Corn & Cucumber Salad with Fresh Blueberries ♥

Today's summer salad recipe: An intriguing blend of corn (for sweetness), cucumber (for bulk) and blueberries (for tart) in a vinaigrette spiked with a little cumin, which adds just the right amount of underlying smokiness. Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". What a difference a single ingredient can make! I made this salad a few weeks back, making what I thought was a "safe substitute": inexpensive blackberries for expensive blueberries. The texture was right, the size was right, the color was right but with blackberries? The salad underwhelms. Then, laden with more blackberries and peaches than was prudent for someone leaving on vacation in a few days, I was chatting up a woman in the pay-up line out at Wind Ridge Farm not far outside St. Louis. She'd arrived early and clutched several quarts of blueberries. Masking my blueberry-envy, I asked her plans for them. First, she said, she'd make her favorite corn and blueberry salad, then ticked off a

Creamy Feta Mousse with Greek Salads ♥

Some times, a salad isn't as much about the vegetables as what's served on the side, in this case a creamy-tangy "mousse" made with feta cheese. It's almost an excuse to make an extra-special salad, one that's as beautiful as it is appetizing. That said, the creamy feta spread is one of those little "something I cooked up" that's great to have in the fridge. You'll find ways to use it, I promise. And Weight Watchers? While it tastes ever-so-rich, a whole quarter cup is only 3 points. My friend Cindy loves the feta mousse at the St. Louis restaurant Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar , but so far, Chef Lisa Slay is loathe to share a recipe with Special Request, my weekly restaurant-recipe request column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That's okay, I respect this chef's choice: some recipes, you just want to keep in the family. Well, maybe not bloggers. When we find a recipe we love, we can't wait to share it ... So somewhere a

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?