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Showing posts from October, 2007

Pumpkin Pudding ♥

Boo! Happy Halloween, everyone!

So here in America, we have our Road Food and our too ubiquitous drive-through food. But except in major urban centers (and in my own experience, only in New York), we have virtually no Street Food, you know, impermanent push carts and open-air stalls, quick windows and roadside stands where people line up because, well, there's just no not joining a crowd that knows from experience that at the front of the line is cheap, hearty and delicious food worth the line and the wait.

So when the publisher of Street Food by Tom Kime sent a review copy, I found myself moving straight to the front of imaginary lines in places like India and Sri Lanka, southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, southern Europe, even the Middle East and north Africa. Ah! the adventure of it, the surprises found! The book is beautifully constructed, part travelogue (with plenty of stops for sustenance) by country but organized into must-cook-now categories like 'best in…

Greens 'n' All Beet Soup ♥

Okay, confession time. When fresh beets come home with me, more times than not, the greens go to waste. (I know!) All my good intentions get soft around the edges and then turn to a stinky gooey mess -- just like the greens themselves, rotting in the produce bin.

So this recipe that combines both the greens and the beets in a single soup? Yes, it got my attention. The added bonus? The stems are used too!

And I'm so glad -- the soup is entirely delicious. The greens are there but honestly, what you're paying attention to is those beet batons. And since it cooks only just until the vegetables are tender to the tooth, it's nothing at all like my recipe for traditional borscht, even last summer's cold and creamy borscht.

FERGUSON FARMERS MARKET For St. Louisans: The beets came from the Ferguson Farmers Market in North County, which the Riverfront Times recently named as the 'best farmers market in St. Louis'. I've only been once but really liked it. The 'farme…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Weeknight-Easy Rolls ♥

While A Veggie Venture is developing a certain reputation for slowfood (with more to come!), more often than not, quick is the order of the day. Or night.

Plus, as much as I love slow bread, the timing is tricky. With all the ease of muffins, today's new recipe in Kitchen Parade is all about quick.

Weeknight-Easy Rolls are made with yeast (for flavor) and baking powder (for instant leavening) and are on the table in 40 minutes flat, I mean, 40 minutes quick.

On your mark, get set, go ... get the recipe!


ONLY 26 MORE PLANNING DAYS TIL THANKSGIVING My kitchen is decidedly busy! You see, I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving -- yes, it's time to start planning our Thanksgiving menus and when it comes to vegetable recipes for Thanksgiving, I hope A Veggie Venture will be your favorite source.

Beginning November 1, watch for new vegetable recipes perfect for Thanksgiving tables, traditional recipes made fresh, ones that can be made in advance, and feed a crowd, and travel easily, and …

Roasted Fennel ♥

Don't we just love it when vegetables seem to cook themselves?! This is nothing more than sliced bulbs of fennel, olive oil, salt and pepper -- and time, an hour in a 400F, tossed and redistributed every 15 minutes. And then at the end, lemon juice, a great brightener. They were so good!

HOT? ROOM TEMPERATURE? I served these hot but now note that the inspiring recipe from the ever-reliable Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka, suggests serving it as a side salad, too.

NUTRITION NOTES It takes lots of fat to get vegetables to caramelize while roasting and of course, the more oil and the more caramelization, the more flavor. With less oil, vegetables can dry out before they're fully roasted. It helps to toss the vegetables REALLY well, so they coat with oil -- I use a bowl so I can really toss them, easier than doing it on a flat baking tray. Thought: I could toss the vegetables in a quarter cup of chicken broth, say, before adding the oil but hmm, then the oil wouldn't adhere to …

Finnish Carrot Casserole ♥

Today's Finnish recipe: An old-fashioned carrot casserole from Finland, grated carrots and rice in a light custard.
~recipe & photo updated 2010~
2007: During the year I made a home in Finland, I found much to love. But the food -- the food! was a definite highlight. I have a notebook of recipes - too bad, many written in Finnish 'to help retain the language', ha! though food words mostly remain familiar. And I often turn to the classic Finnish cookbook, The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. I remember carrot and rice casserole -- 'porkkanalaatikko' in Finnish, since you asked -- as a specialty on Christmas Eve. By today's standards, it's plain fare. But its very simplicity lets the carrots shine and the rice melt into the light custard. It hit just the right note with slices of ham on a cool fall evening and the next day, warmed up, tasted even better.

2010: I 'updated' the recipe just a bit, by using the more healthful brown rice and omitt…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Mocha Morsels ♥ & Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes

Chocolate chip cookies for grown-ups? You know, with the taste of a hot cup of coffee?

I call them Mocha Morsels, a favorite cookie recipe from a 2005 Kitchen Parade column, republished today.

SO MAYBE YOU'VE NOTICED? Yes, there have been fewer vegetable recipes for the last couple of weeks and yes, they've been decidedly 'easy' vegetable recipes.

But the kitchen is decidedly busy! You see, I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving -- yes, it's time to start planning our Thanksgiving menus and when it comes to vegetable recipes for Thanksgiving, I hope A Veggie Venture will be your favorite source.

