Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vegetables. Show all posts
17 February 2014

Totally Unfancy Valentine's

Valentine's Day, The Husband was too sick to go out and I was still feeling a bit blarg myself, so we scrapped our plans and stayed home, watching Major Crimes and eating what was meant to be Saturday's supper -- roasted pork tenderloin with broccoli and mac 'n' cheese. It was actually a rather nice night, but every night with my sweetie (even when we're both coughing and sniffling) is a good night.

Valentine's Day Supper

  • Campbell's Kitchen's "Fastest Homemade Mac and Cheese" made using sriracha, dehydrated chives, and shredded Italian cheese blend.
  • Roasted broccoli florets -- tossed a bag of broccoli florets with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, and Penzeys Tuscan Sunset and roasted at 425°F for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  • Pork tenderloin rubbed with sea salt and Penzeys Tuscan Sunset and roasted alongside the broccoli.
10 February 2014

Sunday Dinner for One

I love roasting Brussels sprouts, but fresh sprouts can be a little pricey. Happily, I discovered I could roast frozen Brussels sprouts pretty much the same way as fresh and therefore enjoy roasted sprouts whenever I wanted them and save myself a little money -- frozen sprouts are 17¢ less per ounce than fresh at my local Stop & Shop (and I don't even have to clean them). Fabulous!

Since I was roasting sprouts, I thought I'd do another sweet potato and then I figured why not chuck some chicken breasts in there, too? And, without meaning to, I ended up with a smashing Sunday dinner for one (with leftovers for weekday meals).

Sunday Dinner for One

First, I preheated the oven to 400°F (and made sure the top rack was in the center of the oven as I frequently forget to put it back after broiling things and moving around a hot rack is not the best fun).

Tossed the 16 oz bag of still-frozen Brussels sprouts with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper and arranged them in a single layer on a small baking tray. Popped them into the oven with a well-scrubbed-and-poked sweet potato and set the timer for 20 minutes.

Sunday Dinner for One

While the vegetables cooked, I pounded three boneless chicken breasts until they were all about the same thickness and then smeared them with a mixture of Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Plopped them onto a baking tray with a sprinkling of black pepper and set them aside until the oven timer went off.

Sunday Dinner for One

Then I shifted the contents of the oven around so the chicken could fit, gave the sprouts a stir, and set the oven timer for another 20 minutes.

At the end of 20 minutes, the chicken and sprouts were done so I removed them from the oven and tented them with a little foil so they would stay warm. The sweet potato was a little firm so I gave it an additional 10 minutes, at which point it had gone all oozy with potato juices. Yum!

I sliced the breasts and plated one with the baked sweet potato and some Brussels sprouts (I admit a bunch of Brussels sprouts got nibbled to death while I waited for the potato). The other breasts went into serving bowls with Trader Joe's Multigrain Blend With Vegetables and roasted broccoli (olive oil + sea salt + pepper + 425°F + 20 minutes) and served me well as work meals.
26 January 2014

Beet Salad, You Disappoint Me

I love beets and I'm always excited to find new ways to prepare them so, when I came across a recipe for "Kraut and Beet Slaw" in my Grandma G's 1956 edition of Cooking with Sour Cream and Buttermilk, I knew I had to give it a whirl.

I skewed the recipe toward beets rather than sauerkraut, making it much more a "chunky salad" than a "slaw." Because I am just too lazy to roast and peel beets, I used a mixture of 8 oz packages of Melissa's and Love Beets' vacuum-packed cooked beets. I wouldn't say there's a lot of difference between the two brands.

Prepared Packaged Beets

I also adjusted the seasonings, because more flavor is better.
Creamy Beets & Sauerkraut
Serves 4 generously as a side

2 8-oz packages vacuum-packed cooked beets
1 8-oz can sauerkraut
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yoghurt
1-2 Tbsp prepared horseradish, depending on zippiness of brand [Gold's]
½-1 tsp sugar, depending on taste
1 tsp ground caraway
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

Drain and rinse the sauerkraut. Wrap in a tea towel and squeeze until no more liquid comes out. Dump it in a mixing bowl.

