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Showing posts from July, 2008

Grilled Beets, Beans & Greens ♥

Today's recipe: Beets cooked on a grill. Beans cooked on a grill on a bed of salted beet greens.
"Necessity is the mother of invention" at work: imagine finding yourself with raw beets and beautiful romano beans - and no stove, no pot, no knives, just a grill. What happened next was pure experiment but it worked so beautifully, I share it here, not as a recipe but as a concept.

The beets were small so would cook evenly and comparatively quickly. I tore off the greens but left the 'tails' on - it's important to not cut into the beets themselves, otherwise the juices pour out during cooking. A little olive rub would have been good, to keep the skins soft, but oh well, none at hand. A foil wrap would have contained the heat but also, I think, kept out that golden grill essence. Over indirect heat for about an hour, the beets emerged sweet and smoky, the texture light, the color dark, completely perfect. Very good!

The bed of greens was intended solely as 'grate…

Seared Radicchio ♥

Today's quick vegetable recipe: Wedges of radicchio (also called chicory) seared in a hot skillet, then dipped in syrupy vinegar. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point.
So earlier, when I mentioned feeling ho-hum about the Italian version of the Weight Watchers zero points soup, since radicchio is expensive, I also suggested skipping it entirely or substituting the less expensive red cabbage.

I take it back! Cooked radicchio is completely gorgeous, an entirely different animal. It is also completely worth (to my taste) an occasional investment. And time-wise, it took all of ten minutes -- yes, ten -- from start to finish with maybe 5 minutes of hands-on time. Talk about quick! And I'm glad to add another good one to the collection of quick vegetable recipes.

In its raw form, radicchio's red cabbage-looking leaves are slightly bitter. (There's a photo of radicchio here, if anyone's inclined.) In its cooked form, the chewiness and bitterness survive, but in a softer, sweete…

Weight Watchers Italian Zero Points Soup Recipe

Today's Weight Watchers recipe: The new Weight Watchers zero points soup recipe, this one the "Italian" soup. It's the mildest of the new Weight Watchers soups and is packed with Italian-style vegetables like fennel and radicchio. Like the other zero point soups, it's: Low Carb. Vegan. And of course, Weight Watchers 0 points.
For many people who follow the Weight Watchers plan, the zero point soups are like the air we breathe: we don't want to be without! So it's no wonder that Weight Watchers UK developed three new recipes to give some variation to the granddaddy original zero point soup, the Garden Vegetable Zero Point Soup. I love the Weight Watchers Mexican Zero Point soup and the Asian Zero Point Soup stars Asian vegetables, so yes, it is a good variation too.

This Italian-style soup, hmm, I'm not so sure. It has so many vegetables in it, it should be wonderful. Instead it's mild. No one vegetable really stands out and to my taste, they don…

Vegetables for Children - Inspiration from Freddie & Alex

Dear Charlotte, Alex and Freddie,

Your new book The Great Big Veg Challenge is an absolute wonder!

Yesterday, the postman handed it over just as I set off to walk the dog. Too curious to wait, I took what was supposed to be a quick peek. Thirty minutes later, I was still sitting in the shade in the front yard with a now-impatient dog, slowly paging through the book, smiling at the drawings and photographs, enjoying the sheer fun of watching you meander your way, A - Z, through the alphabet of vegetables.

In Cabbage, Freddie, I laughed out loud when reminded that when you first ate potato, cabbage and rapini colcannon, you said "This is heaven," and asked, "Are you really sure there is cabbage in this?" This from you, Freddie, the boy who wanted to 'get the cabbage over with, quick'!

In Celery and Fennel and Kohlrabi and Kale, I paused to check out particularly tasty-looking recipes (kale chips? gotta do that one!). Thanks for all the new kid-friendly vegetable …

Rhubarb Pizza ♥ Fun Summer Recipe

Today's fruit pizza recipe: A thin cookie 'pizza' crust topped with sweetened and reddened rhubarb. Surprisingly good!
"Is it healthy?" asked the first taste tester, age eight, upon learning that the rhubarb atop her slice of rhubarb pizza -- yes, you've read that right, rhubarb and pizza in the same sentence -- is botanically a vegetable. Uh. No. Rhubarb pizza is hardly a 'health food' but it sure is 'fun food'!

