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Showing posts from May, 2005

Day 61: Asparagus with Creamy Mustard Dip

Easy, simple, ingredients on hand - there's nothing better!

ASPARAGUS with CREAMY MUSTARD DIP
Active time: 5 minutes (dip only)
Time to table: 5 minutes
Makes 7 tablespoons

3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise (original recipe suggests non-fat)
2 tablespoons sour cream (original suggests non-fat)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1 pound steamed asparagus (see ALANNA's TIPS) or other vegetables

Stir together dip ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Dip only, per tablespoon: 31 Cal (83% from Fat, 4% from Protein, 13% from Carb); 0 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 1 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 10 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 104 mg Sodium; 4 mg Cholesterol Weight Watchers 1 point

One tablespoon dip with 1/4 pound asparagus: 55 Cal (46% from Fat, 19% from Protein, 36% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 5 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 37 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 107 mg Sodium; 4 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 1 point

ALANNA's …

You Found It Here, First!

Mark Bittman cooked for an NPR All Things Considered segment tonight - including his recipe for Beet Roesti that we cooked way back in April and still a Veggie Venture personal favorite!

But hey, you discovered it here, first, way back on Day 22!

Day 60: Pan-Roasted Broccoli

Tonight's broccoli was easy enough, especially using broccoli crowns right from the supermarket. And the color was good - very good in fact.

But two things turned me off. Make that three.

First, the flavor was bland, like broccoli crying out to be unleashed, even with plenty of salt and pepper. And the balsamic vinegar added nothing. Second, the broccoli was decidedly chewy, not to my liking. Third, the house smells terrible, like burned broccoli!

UPDATE I've now posted a really good recipe for pan-roasted broccoli, it's called Perfect Pan-Fried Broccoli. It's delicious!

PAN-ROASTED BROCCOLI
Active time: 5 minutes plus occasional stirring
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 teaspoon olive oil
Butter-flavored cooking spray
1 pound broccoli florets, cut in halves or quarters for quicker cooking and easier serving
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

Heat large, deep skillet over MEDIUM HIGH. Add oil and cooking spray, let these heat up while cutting the broccoli. Turn t…

Day 59: Sautéed Cabbage with Dill

A simply cooked, simply eaten dish, easy to imagine aside scrambled eggs or pan-fried fish. It's not one to rave about but it's certainly a keeper, especially given the ease of preparation.

SAUTÉED CABBAGE with DILL
Active time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 4

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 large leek
1 8-ounce bag shredded cabbage and carrot
2 tablespoons fresh dill
Bit of lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half a small lemon)
Salt & pepper to taste (I didn't feel any was needed)

Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet with a cover on MEDIUM HIGH. While it melts, clean the leek (see ALANNA's TIPS). Add the leek and the cabbage mixture to the pan and turn them with a spatula several times to evenly distribute the butter. Cover, reduce the heat to MEDIUM and let cook for about five minutes or until the cabbage is cooked, stirring occasionally. While the cabbage cooks, chop the dill and grate a bit of lemon zest. (Use a microplane if you have one.) Remove t…

Kitchen Parade Extra

If you still haven't gotten enough of spring rhubarb, visit the Kitchen Parade weekly blog for a recipe for Country Rhubarb Cobbler.

Day 58: Roasted Asparagus with Browned Butter

What a lesson: Perfect, ultra-fresh need little - any? - adornment.

The browned butter sauce is perfectly good - really good, in fact. But the asparagus were so perfect, all on their own, that the sauce actually detracted.

The roasting process (without the browned butter) is a great zero-point way to roast asparagus and presumably other vegetables. Usually it seems to take more oil than I'd like to coat vegetables headed to the oven for roasting AND it's sort of an oily mess, I usually just dig in with my hands for simplicity and speed.

The cooking spray (or a mister with your own oil) makes light, er, work of the process and calorie impact.

ROASTED ASPARAGUS with BROWNED BUTTER
Active time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound asparagus
Butter-flavored cooking spray
Salt & pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400F. Clean and trim asparagus, removing the woody ends. Place asparagus on a rimmed baking sh…

Day 57: Pied Piper Refrigerator Pickles ♥

These are a refrigerator pickle adaptation of my favorite Pied Piper Pickles from a 'canning crusade' three summers ago when in the course of a few weeks, I canned something like 200 jars of 30 different things!

