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Quick Summer Squash & Tomato Sauté ♥

A simple-simple skillet sauté, an answer to the summer vegetables that pile up from the garden-grocery and appear in mounds in the corner-grocery. It's just barely cooked summer squash (for color, both green-skinned zucchini and sunny-colored yellow squash) with a pile of garlic and a little tomato. Low Carb. Very Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.
Holding out on you? Not intentionally! Way back in 2013, I concluded that this quick, summery vegetable sauté was just "too simple" for A Veggie Venture. But I kept making it, one summer after another. And five years later? I t-h-r-i-v-e on simple recipes! Maybe readers do too?

Call me a recipe minimalist: a funny description for someone who's been collecting and sharing recipes since she was about 10 years old, an unlikely orientation for someone who's called herself a food writer / food blogger since 2002.

But I find myself wanting fewer, not more,…

Cauliflower Steaks with Warm Corn & Poblano Salsa ♥

Today's easy summer supper: Thick slices of cauliflower ("steaks" we call them) roasted until golden and topped with a warm salsa of summery vegetables, poblano and corn. Very Weight Watchers Friendly, just 2 Freestyle points. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real (with a vegan dressing). Naturally Gluten Free.
It took me – oh dear, this is embarrassing – seven years to embrace cauliflower steaks. There's photo evidence, way back in 2011. In 2018? It's Cauliflower Steaks over and over again. They're just so, well, thrifty! When I cut up a head of cauliflower for Roasted Cauliflower (A Veggie Venture's very first recipe back in 2005!), the florets shrink so much that the cauliflower doesn't seem to go far.

Cauliflower steaks are totally different! They seem meaty and substantial, even though after the steaks are cut, there's still lots of cauliflower left over for something else. You'll definitely be looking for ways to use up the rest of the head…

Eloisa’s Jicama & Orange Salad ♥

What a special find, this jicama salad recipe from a reader in Mexico! It's quick to make and easy to keep on hand. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly, Zero Freestyle Points! Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. And wonderfully refreshing during hot weather!
Nothing like seven years of procrastination before taking proper note of a recipe a reader left in the comments in this recipe for Jicama Slaw. "My family in Mexico loves this recipe," Eloisa wrote. "Children love it. We take it on picnics, in lunch boxes, or as a snack in hot weather."

But we were a few days into our Deep Mexico: Ingredient-Driven Mexican Meal Prep eating and cooking adventure last month so sure enough, we had not one but two jicamas in the fridge, oranges to boot. Eloisa's Salad Time! That's the thing about focus, one of our big lessons from that month-long deep dive into Mexican (and plenty of Mexican-ish) cooking. Good eats, all month long!…

My Favorite New Way to Roast Beets ♥

A new way to roast beets, in a moist, vinegar-y environment, turning out roasted beets that are just slightly pickled. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Freestyle Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.
Oh people, it's almost here! No ... not summer, not vacation. Beet season. And more specifically beet salad season.

Apparently I'm #NotAlone because beet salads pop up on restaurant menus #AllTheTime. (Sorry, let's hope that a good beet salad will cure a bad case of #HashTagFever ...) What's astounding to this connoisseur of beet salads is the chefs' creativity: no two beet salads are alike. What unites all those creative salads is the main ingredient: the beets. And isn't it interesting that the beets themselves are much the same?!

No more. Enter Olio, my favorite restaurant here in St. Louis.

Funny story about Olio's owner, Ben Poremba. I first wrote about him for my column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2013. A …

Deep Mexico Carrot Soup ♥ with Tomatillo & Lime

Ah soup! Serve this simple colorful carrot soup hot or cold, it's gorgeous. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. And ... delicious!
Something to know about me. I'm a recipe-driven cook, always have been, always will be. I admire the cooks who cock their heads, fridge door open, thinking what to make based on what's inside. But that sort of intuitive cooking is just not me. I'll vary a recipe, some times turn it upside down, but almost-almost always, I begin with a plan. Almost always, the written recipe rests right there beside me as I measure, cook and time – all the while recording what I notice, penciling in other ideas, simplifying, etc.

Who else is a recipe cook? And is anyone here, now, what I think of as an "intuitive cook"? (Let's guess: more of the former than the latter, yes? After all, intuitive cooks have less need for recipes and no doubt, in addition to inspirati…

Celery & Chickpea Salad ♥

A captivating salad, a simple lemony mix of crunchy celery (extra points for celery with leaves!) and creamy chickpeas, held together with a touch of feta. Perfect for a light spring lunch or supper but also, garnished with tomato and avocado, makes an impressive platter for a potluck or dish to share. Very spring-y! Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free.
Short story here. It was the day before Thanksgiving circa mid 2000s. I was up to my elbows in green beans and pie crust but took a break to check email. "Get it RIGHT!" shouted a local reader of Kitchen Parade, then still published in print in my hometown newspaper. "Your last recipe," she wrote, "called for a stalk of celery. Unless you mean the whole damn bunch, it's a celery rib not a celery stalk!" Okay, then. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, ma'am.

But she was right! So I thanked her for the correction and wished her a very happy Thanksgiving. (And also felt a real sadness for he…

What Are Crudites? ♥ Vegetables 101

How to Create a Colorful Instagram-Friendly Platter of Raw Vegetables
All you need to know about vegetable crudités, those simple-to-stunning plates and platters of raw colorful vegetables served everywhere from casual parties to formal receptions but also, in simple form, at family tables. Let's talk vegetable crudités – the meaning of the crudites, what they are, how to pronounce the French word and more. Plus for anyone wondering which vegetables work well for crudites and looking for ideas to present them beautifully? Here I share my very best tips for for choosing, cleaning, cutting and displaying fresh vegetables in Instagram-friendly fashion.