Beginning November 1, watch for new vegetable recipes perfect for Thanksgiving tables, traditional recipes made fresh, ones that can be made in advance, and feed a crowd, and travel easily, and ... and ... yes, perfect for Thanksgiving.

And of course, I'll be counting calories and carbs and Weight Watchers points, just because I do, but there will be plenty of butter and cheese…

Reader Recipe: Microwave Acorn Squash ♥

My mistake. I blasted a commercial winter squash "product" (how can a 'vegetable' be a product? and hmmm ... would vegetables get more attention if more, were?) and failed to share an alternative way to easily, quickly and tastily cook a winter squash in the microwave.

Readers to the rescue! From Bob came this note: "We prepare many different types of squash in a microwave by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, from stem to tip. Scoop out the seeds and stuff (not the meat). Place them in an oval microwave dish, with each half of the squash facing inside down, then adding 1/2" – 1” water to the dish. For some reason, adding the water after the squash is in helps keep water from soaking the underside of the squash as it cooks. We usually microwave on high for roughly 7 minutes. How about a try our way?"

Thanks, Bob, that's exactly how I cooked a couple of small acorn squashes. They turned out great -- not as sweet and flavorful as squash roasted i…

Recipe for Spicy Thai Noodle Salad ♥

Today's recipe: A traditional pasta salad but lightened with more vegetables and less dressing. Vegan.
Look familiar? It should. It's that noodle salad (well, one of all those noodle and macaroni salads) which makes its way onto every potluck table. And it's a favorite in my Canadian family (hi to Ingrid!), probably every family.

But then again, it shouldn't. Because I 'vegged it up', turning an all-noodle 'salad' into something of substance, still keeping the noodles front and center but using vegetables to bulk it up for flavor and crunch.

I made it recently for friends whose daughter was being married and whose home was thronged with hungry bridesmaids and starving groomsmen. It happens to be a vegan salad - though I don't think the most ardent carnivore would notice - so 'safe' for groups where people's eating choices aren't known.

GARLIC REMINDER If you're in the middle of the northern hemisphere, mid-October -- now!! -- is the…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Cauliflower Risotto ♥

When you travel, are you prepared to cook in your destination's kitchen? I am - and for some months now, the specialty has been cauliflower risotto, the recipe in this week's Kitchen Parade column. Get out your wooden spoons! It's creamy leeky delicious! (And it's cooked and served in a way that makes it 'every-day' for Weight Watchers.


SO WHAT IS KITCHEN PARADE, EXACTLY? Kitchen Parade is the food column that my Mom started writing for our family newspaper when I was a baby. Today it's published in my hometown newspapers in suburban St. Louis and features 'fresh seasonal recipes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences'.

Where A Veggie Venture is 'pure food blog', full of experimentation and exploration, Kitchen Parade features recipes a modern cook can count on. All are thoroughly tested by a home cook in a home kitchen and many are family and reader favorites. All recipes feature easy-to-find ingredients, clear instructions…

Microwave Baked Potato ♥

This quick recipe is for my friend Ann who has -- undeservedly, to my mind -- the reputation as a bad cook.

Actually, she's a decent cook. It's just that food isn't high on her priority list and so 'good' is 'good enough'. This I respect, admire even -- not every bite we eat must be 'delicious'. Good is good. Good is plenty. Good is, yes, good enough.

So when I raved about how I'd just learned how to make the best baked potatoes, she looked momentarily embarrassed (but not really) to admit she just throws baked potatoes in the microwave. "They're good," she assured.

And so they are -- good! -- and frankly, way better than expected. The flesh is actually quite good (a tiny tad gummy but if you haven't tasted the slooow-baked potatoes, you wouldn't notice) but in the microwave, the skin just won't get crisp. So I checked the ever-so-thorough Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka who sure enough, has the solution: finishing the …

Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seeds ♥

This time of year, when we're cutting open and roasting pumpkins, inside are those seeds and we wonder, Can you roast pumpkin seeds? You sure can! Here's how.
~recipe & photo updated 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~
2007 ORIGINAL POST Yesterday an e-mail arrived from Ralph, a most careful reader of yesterday's recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze. No good! he objected to a detail. "One of the most nutritious and yummy things is the seeds. Don't discard." And good luck, this time I didn't. What do you do with pumpkin seeds? Any tips to share?

So -- what to do with pumpkin seeds, you know, the gunky ones scooped from Halloween jack o' lanterns and pie pumpkins and yes, even other winter squash?

This is the third year I've tried to create a good recipe for pumpkin seeds. I've got it! The taste is a combination of spicy and sweet - with a little bite that yumm, just works. It's an easy concept recipe: just toss raw se…

Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze ♥

If summer's unexpected romance was with green beans, then the fall's affair is with butternut squash. This is -- what, the third? fourth? -- time I've cooked butternut squash and its cousins the acorn, the kabocha, the buttercup and other winter squashes.

Such a classic winter squash recipe, this! Squash + pantry + oven = delicious.