Dice beets and add to sauerkraut with the red onion. Set aside.

Making Creamy Beets & Sauerkraut Salad

In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, horseradish, sugar, caraway, salt, and pepper. And beet mixture and stir until well combined.

Chill overnight to allow flavors to marry. Mix well and allow to come to room temp before bringing to table. If desired, garnish with chopped egg.

Creamy Beet & Sauerkraut Salad

I have found this dish is best if allowed to come to room temperature before serving as, when it's fresh from the fridge, the flavors are muted and it just tastes ... cold. But, on the other hand, you don't want to serve it immediately after making it, because it tastes like ... nothing much ... when it's new. Let it sit in the fridge for a day and it's markedly better -- slightly sour yet also sweet and earthy and deliciously creamy.

Indeed, this is not a bad retro recipe. But it's also not very good. Certainly, not as good as something made with two of my favorite ingredients should be. There's a lack of depth in flavor, which may have to do with using canned sauerkraut rather than fresh and so little caraway. If I were to make this again, I'd use fresh sauerkraut, rinsed and drained far less zealously, and more caraway. And more pepper. And salt. And celery seed, maybe?
17 December 2013

Creamy Lemon Cheesy Zucchini

Philadelphia Cooking Crème was on sale so I picked up a tub of the Savory Garlic flavor because we like cream cheese and we like garlic ... so why not give it a try? I decided to add the crème to the Lemon Cheesy Zucchini I'd made for December's Eating the Alphabet Challenge and turn the dish into a gratiné de courgettes (zucchini gratin).

Creamy Zucchini Gratin

Also, you know, The Husband isn't keen on zucchini (or most vegetables that aren't carrots, corn, peas, green beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, white potatoes, onions) so I thought adding a creamy sauce and more cheese couldn't go amiss. As he said it was "okay" and ate his entire serving, I consider this dish a success.

I thought it was pretty good -- maybe a touch salty from the cheese and cooking sauce, but the lemon helps balance that somewhat and the zucchini was still nicely firm despite being sautéed and then broiled.
Creamy Lemon Cheesy Zucchini
Serves 2 generously as a side dish

1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz baby zucchini, halved lengthwise
6 Tbsp grated Parmesan
[4C Homestyle Parmesan Romano]
4 sprigs thyme, chopped
zest 1 lemon
Freshly cracked pepper, as desired
4 Tbsp Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Crème

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the zucchini, cut side down, and sauté for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and toss with the 4 tablespoons Parmesan, Cooking Crème, zest, thyme, and lots of black pepper.

Pour into a greased small baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Broil until bubbly and browned.

Creamy Zucchini Gratin
I served this with sautéed lemon pepper chicken breasts that I drizzled with 2 tablespoons Cooking Crème, sprinkled with grated Parmesan, and broiled until golden.

The Cooking Crème reminded me of garlicky Alfredo sauce and, while perfectly okay, was not something I feel I need to purchase again. Unlike the adorably twee baby zucchini, which I will buy again and again and again ...
11 October 2013

Soup Makes Space

Last Saturday, I opened the freezer to get out some tilapia fillets and a precariously-perched container of blueberries hurled itself onto the floor, scattering berries around the kitchen. And then the bananas tried to escape and it was clearly Time To Do Something About The Freezer.

