Showing posts from April, 2006

Kitchen Parade Extra: Plant Sale Soup ♥

Have you planted herbs yet? It's time! Even if only a pot of chive, do!

This week's Kitchen Parade recipe is called Plant Sale Soup -- that's because a local reader makes a big pot every year to sustain the volunteers at her Herb Society's annual sale. I'll definitely be in attendance tomorrow.

This hearty, heart-warming soup is my contribution to Weekend Herb Blogging at Kalyn's Kitchen.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

A Veggie Venture: The Back Story

On April 1st, 2005, I launched A Veggie Venture. That "I" was me, Alanna Kellogg, already second-generation author of the food column Kitchen Parade which my mom started when I was a baby.

Half lark, half April Fool's joke, the goal for A Veggie Venture was to cook a vegetable with new recipes and new vegetables every single day for an entire month. (It seemed so ambitious at the time!)

Why? Because our diets need more vegetables. Because vegetables are too often an after-thought. And because it's easy to get stuck in a veggie rut. But after a month, it felt like I was just getting started. And the asparagus was calling. And then:

after three months, I discovered the vibrant food blogger community and home-grown tomatoes were just coming in
after six months, I was still learning and oh! it was time to roast fall’s squashes
after nine months, the daily rhythm somehow sustained itself and the wintry root-vegetable purees tasted so good
and in the twelfth month, I came…

Asparagus with Anchovies & Garlic ♥

WHAT a winner -- a terrific treat for spring!

This asparagus side -- it's simple, it's quick, it's easy, it's low in calories, it's low in carbs, it's a tad unusual AND it tastes great.

My first-time use of anchovies during December's Paper Chef was so successful, I felt emboldened to try the stinky little fishies again in a warm pepper salad -- also delicious.

So expectations were high for this saute of fat asparagus spears, garlic and anchovies.

But I was completely enchanted -- the asparagus essence remained firmly intact but was at the same time turned into something entirely different.

This is a complete keeper!

Starting out, I wondered if this treatment would be good for fat asparagus spears, also if the stem ends should be peeled.
No problem on either count: the strong flavors are perfect for thick asparagus and there was no issue with stringy skins.FOR THE RECORD ...
Seriously Good is collecting asparagus recipes during April and May. If yo…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Quick Supper: Sole with Mushrooms & Onions

It's that time of year when there's no coming in until near dark.

Neighborhood strolls to devour the brilliant color of azaleas, spring phlox and the delicacy of dogwood and flowering pear. Mulching the garden. Yes, even lawn mowing!

Supper? Oh, right.

A perfect quick supper for spring nights is featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column, a light and simple baked fish, sole topped with mushrooms and onions.

Are fast and easy suppers your kind of cooking? A new "Quick Supper" recipe is featured every month at Kitchen Parade. Just check the Quick Supper archive! Right now I have a hankering for Roasted Salmon & Asparagus. Hmm. Supper?

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Kitchen Parade Extra: Hot Cross Buns

Just in time for Good Friday and the Easter weekend: hot cross buns, redolent with spices. Are the ingredients waiting in your pantry? I'm willing to bet but check for yourself.

Looking for recipe ideas for Easter morning, Easter brunch or Easter dinner? Check here in Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box.

Or vegetable ideas for Easter? Check here in A Veggie Venture's Recipe Box!

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 365: Carrot Cookies ◄

To my proper mind, every good meal should end with a sweet note.

And so here for Day 365 (!), by good luck vs good management, is a carrot cookie that expresses my convictions about food and nutrition and balance and pleasure.

The inspiring recipe was SO! unnecessarily indulgent. It was hellbent on turning a 'healthful sounding' carrot cookie into a double order of fries with an apple pie on the side.

The big issue was two cookies (the double order of fries) sandwiching a cream cheese frosting (that'd be the apple pie).
The sandwich cookie (the one iced Too Much in the photo) racks up 329 calories and, in the Weight Watchers world, 8 whole points -- EIGHT! Have another, why don't you?
After my adjustments, a single satisfying cookie has only 114 calories and 2 Weight Watchers points -- and that's still a lot
My cookies aren't abstemious-tasting in the least. They're very good carrot cookies -- in fact, they're very good cookies, no qualification, especially …

Day 364: Oil & Honey Dressing for Salad Greens ◄

Oil & Vinegar is a standard. But Oil & Honey?

Oil & Honey is the new favorite salad dressing at Diva Marketing, inspired by last month's Zucchini Lemon-Honey Salad.

I had to try it! Toby drizzles olive oil and honey on salad greens. I went a half-step further by misting -- vs drizzling -- the greens with good olive oil, then swirling maybe a half tablespoon of agave nectar over top, then seasoning with salt and pepper.

