Posts

Showing posts from January, 2006

The Best of January

No surprise that a veggie-loving cook follows the four seasons. Fresh tomatoes in winter? No way. Butternut squash in summer? Not on your life.

Still, January warrants special thought when picking the month's favorites, the one soup and the one vegetable that together simply shout winter and holler holiday letdown. And sure enough, they do.

Weight Watchers Zero Points Vegetable Soup
Easy to make. Easy on the holiday-gorged palate. Life-giving vegetables. Low-carb and low-calorie. Zero points or one point in the Weight Watchers world, depending on how you count. Yup: perfect for January.





Turnip Potato Puree

Girds the winter soul for the remaining months of cold and snow. (In Missouri, where it's been in the 50s to the 70s in January, for heavens sake, northern sorts like me still live in hope.)

January perfect.










FROM THE ARCHIVES ... Find all ten months' Picks of the Months in the Recipe Box.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 295: Cabbage with Winter Pesto ◄

Simple and good. And OH so fast.

Just a little cooked cabbage (no sniffing! no up-turned noses! it's good!) with a little spinach pesto, what I call Winter Pesto, stirred in.

A definite keeper.

FROM THE ARCHIVES For other oh-so-simple vegetable sides, see here in the Recipe Box.

CABBAGE with WINTER PESTO
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4

Salted water to cover
1 pound cabbage, cored and roughly chopped (would a bag of coleslaw-cut cabbage work? maybe, although the texture would be considerably different, and it only took 4 minutes to chop the cabbage)
1/2 tablespoon Winter Pesto(or a commercial pesto though the calorie differences are likely significant)

Start the water in a medium saucepan over MEDIUM HIGH. (Don't forget to salt the water!) Add the cabbage as it's prepped, even before the water boils. Once the water begins to boil, cover, reduce the heat to MEDIUM and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain and stir in the …

Day 294: Spinach Curry ♥

Today's Vegetable Recipe: Fresh spinach quick-cooked with onion, garlic, mustard seed & cumin. Weight Watchers 1 point. Low-carb. Vegan.
~ recipe & photo updated in 2008 ~
2005: What an easy, healthful and unexpectedly delicious vegetarian supper! (Or of course, if preferred, vegetable side dish.) The recipe is inspired by Indian- and vegetarian-cuisine food blogger Mahanandi, whose simple vegetable dishes capture my culinary imagination.

And, hey! in one dish, I've made a good start on two of my 2006 food resolutions. Not bad, eh? The hardest of those resolutions -- the one that always created a bad case of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) -- is hot peppers. But my fridge is now home to a pound of tiny Thai peppers, a couple hundred of them. I used two of those tiny little green guys tonight -- it's a start, yes! -- especially because I loved the underlying subtle heat, even if next time I'd probably use one pepper, not two.

2008: Once again, this easy spinach re…

Day 293: Carrots & Mushroom Ragout

The idea here was a hearty vegetarian supper, as suggested by the inspiring cookbook, Vegetarian Suppers, a favorite during my meatless years.

Instead, the carrot and mushroom combination seemed much more like a savory vegetable side dish.

What might have made it more supper-ish? More sauce perhaps, to soak into rice or a grain or even mashed potatoes. And honestly, I think the ragout would be delicious with chunks of cooked lamb. Oh dear, so much for good vegetarian intentions!

NEXT TIME I'd skip the raisins which added little and were slightly odd paired with mushrooms.

NUTRITION NOTES Skipping the currants drops the dish into 'low carb' territory.

FROM THE ARCHIVES For other vegetarian supper ideas, see here in the Recipe Box.

CARROT & MUSHROOM RAGOUT
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 6

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (reduced from 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon butter)
1 small onion, diced
8 ounces mushroo…

Sneaky Moms Unite!

First it was Sweetnicks.

And now it's Alysha over at The Savory Notebook
who's using delicious-looking and great-tasting food
to teach her boys veggie-loving habits.

Today Alysha's boys gobble up asparagus gussied up with a
Penzeys gift spice blend called Florida Seasoned Pepper.
She's also had luck with cauliflower mashed liked potatoes and
an ever-so-healthful vegetarian soup with -- get this! -- spinach!

Great work, Alysha!

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 inVeggies for Kids.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 292: Eggplant Lasagna

No surprise that something called eggplant lasagna contains eggplant. But in this recipe, the eggplant actually replaces the lasagna noodles!

