Veggie Venture for a meme oddity that's overtaking the food blogging world.

Meme is an apt phrase, yes, since they're all about me-me-me? That said, they're also considerable fun, a way to further the friendship and affinity that occurs in online communities. So here goes:

23rd Post: Day 23: Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa & Cherries
5th Sentence: "No."

My, my. That's cryptic.
Maybe I'll 'Alanna-size' and use 1/3 of a cup instead of 2/3 of a cup.
13th Post: Day 13: Roasted Asparagus with Feta
5th Sentence: " "

Oops. No fifth sentence. Those first posts were decidedly terse.
This is harder than I thought! How about doubling it, 2/3 x 2 = 4/3 = Day 43. (Or Day 113 if 43 fails us, too.)

43rd Post:Day 43: Cucumber with Mustard & Dill
5th Sentence:"I would definitely make this again!"

Finally! This was one …

Day 167: Quick Tomato Sauce ♥

2005 ORIGINAL: 'Quick', of course, is relative. Is 15 minutes in the dentist chair 'quick'? Sure, if you feared an hour. But not if your mouth is pried open and big hands with metal tools are probing inside while a light pierces into your eyes and swoony music plays in your brain.

But back to quick tomato sauce. It did pull together in 10 minutes with another 10 on the stove. The kids can't waste away from hunger in just 30 minutes, can they?

But it reminded me of perhaps my most important kitchen lesson ever, that it's easier to cook a LOT than a LITTLE. If you cook only a little, it's hard work to put a whole meal on the table. Entree, salad and vegetable? AND a dessert, of course, because why cook if there's no sweet reward at the end? There's the planning, all those ingredients, timing issues, plus clean up and worst of all, emptying the *&^%^&* dishwasher.

But when you cook a lot, you've had your eye a simple weeknight chicken recipe a…

Veggies for Kids: Out of the Mouths of Moms

Just today, Meg at Too Many Chefs wrote a thoughtful, tip-packed post about the tricks and tools and triumphs of encouraging her little one to eat more vegetables and fruits. It's worth a close read.

VEGGIES for KIDS is a continuing crusade here at A Veggie Venture, a forum for parents wanting to encourage healthful eating habits at home and school. What works for you?What would you like to fix at your own table? Leave a comment, send an e-mail or write your own post -- ideas and links along with kid-tested recipes will be posted in Veggies for Kids.

Day 166: Napa Cabbage & Carrot Slaw

Today's vegetable recipe: A quick coleslaw with Napa cabbage and grated carrot tossed in an Asian-style dressing. Low carb. Weight Watchers 0 points.
~ recipe & photo updated in 2008 ~
2005: After too much rich food in recent days, it was time to lighten up in calories, ingredients and even time. This slaw's dressing is delicious, a keeper. The Napa cabbage was quick to chop, a keeper. For a big batch, I should have pulled out the food processor for grating the carrots but didn't, costing time. And the basil/mint were alright but next time I'd forgo, tossing in green onion and cilantro (which was also specified in the recipe but I didn't have) and be done with it.

2008: This made for a quick and filling-yet-light lunch. I did use green onion and skip the fresh herbs, as recommended -- very good! It won't knock your socks off but it's a good basic coleslaw except without mayonnaise and other heavy ingredients. If all the ingredients are on hand, go for it…

Day 164: Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Pizza ♥

It doesn't take a Holmesian sleuth to recognize signs of a pizza neophyte. The just-from-the-box pristine condition of the pizza stoneThe amoeba shape
The gaping holes in the crust (oh, right, those are covered by toppings)Yes, I'm a pizza first-timer.

But can kitchen sleuths tell I'm hooked? Yes, the next pizza is already in my brain (squash, perhaps?) And as it turns out, there's dough in the frig so the next one'll be still easier, after investing, that is, in what I learned is an all-important pizza peel.

Once again, I'm indebted to the careful instructor over at StephenCooks, this time for pizza dough. Without this, it'd have been Boboli, baby! (Even then, the Boboli temptation was real. And I'd not hesitate, another time, for time's sake, to use a commercial crust.)