Bet you're thinking I made another banana bread, right? Well, I didn't! Not yet, anyway. I corralled all the loose frozen bananas into a gallon storage bag, shuffled the vegetables and meats around so they were once again grouped by like, and tossed some unfortunate freezer burnt ice cream cups. And then I made a big pot of soup from all the open vegetables packages.
Vegetable Barley Soup
Serves many

9 oz frozen chopped swiss chard
8 oz frozen diced butternut squash
3 oz frozen chopped onion
3 oz frozen chopped peppers
2 oz frozen corn
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Salt-free Italian seasoning, as desired
32 oz low-sodium chicken broth
[Pacific Organic Free Range Low Sodium]
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup quick-cooking barley

Whack the packages of frozen vegetables against your kitchen counter to loosen. Dump the frozen vegetables, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning into the slow cooker insert. Stir. Add bay leaf and broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Stir in quick-cooking barley, cover, and cook on LOW for 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Taste. Season as desired.

Soup will thicken as it sits so you may need to add a little more broth when you reheat the leftovers, if you want a properly soupy soup.
Overall, this was a pretty good soup. Hearty and rich with vegetable goodness, it made a week's worth of filling breakfasts and lunches. (I admit that, on a few cold and sleepy mornings, I spiked my breakfast bowl with a little sriracha).
29 September 2013

Carrot Fest '13: Carroty Red Lentil Soup

It's officially autumn now, which means it's officially Soup Season! And, oh so conveniently, I happen to have a whole lot of carrots on hand -- a prime soup-making ingredient.

Weighty Carrot
Mighty (delicious) carrot
I wanted something warming, rich with the flavors of ginger and sweet curry, and hearty. Not heavy, stick-to-your ribs, nap-inducing hearty, but something that could stand pretty well on it's own as a meal. I ended up using's "Red Lentil and Carrot Soup With Coconut for the Crock Pot" recipe as my base, but tweaked the seasonings and liquids to suit me.

Because I was using my monster carrots, I only needed one carrot for this recipe. It weighed over a pound!
Carroty Red Lentil Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small red onions, finely chopped
2 heaping tsp sweet curry powder
[Penzeys salt-free Maharajah Style Curry Powder]
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
28 ounce can whole tomatoes, including juice [Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted Whole Tomatoes]
2 cups red lentils, well rinsed
1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
Juice of half a lemon
3 cups turkey broth
14 ounce can light coconut milk
Sriracha, if desired

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and cook until soft. Add curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes and bring to a boil, bashing the tomatoes about with a spoon to break them up.

Place carrots, lentils, lemon juice, and broth in slow cooker insert. Add tomato mixture and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on high for 5 hours.

Add coconut milk and, using an immersion blender, blenderize soup to desired level of smoothness. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Spoon into bowls and garnish with a  squiggle of sriracha.

Carrot Lentil Tomato Soup
15 July 2013

Eating the Alphabet: K is for Kale

July's Eating the Alphabet letters are K and/or L. I was leaning toward "L is for lemongrass" when I saw a recipe for kale salad on Whole Foods' website where an avocado was mashed into kale to form a dressing!

It sounded interesting, but I never have avocados on hand. I do, however, quite often have Whole Foods or Wholly guacamole on hand. I wondered why couldn't I mash my kale with guacamole? And then I thought, since I was using guacamole, maybe I'd like to toss in some black beans? Roasted corn? Chopped tomato? A little lime juice? Blackened chicken strips? And, lo, "Southwestern-Style Kale Salad" was born.

Making Kale Salad

Southwestern-Style Kale Salad
Serves 2

Double handful of chopped kale
½ cup drained and rinsed black beans
½ cup thawed frozen roasted corn
6 chopped grape tomatoes
Guacamole, as desired
Lime juice, as desired
1 cup diced cooked chicken

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and toss until the kale is evenly coated with the guacamole.

Making Kale Salad

Squeeze a bit of lime juice over it, if desired, and toss again (lime juice is a great "brightener" and, if you are not serving the salad right away, will also help keep the guacamole from discoloring). Portion out into two bowls. Top with chicken. Eat!

Making Kale Salad
How did it taste? Quite fabulous, really, and I felt totes smug eating it since it was packed full of good-for-me ingredients.

