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Showing posts from September, 2006

Kitchen Parade Extra: Quick Supper: Pepper Steak & Mushrooms ♥

Quick Suppers are a hallmark of Kitchen Parade, perfect weeknight meals for busy families looking for fast, healthful meals at home. Pepper Steak & Mushrooms is a personal favorite and it's featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Four Seasons of My Favorite Herb

The rhythms of food blogging are fascinating. Time and again, we hear:
"It started as a lark, then it took on a life of its own."
"I started a blog to organize my recipes, then discovered the world of food blogs."
Both could apply to Weekend Herb Blogging, whose first anniversary is being celebrated this week at Kalyn's Kitchen. Stop in to chuckle over the first lark-ish weeks, then see all the nationalities represented in Week 51. And for Week 52, you play too, even if you haven't before, for the anniversary.

It's an herb party! And all the guests are unveiling their favorite herbs, which with all due respect to Kalyn, to my mind is as impossible as naming a single favorite pie, cookie or yes, vegetable. It depends on the day, the season, the mood. Who'd give up summer's sweet basil for winter's rosemary? Who'd pick only tarragon or dill or thyme for fish? Who'd forgo the sweet specialness of lavender for the everyday-ness of ......

Hmm…

Broccoli Parmesan Casserole ♥

My mother was a child of the Depression. She knew how ~ and why ~ to scrimp and save. She stretched fresh milk with powdered milk, she substituted margarine for butter and yes, Parmesan cheese was poured from a green can. Even as a child, I despised all three.

But when Tummy Treasure raved about Kraft's new Grate It Fresh product, I wanted to try it for myself. Within a week, it seemed to show up everywhere ... at one grocery end cap after another, then at Wal*Mart ... always on sale for the equivalent of $6 - 7 a pound.

So I bought some. At least I thought I bought some.

I really truly didn't know, until just now checking Erika's review to link to this post, that what I really bought (and cooked with) was Kraft's green-can-in-new-clothes Parmesan cheese. I didn't know the packaging had changed! I bought the stuff so hated as a child.

And oh dear oh dear ....... my foodie credentials are SO about to be yanked.

You see, I did side-by-side taste tests in this broccoli ca…

Swiss Chard Gratin ♥

If your kitchen clean-up partner has already had a long hard day, stop reading now.

But if you and your kitchen clean-up partner appreciate a delicious gratin AND the conviviality of side-by-side clean-up at meal's end, this is your recipe.

You see, this Swiss chard gratin is a wonderful fall or winter side dish but it creates a PILE of dishes: a large skillet, a large pot, a colander, a lemon press, a microplane, a food processor for the bread crumbs and a bowl for mixing. YIKES!

Still, I must say that this is one of the most satisfying vegetable dishes I've made in a long while. It's a definite keeper.

LANGUAGE NOTES ... What IS silverbeet, I've wondered, when seeing blog-sodic rhapsodies? Aha. It's what I call Swiss chard. But it's also "perpetual spinach" and mangold. Beautiful names, all, for a leafy green of extraordinary beauty. For linguists and gardeners, here's more information.

NUTRITION NOTES ... As gratins go, this one is relatively health…

Oh! So Many Surprises!

Hello Sugar High Friday fans ...

Does it happen with every Sugar High Friday? So many entries to this month's Surprise Inside edition used the word 'fun' ... and if there's anything worth striving for in both cooking and eating, it's the fun quotient.

Many thanks to everyone everyone who played along! Each entry was a perfect surprise ... and surprisingly perfect. There were so many surprises: unusual ingredients for desserts (Israeli couscous, brown rice for example to say nothing of the vegetable dessserts, three cheers for those!) and spices (wattleseed, anyone?) and a few surprises outside, too (orange cups and egg cups!). And just wait until you see what we've done with caramel and chocolate and oh my! nuts and oh swoon! fruit. A few extra atta-cooks to ...
the Sugar High Friday debutantes - nine ten eleven TWELVE now THIRTEEN! FOURTEEN no! FIFTEEN of you!
the Australians, who turned out in force
the St Louis/nearby food bloggers, learn more about them her…

Sugar High Friday: the St Louis Food Blogger Edition

"We start food blogs for reasons a-many ... to record and share our recipes, to stay connected with family afar, to break writer's block ... but we KEEP blogging because of connection and community."