My report? It's not only very easy -- it's very good, definitely a new standby.

What is agave nectar? It's the plant-based vegan substitute for honey, also a baker's substitute for refined sugar. And Shake off the Sugar reports that agave nectar has a low-glycemic index so is good for low-carb diets.

My only challenge is to not mix up agave nectar with the dog's flax seed oil (on the left)!

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... The Recipe Box has other ideas for green salads but be sure not to miss the Celery & Apple Salad and the Napa Cabbage, Herb &…

Day 362: Roasted Pepper & Hummus Sandwiches ◄

If you spend two hours roasting peppers, they're worth more than one vegetable post, right? OK OK, I'm milking the peppers, no doubt.

But after oberving all the chickpea-mashing going on in the food blog world, I decided to match up leftover roasted peppers and 28 Cook'sThai basil hummus for an easy weekend lunch. (Like hummus? You and the whole world! It's here on BlogHer.)

Twas tasty!

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... In case you wondered, yep, the Recipe Box.
has vegetable sandwich ideas.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 361: Roasted Pepper Soup ◄

Roasting the peppers was painful but -- at least! -- yes, the soup was worth it.

During the other night's first taste test, I worried the whole pot was destined for the disposal. You see, the 'spice' in this soup is chili powder. It seemed an odd choice from the git-go but because this cookbook (Vegetarian Celebrations by Nava Atlas who blogs with the rest of us at In a Vegetarian Kitchen) is so reliably good, chili powder it was.

Straight out of the pot, the chili powder tasted strident, overpowering and mismatched with the pepper. After resting overnight, the soup was ... yes, delicous! And the chili powder had mellowed into the background, letting the sweet pepper flavor come forth and shine.

NEXT TIME ... I'll try the soup with two-buck, two-second Trader Joe's frozen roasted peppers or the equivalent of jarred peppers.

Even on a damp spring day, this was tempting cold, a red-pepper gazpacho, if you will.
As garnish, the roasted green/yellow peppers…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Lemon Turkey Noodle Soup

Spring's bursting out in all its blossom glory here in the Mississippi Flyway. And that means temperatures in the sunny 70s one day, rain and chilly 40s the next. (And occasional trips to the basement when sirens warn that the two aren't getting along so well.)

The quick answer for days of unpredictable temperature is soup, but a lighter soup than the heavy winter fare that tasted so good only a month ago.

Lemon Turkey Noodle Soup is featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column. Lemon and creamy Parmesan twist otherwise familiar soup ingredients into something entirely new. I think you'll find it luscious!

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 360: Spring Asparagus with White Bean Sauce ◄

When your kitchen's not well-suited for the conviviality of cooking with someone else, what to do?

Two kitchens! Two kitchens in two states and two time zones! And for good measure, stir in the cookbook of still another cook, in still another state and time zone.

On complete whim, Catherine from Albion Cooks and I decided to cook from Cooking by the Seasons, which Brendon from Something in Seasonrecently raved about and which prompted both Catherine and me to hustle up our own copies! (Okay, so now I've met two famous cookbook authors.Mark Bittman and Karina Allrich. Yes. That! Karina! our very own Gluten Free Goddess.)

(Catherine and I plan to cook "together" again in a week or so. And since Kalyn's ordered a copy; and so has Peanut Butter and Purple Onions; and of course, the guy who started it all, Brendon: Wanna join the fun with the next recipe? Anyone else? Maybe even, I don't know ... Karina???)

Catherine picked the first recipe. But I was happy about he…

Day 359: How to Roast Peppers in the Oven ♥ Technique & Tips

How to best roast bell peppers, red peppers, green peppers, poblano peppers and even chili peppers. My favorite way to roast peppers is right in the oven.
~recipe & photo updated 2008 & 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~
In 2006, my first experience with roasting peppers was, to say the least, not good – so much so that it took me two years to come back. But once I did, with a new technique, the results were great – and now I roast peppers all the time, red ones, green ones and especially, my favorite roasted peppers, the smoky poblanos. Here's what I've learned, my tips about how to roast peppers:

HOW TO ROAST PEPPERS in the OVEN If you have a gas stove and want to roast just one or two peppers, consider this technique, How to Roast a Pepper on a Gas Stove. But even if you have a gas stove, roasting them in the oven if the better choice for roasting a lot of peppers all at once.

Don't roast whole peppers. Why? Because it's hard to separate the seeds from th…

The Best of March

In March "spring" appeared on the kitchen table here at A Veggie Venture.

