Farmers Market Quiche with Crispy Potato Crust ♥

A great quiche that's packed with bits of a variety of fresh summer vegetables, whatever's on hand. The eggs are sweetened with fresh corn, the quiche's crust is thin layers of potato, really good and crispy like good hashed browns. For Weight Watchers, the potato crust adds just 1 point to the quiche, versus 4 or 5 points for a typical pie crust. Okay, okay, I get it, I finally get it! It really does take extra diligence to manage the constant arrival of new vegetables from a CSA. Week in, week out, it gets hard to keep up. At the end of the week, with another box due too soon, you don't want to still have last week's vegetables hanging around. So this summer I'm extra-keen on recipes that use up bits and pieces of vegetables since often, there's not enough of any one vegetable in each week's delivery to really "cook" on its own, just a small bag of green beans here, a smaller bag of broccoli there. My master recipe for Homemade Vegetable S

The Miracle of Squash Blossoms

"I blog, therefore I learn. I learn, therefore I blog." That's been my yin-yang mantra here at A Veggie Venture since 2005, a long time ago in blogging years! So hey, let's learn about squash blossoms, shall we? Now I'm not the gardener, I'm not the farmgirl, this is just me, a curious cook, learning a little bit more about the plants emerging from the garden – learn with me and together we'll never take a "simple" zucchini for granted again! PHOTO COLLAGE [Top] Two zucchini, the "blossom" ends on the left, the "stem ends" on the right. [Left] Squash blossoms hidden amid the plant's leaves. [Right] Two bees collecting nectar from a male zucchini flower, at the same time gathering pollen. MALES & FEMALES Squash plants flower with boy squash blossoms and girl squash blossoms. Squash plants produce more boys than girls but just like in humans, it's the girls who bear the "babies" - the fruit of the plant,

Make-Ahead Smoothies ♥

A great tip for smoothie makers, how to make them ahead of time: Just make 'em, that's it. So am I the last smoothie lover to figure out that smoothies can be made ahead of time?! If so, sorry, move on with your day, I'll try to do better next week. :-) Otherwise, join me in this life-changing smoothie revelation: Easy prep ahead of time, all that washing and chopping done all at once and out of the way for the week (or at least three or four days). Good-sense portion control, a great feature since I don't know about you, but a blenderful of smoothie just calls to me, "Drink me nowwww, NOW I say!" An easy on-the-go, out-the-door breakfast, a quick after-swim snack all ready and waiting in the fridge.

Rhubarb Curd ♥

Today's fun and easy rhubarb recipe: A take-off on lemon curd, not quite so tart but definitely "rhubarb sour" and with gorgeous color, especially in this easy and oh-so-pretty parfait. Who says that lemon curd has to be made with lemons? Ahh, well yes, of course, lemon curd must be made with lemons and in my world, always always as Brown Sugar Lemon Curd , my Canadian family's signature recipe. But a couple of years back, my dear friend Mary served a couple of fruit curds for a book club dessert and while I've lost track of those recipes (mango perhaps? raspberry?), the idea of a fruit curd stuck. Enter a handful of beautiful rhubarb from last Saturday's trip to the farmers market. Rhubarb custard pie? Muffins? (I'm still on the hunt for my go-to rhubarb muffin recipe. Rhubarb lovers, I'd love to try your muffin recipe if you'd be willing to share, especially if it's less-sweet and made with at least some whole-grain flour.) My mom's

Chunky 'Choke & Chickpea Chow ♥
aka Chunky Artichoke & Garbanzo Spread

Today's vegetable recipe: A great veg(etari)an sandwich spread, a sort of hummus meets artichoke dip. Weight Watchers, just 1 or 2 points, that's because the dense calories of chickpeas have been lightened up with virtually calorie-free artichokes. Vegetarian and when made with vegan mayonnaise, not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Ch a- Ch ing! When the word dancer in me noticed the ch ance to title this recipe with three CH s in a row, twas no ch ore to ch allenge myself to ch annel a fourth. " Ch ow" fit the bill! Ch afing, I know, to my ch agrin! But it might have been worse. You just don't the temptation to turn this into a mushroom spread too, you know, with chantarelles , perhaps with ch eese and leaves of ch ive, served on china ? And eaten with ch opsticks! Please, tee hee, won't this arouse a small ch ortle?

Greek Spinach-Asparagus-Potato Gratin ♥
(Spinaki me Sparaggia Orgraten))

Today's extra-special spinach recipe: A gratin that starts with a layer of potato, then is topped with a thick layer of the best "creamed spinach" I've ever made (or tasted). The secret? The spinach is mixed with asparagus! What a spring treat! Three or four times a year, we share a dinner with a group of food-savvy friends who are the culinary branch of the Missouri Mycological Society . Each dinner carries a theme. Last month, we celebrated a "Greek Orthodox Easter" by cooking a whole lamb ( note to vegetarians ) at a green-as-summer outdoor venue west of St. Louis, part of Shaw Nature Reserve . I love-love-love this group! It's plain fun to cook with/for smart and food-obsessed like-minded food people and I also appreciate the forum to cook dishes slightly more complicated. Plus I always learn something! And here's what I learned with our assigned dish, a vegetarian casserole called σπανάκι με σπαράγγια ογκρατέν, that's Spinaki me Sparaggi

Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing ♥

Today's party salad: A spring riff on the traditional Seven-Layer Salad, layers of strawberries, mangoes, kiwi and avocado plus the traditional romaine and red onion. Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Everybody loves the Classic Seven Layer Salad , you know, that messy concoction of lettuce, bacon, cheese, bacon, tomato and hard-cooked egg. Wait, is that seven layers? Ooops, add green peas, too. This is a summer and fruity version of that salad, substituting colorful layers of fresh fruit: strawberries, kiwis and mango plus avocado and toasted walnuts. Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad: the name alone makes me want to mix up another beautiful bowlful! It was the crowd favorite at a party last week and would make a great contribution to the next potluck or dinner gathering.