02 June 2013

Balsamic Chicken & Peppers

I bought an enormous bag of adorable mini peppers a few weeks ago to enjoy with hummus, but no matter how many peppers I ate, there were always more. So I gave up and stuffed the peppers in the bottom of the crisper drawer ... to be forgotten until this weekend, when a new batch of produce meant the peppers had to go. And go they did, right into my tummy.

Balsamic Chicken & Peppers

There's no real recipe for this dish -- slice a bunch of peppers and onions very thinly, toss with balsamic vinaigrette, and cook low and slow until the onions are caramelized and the onions are very tender. Serve with grilled chicken breasts (pounded flattish and marinated overnight in balsamic vinaigrette) and something creamy and starchy (Knorr "scampi" noodle packet, because I'm not proud).

Reheated leftover balsamic peppers were quite good on a roast beef sandwich.
18 May 2013

Roasting, My Default Cooking Method

In a fit of enthusiasm, I bought broccolini last week ... but I didn't quite know what to do with it when I got home. I decided to pretend it was just a weird version of asparagus and roasted it accordingly.

Roast Broccolini & Salmon
Easy Roasted Broccolini & Salmon
Serves 2

15± broccolini stems, washed and trimmed
2 4 oz frozen wild-caught sockeye salmon fillets Sockeye, thawed
Olive oil, as needed
Boxed Goodes Allium Salt, as needed (or a similar blend of sea salt, dried onion/shallots/chives)

Preheat oven to 400F°.

Spread broccolini on large jelly roll pan and toss with olive oil and Allium Salt to taste. Shove to one side of the pan and add the salmon. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a few grinds of Allium Salt.

Roast for approximately 20 minutes or until stems are crisp-tender and tops are slightly browned.
Surprisingly yum for something so simple, but I might toss in lemon juice and zest next time for a little brightness ... When I took the leftovers to work, I garnished them with a generous helping of leftover bruschetta (work parties are the best) and that was simply fantastic.


04 April 2013

Red Cabbage, I ❤ You

I've made the Vegetarian Slow Cooker's "Bavarian Red Cabbage (Sauerkraut)" twice now and I am just thoroughly enamored with the dish. Sweet, tart, savory ... yum!

Easter Dinner 2

Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to tweak the recipe a little bit each time. The first time, I used a red onion instead of yellow and added a tablespoon of ground caraway. The second time, I kept those changes and also reduced the sugar and added a bay leaf.
Bavarian Red Cabbage

1 small head red cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, peeled, diced
1 cup very hot water
2 tsp salt
½ tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp ground caraway
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Add all ingredients except butter to the slow cooker insert. Stir. Dot with butter. Cover and cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours.
Next time, I'm inclined to try swapping out the white vinegar and sugar for cider vinegar and honey ... I might also throw in some unsweetened dried cranberries or sour cherries.

It's spring and I'm in love with cabbage.

(The peas and carrots dish shown in the above photo was made using Chow's "Herbed Peas and Carrots" recipe. I threw fresh thyme in with the peas and it was really good -- way better than the frozen stuff).
17 March 2013

Why-Isn't-It-Spring-Yet? Comfort Food

Grey. Cold. Blah. Winter had me craving some serious comfort food last week -- braised cabbage, macaroni and cheese, roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and meatloaf with brown gravy. And I fed those cravings. All of them. Took two meals, but they were satisfied.

Midweek Comfort Food

I can't think of anything I'd rather pair with macaroni and cheese than braised red cabbage. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. I used the Vegetarian Slow Cooker's recipe for "Bavarian Braised Cabbage" and it was so good! And easy! The Husband was disappointed the recipe was meatless and did not eat any ... which was fine by me. I ate the whole pot in a day.

The beautiful macaroni and cheese was by Kraft. Yes. Hearty Four Cheese Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese Dinner mostly made as the bag directed ... I couldn't read the silver lettering on the bread crumb and cheese powder packets and ended up throwing bread crumbs in when I wanted cheese. This mistake turned out pretty okay as the breadcrumbs helped thicken the sauce. I did tart the macaroni and cheese up with a thick layer of shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp before I put it in the oven and, oh my, the cheesy goodness.