Is that a good idea?

Yes: This was one of the best, maybe the best, lasagnas I've ever eaten. That said, I credit the slow-roasted tomatoes, Batch 11 to be specific, rather than the eggplant. I'd recommend the base recipe with traditional noodles any day. (Folks from the Southern Hemisphere: Are you planning to slow-roast tomatoes this year? I really really REALLY recommend it! Just LOOK what's possible when you do!)

No: The inspiring recipe called for a fussy, time-consuming process for precooking the eggplant, one I'll never repeat. I think there're other ways, however, like this one.

Yes, But: The eggplant lasagna is about 1/3 lower in calories and contains fewer than 1/2 the carbs. That said, neither version can be considered 'diet' food. If I were going to splurge on lasagna, I think I'd go whole hog, so to speak…

Day 291: Orzo with Spinach ♥

One of my oldest recipes, a garlicky pasta with strips of tender cooked spinach. This one requires will power: I could eat the whole pot if I let myself!
~recipe & photo updated & reposted 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~
2006 Original: Funny. This pasta and spinach has been a year-round favorite for so long that it's made two cookbooks, one for church, one for family. So how nearly 300 Veggie Venture days have passed without its appearance here is beyond explanation. But with little ado, here it is, just simple orzo with spinach, Parmesan and pine nuts. Fast, easy, and unless you're a carb counter, not entirely unhealthful.

2012: Funny again. I still make this recipe off and on, it's so easy to throw together. The trick is to use plenty of garlic and let the garlic essence really develop as it turns golden.

REVIEWS
"I use this recipe for inspiration all the time. ... I've passed it on to many friends, and have probably posted it to my Facebook feed mor…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Cashew Chicken Curry ◄

Until introduced to Indian home cooking exemplified in food blogs like One Hot Stove, Mahanandi, Food, in the Main and Hooked on Heat, my experience with Indian cuisine was limited to two favorite restaurants (one a Friday-night hangout during grad school in Austin, another here in St Louis), a tiny grocery in Dallas that sold fresh curry leaves alongside saris and -- most famously -- London take-away.

If I had my druthers -- and I have, despite considerable objection -- take-away curry would be the choice for at least one, and preferably two, meals a day in London.

So at home, I struggle to replicate that fiery, steaming goodness and still please the American palates which pull up chairs at my table. The dozenth version of something close is the subject of this week's column in Kitchen Parade.

Day 290: Two Recipes for Edamame Snacks

The Sugar High Friday online edible events are always a welcome challenge for A Veggie Venture.

But January's mean'n'lean Sugar LOW Friday created a special, um, opportunity. Sure, there're vegetables in cakes and sweets and even sorbets and ice creams (oh! I can't wait to spring one or two cold ones on us all some warm day soon!) and all calling for piles of sugar, buckets of butter.

So like every good writer who starts over entirely when a sentence doesn't work, I decided to turn the SHF/SLF thinking upside down by choosing not a sweet, not a dessert, but instead a dessert replacement ... a snack.

A vegetable snack, of course, made from protein-rich edamame beans. With NO cream. And NO sugar. And only a tiny bit of oil. And quite tasty to snack on after supper, at your desk ... although some messy but no more than a potato chip or even popcorn.

I tried two versions, one roasted with olive oil and salt (on the left) and another microwaved and tossed with ground L…

Day 289: Turnip Potato Purée ♥

~recipe & photo updated 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~
2006 Original: Talk about a ***** five-star ***** recipe. Fast. Easy. Delicious. Cheap. Healthful. That said, I made a big mistake with this pur&eacute:e. It doesn't belong on the "side", it belongs "under" – a big plopful under a lambchop, pork medallions, even a slice of meatloaf. The orange and ginger flavors are subtle, just enough to stop mid-bite to wonder, Hmmm, what's that taste?

TURNIPS vs RUTABAGAS Like yams and sweet potatoes, grocery stores often interchange turnips for rutabagas. One would be as good as the other here, but Stephencooks has side-by-side photographs so at least you know what you're cooking!

Day 288: No Waste Leek Stock ◄

Contemplating homemade vegetable stock, I struggle with whether the vegetables are actually going to waste.

But what's the one vegetable that all cooks always throw away half to three-quarters of?

Leeks, of course. The green stalks are tough and inedible and recipes always specify, 'white and light green parts only'.

