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Showing posts from November, 2007

Kitchen Parade Extra: Caramel Corn ♥

Who else is itching to get into the kitchen for fruitcake, Christmas cookies, holiday candies, all the wonders of holiday baking? I can hardly wait!

This recipe for caramel corn (and corn is a even vegetable, yes?!) is great in the interim, satisfying both a sweet tooth and a baking binge. The caramel corn is made in the microwave with nothing more than a few ingredients and a paper bag -- and some shake-it-up fun!

It's from a 2002 Kitchen Parade column, published today online for the first time. So here it is, my recipe for homemade caramel corn.

And because I'm expecting a houseful, already I'm planning menus and stocking the freezer, some times testing new recipes, other times turning to long-time family favorite recipes already published at KitchenParade.com, especially all the soup recipes and wintry comfort food recipes.



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 …

Spaghetti Squash Cooked Whole ♥

How to cook a spaghetti squash whole. Drop-Dead Easy + no more semi-dangerous attempts to cut through a whole squash! Weight Watchers friendly. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
Okay, I finally get it. Every time I cook spaghetti squash, no matter how, I'm unimpressed by the taste. Sure, it is easy to cook. Sure, it has virtually no calories. But why waste one's energy on food with no taste? But my sister likes spaghetti squash, so she's always puzzled by my reaction. Three times now, she's repeated, "I just cook it for the noodles." Oh, right!

Here's the deal: cook spaghetti squash and then put it under something, just like noodles or rice or potatoes. That makes it a virtually calorie-free, carb-free starch. Get flavor from what's on top, not the spaghetti squash itself. Sisters are smart!

When Adanna mentioned she'd cooked a whole spaghetti squash with great success, this time I heard her th…

Oven-Cooked Lentil Soup Recipe ♥

Hearty lentil soup, slow cooked right in the oven at a low heat. A great option for anyone who doesn't have a slow cooker or isn't happy with the results of a slow cooker. (That would be me, too often.)
~recipe & photo updated 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~
2007 Original: Does this soup look worth trading, say, for apple pie? That was the deal, a piece of American Apple Pie for the recipe for this oven-cooked lentil soup, all in fun, of course, since the recipe holder (hi, Rass!) was getting pie anyway and the pie-maker (me) often swaps recipes with Rass and his wife, dear family friends for more than 50 years.

And Rass' lentil soup is excellent! It's meaty and full of rich flavors. And it cooks by itself in the oven, no worries, for a perfect five hours. What comes out is perfectly cooked, hot and hearty, steamy and spicy, utterly delicious. It's perfect for cold winter days, a definite keeper.

2015 Update: Wow. So yeah, this is great lentil soup. I m…

Kitchen Parade Extra: Cranberry Apple Crisp ♥

Hello from cold and snowy (and glorious) northern Minnesota where on Thanksgiving Day, the dawn temperature was about zero (yes, Fahrenheit) and ice diamonds fell from clearwater blue skies much of the day. Today, soft snow began to fall about noon, especially magical as people gathered to sing carols and light the town Christmas tree. It's no wonder I've got winter on the mind, you'll see the evidence in this week's recipe in Kitchen Parade for Cranberry Apple Crisp which also makes up in 'diet', 'topping' and 'crumb pie' versions. It's a lovely combination of sweet and tart, a wintry take on fall's favorite.


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'. Want to know …

Kitchen Parade Extra: Squash Puff ♥

"How are you?" Yesterday, at church in my hometown in northern Minnesota, Pastor Rosanna suggested that this is a good week to answer something other than the customary "Fine", suggesting "Grateful". Today, I'm sitting in a small coffee shop (thank you to Linda from the Smiling Moon, to whom I'm much grateful for WiFi!) to post this and just heard someone just-arrived for Thanksgiving give a local a big hug. I didn't hear his question, but did hear her laughing answer, "Grateful."

And so I am, and so, I hope, are you. Only a few more days, now, til Thanksgiving. I love imagining your kitchens all abustle, giblets simmering on the stove, the frig spilling over with pre-Thanksgiving ingredients, busy-busy-busy.

