Day 169: Zucchini Pumpkin Bread ♥

This quick bread might have an identify issue. It's part spice cake, part zucchini bread, part pumpkin bread. But it's also moist and full of great spices. Best made one day and served the next.

Warm out of the oven? Disappointing.

But by the next day? Rave reviews.
  • "Alanna, this is excellent!"
  • "We warmed it up a little and oh, it tasted good."
This is a moist, flavorful zucchini bread. On first taste, I missed a bit of oomph from currants or walnuts but by the second, the cinnamon and nutmeg took hold and I, too, savored every bite.

This is a winner, a definite keeper.

"This Zucchini Pumpkin bread is amazing. So flavorful!" ~ Stephanie
"So moist, with a rich sweetness." ~ Darby
"I made these as muffins and you're right about the wow factor the next day." ~ Robin
"This is indeed better the next day! What a super moist bread!" ~ Daisy


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Oven/cooling time: 90 minutes
Time to table: Overnight
Serves 16

Preheat oven to 350F.

1/2 cup vegetable oil (reduced from 3/4 cup)
1 cup sugar (reduced from 2 cups)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini (increased from 1 1/2 cups, 2 cups was the yield from a 3/4-pound zucchini)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 cups whole wheat flour (changed from all-purpose; next time try 50:50 whole wheat:all-purpose or perhaps whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tablespoon cinnamon (increased from 1 teaspoon, bumps up the flavor)
2 teaspoons nutmeg (an addition, adds nuttiness in the background)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (increased from 1/4 teaspoon, again, heightens flavor)

Optional: toasted walnuts, currants or raisins, lemon zest

In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture turns lemony yellow and almost syrupy. Add the zucchini and pumpkin and beat until completely incorporated (that's because from here on, you want to mix only enough to incorporate the dry ingredients, if there's too much beating, the bread will develop holes).

Combine the remaining ingredients. (My dish-saving-not-exactly-standard-but-it-works-technique is to combine the dry ingredients on top of the batter, stirring them around with a spoon to combine quite well but without incorporating into the wet batter.) Combine dry ingredients into the wet batter, beating only until just combined. Stir in, preferably with a spoon so not to overbeat, nuts, currants, etc.

Transfer to a greased bread pan and bake for 1 hour. Insert a knife into the center, if it comes out clean the bread is done, if it doesn't, bake for another 5 minutes at a time until the knife does come out clean. With my oven, my pan, my ingredients -- versus yours -- 80 minutes of baking time was needed.

Let cool for 15 minutes. Turn onto a rack and let cool completely. Wrap in foil and let rest at room temperature for flavors to meld overnight or for about 8 hours.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005

Kitchen Parade Extra: Dutch Apple Puff ◄

With the outside air surely turning from summer's over-stayed heat to fall's welcome cool aaaannnny day now (please!), mix up an easy, ingredients-on-hand Dutch Apple Puff featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

Day 168: Tomato & Rice Salad ♥

Tomato & Rice Salad, another easy-easy summer salad ♥ A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 A refreshing summer salad, so so simple, just a mix of ripe and juicy summer tomatoes and leftover cooked rice. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. graphic button small size size 10

WAY BACK IN 2005 Maybe it was the picked-yesterday tomatoes? Or the moist and nutty oven-baked brown rice leftover from the other night? Either way, this tomato-rice combination really works. But you needn't wait for leftover rice – unless there's a cardboard Chinese take-out box in the fridge – or are watching carbs because it's also really good without the rice, just tomatoes. And it makes up in 10 minutes flat. This is great summer eating!

WAY BACK IN 2007 FOR A PHOTO UPDATE Just as good as remembered, this time with a mix of cooked brown and wild rice, an heirloom tomato, no olive oil (!) and Splenda as a sugar substitute. Very good!