If you're nervous about cutting butternut squash, try another recipe, one where you can roast a whole butternut squash or you can put the squash into the microwave for three minutes and then it'll cut like a dream.

But this small (just two pound) butternut squash cut quite easily. I put the cutting board on top of a silicone baking sheet so that it wouldn't slip around.

NEXT TIMEThe inspiring recipe suggested coating a baking sheet with cooking spray, which I did. Midway through cooking, the squash started to spit out moisture and sugar. Next time I'll try rubbing oil on the flesh itself, which might seal in the flavor better. [Lat…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Baked Apples ♥

If a picture paints a thousand words, what are you waiting for? Get on over to this week's Kitchen Parade column for my mother's recipe for baked apples.

You know you've got to, you've just got to --



SO WHAT IS KITCHEN PARADE, EXACTLY? Kitchen Parade is the food column that my Mom started writing for our family newspaper when I was a baby. Today it's published in my hometown newspapers in suburban St. Louis and features 'fresh seasonal recipes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences'.

Where A Veggie Venture is 'pure food blog', full of experimentation and exploration, Kitchen Parade features recipes a modern cook can count on. All are thoroughly tested by a home cook in a home kitchen and many are family and reader favorites. All recipes feature easy-to-find ingredients, clear instructions and because I believe so strongly in informed food choices, nutrition analysis and Weight Watchers points. Want to know more? Explore KitchenParade…

Recipe for Smoked Scallops with Zucchini Ribbons ♥

For the last couple of weeks, my dad's daily four-city weather report has cited only a repetitive 'hot and dry'. So in my mind it may be time for roasting winter squash and simmering pots of soup, the weather isn't cooperating -- so 'summer food' it is.

The good news is, for anyone craving a quick and light supper, this dish will work year-round. Plus, the zucchini noodles are a classic way to substitute vegetables for pasta. Touched with garlic and lemon zest, they were yummy!

HOW LIGHT? WOW! Turns out, too, this quick meal should be a standby for anyone who counts Weight Watchers points and anyone who avoids carbs. Combined, the scallops and zucchini add up to only 2 points. A two-point MEAL is rare. (Technically, separately, the scallops have 1 point, the zucchini 0 points, so if you like, count it as a one-point meal.) For carb counters, the combined meal has only 6 grams of net carbs. Wow. WOW. WOOOOW.

It also turns out that this meal also makes good use of s…

Sautéed Okra & Garlic ♥

Do pods of okra call to you? They do to me! I love picking through baskets of okra at the farmers market, selecting the pods about the length of my thumb (and shorter) which are the most tender.

And okra is quick-quick to cook -- adding this recipe to my growing collection of quick vegetable recipes.

And what about the, um, slime factor? Banish the thought! When okra are small and completely fresh - which means they need cooking within a day of finding them perfectly green and unblemished at the farmers market - there's none of that dreaded okra slime.

I loved this quick side dish -- the lemon was a brilliant addition, great contrast. It would be a great way for an okra neophyte to try okra for the first time.

HOW TO TRIM OKRA Cut off the tough stems but do leave a thin slice of the 'cap' which is tender and succulent and helps hold in the okra flavor and moisture.

MAKE IT A MEAL Pair the quick-cooking okra with a Quick Supper from Kitchen Parade, Greek Feta Chicken with Currie…

Pumpkin Bars ♥
A Simple Cake to Celebrate October

Quick and easy Pumpkin Bars (or Pumpkin Tea Cakes, as pictured), moist and filled with fall spices. The icing isn't really necessary although a little drizzle adds a sweet counterpoint that many people like. Celebrate the glory that is October!
~ first published 2007, recipe & photo updated 2011, republished 2013 ~
~more recently updated recipes~
2007 ORIGINAL POST The Daring Bakers, they're killing me. Last week, I was mining my favorite baking cookbook, the much-beloved Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and I swear, without thinking, found myself in the index checking the Ds for Daring. You see, the Daring Bakers are a group of passionate blogging bakers from across the world who each month, from their own kitchens, cream and caramelize and create the same spectacular somethings. These guys really love to bake and it shows.

Me, I love-love-love to bake too, though lean to 'simple', my own definition of spectacular – especially cakes and cookies and…

How to Stop Inappropriate Ads

If you are using IE (Internet Explorer) as your web browser and are seeing inappropriate ads on A Veggie Venture (and on Kitchen Parade and probably on many other websites you visit), please read this.

A Veggie Venture is a member of Blogher, a top women's website, and participates in its ad network. This week, Blogher is receiving spotty reports that inappropriate ads are occasionally appearing in place of Blogher's legitimate ads from respected advertisers. (NOTE: I believe the inappropriate ads may also be appearing in advertisements provided by Google, whose ads are published on millions and millions of websites.)

I have seen copies of the inappropriate ads that are hijacking the legitimate ads. They are not 'pure porn' but show scantily clad women in suggestive poses. They are completely unseemly for websites like mine.

Blogher is helping publishers like me make our readers aware of the issue by providing this information:

"Blogher believes this issue is caused b…