Heck Yeah Meatloaf

I know, I know. Homely! But comfort doesn't need to be pretty, it just needs to be comforting. And delicious. And it was. Enough so that there wasn't any leftovers. I used Coconut & Lime's easy recipe for "Peas & Carrots Meatloaf" and I recommend you give it a try! I would stress grating the carrots finely, as the recipe directs, because I grated mine quite coarsely and they didn't blend well with the other ingredients -- which might be why the meatloaf fell apart, come to think of it.

The gravy's just a basic beef-stock-and-herbs reduction and the potatoes are instant. Yes! Cooked with chicken broth instead of water and tarted up with lashings of heavy cream and melted butter, they're nothing to sneer at.
13 October 2012

Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast

Earlier this week, I roasted some lovely little Brussels sprouts and then, just to gild the lily, tossed them with a little bacon jam. Oh, so delicious! However, while I adore Brussels sprouts, there are only so many I can eat in one sitting and I was left with a small bowlful. What to do? Breakfast!

Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast

I brushed two thin slices of crusty, crunch garlic bread with garlic oil and toasted them in a hot nonstick skillet until golden.

While they toasted, I thinly sliced the leftover sprouts and set the oven to warm. When the bread was toasted, I popped it on a plate in the oven and transferred the sprouts to the hot skillet. I cooked them, stirring occasionally, until they were well browned. Then I transferred them to the plate in the oven and cooked an egg in the hot skillet.

Put the hot egg on the sprouts, seasoned everything with pepper and a little salt, and went nomnomnom.

(I cooked my egg a little too long -- was distracted prepping the tea things -- and it was not as runny as I like. Lesson learned: Make the tea before the egg).
06 September 2012

Too Much Produce: Summer Squash Enchiladas

I bought too much produce this week -- everything looked really good, so I picked up more than I needed and ended up with a fridge packed top to bottom with vegetables. (I know, it's a terrible problem. Right up there will cancer and poverty).

The thing is, I hate waste and I was very much afraid that some of it would go to waste before we got around to eating it. My mother taught me nothing goes in the bin if it can be helped and I still live by that.

Summer Squash Enchiladas

So, behold! The Enchiladas of Squash-y Goodness which used up two squash, a shallot, and an ear of corn ... thereby freeing up enough crisper space that I can kinda-sort see the bottom now. If I squint and angle my head just right.

Summer Squash Enchiladas

1 small zucchini, diced
1 small summer squash, diced [save cob for chowder]
1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels shaved off cob
1 shallot, minced
2 cups enchilada sauce
4 small flour tortillas
2 oz Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Sharp Light cheddar, shredded

Preheat oven to 400°F. Swirl ½ cup enchilada sauce around bottom of square baker to coat.

Heat a nonstick skillet. Add vegetables and ½ cup enchilada sauce and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.

Spoon ½ half cup squash mixture down the middle of each tortilla. Top with 1 Tbsp shredded cheese. Roll up and place, seam down, in the baker.

Summer Squash Enchiladas

Top with remaining cup of enchilada sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. If you like your enchiladas brown and bubbly, as I do, then broil for about 3 minutes. Let sit 5-10 minutes before serving (I didn't wait and mine broke when I scooped them out).

Serves 2.

These were really good and I wish I'd made more! Even The Husband liked these and I was sure he'd complain about the lack of meat.
15 June 2012

Eating the Alphabet: J is for Jerusalem Artichokes

I've been enamored with Jerusalem artichokes (aka "sunchokes") since I saw them listed in a seed catalog a few years ago. I thought this sunflower-like plant with its potato-like tubers was quite pretty and the old-fashioned sound of its name, coupled with the fact it's an indigenous vegetable, made it seem like something I might like to grow. But ...