Other than the crust, the only thing made specially for tonight's pizza was the deliciously salty and pungent eggplant, a perfect pizza topping and a definite keeper. Otherwi…

Veggie Posts of the Week #38

Many thanks to JenGray for the visual reminder of the intricacies of Swiss chard! No wonder it tastes sooo good! Check here for leafy green recipe ideas.

Throughout the week, I watch other food bloggers cooking up a storm. These veggie-centric posts caught my eye and my appetite!

From Anne's Food in Sweden, a vegetable soup that looks as if it'd taste as lovely as its Swedish-translated name, Meadow Food Soup

From Everybody Likes Sandwiches in Vancouver, a polenta topped with a vegetable stew spiked with Italian sausage - wow

From Fresh Approach Cooking in Los Angeles, Rachael's green bean salad with water chestnuts and red pepper and brightened with a ginger miso dressing

From Baking Sheet, another Los Angeles foodie stop, a low-fat cornbread moistened with zucchini

From Once Upon a Feast in Toronto, a vegetable stock that starts with roasted carrot, celery, onion, tomato and mushroom

Day 163: Eggplant & Tomato Curry

It even LOOKS bland!

Tonight's eggplant dish was promising on paper, disappointing on a plate.

There was heat from the red pepper but still it was strangely flavorless despite a perfect eggplant and wonderful late-season local tomatoes.

It might well be one of those dishes that improves overnight. But I also likely made a mistake, adding a bag of carrot strips that had been tasteless fresh and then, to boot, in the frig for too long.

The good news about tonight's curry, however is the first use of a Foodie View-like spot at Ashbury's Aubergines, home to 3100 eggplant recipes. Check off the ingredients you have on hand in the search engine, voila, several recipes from which to choose. Now if only Epicurious were half as good at a search ...

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 7 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger (I was out, us…

Day 162: Mini Tomato Pesto Torte ♥

Here on A Veggie Venture, I try to insert vegetables into every course.

So for an easy, make-ahead appetizer from on-hand ingredients, I worked toward something roughly half cheese, half vegetable.

And it worked. The proportions were right. The cream/acid mix was right. The color contrast was pretty.

And OH: yes, it tasted great!

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves about 4

4 cloves roasted garlic
8 sun-dried tomato halves (the ones from my grocery are soft and seem to be dried without oil)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (see ALANNA's TIPS)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Some other liquid (tonight, I used juice from a jar of roasted peppers but fruit juice, even water would work)

In a small food processor (tonight, I used my favorite food processor attachment to an immersion blender), mix all the ingredients except the 'other liquid'. Then add enough of the other liquid to create a firm but moist paste.


Line a one cup…

Day 161: Eggplant Parmigiana ♥

If there were ever the right time to encourage foodie families to publish their own cookbooks, this is it.
The adventurous StephenCooks has been cooking up a family favorite, peroghies, with my Canadian grandmother's recipe. Nana made kazillions of these fruit dumplings over the years. We'd vie for them at weekend dinners at the aunts' and cousin gatherings at the cottage. Today there are only a couple of us who make peroghies but the recipe is recorded for future generations of cooks in our family cookbook.
And this week's column over at Kitchen Parade features a kid-favorite cookie recipe from my cousin Laura. We e-mail and talk on the phone. But still, if it weren't for the cookbook? I would have NO idea how delicious Fat Rascals could be.
And last night, I cooked a delicious cauliflower casserole from my cousin Sharon, another dish I'd have missed if it weren't for the cookbook. And much by accident, the inspiration for tonight's Eggplant Parmigiana co…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Fat Rascals ◄

Any cookie monsters in your family? Check out the Fat Rascals featured in this Kitchen Parade column for a tasty after-school treat.

Day 160: Cauliflower Tomato Medley ♥

Today's recipe for late-summer or early fall, a gratin of steamed cauliflower and tomatoes, lightly seasoned and topped with melty cheese. Delicious!
~recipe & photo updated 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~
2006 Original Post: So what's a seasonal cook to do on a 93-degree first day of fall? Build a bridge between the seasons, that's what! This cauliflower dish struck just the right note tonight, fall's creamy cauliflower paired with summer's slightly acidic tomatoes. Thanks to my cousin Sharon for the recipe, who serves this with roasted meat or grilled fish and says that it's attractive for a buffet supper. I agree! Next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I'll make one or two changes to lighten it, with little change in enjoyment, I think. I'll either double the cauliflower or use half the bread crumbs and cheese.

