(Un) Fried Green Tomatoes ♥ Recipe for Baked Green Tomatoes

Thin slices of green tomatoes dipped in a seasoned cornmeal breading, then baked at high heat. Virtually no fat, thus 'healthy fried green tomatoes' (and baked, of course, not fried) but still full of flavor. Weight Watchers 2 points.
Fried green tomatoes have been a long time reaching A Veggie Venture, though not for lack of trying. Three years running, I tried new techniques. For a recipe that is so homely and humble -- heavens, we're just trying to use up upripe tomatoes just before or just after frost -- fried green tomatoes take a trick or two.

The breading needs to be light in texture but big on flavor.
The tomatoes need to be sliced thin, so they'll cook clear through.
Most of all, the fried green tomatoes need to be baked, not fried, giving the tomatoes more time to cook but also to eliminate all that gobby fat that the breading will soak up if you let it.

Is any of this heresy to southerners? I hope not, these are mighty good!


How to Roast Garlic ♥ The Recipe & A Planting Reminder

How to roast whole heads of garlic to a deep, dark and luscious creamy paste. Plus, a reminder that October 15th is when we plant garlic in the fall!
When roasting vegetables, or baking a casserole, or simmering a big pot of soup, I love to throw something else into the oven, too, making efficient use of the energy. More times than not, that 'something else' is a dish of garlic heads. Then for a week, I tuck roasted garlic into everything I cook. No more vampires, garlic breath be **mned!

And did you know that fall -- yes, fall -- is when we plant garlic? If you grow nothing else, it's ever so easy to plant a small garlic crop. It's a start! Check out my How and Why Guide to Growing Garlic. It's an especially fun project with kids, carrying through on the lessons from the summer's herb pots, tomato plants and vegetable gardens.

HOW to ROAST GARLICHands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour

Aluminum foil
Olive oil
Kosher salt & pepper
Whole heads of garlic…

Whole Pumpkin Baked with Custard ♥ A Fun Recipe for Fall

Today's pumpkin recipe: Stuff a whole pumpkin with custard, bake it, and what do you get? A fun fall dessert!
Finally, pumpkins! For a year now, I've been waiting-waiting for pumpkin season. You see, two recipes had tucked themselves into the back of my brain and refused to let go. One cooked meat and vegetables into a stew, right in a whole pumpkin settled into the coals of a campfire -- sorry, I can't recommend that one yet, perhaps ever. The other cooked custard right inside a whole pumpkin. Yes, custard cooked inside a whole pumpkin, that one I happily recommend!

The stuffed pumpkin and custard recipe comes from "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American" by Jeff Smith, an uneven but often fascinating look at 'American ethnic cooking'. The recipe's headnotes say that custard baked in a pumpkin was a favorite of George Washington. It's kind of a cozy fall dessert, definitely dramatic in appearance and meant to be shared.

2010 UPDATE Turns out, the fasc…

Supper Casserole with Pumpkin & Green Chile Cornbread Topping ♥
A Welcome-to-Fall Recipe

A one-dish casserole supper, meat cooked with on-hand vegetables and flavored with green chile salsa. The cornbread topping repeats the green chile flavor and adds pumpkin for color, moisture and nourishment.
Who else has noticed? When winter turns to spring, we long for the first bites of spring, waiting with much anticipation for the first asparagus, the first artichokes, the first strawberries.

But fall? Not so much. As soon as fall 'happens' -- it hit here in St. Louis on Monday -- we can immediately start cooking our fall favorites. You see, they've been around for a few weeks, we've just been ignoring them to get our last fill of tomatoes and peppers and okra and and and.

For me, cornbread is one of the siren calls of autumn and the cold-weather months, baked first, baked last, baked often in between. It was a welcome welcome to autumn. I pulled this Supper Casserole out of the pantry, you can too by using what meat (Note to Vegetarians) and vegetables you have o…

Rosemary Potatoes ♥ Recipe & Roasting Tips

Just in time for roasting fall vegetables, four tricks for roasting starchy vegetables like potatoes and winter squash using less oil without compromising on texture or flavor.
Here in St. Louis, we're caught in that lovely 'bridge' between summer and fall. There's no deciding whether to slice up a quick Insalata Caprese to get the final fill of summer tomatoes or to tip over into autumn's vegetables. The solution? Salad for lunch, potatoes for supper! These Rosemary Potatoes, talk about comfort food when paired with Meatloaf. Turns out, however, that the technique used here for the potatoes can be applied to roasting other vegetables as well.

Roasting vegetables, it's the number one way to draw out flavor and sweetness. But over the years, I've watched various recipes call for so much oil. Where A Veggie Venture allows for 1 tablespoon of fat per pound of vegetables (for most although not all recipes), other recipes call for four to eight times that. No won…

Perfect Stovetop Brown Rice ♥ New Recipe for Cooking Brown Rice

Today's recipe: A new technique for cooking brown rice, yielding moist and flavorful grains of rice. No more gummy brown rice!
Who's noticed? If you follow the directions on a bag or box of brown rice, it turns out tough and gummy and unappetizing. It's no wonder that people turn to rice cookers for help -- or worse, douse brown rice with butter; or worse still, stick with the far less healthful white rice whose nutrients have been stripped away.

For winter, there's the oh-so-popular Oven-Baked Brown Rice that's just oh-so-perfect, yielding almost-nutty bites of moist, flavorful rice. Frankly, it's my favorite way to cook brown rice. But here it is, summer, and turning on the oven for an hour while the air conditioning runs seems to defeat the purpose. So I was intrigued to see Saveuer's new technique for cooking rice on the stovetop. It's dead simple and takes only an hour to get to the table, 15 minutes faster than the Oven-Baked Brown Rice.

Another goo…

Cool-as-a-Cucumber Avocado Soup ♥ A Low(er)-Calorie Recipe

Today's vegetable recipe: a quick blender soup recipe, just four ingredients and served cold. Low carb. Vegan. Lower calorie than a typical avocado soup.
Sigh. Do your eyes go dreamy too at the thought of avocados? There's simply no matching their silkiness, their smoothness. Pillow makers? How about avocado, not the color, but the cool slipperiness.

Blending cool cucumber with smooth avocado, it was a recent inspiration. The cucumber adds liquid but flavor too, unlike plain water (as most avocado soup recipes specify) or broth (which strikes me as too heavy for summer). Better still, the cucumber adds volume but few calories, keeping the avocado soup in reasonable territory, diet-wise but still tasting like an indulgence.

This soup is served cold, its own cool pillow against summer's heat. I like to serve it in small bowls with small spoons, all to encourage savoring every single silky spoonful. So much for that idea -- when I made this last, my favorite taste tester, who …