But hey, if laughter contributes to good health, that qualifies rhubarb pizza as health food, yes? Okay, not. Still, this rhubarb pizza was truly much fun and it ranks right up there with the recipes for Kool-Aid Pickles and Green Smoothies as outright food oddities.

The recipe comes from my dear Auntie Karen, who always writes when she collects a big pile of rhubarb from a good neighbor. So when I made the rhubarb pizza, using a recipe she shared a couple or more years back, I wrote her too, saying, "I finally made your rhubarb piz…

How to Keep Fresh Vegetables Fresh Longer

Today's tips: How to store fresh vegetables to stay fresh longer, to keep longer, all to minimize waste.
One way to save money on groceries -- something we're all paying considerable attention to thanks to skyrocketing food prices -- is to follow Ben Franklin's maxim, Waste not, want not. I'm especially aware of this during summer, when the temptation of the Saturday morning farmers market surpasses my inclination to cook once home. I've learned the hard way that my best rhythm is to limit purchases to just a couple of days, then, with any luck, visit the Wednesday market for the rest of the week.

So I pored through the fresh produce tips in the July-August 2008 issue of Cook's Illustrated in an article called, "How to Keep Produce Fresher Longer". Here's a sampling but I do recommend picking up an issue for the complete story that includes tips on keep fruit fresh, too, also some of the science behind their tips about keeping produce fresh longe…

Farro with Beet Greens ♥

Today's vegetable recipe: Beet greens tucked into farro, a high-protein grain.
Setting: Farmers market on a busy Saturday morning, the busiest booth, a line of people behind another shopper and me.

Other Shopper, eyeing a fat bunch of beets: "Will you cut off the greens for me?"

Farmer, eyeing me with a conspiratorial grin: "The greens are the best part. I bet this young lady can tell you how to cook them up fast and easy."

Other Shopper, eyeing me suspiciously, looking decidedly dubious: "How?"

Me, with evangelist fervor: "Just chop the greens up really thin, then sauté with garlic and onion in a little olive oil. They're great."

Other Shopper, obviously disgusted: "She can have my greens."

Sure, go ahead and laugh, the farmer and I did!

But the truth is, greens are overwhelming for many cooks. Even at my house, greens too often go to waste -- a waste of nutrition, of money, of scarce resources. So I'm constantly on the hunt for e…

Almonnaise (Vegan Mayonnaise Made from Almonds) ♥ Recipe

What do you call a vegan spread that has the consistency of mayonnaise but whose first ingredient is toasted almonds? I'm going with Almonnaise or hmm, maybe Almondaise or Almond-Aise? Either way, this creamy concoction of toasted almonds, garlic, vinegar and olive oil (and some times, fresh herbs) is addictive! Use it as a vegan mayonnaise but truly, omnivores love it too. Low Carb. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.
~recipe updated, first published way back in 2008~
~more recently updated recipes~
The summer I stopped eating meat, it was more on an impetuous whim than armed with a plan. Why? It took just one pointed question from a friend. That question forced the realization that I was eating more meat than I knew. You see, a chicken sandwich for lunch, a steak on the weekend, one by one, these add up unless paying close attention.

On the spot, I decided to forego meat. No surprise, within just a few days, I was l-o-s-t-lost. Many of my …

Old-Fashioned Green Tomato Pie ♥ Old Farm Recipe

An old-fashioned country green-tomato pie, sweet not savory. You'll think it's an apple pie! Really! It's so surprising but if you don't know about the green tomatoes, you'll swear you're eating an apple pie.
~recipe updated, first published way back in 2008~
~more recently updated recipes~
BACK IN 2008 Last October I spent an evening with a group of smart, successful, tuned-in, connected and world-traveling folks. Somehow, the talk turned to strawberries and before too long, someone complained that lately, strawberries were "expensive" and "not that good". (Strawberries in October? Well yes, if you live in the southern hemisphere!)

I broached the idea of the "locavore" movement, the "100-mile diet" (want to know your 100-mile radius? try this 100-mile calculator) and the concept of eating seasonally – all were greeted with mostly blank looks. The strawberry-buyer (who's also a year-round blueberry- and apple-buyer)…