I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to growing tubers -- even potatoes fill me with trepidation. And I didn't know anyone who'd ever grown or eaten Jerusalem artichokes. So they've lurked at the bottom of my list of vegetables to try for some time now, never moving nearer to the top ...

And then I signed on for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge and Jerusalem artichokes seemed like the perfect "J" vegetable! I would finally cook Jerusalem artichokes and know whether they were worth growing or no. But where to buy them? Turned out the local Whole Foods had a whole bin of them and they weren't particularly expensive. What to do with them? Well, that was easy -- I'd had Eat Drink Better's "Jerusalem Artichoke Recipe: Creamy No-Dairy Vegetable Soup" bookmarked since February so I knew exactly how I wanted to prepare these tubers.

Jerusalem Artichokes for Soup

My Jerusalem artichokes were, maybe, a little on the small side but I tried to buy similarly-sized tubers. Several recipes I consulted said cleaning these tubers would be time-consuming, but mine looked as if they had been pretty well cleaned before they hit the produce shelf and I didn't have to scrub them long to make sure they were grit-free.

Jerusalem Artichokes for Soup

I loved that this recipe didn't need me to peel the tubers as there's nothing more boring than peeling vegetables. No, I just scrubbed them and sliced them thickly. (Don't they look like sliced waxy potatoes?)

Jerusalem Artichokes for Soup

Cooked diced onion and garlic in olive oil (I used red onion and doubled the garlic) until the onion was translucent.

Jerusalem Artichokes for Soup

Chucked in the Jerusalem artichokes, sliced carrots (I used baby carrots), and 3 cups (vegetable) broth so that the vegetables were just covered and simmered with the lid on for about 35 minutes (until the Jerusalem artichokes were tender when I stuck them with a knife).

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Seasoned the soup with salt, pepper, and curry powder (1 tsp Penzeys salt-free Maharajah Style Curry Powder) to taste. Using an immersion blender, I pureed the soup until was reasonably smooth.

This soup kept well in the fridge -- which was good thing, because while I thought this soup was phenomenal, The Husband did not agree and I ended up taking it to work all week. Silly man with his resistance to new vegetables! This soup is nutty and creamy and rich and so very yum.

Will I grow Jerusalem artichokes next year? I think so!
03 June 2012

Post Vacational Cookery: Chicken & Veggie Skillet

Now that we've been back from Niagara Falls for a few days, it's time to face the hard truth -- if I don't cook, we're not going to eat. Yes, we could keep eating out, but that's not healthful. Also, we left all our money in Canada as Niagara Falls was much more expensive than we'd anticipated. O, you wily Canadians with your wines and restaurants!

So time to be thrifty and healthful and responsible and make some darn supper.

Saturday Supper

Ingredients: boneless skinless chicken breasts, Italian dressing, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, snow peas, red onion, grated Parmesan.

That, my dears, is Kraft's "Sizzling Chicken & Veggie Skillet" on a bed of basmati rice. The recipe is low calorie, low fat, and low sodium so there's healthful and responsible checked off. It's also pretty inexpensive as about half the ingredients were purchased on sale.

The recipe is very easy, too. Cook chicken, chop vegetables, cook vegetables, serve.


Cook chicken in a hot skillet over medium-high heat until nicely browned and cooked through. Transfer to shallow bowl (don't want to lose any juices!) and pop into a warm oven to rest until needed.

Zucchini & Red Onion

Add dressing (I used Greek vinaigrette with feta), zucchini, and onions to pan; cook until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Cherry Tomatoes & Snow Peas

Stir in tomatoes and snow peas; cook until heated through. Stir in any accumulated chicken juices. Serve chicken topped with vegetables on a bed of rice or farro or what have you. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

While the recipe doesn't call for it, I strongly recommend marinating the chicken in a little Italian dressing for extra flavor.