- Current theory, yours truly
One of the great joys of food blogging is getting to know fellow foodies from across the world.

But a second joy, one I've watched with some envy in San Francisco and the United Kingdom, is getting to know the fellow foodies who live just a few miles away, the ones we might run into at the farmers market or the grocery store, the ones whose kids we meet and whose spouses know our last names AND our blog names.

This connection among the St Louis food bloggers (and several other nearby food bloggers we're pleased to adopt!) is just now beginning to form. Many participated in Sugar High Friday and may be new to you. Please say hello to ...

Many of you already know Nupur from One Hot Stove. But wait, doesn't Nupur live in New York? Yes b…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies ♥

[Are you visiting for Sugar High Friday? Welcome! All the details are here. And here's my own veggie-surprise-inside contribution. Isn't blogging fun?!]

When the air conditioning goes off, the oven goes on: it's fall cookie-baking time!

First up are a long-time family favorite, oatmeal raisin cookies. The especially good thing about these classic home-baked cookies? Raisins are optional. Just read this week's Kitchen Parade column.

[For newcomers, A Veggie Venture is pure blog, a food playground just like all the others except focused on vegetables. Kitchen Parade is the food column I write for small-town newspapers; I publish it online too, just because it's fun to share recipes with lots of people. Kitchen Parade is known for 'fresh seasonal recipes for everyday healthful eating and occasional indulgences'. Oh. And Quick Suppers.]



(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

SHF23 "Surprise Inside" Spice Cupcakes

So you think that veggie lovers don't some times long to make pretty little cupcakes? We do, we do!

For this month's Sugar High Friday (the Surprise Inside edition, hosted by yours truly) I soooo wanted to try XX cupcakes with XX ice cream, recipes I've had my eyes on for a few months, awaiting the perfect occasion.

THE CUPCAKES The surprise XX ingredient is ... parsnips! (No surprise that it's a vegetable, of course!) These cupcakes were really easy to make. If you don't have a mixer, this is perfect because no mixer is required, just a whisk and a wooden spoon. Taste-wise, they're great! The raw, grated parsnips fade into the background (like zucchini in zucchini cake) but the spice combination and proportions are magnificent, nothing shy, perfectly balanced. In fact, another time I wouldn't hesitate to try the cupcakes withOUT the parsnips.

THE ICING Was good, maybe even very good with fresh ginger (another surprise?) stirred into an otherwise standard crea…

Slow-Roasted Tomato Salsa ♥

Are you roasting tomatoes?Are you roasting tomatoes? Are you roasting tomatoes? Are you roasting tomatoes?Are you roasting tomatoes?

Hurry! Time is running out! It's time! Don't let the window slam shut!

This is the first time I've used slow-roasted tomatoes in their "raw" state ... not that they're raw, exactly, after 12 hours in a slow oven.

But this salsa is absolutely delicious. There's a smoky depth to the tomatoes that makes the outcome unusual and familiar both at once. It worked beautifully as a base for pan-fried fish and later, aside a supper omelet.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... Wondering what to do with roasted tomatoes? Just look at all these wonderful possibilities! And here's how to roast tomatoes.

SLOW-ROASTED TOMATO SALSA
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes 2 cups
Weight Watchers 1 point per quarter cup
NetCarb 8 per quarter cup

About 2 cups slow-roasted tomatoes, broken apart with fingers or a fork
2 teaspoons jalapeno, minced

Potato Okra Curry ♥ Recipe

A quick one-skillet supper, just potatoes and rounds of fresh-cut okra. Truly tasty and definitely adaptable to other vegetables.
~recipe & photo updated 2010~
~more recently updated recipes~
2005 Original: Twenty minutes. One skillet. Truly tasty. The trick to Potato Okra Curry is some quick knife work to dice the potato tiny-tiny so it cooks quickly.

