Day 143: Hurricane Rice ♥

Thanks to Katrina, I'm counting my blessings:
my family and friends are safemy town is on high groundI'm in a position to help those who've been left with little more than their lives And thanks to Paper Chef#10 (an online version of the Food Network's Iron Chef competitions, open to anyone who takes on the challenge to create a dish from a handful of ingredients, this month featuring New Orleans-inspired beer, shrimp, sausage and tomato), I'm counting my culinary blessings:
I raaaarely cook without a recipe -- a blank slate was great fun!I've never cooked N'awlins -- a tablespoon of research yielded a whole cup of self-confidence
I cooked under the influence of today's Fresh Air with music from New Orleans greats Dr John, Harry Connick Jr and Allen Toussaint
The result was seriously delicious
The vision began with brown rice cooked in beer (would it be awful, I wondered?), fat with shrimp and sausage, filled to the gills with okra, corn and tomato that'…

Veggie Posts of the Week #3

(Many thanks toJen Gray whose photo makes me consider playing racoon to raid the neighbor's garden for a midnight feast!)

Ah, the bounty of the farm!

Here are this week's posts by other food writers and home cooks, the ones that pushed their way out of the monitor to grab my tastebuds and imagination.

From New Takes on the Everyday

Over at Simply Recipes, Elise's Dad's Potato Salad that hides a secret ingredient

From Kevin at the Milky Way Diner, a quiche happy with zucchini and fresh tomato to say nothing of his mother-in-law's Thai noodles with carrots, cucumber and red lettuce

From Julie (of A Finger in Every Pie) after visiting the green market, her latest ratatouille, fat with leeks and eggplant and tomato and ... and ...

From Rachael over at Fresh Approach Cooking, a salad that starts with butterleaf lettuce, then takes advantage of the last of this year's wonderful peaches along with fennel and grapefruit

To the Unusual

Pickled Radishes from Sorchah over…

Veggies for Kids

Feeding a couple of hungry boys -- one veggie resistant, one veggie adventurous -- for the last while has me thinking about how the Veggie Venture might help parents encourage their children to eat and enjoy vegetables.

What works for you?What would you like to fix at your own table? Leave a comment, send an e-mail or write your own post -- I'll collect the ideas/links along with kid-tested recipes in a new section called Veggies for Kids.

Here's one Mom's take:

"I could go on and on about the kids-and-vegetables topic. Andrew is my pickier eater, Nate will try new things pretty easily. Some of my tried and trues are not exactly novel, but here's what I do: Salads: I can get them to try lots of things if they're mixed with lettuce and salad dressing.Raw vegetables with dip: Nate ASKS if we can have brocolli, as long as ranch dressing is involved. He also loves basil pesto as a dip. Not exactly low fat, we limit the amount of dip. Not to mention it's pretty …

Day 142: Tropical Salad Supper ♥

A quick supper, a magical melange of vegetables and fruit in a lime vinaigrette.
~post & photo updated 2013~
~more recently updated recipes~
2006 ORIGINAL POST: Leftovers aside, when you eat the very same thing three nights out of four, it's gotta be good. This is my new mainstay when "it's too [ one or insert your own] to cook" supper.

Night #1 featured pork tenderloin and mango. Delicious.Night #2 included leftover poached chicken and papaya. Wonderful.(To)night #3 was meatless with kiwi. Not as good but maybe the 3rd time isn't always the charm?The citrus tart in the vinaigrette does seem to mellow against against dense and somewhat fatty (even if lean) meat so a protein is recommended as are the creamier taste and texture of mangoes and papayas vs kiwi.

This salad is the first time I've ever eaten (to my knowledge) or cooked (certainly) Napa cabbage. All these years, and no Napa cabbage? Seems I'm making up for lost time.


Day 141: Golden Carrots ♥

Today's simple carrot salad, just grated carrots tossed with orange, cilantro and Moroccan spices. Gluten-free and Weight Watchers friendly. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
~recipe & photo updated & reposted 2015~
~more recently updated recipes~
2005: Five minutes flat. Ingredients easily kept on hand. Kid friendly. Can't beat that combination! While tonight there was no forgoing the convenience of pre-grated carrots from the grocery store, to my taste the new "carrot convenience product" carrots were cut too thick, closer to a julienne cut. Plus, they were dry. Another time, I'd pull out the food processor or a standing grater to grate whole carrots: I suspect fresh-cut surfaces will better absorb the fruit juices too.

Veggies for Kids
KID #1, an 8-year old finicky eater: "It's good. I like the oranges best. The cinnamon tastes really good."

KID #2, a five and 9/10-year old adventurous eater: "Hey! This is crunchy! What&#…

Day 140: Yellow Squash Soup with Spinach ♥
aka Early Autumn Leaves in Soup

Today's easy soup recipe: Just yellow squash, bell peppers and spinach in a simple soup but somehow ever so much more. Great color, low carb and just one or two points for Weight Watchers. When made with vegetable broth, not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".
~recipe updated, first published way back in 2005~
~more recently updated recipes~
FIRST THE POETIC It's still summer-warm here in eastern Missouri and even as I write, outside the cicadas are calling, described by Faulkner as the "rasp of summer, August". But this afternoon, an early-turning tree in the neighborhood began to glimmer with autumn gold. It'll be mid- to late-October before peak leaf color reaches the Mississippi and Missouri river valleys. Until then, our rolling hills will be a mix of green with yellow, then yellow with green. Just like this pretty soup!

NOW THE PRACTICAL If you've over-indulged for a few days and need/want to cut back, BRING ON THE CAKE. It's counter-intuitive…

Day 139: Chopped Salad with Sun-dried Tomato Dressing

With hints of cinnamon and cumin, the dressing is unusual and delicious! (I'd definitely consider it as a dressing for salad greens too.)

I dressed the salad several hours beforehand. The good news: the flavors and juices did soak in, just as hoped. The bad news: the chopped vegetables also softened up, more than expected. Think about dressing the overall salad just before serving, it just might turn "good" into a "favorite ♥ ".

Hands-on time: 7 minutes for the dressing, 20 minutes for the chopping
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 5 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil (reduced from 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (up from 1 tablespoon, I used a fig vinegar )
1 tablespoon honey
the zest from an orange (made easy with a microplane)
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (preferably fresh and still soft, preferably without oil)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (a defining ingredient, try not to skip)
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin (another defini…