AND AGAIN IN 2018 FOR ANOTHER PHOTO UPDATE Totally good! This time I used cooked white rice leftover from Stir-Fried Shrimp with Asparagus or Other Summer Vegetables to build an easy supper bowl with shaved cabbage drizzled with a little Buttermilk Garlic Salad Dressing, topped with Tomato & Rice Salad and a piece of broiled fish. Sooo good! This time I'm committing the recipe to a 3x5 card, the recipes I make over and over again and want regular reminders for!

Summer Easy, a special collection of Less Cookin' and More Livin' recipes especially for summer ♥ all summer long.
This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long ever since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

Meme: 5th Sentence in 23rd Post (Sort of)

Thanks (I think!) to Nupur at One Hot Stove, whose Indian/other creations are regularly drool-icious and who's tagged A Veggie Venture for a meme oddity that's overtaking the food blogging world.

Meme is an apt phrase, yes, since they're all about me-me-me? That said, they're also considerable fun, a way to further the friendship and affinity that occurs in online communities. So here goes:

23rd Post: Day 23: Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa & Cherries
5th Sentence: "No."

  • My, my. That's cryptic.
  • Maybe I'll 'Alanna-size' and use 1/3 of a cup instead of 2/3 of a cup.

13th Post: Day 13: Roasted Asparagus with Feta
5th Sentence: " "

  • Oops. No fifth sentence. Those first posts were decidedly terse.
  • This is harder than I thought! How about doubling it, 2/3 x 2 = 4/3 = Day 43. (Or Day 113 if 43 fails us, too.)

43rd Post: Day 43: Cucumber with Mustard & Dill
5th Sentence:
"I would definitely make this again!"

  • Finally! This was one of those 'good enough' recipes, not one that'll make anyone swoon or beg for seconds but just plain-ol' fine.
And because memes work like chain letters, binding busy-ness and all, here's who's tagged for the next round. Participate at your pleasure!

Day 167: Quick Tomato Sauce ♥

2005 ORIGINAL: 'Quick', of course, is relative. Is 15 minutes in the dentist chair 'quick'? Sure, if you feared an hour. But not if your mouth is pried open and big hands with metal tools are probing inside while a light pierces into your eyes and swoony music plays in your brain.

But back to quick tomato sauce. It did pull together in 10 minutes with another 10 on the stove. The kids can't waste away from hunger in just 30 minutes, can they?

But it reminded me of perhaps my most important kitchen lesson ever, that it's easier to cook a LOT than a LITTLE. If you cook only a little, it's hard work to put a whole meal on the table. Entree, salad and vegetable? AND a dessert, of course, because why cook if there's no sweet reward at the end? There's the planning, all those ingredients, timing issues, plus clean up and worst of all, emptying the *&^%^&* dishwasher.

But when you cook a lot, you've had your eye a simple weeknight chicken recipe and know the ingredients are on hand. Plus you have things tucked away in the frig, a piece of salmon, some leftover vegetable, a dressing to transform a salad from simple to spectacular. My goal, easier said than done, I admit, is to cook no more than one thing at any meal, at most, two and then only if one is extraordinarily simple.

That's why it's easier to cook a lot than to cook a little. It's why I recommend that new cooks start with ONE thing at a meal, relying on carry-out or prepared foods for the rest. Gain some confidence, don't let yourself get stressed. This is supposed to be fun, NOT the dentist's chair. (With apologies to Dr Silva!)

2007 PHOTO & RECIPE UPDATE: Good canned tomatoes are likely important here. I used a $4 can of San Marzano tomatoes for the first time, pricey until compared to the likely alternative, carry-out or drive-through food. Inspired by 101 Cookbook's Five-Minute Tomato Sauce, I upped the oil, the red pepper flakes and added lime zest. It was extraordinarily satisfying ... unadorned over hot pasta.