NUTRITION NOTES The potatoes and vegetables cook in water, not fat, so this is a very low-fat dish. A teaspoon of bacon fat (or butter, for vegetarians) is added for flavor. A side dish-size serving has only 1 or 2 Weight Watchers points for a side dish, 1.5 to three points for an entrée! It would be easy to bulk this up with other vegetables to serve more people or to use up leftovers. Tomatoes and cauliflower come to mind. But the potato-okra combination is very good.

2010 Update: When okra appears in the farmers market from the middle of July through September, the tiny thumbs are irresistible! This is one of my favorite dishes, …

Reminder: Sugar High Friday Is September 22

(Many thanks to Tamara Nicol from Luminous Lens for developing the Surprise Inside logo!)

Have you been wondering, Hmm, when is Sugar High Friday?

Early entries are in but there's still plenty of time to get creative about something a tiny bit surprising for Sugar High Friday, the Surprise Inside edition.

What's surprising, so far? How 'bout Diet Coke? Caramel? Chocolate AND caramel? Chocolate and liqueur? (Julia, dear, are you old enough for liqueur?!) Peanut butter? And the house favorite (no surprise, this IS the Veggie Evangelist writing, after all ...) carrots!

And remember, there's a special welcome mat for anyone who wants to be a "food blogger for a day" and enter Sugar High Friday.



(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Kitchen Parade Extra: Quick Supper: Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad ♥

It's Quick Supper time again in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

Look for another 30-minute meal, this time yummy catfish filets dredged in cornmeal and Cajun spices paired with a warm potato salad spiked with okra (or if you prefer, peas or capers) ~ both cooked in the same skillet! Tis good! Tis fast!

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

How to Make Salad Dressing ♥

Some times, cooking comes naturally, like breathing. Other times, cooking must be learned, like riding a bicycle. I've ridden this salad-dressing and simple-vinaigrette 'bike' for so long, it now seems like breathing.

I make it every day, some times twice. I often use good ingredients, good olive oil, good vinegar; mostly I use the every day stuff. It's always the same, it's never the same, both at once except that it's always good. When I make it for others, I get quizzical looks. "What IS this?" I hear. "It's my favorite salad dressing," I answer. "I'll show you."

Many years ago, it was Ann Lemons who showed me how to make salad dressing. She and husband Joe Pollack are big shots in the St. Louis food world, with piles of credits to their names. Ann and Joe are blogging now. This post is my way of saying Welcome to the world of food blogging -- and to thank you, Ann, publicly, for teaching me how to breathe, even as I, in t…

And the River Was Like Glass

Life Goes On

The river was perfectly still, like glass, early the morning of September 11th. I'd been home for a few days. My mother had begun to lose motor control of her right leg. We feared this meant the lung cancer for which she'd been treated in the spring had metastasized into her brain.

Our day was already full. Despite the leg problem, Mom was hosting a luncheon for friends at noon. Afterwards other friends would join up for a presentation about one of Mom's many craft passions, scrapbooking.

We'd already had our first cup of tea when Dad turned on CNN to hear the morning news. The first plane -- a small plane, they said at first -- had just hit the World Trade Center. We sat down to learn more. In horror, we watched the second plane hit the South Tower, understanding, instantly, that these strikes were no accident. We sat, mesmerized, horrified, in tears.

At 10, the first call came. "Is lunch still on?" I looked at my Mom. Without hesitation, she ans…

Arugula with Peaches, Concord Grapes & Feta ♥

Arugula? Rocket? For some months, I've kept my eye out since Anne's Food so often writes about the remarkable salads it yields. And then, there it was, a great big basketful at the Green Market in St Louis' Central West End. Gorgeous!

I dressed it simply, just good olive oil and lemon juice, since the toppings were so full of flavor.

NEXT TIME
Sliced peaches (sadly, the last ones of a wonderful year for the local Eckert's peaches) were the star topping, pairing beautifully with the peppery bite of the arugula and radish sprouts and the creaminess of the feta.
The Concord grapes? They were delicious on their own but didn't add much to the combination except color. (Isn't that one a pretty salad?!)

