Kitchen Parade Extra: Herbed Goat Cheese ♥

I just love this goat cheese spread! For an easy low-carb appetizer, it makes up in minutes with ingredients often already on hand. It's a concept recipe begging for adaptation and creativity. And people gobble it up, asking, What IS this?

It's herbed goat cheese and it's featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

PS For anyone with a dog, this is a not-to-miss column ... especially if you want to meet my dog, Lady Koira!

PPS Recent Kitchen Parade columns are now on

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Practical Home Canning Tips

A long list of tips and insider tricks from an obsessive home canner. This is my "what I wish I'd known before I started canning" list.
A few summers ago, I decided to can. What started as a few jars somehow turned into a root cellar's worth. Call it the Summer of Obsessive Canning. I stopped counting after the 145th jar and the 25th batch. All lined up on the counter, the glistening jars were immensely satisfying. I learned to love the POP sound as the seals set. It helped me grieve the loss of my mom, just weeks gone.

That summer started with plum chutney and ended with pickled beans. In between came a red relish, dixie relish, piccallili, blueberry lime jam, banana butter, pickled mushrooms, pickled peaches, pickled beets, pickled peppers I call Pied Pipers, watermelon pickles, my grandmother's dills. That year, there were too many tears to make Ripe-Tomato Relish with Peaches & Pears (Sharon's Pickle), my mom and I had always made it together.

I d…

Green Pepper Jelly for SHF22

Sugar High Friday's extravaganza of sweetness takes an extra measure of creativity here at A Veggie Venture. Sweets and Vegetables, you see, aren't an everyday match. But the TIME-famous folks at Delicious Days hosting August's Sugar High Friday made it easy: gooey sticky sweet spreads in glass jars! Opening my favorite canning cookbook, the standard Ball Blue Book, I knew the pages would yield a vegetable jam. Yep, there 'twas: a jelly made from green peppers.

So I reviewed my Practical Home Canning Tips, dusted off the canning supplies in the basement, turned down the air conditioning ... and got to work!

THE TASTE TEST ... Green Pepper Jelly may be sweet but it's also astringent. The lick-the-spoon test suggested it might be better suited for savory treatments like stirring a spoonful into a sauce for fish or glazing grilled pork or chicken. But the bread-n-butter test cinched my approval: like with marmalade, the sweet and tart combination is terrific for every…

Warm Tomato, Corn & Okra Salad ♥

What a surprise, how delicious this was!

It's mid-summer farmers -market bounty (fresh tomatoes, corn and okra) warmed under the broiler, then tossed with fresh basil. Heaven!

It is also a great way to sneak in a few fresh okra, something that the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen often tantalizes us with but I'm still warming up to.

[I'm quite sure it's Susan who taught me how to tell if okra is fresh. Bend the tip, if it snaps off, it's fresh. If it bends but doesn't snap, it should be left behind! [later note: Susan alerted me that I had it exactly opposite so I've corrected the information so not to perpetuate misinformation]The okra was a tiny bit gummy but not unpleasantly so. I've somewhere seen notes on how to prevent gumminess ... anyone have ideas?]

And because it warms under the broiler, for just 10-15 minutes, it hardly heats up the kitchen, making it a perfect vegetable choice for hot summer days!

For a main dish, I'd toss this into hot pas…

Chilled Asparagus Orange Soup ♥

I was so surprised at this wonderful tomato - orange soup combination that when I happened onto an asparagus - orange soup combination, the recipe called out, Make me! Make ME! MAKE ME!

And lo - if asparagus and orange aren't magical too!

Word to the Wise: This soup must-must-must sit for at least 18 hours. First made, it tasted so plain and uncomfortably hot that I nearly pitched it into the rubbish. But by the next day ... excellent, a huge transformation.

NUTRITION NOTES ... This was rich enough (even with fat-free half 'n' half) that a small serving was plenty, matched with the rest of supper, of course.

Bookmark or print Chilled Asparagus Orange Soup
Hands-on time: 15 minutes active, 30 minutes total
Time to table: 18 - 24 hours
Makes 3 cups
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, cut in 1 inch lengths
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 cup water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Few grains cayenne or more to taste½ cup fa…

Kitchen Parade Kitchen Lesson: Vichyssoise ♥

Can you spell it? Pronounce it?

I promise, vichyssoise is easier to make than to spell or pronouce so if you've not yet, now's the time!

A quick lesson for this simple leek and potato soup is in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Tomato Gazpacho ♥ Recipe

How to make Tomato Gazpacho, the classic chilled Spanish summer soup. This recipe makes a big batch and should be reserved for the best summer tomatoes and other late-summer vegetables. As humble as gazpacho is, this stuff is worthy of an occasion, a summer meal in itself.
2005: So don't you some times just know you have a kindred spirit, even if you haven't yet met in the real world? So it's been for a long time with the multi-talented food blogger of Simply Recipes, one of TIME's Coolest Websites of 2006, published just yesterday (too bad, TIME has removed that list from its site). Early on, Elise ever-so-gently taught me the ropes of food blogging etiquette, something I've repeated for other new bloggers as recently as yesterday) and always mentioning Elise's own early kindnesses. Plus, nine times out of ten, the food Elise cooks looks like it could come straight from my kitchen!

So with a dozen gazpacho recipes in contention, I chose hers. It was a big h…