TOMATO SAUCE from FRESH TOMATOES During the summer's tomato season, skip the canned tomatoes and instead make Fresh Tomato Sauce, nearly as quick, spectacularly fresh.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 3 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil (reduced from 2 tablespoons in 2005, used 1/4 cup in 2007)
1 large onion, chopped (optional, skipped this in 2007)
2 - 3 garlic cloves, minced
28 ounces canned diced tomatoes (in 2005 Red Gold, in 2007 San Marzano)
Red pepper flakes to taste (in 2005, the 1 teaspoon specified was WAY too much for my palate, in 2007 1 1/2 teaspoons was a lot but not unbearable and was 'filling' and 'satisfying' in its own way)
Salt to taste
Zest of a lime or lemon (2007 addition)

Heat a small saucepan on MEDIUM, add the oil. When it's hot, just enough time to chop the onion, add the onion and stir to coat with the oil. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and salt (unless, unlike me, you can remember to add it at the end). Increase the heat to MEDIUM HIGH and bring to a boil. Let simmer gently, stirring occasionally, to let the liquid cook down, about 20 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to avoid sticking. Stir in lemon zest. Serve over hot pasta.

Per 1/4 cup, made with 1 tablespoon olive oil and an onion: 32 Cal (30% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 61% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 1 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 5 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb4; 9 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 329 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 0 points

Per 1/4 cup, made with 1/4 cup olive oil and no onion: 55 Cal (71% from Fat, 4% from Protein, 24% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 3 g Mono Fat; 4 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb3; 0 g Sugar; 2 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 328 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point

Sara Moulton Cooks at Home

Veggies for Kids: Out of the Mouths of Moms

Just today, Meg at Too Many Chefs wrote a thoughtful, tip-packed post about the tricks and tools and triumphs of encouraging her little one to eat more vegetables and fruits. It's worth a close read.

VEGGIES for KIDS is a continuing crusade here at A Veggie Venture, a forum for parents wanting to encourage healthful eating habits at home and school. What works for you? What would you like to fix at your own table? Leave a comment, send an e-mail or write your own post -- ideas and links along with kid-tested recipes will be posted in Veggies for Kids.

Day 166: Napa Cabbage & Carrot Slaw

Today's vegetable recipe: A quick coleslaw with Napa cabbage and grated carrot tossed in an Asian-style dressing. Low carb. Weight Watchers 0 points.

~ recipe & photo updated in 2008 ~

2005: After too much rich food in recent days, it was time to lighten up in calories, ingredients and even time. This slaw's dressing is delicious, a keeper. The Napa cabbage was quick to chop, a keeper. For a big batch, I should have pulled out the food processor for grating the carrots but didn't, costing time. And the basil/mint were alright but next time I'd forgo, tossing in green onion and cilantro (which was also specified in the recipe but I didn't have) and be done with it.

2008: This made for a quick and filling-yet-light lunch. I did use green onion and skip the fresh herbs, as recommended -- very good! It won't knock your socks off but it's a good basic coleslaw except without mayonnaise and other heavy ingredients. If all the ingredients are on hand, go for it --

~ more cabbage recipes ~
~ more coleslaw recipes ~

Hands-on time: 20 minutes (a good 5 - 6 minutes for the carrots alone)
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 7 cups

1/2 cup fresh basil (optional)
1/2 cup fresh mint (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (optional)

1 1/2 pounds Napa cabbage
1/2 pound carrots
4 or so green onions, chopped (recommended)

Juice from a lemon or 2 limes, about 2 tablespoons (the recipe specified lime but I used lemon)
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (or oyster sauce as I used tonight)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Rinse the basil, mint and cilantro if using, shake and let drain in a colander in the sink.

Chop the Napa cabbage into ribbons. (To do this, slice off the core end, then cut in half lengthwise. Flat side down, make three or four lengthwise cuts. Then, holding the cabbage together with your fingers, cut crosswise every 1/2 inch or so.) Transfer to a large bowl. Grate the carrots, chop the green onion, add to the bowl.