FROM THE ARCHIVES The Recipe Box has a growing collection of mostly simple green salads.

ARUGULA with PEACHES, CONCORD GRAPES & FETA
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 4
Weight Watchers 1 point per serving
NetCarb 4 per serving

Arugula for 4 (four cu…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Buffalo Ragout ♥

During September, cities along the Missouri River are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the 1806 completion of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, building momentum for the signature event right here on the St Louis Riverfront September 20 - 24.

In honor of the upcoming events, this week's Kitchen Parade column features buffalo ragout, a recipe from a fascinating cookbook, the Food Journal of Lewis and Clark by culinary historian Mary Gunderson.

[I had the pleasure of meeting Mary last month. So did Mark Tafoya so visit the Remarkable Palate to hear his podcast interview with Mary, including how in heavens one develops modern-day recipes from 200-year old experiences.]

The Food Journal is a gem, historybook and cookbook both in one. So is the buffalo stew, lean meat paired with turnips and blueberries. Cook a pot, close your eyes ... you just might feel the wind on your back, the sun on your brow ... the ache in your back and the blisters on your feet. Ah, the food ... and life .…

Cherry Tomato & White Bean Salad ♥

A summery adapt-as-you-like salad, soft white and almost-creamy beans paired with sweet-tart cherry or grape tomatoes, a great side dish with grilled meats.
~recipe & photo updated 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~
2006: This is one of those summery adapt-as-you-like salads, easy, delicious and a perfect side. I've adapted mine from Simply Recipes. Twas good!

2014: I a-d-o-r-e re-visiting recipes from awhile back, ones not made in a long time but still memorable. Beans and tomatoes are a classic combination, add some warm oil infused with garlic, rosemary and parmesan. Heaven? You bet.

COMPLIMENTS!
"... it was SO yummy!! my boyfriend, the meat eater, even loved it!" ~ Randi
RECIPE for CHERRY TOMATO & WHITE BEAN SALADHands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Serves 8
GARLIC-ROSEMARY OIL
1/4 cup olive oil
1 fresh rosemary sprig, about 3 inches
3 cloves garlic, peeled and flattened with flat of a knife

GARLIC-PARMESAN SALAD DRESSING
3 anchovies
1/4 cu…

Simple Baby Pattypan Squash with Squash Blossoms ♥

A simple way to cook the sweet little pattypan squash, along with their delicate squash blossoms, so often found at farmers markets this time of year.
Karen from FamilyStyle Food and I went market hopping on Saturday. (For St. Louisans, we hit two relative newcomers to St. Louis-area farmers markets, the Green Market in the Central West End and the Clayton Farmers Market.) Neither stop overwhelmed even if each yielded treasures and it was great fun, sharing the excitement of Missouri's late-summer bounty with a fellow foodie.

My favorite find was teeny-weeny patty pan squash, way too small for Stuffed Pattypan Squash. Most still had their blossoms! Talk about not understanding the anatomy of a vegetable ... wait, I mean, a FRUIT, which summer squash technically are, botanically speaking. (What are summer squash? That's the group that includes zucchini / courgette, yellow crooknecks and pattypan. Winter squash, in contrast, are acorn squash, Hubbarb squash, butternut squash, etc.…

Stuffed Pattypan Squash ♥

Cute little pattypan squash, stuffed with a mixture of egg and feta cheese.
Pattypan (patty pan?, no, it's one word, pattypan) squash are just too cute for words! And too precious for anything except stuffing!

I followed the recipe and technique from Feta-Stuffed Zucchini whose inspiration came from my foodie pal Catherine at Albion Cooks who lightened a recipe originating from a Moosewood cookbook.

I stuffed them in advance and then, starting from room temperature, just popped into the oven about 30 minutes before serving. They were a BIG hit at an all-around great patio supper.

STUFFED PATTYPAN SQUASHHands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 45 - 60 minutes
Serves 4
4 pattypan squash

1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
2 ounces feta, crumbled

Pimenton (Spanish paprika)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an ovenproof dish. With a small knife, cut a thin slice from the stem (narrower) end of each squash, then a circle from the blos…