Early in the month, I was still cooking wintry vegetables, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower. Then, like a page turning, a leaf opening, a crabapple bursting into blossom like the ones on my street today, suddenly the vegetables that appealed were lighter and simpler, zucchini, beets, Napa cabbage.

So what were March's best veggie side, best soup and best vegetarian supper? And because we've been cooking broccoli rabe all month, the best rapini?

Once again, there's no picking just one.

A winter-into-spring transition dish with a to-die-for sauce (read : calories), Cauliflower Cheddar Horseradish Gratin.

For those slim-on-time and slim-in-diet, opt for the fresh-tasting, low-cal and low-carb Zucchini Lemon-Honey Salad.

MARCH's BEST SOUP The oh-so-romantically named (and tasting!) Gypsy Pot.

MARCH's BEST VEGETARIAN SUPPER From the Kitchen Parade column ar…

Day 358: Napa Cabbage, Herb & Mango Salad with Asian Dressing ◄

I need to make big salads more often! Even late on a chilly spring evening, this tasted so fresh and alive and paired perfectly with soup. It was light but still filling and flavorful -- all for hardly any calories.

The salad itself calls for four strong flavors: watercress, basil, cilantro AND mint.

I wondered if they'd fight, if one'd overpower the other, if one'd make shy. But instead, they formed a quartet that works as much in concert as in striking their individual notes. Still, if one had to be sacrificed, make it the watercress.

The dressing was a definite keeper, too. There is NOTHING on the grocery store shelves to compare with simple ingredients whisked together in five minutes -- in flavor, in cost, in healthfulness.

The mango was still underripe, despite sitting on the counter in a paper bag for three days. Still, the "bones" were good, mango works beautifully with the dressing.

NUTRITION NOTES ... For carb watchers, make this salad fit your low-carb diet…

Day 357: Miso Soup

So is this "scratch cooking" or not? Look at the four convenience packages it took to make this simple soup! (It seemed as much like "cooking" as a Minnesota hot dish with a can of Campbell's, frozen vegetables, a few slices of Velveeta and canned onion rings for garnish.)

And anyone who's familiar with miso soup will laugh. (Hey! at least I know from someone who lived in Japan that miso is pronounced mee-zo with a fuzzy sz sound.)

But apparently you don't eat the kelp? (It didn't kill me. And I kinda liked it. And aren't you supposed to eat your greens, anyway??? NOT eating it would have felt like picking tomatoes off a pizza.)

I claim no expertise in miso soup. What did I miss? What should it have looked like, tasted like? How should it have been cooked? What should I have/ could I have added? Is it "scratch cooking"? or not?? Help, please!!

My own BIG LESSON: This confusion, these questions, the uncertainty, THIS is what it's like t…

Day 356: Nasty Fruit & Carrot Drink

So what do you do for a "vegetable" on a day when ...
Wind shear takes out eight large trees within a couple of blocks?
One tree with a five-foot trunk falls RIGHT where your car travelled only the MINUTE before, when it was barely stormy?
And traps a man and his dog who, thankfully, are both okay?
And the electricity is out for nearly 24 hours? And the neighborhood takes on a festive air and impromptu block parties spring up and Home Improvement-type guys manfully man chain saws and pass out beers and kids kick balls in the blocked -off streets?
Well, AFTER scrambling for the lantern and heading for the basement and AFTER you know everything's okay if pretty dark ... you move to the pantry for Plan B.

THE NASTY DRINK ... This tangerine-carrot-apple juice from Bulgaria was worse than Tang. Sickly sweet. Strident in color. Flavorless. One sip and the sink was the final stop.

NEXT TIME ... I'll read the label more closely. I actually love these juices in antiseptic package…

Day 355: Caraway Cabbage Quiche ◄

In recent years, my family's switched from birthday cakes to birthday pies. The contingent in Hot Houston goes for ice cream pies. My Dad lifts his fork with alacrity whatever's placed on the table but is partial to cream pies; earlier this week for his x0th, it was banana caramel cream. (No recipe! No pictures! Just pure pleasure in cooking ... and yes, eating.)

For A Veggie Venture's 1st birthday -- yes, it's happening here, too! just like at one blog after another, a birthday celebration -- pie also seemed appropriate, a quiche to be precise, a quiche packed with vegetables, of course!

Prepare to meet ... Caraway Cabbage Quiche! And oh man, talk about good. (And oh so different ... and yet the same the inauspicious beginning on Day One.)

NUTRITION NOTES ... Bon Appetit's inspiring recipe said, quite seriously, "Serves 4". A quarter of a whole pie? Who are they kidding? Whose waistlines are they deforming? At my house, pie gets cut in EIGHT pieces if…