2012 Update: How often I feel "called" to remake something at exactly the same time of year (or the "f…

Day 159: Broccoli with Orange & Curry ♥

"Trees" are tasting better and better, thanks to the aggressive trimming learned back on Day 55.

This was bright and refreshing though next time I'll use half the orange/curry. But it's a definite keeper.

For other broccoli possibilities, see the broccoli section.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1/2 cup orange juice (reduced from 1 cup)
Juice from a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 tablespoon curry powder (reduced from 1 tablespoon)

1 pound broccoli, trimmed aggressively

Mix the orange juice, lemon juice, butter and curry in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the liquid begins to thicken just slightly.

Meanwhile, bring about an inch of water to boil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Place a collapsible steamed inside, add the broccoli, cover and cook for exactly 5 minutes. Drain the water, return the broccoli to the hot pan. Stir in the sauce, cover and let rest for abo…

Day 158: Turkey Burgers "Vegg-ed Up"

Tonight's supper decision was made at the last minute, standing in front of the meat counter.

Did it turn out okay? Of course. Could it have turned out better with planning? Of course.

Some cooks are naturals at makin' it up. But I'm not one of 'em.

If I'd only made a little bit of effort beforehand, I'd have had a basic recipe like this (nope, too much added fat) or this (hmm, better, lime juice is a good idea) or this (that's it!) to follow and THEN vegg-ed up -- likely with better results and just as importantly, results more likely to be repeated.

A good lesson, another to add to A Veggie Venture's growing list.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound 99% fat-free ground turkey
1/4 an onion, chopped fine
1/2 a red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup grated carrot (tonight, a handful of grated carrot from a bag was chopped in just seconds)
1 teaspoon curry
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt & p…

Veggies for Kids: Healthy Snacks

Here are several thoughtful-yet-practical tips for serving up healthy snacks for kids. They've have been condensed from the Burlington Free Press, where you may read the complete story.

Stick close to nature.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best snack choices because they offer strong nutrition value with no additives.
Beyond that, the shorter the ingredients list, the betterA box of raisins (with one ingredient) vs
Gummy snacks (pear concentrate + three forms of added sugar + partially hydrogenated oil).Don't be a purist: If it takes a little ranch dressing to get your child eating fresh veggies, it's a small price to pay.No more white bread.
Look for at least 2 grams of fiber per serving of any grain-based product such as bread, cereals or crackers.
When choosing cereal, follow the "3-3-9" rule3 grams of fiberno more than 3 grams of fatno more than 9 grams of sugar.
Be a label reader.
Avoid trans-fats (usually listed as hydrogenated oils or partially hydro…

Day 157: Pasta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes ♥

Wow! Talk about rich, dark tomato flavor, thanks to the latest batch (Batch 3) of roasted tomatoes spending 20 hours in the oven.

This is another delicious use of the slow-roasted tomatoes, tiny little oriechette 'ears' of pasta with bits of tomato and a pine nut stuck in the whorl.

That said, the portion size seemed small even though each one adds up to nearly 400 calories. Another time, I'd serve it as a side dish (serving 6 or 8) rather than a main dish -- or if as a main dish, with lots of other vegetables on the side.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4 as a light entree, 6 - 8 as a side dish

8 ounces pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove shallot
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 cup slow-roasted tomatoes

Grated parmesan

Bring pasta water to a boil. Add salt and pasta, cook until al dente. Drain and return to the hot pot.

After putting the pasta in, heat olive oil in a small skillet, then a…

Veggie Posts of the Week #37

Many thanks (again) to JenGray for her photo, this time the cross-stitch from her Gram's apron.

It's that time again, the vegetable-centric posts from other food bloggers / home cooks.

This week, the focus is on vegetable dishes for the Six O'Clock Scramble, weary from work, trying to put supper on the table in a few minutes, hungry kids waiting in the wing.