So after making this soup, just to see what would happen and with nothing to lose, I threw the leftover leek stalks into a pot along the leftover peels from a russet potato.

The result? A lovely, sweetish, onionish stock.

And absolutely no waste.

NO WASTE LEEK STOCK
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Made 4 cups

8 cups water
Peelings from a potato (optional, I suspect)
'Green parts' from 5 leeks, roughly chopped

Start the water to bring to a boil. Add the potato peels and leeks and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Calling Vegetarians! Calling Vegetable Lovers!

(Many thanks to Brian Naughton for Tomato Republic, his photo oh so evocative of stars on a flag field. Vegetable-wise, it'll have to keep us happy for six more months, until real-life tomatoes are worth eating again!)
Are you the author of a vegetarian or vegan food blog?
Or the author of a food blog that features vegetarian or vegan dishes occasionally?Or are you a carnivore who regularly writes about vegetables?Does your blog have an easy-to-find category for vegetarian dishes? or vegetables? or salads?
And everyone, where do you turn for meatless inspiration -- favorite blogs? websites? cookbooks?
I'm building a resource site -- here at The Veggie Evangelist -- with lists of vegetarian and vegan blogs along with what I call 'veggie-loving' sites, that is, bloggers who write regularly though not exclusively about vegetables.

Just click on through, then leave a comment in the appropriate list. I'd love to hear from you -- and, hint, hint, doing so could be fruitful,…

Day 287: Peas with Chili Lime Butter

Oh dear.

I'd already half written the post in my head, extolling the delicious simplicity of peas topped with the chili lime butter that was such a hit with a watercress sandwich.

But nope, nothin' special here. Sorry. I wish so too!

Hmm. Broccoli, perhaps?

ARF TUESDAYS For the record, this is A Veggie Venture's contribution to the gentle eat-right encouragement from Sweetnicks.

FROM THE ARCHIVES For green-pea favorites, see here in the Recipe Box.

PEAS with CHILI LIME BUTTER
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 10 minutes for the chili lime butter, 2 minutes for the peas
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound frozen green peas, steamed (although I'm learning that I prefer to cook peas in boiling water so they can be liberally salted)

CHILI LIME BUTTER
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 a large jalepeno, minced fine
Zest and juice from a lime
Salt and pepper to taste (I skipped both)

Stir together the ingredients. Makes 4 tablespoons.…

Day 286: Cucumber Pancakes

Sneaking vegetables into breakfast is hard!

Even after nearly 10 months of cooking a vegetable in a new way every single day, the breakfast and brunch list is pretty short; worse, not one recipe really shouts 'breakfast' in the way a dedicated veggie- and breakfast-eater might hope.

So Nupur's One Hot Stovecucumber pancakes sent me scurrying for rice flour. (Ooops. Only mid-cucumber-grate and too late did I realize that there's "rice flour" and then there's "sweet rice flour". I'd bought the wheat-free and gluten-free sweet rice flour at Trader Joe's. Was it the wrong kind? I don't know! The pancakes weren't sweet-tasting in the least.)

These were savory good! To my surprise, I especially liked the bits of hot pepper and the taste of cumin. Nupur suggests serving the pancakes with relish or chutney but I have to say, the tiny bit of chili lime butter leftover from Day 280 was sublime. I also tried a bite with maple syrup -- okay but…

Weight Watchers Zero Points Garden Vegetable Soup ♥

The famous zero point Garden Vegetable Soup from Weight Watchers. It's quick to make with minimal chopping, sure to satisfy. This WW no point soup uses a mix of inexpensive and easy-to-find fresh and frozen vegetables. If you're looking to slim down, reset your body's expectations after a period of too-much or too-rich food, make this fresh soup your starting gate.

Real Food, Fresh & Flexible. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Great for Meal Prep. Low Carb. Low Fat. Weeknight Easy. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.

Day 284: Watercress Soup ♥

Today's recipe: A classic watercress soup, slightly peppery thanks to the bright green leaves of watercress. Naturally Gluten Free.
~recipe updated, first published way back in 2006~
~more recently updated recipes~
BACK IN 2006 A Turkish food blogger commented, "Seems it was watercress week over here ;-)." It was! But no more, that whole case of watercress I purchased for a whole dollar is gone. It's been quite an odyssey! Three salads, the very favorite with watercress, tangerines and blue cheese; the colorful crunch of daikon and bell peppers; plus another less-favorite that mixes watercress with iceberg lettuce. But a case of watercress goes a long way! I also made a spicy cucumber and watercress relish and a watercress sandwich and a wonderful turkey and tortellini soup plus, well, a a mistake and a few others hidden behind the screen.