Mix the dressing in a small bowl. Cut the basil, mint and cilantro into ribbons. Add to the bowl. With your hands, mix the cabbage, carrots and green ribbons. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and mix in with your hands. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Per Serving: 59 Cal (13% from Fat, 14% from Protein, 72% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 1 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 12 g Carb; 5 g Fiber; 126 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 150 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 0 points

Cooking Thin from Food TV

Day 164: Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Pizza ♥

It doesn't take a Holmesian sleuth to recognize signs of a pizza neophyte.
  • The just-from-the-box pristine condition of the pizza stone
  • The amoeba shape
  • The gaping holes in the crust (oh, right, those are covered by toppings)
Yes, I'm a pizza first-timer.

But can kitchen sleuths tell I'm hooked? Yes, the next pizza is already in my brain (squash, perhaps?) And as it turns out, there's dough in the frig so the next one'll be still easier, after investing, that is, in what I learned is an all-important pizza peel.

Once again, I'm indebted to the careful instructor over at StephenCooks, this time for pizza dough. Without this, it'd have been Boboli, baby! (Even then, the Boboli temptation was real. And I'd not hesitate, another time, for time's sake, to use a commercial crust.)

Other than the crust, the only thing made specially for tonight's pizza was the deliciously salty and pungent eggplant, a perfect pizza topping and a definite keeper. Otherwise it was a function of on-hand ingredients:
So your pizza will be yours and yours alone, just as my next one will be cousin not twin, to tonight's.

Tonight was also an exercise in portion control, not a pizza pig-out but a satisfying supper. Maybe it's just me, but isn't Pizza Night just an excuse to gorge? It's soooo good!

Instead I took a hard look at what came out of the oven tonight, steeled myself and said out loud, the better to persuade myself, "This is four pieces, four generous pieces at that, about five inches square." With a salad on the side and a tart apple for dessert, it was a more than filling meal.

[Later note: StephenCooks and I have been e-mailing back and forth about 'pizza portion sizes'. The folks at his table, including his slim-and-trim wife Elise, usually want two pieces, some times more. And I admit, until calculating the nutrition data, I was asking, How many points can a veggie pizza add up to, for heavens' sake? Pizza lovers, beware. It can be a lot -- because it TASTES so good, of course! Just ONE piece of tonight's pizza adds up to 11 Weight Watchers points -- that's a lot. It doesn't mean pizza is off-limits. It does mean it's a eat-it-knowing-what-you're-eating food -- enjoying, savoring, every single delicious bite.]

[April 2007: Stephen has been experimenting with bread flour and flour quantity. His expertise with homemade pizza dough is inspiring.]

OH: Nearly forgot! This is A Veggie Venture's official entry in Slash Food's Pizza Monday to which I owe gratitude for inspiring this pizza possibility!

Hands-on time: Sorry, really did lose track
Time to table: A couple of hours
Serves 4

StephenCooks' Pizza Dough
(Enough for 2 pizzas, each with four pieces; use half the dough now, save the rest for later)
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
about 1 cup water (start with 1/2 cup)

MIXING the dough is easy. Just blend the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor with a pulse of two using the metal blade. Add 1/2 cup water, pulse several times. If a dough begins to form, hold off on adding more water. If it doesn't, add water a teaspoon or so at a time. Once a dough forms, shape into a ball. Transfer to a bowl with a teaspoon or so of olive oil in the bottom. Rub the ball in the oil, lightly covering it and the bowl at the same time. Cover with plastic wrap and move to a warm place to rise until doubled, about 60 - 90 minutes. (Tonight I tried the microwave trick, placing the bowl in the microwave with another bowl of hot tap water. It worked like a dream.) Or, if you like, follow Stephen's make-ahead and refrigerate/freeze instructions.

SHAPING the dough I found harder and have no magic tricks to offer at the moment. (Stephen, however, does.) Stretch the dough to form the crust, using cornmeal to prevent sticking. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

(Enough for 1 pizza with 4 pieces, double for 4 pieces)
1 pound eggplant, sliced thin and if more than an inch in diameter, cut in bite-size pieces (tonight, a Chinese eggplant that was less spongy than I think of eggplant, also a bit more pungent ... and very good)
2 tablespoons garlic olive oil (the oil that's left after cooking a pound of garlic cloves in them, regular olive oil would work too, next time I'll try just a single tablespoon)

While the dough rises, cut the eggplant and transfer to a colander with a sprinkling of salt between the layers. Let rest in a sink for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with the garlic oil, then arrange on a baking sheet and place under broiler until fully cooked and beginning to caramelize, turning occasionally.