From the Accidental Hedonist, a lofty-sounding Spinaci alla Piemonte, really just spinach with a secret ingredient

From the Amateur Gourmet, a quick-to-the-table summer squash and corn pasta

From the Bacon Show, which to my surprise features one vegetable recipe after another, a quick skillet toss of red cabbage and fixin's including bacon, natch

From My Adventures in the Breadbox, a lovely garden minestrone with summer squash, zucchini, carrot, corn and spinach too

And for nights when there's time for the oven:

From Though Small, It Is Tasty, a sweet potato and spinach and egg "tian"(a new word for …

Day 156: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes ♥

How to roast tomatoes, slowly, slowly, slowly. In 2005, I roasted 15 batches of tomatoes, keeping notes as I experimented with oven temperature, time in the oven, how much oil to use, whether fresh or dried herbs worked better.
From mid-September through early October, the house was aromatic with a gentle tomato scent from 15 batches of Slow-Roasted Tomatoes.

Each batch was a little different. I played with oven temperature, oven time, a little oil and a lot of oil, fresh herbs and dried herbs. I even experimented with Fast-Roasted Tomatoes but quickly returned to these.

The inspiration came from StephenCooks, whose site includes the warning, "If you're looking for something quick here, I'm sorry but most of the dishes I cook take far too long to be called quick." His ideas about slow-roasted tomatoes are here.

Day 155: Never-the-Same Steamed Broccoli ♥

How to trim and steam fresh broccoli, then dress it in different ways that are “never the same”.
~recipe & photo updated 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~
After the success of Day 154's Tomato Bread Pudding IV inspired by StephenCooks, I decided to try his ever-so-simple steamed broccoli. And as you might expect, it's g-o-o-d.

I especially like the technique because:
The broccoli stalks are absolutely delicious so do pay attention to the aggressive trimming instructions – they're worth the time, especially for what happens to the stalks. So often, they're chopped off and even discarded in favor of the more tender and flavorful crowns. I love them cold, eaten out of a bowl like vinegar-free pickles.
The herb and vinegar and oil combinations (what I call the "Never-the-Same" Possibilities) are nearly limitless, making it easy to complement the rest of the meal.
It fits a Six O'Clock Scramble supper schedule OR can be prepped ahead of time.


Day 154: Tomato Bread Pudding IV ♥

What, you don't remember Tomato Bread Puddings I, II and III?

That's because up until tonight, the man-who-can-cook-anything over at StephenCooks has been the-man-who-cooks-everything.

Impressed with Stephen's kitchen panache, awhile back I made a casual e-mail inquiry about his ideas for a tomato bread pudding, something I've been working on - entirely unsuccessfully - for a couple of summers, including here in A Veggie Venture back on Day 69.

I thought Stephen might write back with an equally casual idea or two. Instead:
The next -- NEXT! -- morning, he posted Tomato Bread Pudding.And the next day he posted a Tomato Flan.And then he posted Roasted Tomato Bread Pudding.Oh: isn't Stephen's behind-the-camera artistry inspiring?

Tonight, finally, it was time for me to push Stephen back into his living room out there in Maine to elbow my way into the kitchen here in Missouri.

I used his Roasted Tomato Bread Pudding as tonight's starting point. But naturally, I…

Kitchen Parade Extra: (Quick) Brown Bread ◄

Now that the weather's turning, it's time to turn on our ovens!

Here's a great start, an easy, half-good-for-ya (Quick) Brown Bread, featured in Kitchen Parade's weekly column.

Day 153: Creamy Sweet Corn Soup ♥

Boy, this one was HARD work.

First I strode barefoot out to the Back Forty where I battled the grasshoppers to search more than a dozen corn rows for ears that had that just-ripe scent and then ... NOT.

Yes this is a Gimme. But real life needs regular Gimme's, yes?

This Imagine-brand corn soup tastes great -- and because it's from Trader Joe's, it's inexpensive, too -- and a cup is low in calories (100) and Weight Watchers points (2). And for those who attend to such, it's organic and vegan as well.

For anyone considering Family Survival Packs since Katrina, this may qualify since its aseptic packaging doesn't require refrigeration. I tasted a cold spoonful: not bad. And the expiration date is six months away so as long as the supply were replenished twice a year, it could work.