But there's no experimenting with watercress without returning to an old favorite, watercress soup. Some years ago, I served…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Winter Pesto with Pasta ◄

Basil's both hard to find and dear right now. But spinach? It's everywhere and oh-so-cheap.

So experiment with this low-carb spinach and walnut pesto, whether to toss with pasta or to top onto vegetables.

Winter Pesto is featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

Retro Appetizer: Cheesy Artichoke Nibblers ♥ from the Best of Bridge

Today's quick 'n' easy vegetable appetizer recipe: Pure comfort food, warm squares of an artichoke and cheddar mix, with a little holiday color from pimento and fresh parsley.
~recipe & photo updated & reposted 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~
2006 Original Post: So there's a blog party and we're all invited! The theme is 'retro appetizers' so pick your decade. I picked mine, the 80s, after encountering slim-pickin' ideas from my small collection of vintage cookbooks.

My grandmother's first cookbook, Meals Tested and Approved, published in 1920 by Good Housekeeping, devoted a chapter to 'cereals for breakfast' and another to 'baking powder biscuits and shortcakes' but not one word to appetizers.
The 1938 American Woman's Cookbook had seven pages of appetizers in a 900-page book, all lobster, caviar, anchovy and foie gras.
The 1959 Electric Cook Book ('your complete guide to cooking electrically') - nothing.

Day 282: Cucumber & Watercress Relish ◄

Look closely -- see those little seeds?

They're whole fennel and mustard seeds -- and they convert this simple salad/relish from something nicely fresh to something alive with subtle layers of flavor and deliciousness. I'm sooo glad I didn't skip them!

And this is the second cold vegetable salad of the week -- in the middle of winter! (The first is here.) Vegetable salads are summer staples, of course, but seem out-of-season in January.

O Contraire! What a fresh combination, a great side to roast chicken or piled on a big supper salad.

NEXT TIME No watercress? No problem, just omit it or substitute cilantro or even parsley.

FROM THE ARCHIVES For other cold salads, see here in the Recipe Box. And don't miss this week's first cold salad, made with daikon and red peppers.

CUCUMBER & WATERCRESS RELISH
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4

2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/4 cup white wine vin…

Day 281: Daikon & Pepper Salad ♥

Today's winter vegetable salad: A quick mix of crisp, wet daikon and bell pepper. Very pretty color, yes?! Weight Watchers Friendly, however you count points. Low Cal. Low Carb. Naturally Gluten Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
WHAT IS DAIKON? Meet my new favorite vegetable: daikon! Daikon is the ONLY vegetable that starts with the Letter D – who knew? (The Alphabet of Vegetables knew, that's who!) It's also called Japanese radish, Chinese radish, Asian radish and Chinese turnip; also white radish, winter radish, even the "icicle radish". The syllables mean big (dai) and root (kon) in Japanese.

Daikon comes in a huge, white baton-like root. (For pictures, see Wikipedia.) It is sweet and wet and has wonderful tooth-crunch. It lacks the bitter bite of radish and the woodiness of jicama. It peels as easily as a carrot and slices as easily as a cucumber. Daikon would be a terrific addition to crispy vegetable platters or diced/grated into …

Leanne's Veggie Soup
Guest Post: The SISTER Cooks Too

Today's slow cooker vegetable soup recipe: One of my sister Adanna's favorite recipes, just vegetables in a crockpot and there you go, soup! Low carb. Weight Watchers friendly.
~recipe & photo updated 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~
ADANNA's 2006 POST My sister has been gently encouraging me to write a guest post, so – DEEP BREATH – here goes!

So yes, this post is being written by Adanna, not Alanna. Yes, we're sisters. No, we're not twins. In fact, our memories are so different that some times, we wonder if we grew up in the same family. For example, Alanna claims she's the younger sister. Hmmm. My memory of that is almost four years different.

Our family has always been a little over-the-top when it comes to food. Our mom taught us about nutrition at such an early age that at about age four, I finished eating my chicken at a family dinner and announced, “There! Now I’ve had my protein!” In college, when given the assignment to plan a week’s menus fo…

Day 280: Watercress Sandwiches with Chili-Lime Butter ♥

When the ad writers prevail upon us to take a 'bite out of life', maybe they really mean to make a watercress sandwich?

