Seductive Kale Salad ♥

Today's healthy vegetable recipe: I've fallen for the slow seduction of quick-cooked kale. Low carb. Weight Watchers zero points. Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Is kale the boy-next-door who just might become the love of your life, if you only paid attention? Like that boy, kale is always there, steady and patient. Like most greens, it's especially obvious during the late months of winter, during the weeks and even months when we so long for fresh foods, straight from the earth. But thanks to the miracle of global food distribution, kale is available and inexpensive year-round. (Miracle? Yes, really. Just think what we'd be eating, week in, week out, without it.) But kale is also the one who gets invited to the party at the very last minute. It's often an after-thought, just something to throw into a soup or a stew at the end of cooking for texture and color contrast, rarely raised onto a deserved pedestal of adoration. Well, lemme tell you. Kal

Beer-Soaked Crispy Baked Fries ♥

For crispy baked French 'fries', here's a quick trick, soak the fries in beer first! Crispy fries are the holy grail of potatoes – steamy hot and golden brown, crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. Starting on Day 325 in 2006 (don't bother, but there you go), I've tried a half dozen recipes, all disappointing. And when you limit your carbs, on those rare occasions when you choose to eat potatoes, they'd darn-better be worth eating! The recipe was inspired by St. Louis' "Beer Guy" aka Evan Benn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The headline read, "Beer-soaked 'fries' are baked to crispy perfection". This sounded ever-so-promising!

No-Cream Creamy Cauliflower Soup ♥

Today's simple cauliflower soup recipe: If you have just three ingredients, a head of cauliflower, an onion and olive oil, you can make this soup! It turns out so creamy, even though it's made without cream, thanks to an unusual slightly-fussy-but-not-difficult technique to draw out flavor and creaminess. Made with water, it's a delicious vegan soup for everyone. Made with chicken stock ( Note to Vegetarians ), it's a low-calorie satisfying, substantial supper. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 or 2 points. Something I've learned about restaurant chefs: many of them cook the same few dishes, again and again, over and over. Sheer repetition means "nailing" the muscle memory of technique and the sensory cues of color, smell, texture, touch. If practice makes perfect, there's a reason that restaurant chefs are good at what they do. We home cooks, if we make the one same thing once a week, it's a lot, especially if we are curious cooks who for fun are

Fennel-Apple Salad ♥ with Orange-Zest Candied Black Walnuts

Today's winter salad: Chopped fennel and apple served atop orange rounds. This is a decidedly savory fruit salad but is topped by not-to-be-missed candied black walnuts brightened with orange zest. Vegan. Story goes that Cajun culturist Justin Wilson, when asked what's for supper, will answer with his own question, "Whaddaya got?" and then decide. Do you cook in that inspired, improvisational way? If so, I bow in homage! Me, nearly always I am a "recipe cook" who starts with a list of ingredients, albeit one who then tugs and twists those ingredients to simplify techniques and match my idea of what's good and what's healthy. Last week, the Missouri Organic Association hosted its annual conference here in St. Louis and three local chefs and three local bloggers teamed up for an Iron Chef-style cookoff. Talk about cooking outside my comfort zone – in public! But I must say, talk about a total kick , thanks to my collaborator chef Pat Long from Ca

Special (Useful & Informative) Stuff ♥ from A Veggie Venture

It's easy to find exactly the right vegetable recipe here at A Veggie Venture, my online collection of seasonal vegetable recipes. Most visitors start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or Vegetable Recipes by Course . But A Veggie Venture is more than vegetable recipes! It's also packed with vegetable-inspired extras. So I've created this collection of "Special Stuff" – writing and resources that I hope readers find helpful and informative now that they're in one place and easy to find. Click away, browse around. It's the new "garden" of information for vegetable lovers! PS Are you looking for something specific? Not finding what you'd hoped to find? Let me help! Just leave a quick note in the comments below or via . ~Alanna

Chickpeas with Tomatoes, Spinach & Feta ♥

Today's vegetarian supper, a vegetarian version of one of my favorite suppers of all time. It's made with favorite pantry ingredients (don't we just love chickpeas?!) and fresh spinach and a salty sprinkle of feta cheese. No surprise, I love-love-love cookbooks, especially the ones that teach, the ones that inspire movement to the kitchen now , the ones that introduce new ideas and new techniques but still KISS (you know, Keep It Simple , um, Silly ). So a couple of weeks ago, a new cookbook arrived, one that is getting a lot of attention, one I was so excited to preview. But the truth is, it left me cold. Finding ingredients would require moving to New York or maybe Italy. Fish is great but really, aren't we worried about our fast-depleting fisheries? (Tastes vary. You just might just love this cookbook. But I'm not going to mention it by name because, well, I'm just not.) But one recipe did fit my it's-winter-and-I-crave-simple-comfort-food mentality. B

How to Roast Vegetables ♥
22 Tips & A Master Recipe

It's Veg Ed time, today the focus is roasting fresh vegetables in the oven, the right temperature, the right length of time, the right oil, the right amount of oil. Armed with knowledge, insight and technique, you'll never again need a "recipe" to roast vegetables. Fresh & Seasonal. Cold-Weather Classic. Great for Meal Prep. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special.