Free Icon for Bloggers: Fresh from the Farmers Market

Two or three or more times a week, I trek to the farmers market. Here in St. Louis, that means any one of my favorite farmers markets . To encourage all of us to seek out fresh produce from our hometown farmers markets, I commissioned an icon to help showcase fresh vegetables and fruits -- Meet Blush, the Sweet Tomato! -- and invite my fellow bloggers to adopt the icon, too. [Many thanks to the talented Jeannette of Matchbox Creative aka Kickpleat from Everybody Likes Sandwiches for designing the icon. We all should blush as prettily as Blush!] So yes, fellow bloggers, you are invited to use the icon in posts and places that feature fresh produce and other farmers market finds. Use it once, use it a hundred times, it's up to you. It comes in a 400px, 125px and 100px sizes. You're free to use the icon as you see fit: in posts, in a sidebar, to link to a list of your own favorite farmers markets, anything creative you come up with that's related to farmers markets. Me, I

Kool-Aid Pickles ♥

Oh I just love crazy stuff like this! And the pickles are surprisingly good! Since the New York Times wrote about Kool-Aid dills a bit back, there's been lots of talk but to my knowledge, no one's actually MADE them. The color's pretty wild, yes? And at an impromptu rained-out picnic on Sunday, it was great fun listening to people guess what might be flavoring the pickles. They all got 'orange' but none got so far as Kool-Aid. (Does Kool-Aid translate across the world? It's a packet of powder, just sugar and artificial flavor and dye, marketed to kids . And for those of us of a certain age, it was "the" coveted drink of childhood, in the way soda/pop is now but which, at least for my family, was prohibitively expensive.) KITCHEN NOTES Since the dill pickles I purchased were quite small, I hoped that the Kool-Aid color/taste would permeate a whole pickle -- no luck. So I cut them in half after two or three days. Be sure to stir the mixture once a day

Thai Roasted Eggplant Salad ♥

The more I cook vegetables in new ways, the more amazed I become how much yet remains to be explored. Mexican vegetables? Asian vegetables? Indian vegetables? It's a whole new unexplored world that I think, yes, we shall call A World of Vegetables . (There are enough recipes, already, from various cuisines that I'll create a new section in the Recipe Box.) I'll work to limit (but not exclude) hard-to-find ingredients or suggest sources and substitutes when I know. But I'm excited about exploring entirely new flavor profiles and hope you'll enjoy the journey, too. Grab your culinary passport. This could be fun! We'll start with Thai vegetables, inspired by a new cookbook's introduction to the vegetable section. "Please do not tell the good people of Thailand that vegetables are good for them. They have no idea. They only reason they eat vegetables is because they like them. They like the way vegetables taste and the way they look. They like the way vege

Arugula Salad with Smoked Trout & Peach Preserve Dressing ♥

Today's salad supper, perfect for simple summer evenings: Peppery arugula tossed with a sweet fruity-mustard dressing, then topped with bites of smoked trout, fresh fruits and veggies. Totally adaptable, so simple but special. Destined for a go-to dinner! ~recipe updated, first published way back in 2007~ ~ more recently updated recipes ~ WAY BACK IN 2007 Day One: Christine from My Plate or Yours raved about a smoked mullet dip . We bantered back and forth a bit on e-mail. Day Two 7 am: Arggh. I was, um, hooked. I woke up wanting smoked fish dip NOW. (For breakfast, Alanna?) Day Two 11am: A client's husband was off to fetch fish from Bob's Seafood, the best (and in my opinion, only) place to buy fresh fish in St. Louis, for their supper. When I asked if he'd mind buying smoked fish for me, he and my client answered, nearly simultaneously, "You need a smoker!" Now he's an accomplished foodie and Anne Cori is chef so I trust their judgments without

Kitchen Parade Extra: How to Make Rhubarb Jelly & Rhubarb Jam ♥

When my sister and I were girls, on hot June days, our Mom would send us with a bowl of sugar to the backstep where her rhubarb patch was within arms' reach. Ruby stalk by ruby stalk, we'd wipe off the most evident dirt with our fingers, then dip -- and dip and dip -- the rhubarb into the bowl to sweeten each tart biteful. When I was home last summer, I rescued the last bits of my Mom's Round-up ravaged rhubarb from the back step and planted it in my own garden. Some years must pass before my rhubarb plants will qualify as a patch but someday I'll sugar my very own rhubarb. Rhubarb? It's almost as good, straight from the farmers market and this time of year, even, carefully picked over, the supermarket. This week's Kitchen Parade column is a kitchen lesson in how to make rhubarb jelly and rhubarb jam . In an hour, you'll have six or seven pints of rhubarb confection. Where's that column? In Kitchen Parade, of course ! Botanically, rhubarb is a vegetable.

Kalyn's Roasted Asparagus & Mushrooms ♥

Fresh spring asparagus and fresh mushrooms are a magical combinations, especially when their natural earthiness is accentuated by roasting, seasoned with no more than a little salt and pepper. Delicious. ~recipe & photo updated 2011~ ~ more recently updated recipes ~ 2007: Fans of the South Beach diet (which of course starts out as a diet for losing weight, then evolves into a healthful way to eat while maintain the new weight, much the same as Weight Watchers) either already do or should know about the great food blog Kalyn's Kitchen which is packed with weight loss tips, low-carb product recommendations and of course, South Beach recipes. Kalyn regularly features vegetables so I am often inspired by her site. Still, isn't it funny that the two recipes I've felt most drawn to both feature mushrooms? Roasted Carrots and Mushrooms with Thyme was soooo good and so is Kalyn's roasted asparagus and mushrooms! This is a total keeper!

Eggplant Caviar

It's always fun to inaugurate a new cookbook, this time Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen . It's a personal and amusing look into a fellow blogger's kitchen, the charming Clotilde Dusoulier, with both both recipes and photography all her own. It's doing very well -- at this writing, it's the #206 best-selling book on Amazon! Plus last week Clotilde appeared on the Today show ! And if you like A Veggie Venture, thank Clotilde. I'm quite sure that it was her blog, Chocolate & Zucchini and one of a couple of 'famous' blogs then and now, that was my own introduction to food blogging back in 2005. For this easy appetizer, I experimented with three different kinds of eggplant. Two small-ish globe eggplants (a pound apiece, not pictured) yielded less than a cup of eggplant after roasting and removing the seeds. (What's a globe eggplant? It's the 'standard' eggplant, at least my experience in American supermar