Watercress greens are just so fresh, so full of pepper -- and just taste alive. And a whole cup's worth has virtually no calories, no carbs (setting aside today's sandwich bread) and is full of those life-breathing antioxidants.

All that said, what MADE this sandwich is the chili lime butter. It added real panache to the sandwich. Over the next few days, I suspect, it'll do the same with otherwise simple steamed broccoli and green beans and ... and ...

And because the butter is spiked with flavor, only a very little is needed.


2008 Update: This sandwich is a winner!






WATERCRESS SANDWICHES with CHILI LIME BUTTER
Hands-on time: 10 minutes for the butter, estimated 10 minutes for four sandwiches
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4 or more

CHILI LIME BUTTER
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 a large jalapeño, minced fine
Zest and juice from a lime

Day 279: Watercress, Iceberg Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

After a few nights reprising the amazing watercress and blue cheese salad from Day 276, I was ready for a change.

It'd been a long while since I'd had iceberg lettuce -- the only lettuce 'known to man' until well into my 20s -- and I was looking forward to revisiting something homey and familiar.

But as it turns out, at least to my nowadays taste, iceberg lettuce deserves its flavorless reputation. Tossed with watercress, the lettuce served only as filler and in fact watered down and washed out the watercress' trademark pepperbite.

And the big shock was how much dressing it took! Day 276's salad was barely dressed and yet spikey with flavor. Tonight's salad was drowning in dressing before any flavor came out.

FROM THE ARCHIVES For more green salads, see here in the Recipe Box.

WATERCRESS, ICEBERG SALAD with BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 7 minutes for the dressing, 5 minutes for the salad
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 4

DRE…

This Year I Dare: The 2006 Food Challenge

[Oh so many thanks to the hillybilly photographer over at Blue Ridge blog for the inspiring Harley, who even, it's reported, loves lima beans and cooked spinach!]

So what's a cook to do?

The 2006 Food Challenge is the latest hip'n'happenin' thing, introduced by Lucullian Delights and perpetuated, thank you very much, by Seriously Good. It asks ... oh goodness ... that we further challenge our kitchen and culinary prowess. (Heavens, I'd just like to see my way through Day 365!) Still, what's a life-long learner to do?

So let's take a cue from Harley and make a game of it all. Kitchen Parade's three-balls-at-once goals for 2006 are ... SIT, everyone, SIT.
Playing with Knives ... take a knife-skills class to get over a bad case of I-don't-need-all-that-fancy-stuff, ignorance-driven superiority about knives

Playing with Peppers ... hot ones, that is

Playing with Fire ... figure out how to first turn on and then really use the new grill Playing with Sa…

Day 278: Turkey, Tortellini & Watercress Soup ◄

Ah, this soup struck the perfect note on a wintry Saturday afternoon.

If it looks like something you'd make right after Thanksgiving, no surprise: November's broth-making and turkey-picking payoff was turkey broth and cooked turkey from the freezer and a wonderful soup that made up in just minutes.

The watercress added a bright note but spinach would suffice for the trademark 'pepper' of watercress was somehow lost in the rich broth and cheesy-salty tortellini.

NEXT TIME The tortellini definitely moved the soup from good to great. But it didn't take many: I allowed just five per bowl, which kept the soup in healthful low-cal and even low-carb territory.

LOW-CARB EATERS I suspect that this is a good way to limit carbs and still satisfy a pasta craving -- that is limiting the intake rather than eliminating a food entirely. With just five tortellini in the soup (as in the picture), net carbs are just 10 grams.

FROM THE ARCHIVES Do you still have Thanksgiving bounty in the …

Day 277: Sauteed Watercress

Ooooops.

If that looks like a whole lotta roughage, you're right. This quick-sauteed watercress wasn't inedible taste-wise but it was unchewable tooth-wise, unless perchance you're a cow.

NEXT TIME Read and heed the instructions: "two bunches watercress, coarse stems discarded".

Because watercress is so healthful and this bit cooked in literally two minutes, "I'll be back." Stems discarded.

FROM THE ARCHIVES For other quick-quick vegetable recipes, see here in the Recipe Box.