This version keeps in the frig for a week or so versus being canned. The inspiration came from a wonderful Trader Joe's product, frozen grilled peppers. I've been looking for more ways to use them -- they're cheap, convenient, nutritious, oh, and taste great too!

June 1 Taste Report: I've used Pied Pipers in several ways, all good. The favorite so far is as a tomato stand-in on sandwiches, especially since real tomatoes are still several weeks away. Try these:

Atop grilled / roasted chicken / turkey sandwiches
Chopped, in an omeletChopped, added to tuna salad
Chopped, added to potato salad

PIED PIPER REFRIGERATOR PICKLES
Active time: 15 minutes (6 hands on)
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes about 20 slices

1 cup water
1 cup tarragon vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon …

Day 56: Butter-Simmered & Chutney-Glazed Carrots ♥

~recipe & photo updated in 2007~
Two recipes tonight. Make them separately or together. (Hey, wait a minute? Do I get a day off now? No way!)

The first is a new way to boil carrots. Water and salt, right? Tonight The Minimalist Mark Bittman has convinced me otherwise. He cooks them in a bit of water, a bit of butter (or olive oil if you insist), salt and pepper. And wow: they're the best simply cooked carrots I've ever tasted.

The second comes from a Weight Watchers cookbook from the grocery store last week. (It's a winner. The cover says it'll be on sale through June.) It adds chutney and mustard to cooked carrots. Again, delicious.

2007 PHOTO UPDATE: Very simple, almost cook themselves while you prepare the rest of supper. These might also be good for someone who needs to limit their sodium intake: even to my salt-happy palate, these tasted quite delicious with ZERO salt. I also liked the summer brightness of fresh mint tucked into the carrots after they'd cooked…

Day 55: Swedish Vegetables

Here I thought I was being sooo smart, making supper-time vegetables first thing in the morning.

The recipe was a reprise of Day 36's Swedish Beets, the food obsession of the moment.

With a freezer full of frozen vegetables needing cooking+consumption, I piled a couple of bags - still frozen - into a big glass jar while the vinegar mix was heating up in the microwave, tossed them together and threw the jar in the frig.

The idea: The hot liquid would thaw the vegetables. The vinegar would cook them.

Eight hours later - the vegetables were still a bit icy and, well, raw.

Twenty-four hours later - delicious, a summer standby.

SWEDISH VEGETABLES
Active time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 24 hours
Serves 8

1 cup cider vinegar (I'm liking cider vinegar a bit more though the white is perfectly good too)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (reduced from 1/2 cup in Swedish beets)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (a defining ingredient, don't skip it)

16 ounces cut frozen green beans (or whatever you lik…
Pretty food simply tastes better!

Here I thought I was being sooo smart, making supper-time vegetables first thing in the morning.

The recipe was a reprise of Day 36's Swedish Beets, the food obsession of the moment.

With a freezer full of frozen vegetables needing cooking+consumption, I piled a couple of bags - still frozen - into a big glass jar while the vinegar mix was heating up in the microwave, tossed them together and threw the jar in the frig.

The idea: The hot liquid would thaw the vegetables. The vinegar would cook them.

Eight hours later - the vegetables were still a bit icy and, well, raw.

Twenty-four hours later - delicious, a summer standby.

SWEDISH VEGETABLES
Active time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 24 hours
Serves 8

1 cup cider vinegar (I'm liking cider vinegar a bit more though the white is perfectly good too)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (reduced from 1/2 cup in Swedish beets)
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (a defining ingredient, don't skip it)

16 ounces cut frozen…

Day 54: Spinach Pancake

What fun!

Sure, I would make this differently another time - but I will definitely make it another time. It's a crepe-textured pancake rolled with sauteed spinach.

It's more special-occasion than every-day fare but still, easy to make. The results are considerably more impressive than the level of difficulty.

And it's surprisingly low in calories. I even checked the nutrition analysis - it's all that spinach and relatively small, but still generous, servings.

SPINACH PANCAKE
Active time: 30 minutes (including 10 to clean spinach which isn't necessary with bagged spinach and 15 when there's lots of open time but you can't really leave the stove)
Time to table: 50 minutes
Serves 8

2 eggs
2 cups skim milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons butter (original recipe specified 3 but 2 seems fine)
1 pound spinach, chopped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (original recipe specified 1/4 teaspoon, think 1/2 is better)
Kosher salt
White pe…
What fun!