The Husband recommends more tomatoes and fewer snow peas!
26 May 2012

Easy, Cheesy Roasted Carrots

When I asked The Husband to add organic carrots to our Peapod order last week, I didn't realize he would add the five pound bag. That's a lot of carrots, you know. It takes us a month to get through a pound of carrots. Five pounds ... Blarg. Time to make many of carrot-y things!

Alas, since we're going on vacation, there isn't much time to make many carrot-y things. However, I did manage to make's "Roasted Carrots With Feta." Seriously good carrots. I mean, roasted carrots are always good carrots, but the addition of feta brought them to a whole new level.

Roasted Carrots

Toss a pound of thickly cut carrots with olive oil; season with sea salt and pepper. Roast in an 425°F oven for 25 minutes or until the carrots are all sweet, tender, and golden.

Feta Carrots

Remove from oven and toss with feta (I used garlic and herb seasoned feta) and parsley. Serve immediately.

These were so good -- I could have eaten the whole bowl for supper. But, I didn't. No, I ate them with a bunch of other things that needed eating up before vacation. Necessity is the mother of good meals?

A Little of Everything for Supper

Roast peppery pork tenderloin, garlicky cheesy pasta shells, sauteed mushrooms, and yummy carrots. A definite win for the ol' taste buds.
04 May 2012

My First Cauliflower

I bought a cauliflower to make the "Quick Giardinera" I saw in March/April 2012's EatingWell, but then I wussed out and was left with a very large organic cauliflower occupying too much of my fridge. As always, I turned to the internetz for help and the internetz did not disappoint. I found tried a recipe for "Slow Cooker Curry Cauliflower Soup" and, having made it, I now want to cook all things cauliflower.


I didn't really know how to break down my cauliflower, but decided tackling it from the bottom up was probably the best route. I cut the leaves away and then, using a paring knife, carefully cut the head into florets by basically cutting the little cauliflower "trees" free of the main stalk. "Trees" that seemed too big were cut in half so I ended up with a pound of (mostly) similarly sized florets.

I used two 14.5 oz cans Muir Glen fire-roasted diced tomatoes and two cups of low-sodium chicken broth as well as 4 cloves of pressed garlic instead of the powdered stuff.

The instructions don't say to, but I used an immersion blender to turn my soup into a smooth bisque and it was very pretty. Also tasted good, which is probably more important, but I wouldn't want to eat an ugly soup.

There are no photos of this soup, because I ate it all up, yum! Really, it was a good soup. I fed some to my parents, who say they don't like curry, and they liked it a whole lot. However, if curry and cumin aren't your thing, you could probably substitute a liberal amount of your favorite salt-free Italian seasoning blend.
25 April 2012

Roasted Cabbage, Sweet and Tender

It's spring, when this cook's tummy yearns for salad. And what goes in salad? Red cabbage, among other things. Problem was, I bought an enormous red cabbage -- far more than could go in salad -- and was at a loss as to what to do with it. Mad Googling led me to Martha Stewart's recipe for "Roasted Cabbage Wedges" and, well, I never knew cabbage could be this delicious!

This is such a simple recipe -- slice your cabbage thickly (despite the title, there are no cabbage "wedges" in this recipe), brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, roast in a 400°F oven for 40 minutes. The recipe calls for fennel/caraway seeds, but I forgot to add it and can't say I missed it at all.

Roasting Cabbage for One

If your cabbage, like mine, starts to get a bit too crispy around the edges well short of the 40 minute mark, just cover it with a piece of foil and walk away. It will be fine.

Sunday Supper

The cabbage was just lovely. A little crispy around the edges with a sweet, mellow middle I wouldn't have expected of cabbage. I have to ask, is there a vegetable roasting won't improve?
15 April 2012

Eating the Alphabet: E is for Edamame

I knew I wanted to use edamame for April's Eating the Alphabet Challenge as I like edamame a lot, but only ever eat it on its own as a snack and so thought this would be the perfect time to try using it in a "proper" recipe. I tried three recipes, but Bon Appétit's "Edamame Hummus" was clearly the best pick of the bunch.