SAUTEED WATERCRESS
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 2 minutes
Time to table: 3 minutes
Serves 1

1 teaspoon olive oil
Watercress, coarse stems removed, washed in running water, shaken but not spin- or towel-dried
1 tablespoon garlic (from a jar) or 1 clove minced garlic
Squeeze of lime juice
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet til shimmery. Add the watercress (NO COARSE STEMS!) and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and lime juice and cook for another minute. …

Kitchen Parade Extra: Quick Cauliflower Soup & Quick Broccoli Soup ◄

It's the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere. Today it's even snowing here along the Mississippi River flyway, sure to further invigorate the bald eagles that fish the river.

And the obvious answer to "What's for lunch?" and "What's for supper?" -- for humans, anyway -- seems to be soup.

The pair of quick soups featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column, one broccoli and one cauliflower, are low-fat, low-carb and deliciously simple and well, simply delicious.

Day 276: Watercress, Clementine & Blue Cheese Salad ♥

Winter salads are so wonderful! This salad is a simple combination of watercress (or arugula or another salad green) with tangerine and blue cheese crumbles, way more than a sum of its parts. The dressing has citrus flavor too, boosted by a spoonful of orange juice concentrate, one of my favorite ingredients. Seasonal. Easy Weeknight Supper. Low Carb. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly & Freestyle Friendly. Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free.
This salad is so simple and sooo good. Call it "my favorite new salad".

It had me dreaming! It had me planning a 6am grocery run! Better yet: I just talked to the produce manager by phone. The beautiful bags of watercress he found in the back for me yesterday for $2 a bag are expired now so he's going give me whatever I want for a buck! We'll be wallowing in watercress for a few days! Any ideas? What would you do? And can I preserve it somehow?

The magic is in the combination of the peppery watercress with the tang of tange…

Day 275: Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices

For weeks, my sister has been raving about spaghetti squash. (Don't you just wish she'd do a guest post? All in favor, comment Aye!)

But taste-wise this version turned out bland and watery -- it just didn't work, despite all the good ingredients. (See? Don't you think my sister should do a guest post? No pressure though, 80KD!!)

And even though it was very convenient to cook the squash in the microwave (right in its own skin with no pan!), it was a real pain to pick the seeds out of the strings afterward.

NEXT TIME I'd be tempted to skip sauteeing the butter/garlic/spices (thus eliminating an extra pan) and just stir them into the hot strings. And I'll definitely cut the squash in half to remove the seeds before cooking.

FROM THE ARCHIVES For other microwave vegetables, see here in the Recipe Box.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH with MOROCCAN SPICES
Hands-on time: 1 minute up front, 10 minutes at the end, occasional attention in between
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes 5 cups

1 spagh…

Day 274: Broccoli Tapenade

The inspiring recipe for today's vegetable implied a light guacamole perfect for casual parties -- "brocamole", call it.

And the avocado-broccoli combination is good -- but no substitute for real-thing good guacamole.

It was quite delicious spread on whole grain bread with a simple poached egg on top but it would also definitely work with crackers, even just as a side dish plopped on a plate next to grilled chicken or something simple.

And it's low-cal and low-carb -- so even if NOT guacamole, a good standby for playoff and SuperBowl parties.

NEXT TIME If I wanted to more closely approximate guacamole, I'd add another avocado or two.

FOR THE RECORD This is A Veggie Venture's contribution to this week's antioxidant-rich challenge over at Sweetnicks. At first, I had trouble figuring out what vegetables are high in antioxidants. But broccoli? Well, it's a definite YES and besides, I'll eat it.

FROM THE ARCHIVE For other appetizers featuring vegetables, see…

Tool Tip: Avocado Knife (and the Common Kitchen Tools That Have Replaced It)

Truth be told, my kitchen drawers are emptier than one might guess, mostly because I buy few – and keep still-fewer – single-purpose utensils. But here's the thing.

ONE TOOL Once upon a time, I was enamored with an avocado knife, that's the avocado-shaped specialty knife shown on the left, there. For years, it worked great, earning a permanent home here because it was small and yet ever so practical for piercing and loosening the avocado pit, slicing the skin and then scooping out the flesh. You could say, I suppose, that this single-purpose tool was in fact, yes, multi-purpose!

VS THREE TOOLS And then again? That avocado knife has been replaced by not one but three "tools" – not purchased especially but ones I keep on hand and use for other purposes many times a day. First, a serrated knife, technically it's a tomato knife but I use it ALL the time. (Use it to slice the avocado open.) Then a serrated spoon, technically it's a grapefruit spoon and again, I …