Sure, I would make this differently another time - but I will definitely make it another time. It's a crepe-textured pancake rolled with sauteed spinach.

It's more special-occasion than every-day fare but still, easy to make. The results are considerably more impressive than the level of difficulty.

And it's surprisingly low in calories. I even checked the nutrition analysis - it's all that spinach and relatively small, but still generous, servings.

SPINACH PANCAKE
Active time: 30 minutes (including 10 to clean spinach which isn't necessary with bagged spinach and 15 when there's lots of open time but you can't really leave the stove)
Time to table: 50 minutes
Serves 8

2 eggs
2 cups skim milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 tablespoons butter (original recipe specified 3 but 2 seems fine)
1 pound spinach, chopped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (original recipe specified 1/4 teaspoon, think 1/2 is better)
Kosher salt
White pe…

Day 53: Fresh Kohlrabi

Fat bulbs of kohlrabi from the farmers market on Saturday, they held well in the refrigerator

Day 53: Fresh Kohlrabi ♥

Today's quick vegetable snack: Fresh, raw kohlrabi, as a snack, just like carrot sticks or cucumber wedges.
~updated 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~
2005: Thanks to more back-breaking work in the garden late today, it's more raw food tonight, thick slices of almost-peppery kohlrabi. Kohlrabi (pronounced kall-ROB-ee) is a member of the turnip family and is some times called 'cabbage turnip'. Maybe that's because the color is just like a green cabbage! I liked raw kohlrabi better than last night's radishes and spring onions, it just seems more edible than, well, raw. (Later: And it tasted good the next day too, a desktop munch while working.)

2011: Raw kohlrabi is a great before-supper snack, wet and crisp, wetter than a carrot, crisper than a turnip. It's good!

Day 52: Just-Picked Radishes & Spring Onions

Radishes and spring onions from the farmers market (that's kohlrabi on the right for another night this week)

Day 52: Just-Picked Radishes & Spring Onions

Tonight was an adventure in raw food, graceful lengths of rose-colored radish and thick bulbs of spring onion.

Both were locally grown and purchased at Soulard Market, St. Louis' old farmers market. There are newer and closer (and more fru-fru, hmmmm, how exactly does one spell fru-fru?) markets with organic eggs and bison meat and omelets made to order. But Soulard -- one of the few places where city folks and suburbanites mingle, where you'll hear a half dozen languages in a half hour, where the chickens and ducks are sold live -- remains my favorite.

Radishes and green onions -- new vegetables? Of course not.

But for the first time, I paid attention, close attention. What did they really look like? smell like? taste like? What was the texture? the lingering taste? What happened with the Asian Dip leftover from the other night? A smear of butter?

JUST-PICKED RADISHES & SPRING ONIONS
Time to table: 5 minutes
Time to enjoy:
Serves 4

about 8 radish lengths
about 4 spring onions…

Kitchen Parade Extra

Nearly always, fish makes for a fast supper. Visit the Kitchen Parade weekly blog for a recipe for Roasted Salmon & Asparagus, a delightful combination that takes 10 minutes of preparation and can be delivered to the table in just 35 minutes .

Day 51: Fiddlehead Ferns

Delicate fronds of fiddlehead ferns, also called ostrich ferns

Day 51: Fiddlehead Ferns

What a surprise to come upon fiddlehead ferns in the supermarket today! Did I never notice unusual vegetables before? Or are supermarkets experimenting with new items?

Three years ago, my family published a cookbook. My cousin Laura lives in British Columbia and has been a vegetarian for years and years -- though her four children and her husband are not -- and is an inspiring cook. One of her many contributions to the cookbook was a recipe for fiddlehead ferns.

So when I discovered these at the supermarket today, there was no NOT bringing them home (even at $10 a pound) and I knew right where to turn to learn how to cook them.

Laura's recipe calls for scads of butter -- I just couldn't do it. But these were utterly delicious and so very, very pretty! Look at those curlicues!

What do they taste like? I wondered that as I ate them tonight. They taste like nothing I've ever had before. The only words I know to describe the taste are 'green' and 'alive'.

Keep …

Day 50: Roasted Green Beans

~ recipe & photo updated in 2007 ~
2005: I took advantage of what's likely a last cool day -- and ran the oven, ran it, that is, without the air conditioning on as well.