Day 152: Light Summer Frittata

Still cleanin' out the frig, yes, so it's the perfect night for a veggie frittata.

This one was long on vegetables and short on eggs: that'd been the intent, calorie-wise, but I missed the extra egg, missed the extra creaminess from a bit of cheese.

Still, twas quite good. And there's no reason to despair: the next one will be different because the leftovers in the vegetable bin are never the same.

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 a medium zucchini, diced
1/2 a yellow pepper, diced
1 teaspoon garlic
1 large tomato, diced

2 eggs
3 egg whites
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
Salt & pepper

Heat an oven-proof skillet over MEDIUM HIGH. Add the butter. When it's hot, add the zucchini and pepper and saute for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato and let simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and the tomato liquid has cooked down.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, the whites (save the yolks for…

Day 151: Creamed Radishes with Pimentón ♥

~ recipe updated & photo added in 2007 ~
2005: [No photo, sorry, photographer malfunction.] In old cookbooks, vegetables seem to come creamed or fried, fried or creamed. So it is surprising that in 151 (!) days of cooking veggies in new ways here at A Veggie Venture, neither one's been done. But who'd think to start with creamed radishes??? Someone who's cleaning out the frig, that's who.

WOW. Awhile back, the nearby international market had exotic-looking black radishes that ended up tasting like plain-ol' red radishes in a so-so salad. But tonight, cooked and then creamed, they were, my oh my, very good. But it's possible that Creamed Kibbles would have been good too -- so long as pimentón was included. Tonight was my first taste of the smoky Spanish paprika. Wow.

2007: Well, maybe based on their homely washed-out appearance, creamed radishes should remain photo-less. But they sure do taste good! I recommend using them as a base for grilled or roasted meat,…

Veggies for Kids: Whack-a-Snack

Check out Hungry Girl,who serves up FUN for breakfast, HUMORfor lunch and tops it all off with EATING WELLfor supper and WEIGHT MANAGEMENT for dessert.

For kids, click on Whack-a-Snack for an thrill-packed exercise about food choices.

VEGGIES for KIDS is a continuing crusade here at A Veggie Venture, a forum for parents wanting to encourage healthful eating habits at home and school. What works for you?What would you like to fix at your own table? Leave a comment, send an e-mail or write your own post -- ideas and links along with kid-tested recipes will be posted in Veggies for Kids.

Day 150: Cold Cucumber Soup

With apologies to poor poets, I hope to never become one, if this is what there'd be to eat.

That said, Day 150's (!) recipe comes from a charming little 1966 cookbook, The New Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others. It's written for poets and 'others' who are often out of funds and might be, as detailed by author Ann Rogers:
young wives and husbands making ends meet studentsmusicians with uncopied scorespainters with unsold pictures novelists in the middle of a novelolder people with small fixed stipendspeople who only like to work occasionallyaspiring food bloggers (oh wait, 1966?)
It is 'devoted to sitting down meals, however humble' and introduces the 'nickel dinner' (forty years later, what $ would that be?).

It cites only three rules. 'Always have fresh bread. Always use butter. Always serve wine.' Good rules, all.

Its pages are arranged not by course nor by season but by relative cost. Tonight's recipe is found on page 22. (Nuff said?) …

Veggie Posts of the Week #36

[Once again, my thanks to Jen Gray for her photographic inspiration!]

It's that time again: reviewing the week's posts by other food bloggers in search of veggie favorites. It's sooo easy to tell that the farmers markets are bursting: nearly everyone, it seems, is using up the last gems of tomato and pepper and ... and ...

We're Squeezing the Last Bit of Summer Out of the Toothpaste Tube

From right here in Missouri, FarmGirl's Summer Harvest Soup with red peppers and yellow squash

From Gastronomie, a cream-rich 'real' tomato soup that's so good she may never open a can again

From Kevin, the personal chef at Seriously Good, a romesco sauce I WILL make soon , that's a promise

And from Mark, another personal chef at ReMARKable Palate, a couple of creative uses for carrots, a salad with daikon and a soup with sweet potato, ginger and maple syrup

But Cool Nights and Falling Leaves Can't Be Far Behind

From Nic at BakingSheet, a cabbage-cranberry soup