Today I republish my Thanksgiving column from 2005. There's a recipe, yes, for squash puff, a long-time family favorite. But I hope the accompanying essay creates a moment of quiet reflection, of gratitude, in your busy-ness…

Brussels Sprouts with Maple & Walnut Vinaigrette ♥

Today's new Thanksgiving vegetable recipe: Fresh Brussels sprouts gently cooked and dressed in a simple vinaigrette, either a 'rich' vinaigrette for special occasions or a 'light' vinaigrette for every day.
Don't let me whine, but if there's one thing wrong with Thanksgiving vegetables, it's that so many recipes are laden with butter and cream and cheese and bacon and aloy! sugar. This means that if there are several vegetables on the table, they all sort of taste the same: rich and indulgent.

So I always like to make sure that there's at least one vegetable on the table that is spare and simple and yet totally full of flavor.

These Brussels sprouts are a perfect candidate, dressed in a simple vinaigrette with lovely flavors.
RECIPE for BRUSSELS SPROUTS with MAPLE & WALNUT VINAIGRETTEHands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 8 (big servings, likely 16 for big Thanksgiving meals)
Salted water
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and Xd

V…

Boozy Baked Celery ♥

[A warm welcome to all who are visiting A Veggie Venture for the first time! In November, it's all Thanksgiving vegetables, adding new recipes to build this year's collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes. But don't worry, in December and especially January, A Veggie Venture will return to its usual vegetable recipes, fast, low-calorie, easy to put on the table.]

Aii, how butter, cream and cheese turn prosaic celery into pure poetry! As it bakes, the kitchen fills the luscious aroma of sherry. Noses lift into the air, "What is that in the oven?"

It's ribs of celery in a creamy white sauce imbued with the essence of both celery and sherry (or brandy or maybe an anise-flavored liqueur like Sambuca?) and then topped with Parmesan. And oh my -- it is delicious.

KITCHEN NOTES
Darn those celery strings! Next time I will definitely strip the strings off the celery ribs before braising them.The inspiring recipe calls for a whole stalk (yes a stalk, the whole big th…

Spinach Casserole ♥

Today's recipe is for people who don't like vegetables! It's an easy-prep spinach casserole, an old family recipe. Rave reviews!
When my friend Christi heard about my 2007 collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes, she offered her grandmother's recipe for a traditional spinach casserole. Sure! But reading the ingredient list of cottage cheese, cheese and eggs – and only ten ounces of spinach – I was fully prepared to not like it. Even Christi, who has what might be called a "theoretical" attachment to vegetables, says, "Our family spinach casserole recipe should come with its own paramedic." Or a heart defribrillator.

But friends trust friends and Christi made me promise to try her family's recipe "just once" without modification. Thank you, Christi, for saving me from myself – this is a winner!

UPDATE The 2007 Thanksgiving collection of vegetable recipes has a new and permanent home, all in one place, please see Thanksgiving Veg…

Slooow Country Green Beans ♥

Today's vegetable recipe: Fresh green beans cooked 'low and slow' for ten hours until the beans turn almost buttery (but not mushy).
These beans win no beauty prize but in the talent department, they take home the crown.

The trick is time -- six hours ten hours. I snapped the picture and tasted the beans after just six hours -- very good. But after ten? Delicious. The beans turn buttery -- but not mushy, they hold their structure. The flavor is rich and sweet with a character that's new to me in beans.

A SOUTHERN? ITALIAN? TURKISH? SPECIALTY Five minutes of Google leads me to believe that slow-cooked beans are (1) a classic way to cook beans in the American South, especially when served, along with their 'pot liquor', with corn bread and (2) a classic Italian recipe, especially with tomatoes added and (3) famous in Turkey. To me, the irony is that the inspiring recipe comes from a cookbook about Midwestern food which calls them 'Indiana Green Beans'. My re…

Thanksgiving Cake ♥

[Don't worry, there will be more Thanksgiving vegetable recipes again tomorrow. And don't forget, What's your favorite pie? Leave a comment on the recipe for the double-crust American Apple Pie, you can win a video with tips for making perfect pie crusts. Winner will be announced on Wednesday.]

So every Thanksgiving meal needs dessert, yes? If even pumpkin pie and apple pie are traditional for Thanksgiving dinner itself, for the weekend's festivities, think about a quick-to-make Bundt cake that includes so many of the Thanksgiving flavors, pumpkin, cranberry, pecans, even apple. This is a moist spice cake, easy to mix and quick to bake, easy to keep on hand.