My first reaction to these green beans was that they were, well, chewy. Make that very chewy. Once I slowed down and appreciated the texture and the salty grit, I liked them. And they're so easy to throw in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes when it's on for something else, this is a definite keeper. And I love the tin-foil covered pan - nothing to wash afterward!

2007 PHOTO UPDATE: In 2007, I fell in love with green beans all over again. But here's what I think, with two+ years of experience of cooking vegetables: green beans just don't work roasted. This time, I used a similar recipe, but from Cook's Illustrated, the folks who test again and again to perfect every little detail. I tossed the beans fresh from the farmers market in the recommended amount of olive oil (just a tablespoon for a pound,…

Day 49: Asian-Style Dip with Fresh Vegetables

This dip is easy to make. And fast. And it's good. And yet ... I wouldn't make it again.

"This is different," was the consensus reaction. There are times when 'different' means GOOD and others when different means, HMMM. This was a Hmmm.

That said, for anyone who likes sesame seeds, it might be a good choice. If one thing makes this dip stand out, it is the nutty toasted sesame seeds - don't be tempted to leave them out.

ASIAN-STYLE DIP with FRESH VEGETABLES
Active time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Dip makes 1 cup

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup non-fat yogurt (the original recipe suggested sour cream)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (from a jar)
1 teaspoon chili paste (cayenne might be good substitute)
1 teaspoon Dijon or other good mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil (maybe 2 teaspoons would be better? even 1?)
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

Fresh cucumber, carrots, grape tomatoes

Day 48: French Green Beans with Lemon-Garlic Sauce

Recipe updated & photo added in 2007
May 2005: "Can't say I've ever made a 'sauce' before, you know, the la-di-da sauces in French cooking. Tonight's first-ever attempt yielded less than perfect results but I won't be intimidated again -- I think this Florence Fabricant recipe is forgiving. And delicious. And flexible. My mistake was focus, to be precise, failure to focus. Imagine a stack of dominoes collapsing. I started cooking during the next-to-last episode of the enigmatic Lost. While the castaways struggled, the white wine/shallots/garlic burned. When it ended, I started over. But short on white wine, I resorted to part white / part (decidedly pink) pinotage which likely affected flavor and noticeably affected color. Rules for the next attempt. Stay in the kitchen. Pay attention to the pot. Revel in the result."

August 2007: I tackled this sauce again and found it easy if slightly fussy. The good news is that the sauce can be made ahead of ti…

Day 47: Jerusalem Artichokes as Crudités

Odd little knobs, these Jerusalem artichokes. And who'd guess that something named such would neither be from no where near the Wailing Wall nor an artichoke?

(And here I was thinking this could be one artichoke I'd actually like ...)

Like hapless-prunes-turned-chic-dried-plums, these are now marketed as sunchokes. The new name fits. Supposedly they're related to sunflowers. And well, to be frank, peeling them is a bit of a choke.

That said, I'm glad I tried these. They're all about crunch. Good crunch. I'd add them to a crudité platter any time, like tonight. Well except for the fact that they turn a dull gray after about 15 minutes of air exposure. No matter, just eat fast. Or close your eyes.

However, people do cook Jerusalem artichokes. I found recipes that called for peeling scads of them for gratins and mashed somethings. I can't imagine: peeling is extraordinarily tedious, especially because even with great care, they just don't look that great in th…
... and peeled and sliced.
Odd little knobs, these Jerusalem artichokes. And who'd guess that something named such would neither be from no where near the Wailing Wall nor an artichoke?

(And here I was thinking this could be one artichoke I'd actually like ...)

Like hapless-prunes-turned-chic-dried-plums, these are now marketed as sunchokes. The new name fits. Supposedly they're related to sunflowers. And well, to be frank, peeling them is a bit of a choke.

That said, I'm glad I tried these. They're all about crunch. Good crunch. I'd add them to a crudite platter any time, like tonight. Well except for the fact that they turn a dull gray after about 15 minutes of air exposure. No matter, just eat fast. Or close your eyes.

However, people do cook Jerusalem artichokes. I found recipes that called for peeling scads of them for gratins and mashed somethings. I can't imagine: peeling is extraordinarily tedious, especially because even with great care, they just don't look that great in th…

Day 46: Green Beans with Jalapeño Lime Butter ♥

~ recipe updated & photo added in 2007 ~
2005: Simple butter can be sublime. But tonight, by pure accident, I learned the virtue of 'doctored butter' when using up a shallot, lime and jalapeño butter leftover from last week's fish. (It worked great for an omelet too.) Other 'doctored' butters come to mind. Garlic and ginger. Lemon and wasabi. Let your imagination -- and your pantry -- inspire you!