While I liked this dip a great deal, I’m reluctant to call it hummus as it contains no chickpeas or sesame and, really, tastes nothing like any hummus I’ve ever eaten. It is very green and very refreshing, though, and I found I couldn’t stop eating it! It was like eating spring on a cracker endive whotsit.

Edamame & Pea

I halved the recipe as I was the only one who would be eating it and 6 cups seemed a bit much for one ... but maybe it wouldn’t have been as I ate 3 cups in 3 days! The dip kept well, retaining its bright green color and tasting as fresh on Wednesday as it did on Monday. I ate it with endive, as indicated in the recipe, but also with pretzel crisps and pita chips when I ran out of endive.

I’d only bought one small head of endive as I’d never eaten it before and wasn’t sure what I’d think of it. I followed the directions from "Easy French Food" for preparing endive and found it to be pretty simple, stress-free work. Alas, the endive spears were a bit meh. Crisp and slightly bitter, they didn’t seem like anything to write home about. I guess they’re just one of those things that make an excellent vehicle for other foods, but don’t stand out on their own. Oh well, the endive was only 50¢ per head so it was not an expensive disappointment! (And now I know endive doesn’t make me swoon and, surely, that’s worth knowing).
Edamame Hummus
Adapted from Bon Appétit, December 2011

Making Edamame & Pea

2 10-ounce packages frozen shelled edamame (soybeans) [1 10-ounce package]
Kosher salt [omitted]
2 10-ounce packages frozen peas ) [1 10-ounce package]
½ cup fresh lemon juice [¼ cup]
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon ground coriander [omitted]
¼ teaspoon ground cumin [½ tsp]
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling [6 Tbsp]
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus more for garnish [2 Tbsp]
¼ cup chopped fresh mint plus more for garnish [2 Tbsp]
Freshly ground black pepper [and salt, to taste]
Endive spears [or dip transport of choice]

Cook edamame in a large pot of boiling salted [I omitted the salt] water until tender, 3–5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Return water in pot to a boil and add peas; cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Transfer peas to bowl with edamame; let cool. Drain well.

Working in batches, pulse edamame and peas in a food processor until a coarse purée forms, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in juice and next 3 ingredients. Gradually stir in 3/4 cup oil; mix well. Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro and 1/4 cup mint.

[I don’t understand why the directions had me do some of it in a food processor and some of it in a bowl when it seems like I could have done it all in the food processor and avoided dirtying extra equipment. I recommend whacking everything in your food processor and giving it a good whirl].

Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl; drizzle with oil and garnish with more herbs. Serve with endive spears.
Edamame & Pea

02 March 2012

Easy Mixed Greens & Tomatoes

Last week I was at Shoprite looking for The Husband's favorite ice cream and, while I didn't find that, I did find a big display Glory Foods bagged chopped greens! Super-excited, I snapped up a bag of mixed greens and brought it home, full of fantasies of the good things I could make from it. When I got home, I knew I wanted "proper" greens -- rich, flavorful, hearty greens -- but I didn't want to use meat in the dish. I ended up with this, which is an amalgamation of ideas I found on the internetz and, yes, the recipe on the back of the greens' bag:

Greens & Tomaters

Easy Greens & Tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 16 oz bag Glory Foods chopped mixed greens
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth stock
A dash or two of liquid smoke
1 14.5 oz can Muir Glen no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
Salt and black pepper, as desired
Red wine vinegar, as desired.

Heat oil in a French/Dutch oven. Sauté onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes until onion is until tender and fragrant. Add greens and cook for about a minute, stirring. Add broth and liquid smoke, cover pot, and simmer on low for about 40 minutes or until the greens are much reduced in volume and most of the liquid has cooked away. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until tomatoes are heated through. Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and serve drizzled with a little red wine vinegar.
Oh, this was delicious! I used leftover cheddar biscuits to sop up the pot liquor and it was an awesome flavor combination.
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