The recipe comes from my favorite home baking cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, who calls it All in One Holiday Cake. The cookbook's recipes are perfect for home bakers who love to reach into their pantries to bake. If you're already thinking 'Christmas gifts', this would b…

Honey Pumpkin Pie ♥

Yum! Homemade pumpkin pie, sweetened with honey instead of processed sugar, rich with autumn spices. The filling is soft and smooth and dreamy good. Make it with either canned pumpkin or roasted fresh pumpkin.
2007: "If I were a guy, I'd only eat pie. Oh my, oh sigh, please feed me pie." Okay, so it's awful poetry. But the pie? It's completely dreamy. The honey is wonderful as the sweetener, adding an edgy complexity to the pumpkin custard. I'll be making this pie again on Thanksgiving, it's just lovely. I made the pie twice, once with fresh pumpkin and then again with canned pumpkin. Which is better? Well, you'll have to decide because it depends.

FRESH PUMPKIN The fresh pumpkin made a pie sweetly pale in color and subtly delicate in flavor. It's the "foodie" choice for people who are curious about food and welcome adaptation – and it's my personal pick, forever and ever. Plus, I getting requests from the taste tasters, "So w…

Kitchen Parade Recipes for Flaky Tender Pie Crust & American Apple Pie

[We could perhaps live by Thanksgiving vegetables alone, but why would we, really when there's pie, especially apple pie?]

From this week's Kitchen Parade column: "When my pastry prowess went missing for far too long, I consulted the Pastry Whisperer, Anne Cori of Kitchen Conservatory, the cooking school and kitchen store in St. Louis. In an hour, she shared a treasure of pie crust tips and tricks. ..."

It's been quite a month since Anne showed up in my kitchen for a pastry lesson. Back up just a minute -- you see, I've made good pie crust since I was 16, in some circles (hi Rass!) I'm even a little famous for pie. But then, whack, I lost the knack and turned out one tough crust after another. In vain, I sought out new recipes, new tools, new techniques. I studied up, I took notes. I tried lard, egg, vinegar, sour cream and even the latest, vodka. (Yes, the vodka went into the pastry, though given my frustration, a stiff drink was warranted.) I fussed, I…

Cauliflower Cream ♥

An easy but almost-decadent ultra-smooth blend of low-carb cauliflower, sautéed onion and sour cream, a great substitute for those who don't eat high-carb potatoes but so good, you'll find yourself choosing it for its own sake. A rustic, simplified version of Cauliflower Cream is a year-round staple at our house!
WAY BACK IN 2007 Cauliflower Cream is my favorite among this year's new Thanksgiving vegetable recipes, one to clip for everyday, not just for holidays. Cauliflower Cream is simply delicious – for everyone at the table but especially for those who avoid potatoes. It is so smooth and so creamy, and tastes so much like mashed potatoes that at first, my taste testers only asked, "Wow, who made the potatoes?" Everyone was surprised to learn that what they thought were "potatoes" were in fact cauliflower!

Of all the vegetable recipes I made for 2007's Thanksgiving series, this is the one I can most imagine making again and again, for everyday.…

Sweet Potato Casserole ♥ Recipe

So what if you take the traditional sweet potato casserole then proudly update it, keeping the essentials, honoring the tradition, but somehow transforming it into something contemporary, very now. That's my Sweet Potato Casserole. It's less sweet and has hints of vanilla and ginger. It uses just a few mini marshmallows and intersperses them with a crispy pecan-panko topping. Delish!

Fresh & Seasonal, Perfect for Make-Ahead Thanksgiving and Autumn Fall Gatherings. Vegetarian.

Leek & Root Vegetable Gratin ♥

What a gratin this is, truly. I love how the individual fall-rainbow colors remain distinct -- the white of turnip, the gold of rutabaga, the orange of sweet potato. And yet the flavors stand alone and still meld together, married by sweet sautéed leek and a light cheese sauce.

RECIPE for LEEK & ROOT VEGETABLE GRATINHands-on time: 45 minutes over course of an hour or more
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 8 in standard servings, 12 in small-ish servings
COOK ROOT VEGETABLES
Salted water to cover
1 large rutabaga (also called a Swede or a yellow turnip, often has a waxy skin for preservation), about 2-1/4 pounds, trimmed, peeled, cut in chunks
2 medium purple-topped turnips, trimmed, peeled, cut in chunks
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut in chunks

Bring water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the rutabaga chunks as they're prepped, even if water's not yet boiling. Once it comes to a boil, cook for about 10 minutes before adding the turnips and sweet potato. (I cooked them al…