2007: In the early months of A Veggie Venture, I cooked one bag of frozen vegetables after another: such was my habit, 'before blog'. It really wasn't until much later, when I was tallying 'favorite' recipes, I realized how few there were from the first couple of months. And virtually none started with frozen vegetables. I still like frozen vegetables, but these days, whenever I can, turn to fresh vegetables for enjoyment. These simple beans were simply delicious.

FOR INSTANCE IV (doctored butter)
Tonight, For Instance,
Green Beans with Jalapeño Lime B…

Day 45: Nana's Cucumbers with Non-fat Yogurt

I wonder if farmers and home vegetable gardeners get as much satisfaction from pulling fresh corn and tomatoes from their gardens as I do from stepping outside to snip a few strands of fresh chive. Or rosemary. Or dill. It's not too late to put in a few pots of herbs!

This is a yogurt-lightened version of what my grandmother used to make with sour cream. The yogurt version was good -- but I remember the sour cream version as delicious so will try again, her way.

On Day 65, I happened to have both the cucumber and sour cream on hand. Swoooooooooooon. Some things are worth investing calories in.

NANA's CUCUMBERS with NON-FAT YOGURT
Active time: 10 minutes
Time to table: Just over an hour
Serves 4

1 English cucumber
1 tablespoon sea salt or kosher salt

1/2 cup non-fat yogurt
Generous bunch of fresh chive, snipped with scissors (See ALANNA's TIPS)
Pinch sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

Slice the cucumber in thin rounds. (See TIPS.) Combine with salt and let rest for an hour. Rinse well…

Day 44: Asparagus Jam

Vegetable jam? Hmm.

The idea intrigued me. And I had asparagus in the frig that needed attention. So, yes, why not? It can be fun to 'play' with food!

This might be good along roast pork or some other rich meat where the sweetness would contrast richness. By my measure, though, it's a side dish or condiment and another time wouldn't count as a 'vegetable'.

ASPARAGUS JAM
Active time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 shallots
1 tablespoon water (see ALANNA's TIPS)

1 pound asparagus (see TIPS)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup water

Heat large skillet on MEDIUM HIGH, add oil and let heat until shimmery. While it heats, mince the shallots. Add the shallots and 1 tablespoon water to the skillet and saute until shallots begin to turn gold, 5 - 10 minutes.

Trim tough, woody ends from asparagus, then cut in half-inch lengths. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a…

Day 43: Cucumber with Mustard & Dill - photo only - DO NOT DELETE

Day 43: Cucumber with Mustard & Dill

Stop! It's too early for full summer heat! It's been too hot to cook so the frig is filling up with cold-served vegetables, tonight a simple cucumber dish that was good with fish. It wasn't 'special' but to my taste -- well, let's just say that 'good' can be 'good enough'. I would definitely make this again!

CUCUMBER WITH MUSTARD & DILL
Active time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 4

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon or other mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh pepper
2 tablespoons fresh dill

1 English cucumber

Whisk together all ingredients except cucumber. Cut cucumber in half length-wise (or in quarters if it's quite big as was the one tonight) and then cut in thin slices cross-wise. Combine cucumber with dressing. Serve.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Per Serving: 43 Cal (68% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 27% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 3 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; 15 mg Calcium; 0 mg Ir…

Day 42: Thai Eggplant

Look what I found in the market yesterday!

These Thai eggplant were so pretty, I couldn't resist. It took some effort (to say the least) to figure out how to cook them. Sources suggested standard eggplant cooked Thai-style (not what I was hoping for), eating them raw (I did ... that, ahem, might be an acquired taste), deep frying (I just couldn't bring myself) or long lists of unfamiliar and likely hard-to-find ingredients.

So ... armed with a few ideas and a big sense of adventure, I moved to the kitchen. Cooking, the eggplants remained a pretty green, the turmeric later added a yellow cast -- very pretty.

And ... yes, quite tasty, a complete, if time-consuming, Veggie Venture success. How fun, sheer fun, is can be to 'play' with your food!

Enjoy --

THAI EGGPLANT
Active time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic (from a jar!)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (this, too, from a jar!)
1 pound Thai eggplant, about 16
1/4 cup water

1/4 cup lo…

Day 41: Carrot Coins with Dill

~ recipe updated & photo added in 2006 ~
Simple! Tasty! Fast! A good recipe, especially if you have leftover fresh dill ... or later in the season, dill that needs cutting back.

Lesson: A hand-held julienne tool is worthless, at least for something as hard as a carrot. I fiddled a bit then got out a sharp knife: in a couple of minutes, there was a satisfying pile of thin, orange coins.

I'd love a mandoline but haven't yet made the investment. (2007 Update: I love my new mandoline.)

A food processor would have worked fine either for slicing or grating. For only a pound of carrots, however, in my world, the food processor wasn't worth the trouble (getting it out even though it's handy, making room in the dishwasher, putting it away ... you get the picture!)

June 2006 Note: These were just as good the second year!
Next time I'll get out the food processor and cook up two or three pounds to keep on hand.I used only a teaspoon of peanut oil. The verdict? A teaspoon is gre…

Day 40: Easy Refrigerator Salad ♥

Today's easy make-ahead vegetable salad: A 'concept' recipe for a refrigerator salad that keeps, made from frozen vegetables and chopped onion, celery and pepper. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point or no points. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
~recipe updated & reposted 2008, updated 2012 ~
~more recently updated recipes~
2005: Another make-ahead recipe, another keeps-awhile recipe - this time from my mother who kept a jar in her fridge year-round. Her favored frozen vegetable mix was that classic round peas, square carrots and oval corn combinations. But it was good! Tonight I used what was in the freezer, broccoli and cauliflower. But another time I would use the stir-fry mixes that the supermarkets carry. But I'd experiment, too: lima beans, anyone?

2008: My friend Mary recently shared a favorite recipe, one she calls "Weight Watchers Festive Vegetable Salad". The ingredient list was so familiar: sure enough, it was nearly the same as a reci…

Day 39: Coconut Yams

Pretty good!

Tonight I took advantage of a microwave bag of yams picked up at Trader Joe's last week. Cooking couldn't have been simpler: slit the bag, toss it in the microwave for eight minutes, mash the contents, then start doctoring.

The bag's doctor directions called for 4 tablespoons of maple syrup and 6 tablespoons of butter. OH MY! Of course it's good with that much sugar and fat!

My version is considerably lighter and certainly tastes like - surprise! - yam because its own flavor isn't masked by sugar and fat.

And my version would probably make your real doctor happier, too. Even so, Coconut Yams are higher in calories than I prefer for an every-day vegetable.

Yams do taste a bit like the sweet potatoes we're more used to. Their texture is different, starchier and heavier, though not unpleasantly so.

COCONUT YAMS
Active time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes 6 half-cup servings

20 ounces Trader Joe's diced yams in microwaveable bag
1 tablespoon unsal…

Day 38: Summer Dill Salad ♥

~recipe & photo updated in 2007~
Scary thought but this has been a summer favorite for 14 years - the original recipe card is dated July 1991! Like Swedish Beets, it's made ahead and refrigerated until serving time. It makes a lot so lasts a few days.

Does this recipe stray from A Veggie Venture's intent? Heavens, it's even called a 'salad' -- that's no 'vegetable'!

Hmmm. Decision time. Here it is: the main ingredient is a vegetable. Since A Veggie Venture's real intent is to help us get out of a rut, look for similar recipes in coming weeks, especially since they're so well suited to relaxed summer cooking and eating.

Are we agreed?!

PHOTO UPDATE 2007: The dill in my small herb garden is very sad-looking but the basil, now the basil is happy -- and so is this salad, with basil as a substitute for dill.

SUMMER DILL SALAD
Active time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Makes 6 cups

Water to cover
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds frozen peas

1/4 cup non-fa…

Day 37: Roasted Salmon & Asparagus

Tonight was a special supper, a one-dish meal, fish and vegetable all in one. It's available here, as a Kitchen Parade extra.

Day 36: Swedish Pickled Beets ♥ (Refrigerator Pickled Beets)

One of my favorite recipes on all of A Veggie Venture, pickled beets made with canned beets. They're just delicious! Especially in summer, keep a jar of these on hand in the refrigerator, ready to add to salads at lunch, to plates at supper. They even just look pretty, all ruby-aglisten, waiting to be eaten! These are "refrigerator pickles" and keep for several weeks in the refrigerator without hauling out the home-canning gear. Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly & Freestyle Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free.
Skip Straight to the Recipe
Since first making Swedish Pickled Beets back in 2005, I keep a big jar in the refrigerator nearly all the time. It's just so convenient to grab one or two small beets for a quick salad or a vegetable snack. Plus I've become a huge fan of beets, this might have been the first recipe to turn me into the "beet queen"!

Mostly, my beet recipes start with fresh beets so it's…

Day 34: Lemon & Honey Glazed Spinach

Pretty good! And easy! And fast! Thus: a keeper!

Cooking the spinach in the lemon and honey -- vs adding them afterward -- inserts a brightness I've not noticed before. And I really liked the underlying bite from the red pepper flakes.

LEMON & HONEY GLAZED SPINACH
Active time: 20 minutes (including 7 to clean farmer's market spinach)
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4 with small portions, 2 with generous portions

1 pound spinach greens (see ALANNA's TIPS)
1 tablespoon olive oil (see TIPS)
1 tablespoon garlic (from a jar!)
Zest of a lemon
Juice from about half a lemon
1 tablespoon honey (next time, try doubling)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper

Clean greens well, removing tough stems. (See TIPS.) Heat a large skillet on MEDIUM HIGH. Add olive oil and let heat. Add garlic, zest, lemon juice, honey, salt and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, then stir a bit. Add about half the greens and stir well continuously. As the greens begin to cook down, add more until …

Day 33: Mashed Rutabaga & Apple ♥

A silky smooth 'mash' of rutabagas and apples. Gorgeous color.
~recipe & photo updated 2011~
2005: Who knew it would work out so well?! I was just using up the leftover rutabagas in the fridge!

Tonight's big lesson: Just because you don't so much like rutabagas cooked one way, (Glazed Rutabagas, say) doesn't mean you won't love them another way (mashed like tonight, say). And this means that just because you don't like [pick one: eggplant, zucchini, broccoli] cooked one way doesn't mean you won't like [pick one: eggplant, zucchini, broccoli] cooked another way.

Mashed Rutabaga & Apple is really, really good -- and if you liked Mashed Potatoes & Carrots, you'll love this, too. I imagine it best served in the fall, with roast pork, I think.

2010: Once again, I adored this combination of a vegetable and fruit. It is sooo smooth. In fact, don't drain the mixture and include the cooking water when sending through the food processor, it c…

Day 32: Poke Sallet ♥

Tonight's Lesson: No matter what your mother used to say, it's perfectly okay to "play with your food".

On Saturday, I made an early trip to Soulard, the big St Louis farmers market. My favorite farmer is Charles, who has the best rhubarb, spinach and basil in the market. This week his stand also displayed bundles of greens tied with string. 'Poke' read the hand-written sign. I wondered out loud, What in heavens is poke? and another shopper answered, Don't you know that old song, Poke Salad Annie? (I didn't but listened to it here.)

There was no leaving the poke behind! No matter that I hadn't a single clue how to cook it.

Online I learned that 'poke salad' is a citified 'poke sallet', that Harlan County, Kentucky holds an annual Poke Sallet Festival, and that most recipes call for a 'mess of greens' and specify cooking the tender-looking shoots in fresh water three times, then cooking them with onions in a 'heap of bac…

Day 31: Leeks & Asparagus

~ recipe updated & photo added in 2006 ~
Tonight was good, completely worth repeating. It was tasty, easy and fast - and a great way to take advantage of the piles of fresh asparagus that are at farm stands and the supermarket. Tonight I served this atop mostly-white omelettes: delicious.

Leeks have an almost-sweetish onion essence. Paired with butter, they are delicious. When seeking a sweet touch of onion, why not use a "sweet onion" like a Vidalia? Sweet onions lose their onion-oomph when cooked so are best used raw. Leeks, however, will impart that sweet touch.

LEEKS & ASPARAGUS
Active time: 5 minutes + occasional stirring
Time to table: 15 minutes for thin spears, 25 for fat spears
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek or 2 small leeks (see ALANNA's TIPS)
1 pound asparagus, thin or thick spears, woody ends removed, and if thick, stripes of skin removed with a vegetable peeler
Salt & pepper

Melt butter in a skillet over MEDIUM HIGH. Reduce heat to MEDIUM, add…