(Enough for 1 pizza with 4 pieces)
6 slow-roasted tomatoes (or perhaps roast thin-sliced Roma tomatoes with the eggplant)
8 ounces Fontina cheese, sliced thin (I think you'd use less if it were grated)

Preheat oven to 450F. (The instructions for the new pizza stone didn't mention whether it needed more than 15 minutes preheating. I suspect it does.)

Arrange the eggplant atop the crust. Arrange tomato halves atop the eggplant. Arrange cheese atop both. Transfer onto pizza stone and bake for 15 minutes. (Another time I'll increase this to 20 minutes but ovens vary so develop your own routine.) Reduce heat to 400F and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is brown and crispy and the toppings steaming hot.

Crust Only, Per Serving: 145 Cal (3% from Fat, 12% from Protein, 85% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 30 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 7 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 296 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 3 points

Eggplant & Tomato Toppings Only, Per Serving: 106 Cal (59% from Fat, 7% from Protein, 34% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 10 g Carb; 5 g Fiber; 17 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 128 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 2 points

Eggplant, Tomato & Cheese Topping, Per Serving: 327 Cal (68% from Fat, 20% from Protein, 13% from Carb); 17 g Protein; 25 g Tot Fat; 12 g Sat Fat; 11 g Carb; 5 g Fiber; 329 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 582 mg Sodium; 66 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 8 points

Veggie Posts of the Week #38

Many thanks to JenGray for the visual reminder of the intricacies of Swiss chard! No wonder it tastes sooo good! Check here for leafy green recipe ideas.

Throughout the week, I watch other food bloggers cooking up a storm. These veggie-centric posts caught my eye and my appetite!

From Anne's Food in Sweden, a vegetable soup that looks as if it'd taste as lovely as its Swedish-translated name, Meadow Food Soup

From Everybody Likes Sandwiches in Vancouver, a polenta topped with a vegetable stew spiked with Italian sausage - wow

From Fresh Approach Cooking in Los Angeles, Rachael's green bean salad with water chestnuts and red pepper and brightened with a ginger miso dressing

From Baking Sheet, another Los Angeles foodie stop, a low-fat cornbread moistened with zucchini

From Once Upon a Feast in Toronto, a vegetable stock that starts with roasted carrot, celery, onion, tomato and mushroom

Day 163: Eggplant & Tomato Curry

It even LOOKS bland!

Tonight's eggplant dish was promising on paper, disappointing on a plate.

There was heat from the red pepper but still it was strangely flavorless despite a perfect eggplant and wonderful late-season local tomatoes.

It might well be one of those dishes that improves overnight. But I also likely made a mistake, adding a bag of carrot strips that had been tasteless fresh and then, to boot, in the frig for too long.

The good news about tonight's curry, however is the first use of a Foodie View-like spot at Ashbury's Aubergines, home to 3100 eggplant recipes. Check off the ingredients you have on hand in the search engine, voila, several recipes from which to choose. Now if only Epicurious were half as good at a search ...

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 7 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger (I was out, used a tablespoon of ginger juice)
2 teaspoons ground cumin (I was short on cumin so added a teaspoon of madras curry)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Sprinkle red pepper flakes
Salt (would definitely recommend this, think it might be another explanation for blandness)
2 cardamom seeds (recipe says these are optional)
1 pound eggplant, cubed
1 pound tomato, cubed
1 tablespoon tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water

15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Heat a Dutch oven on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno and ginger as they're prepped and cook until the onion begins to soften but not brown. Stir in the cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes, salt and cardamom. Stir in the eggplant and tomato, then the tomato paste mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to MEDIUM, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook for another 10 minutes or until chickpeas are heated through. Serve as a side dish (1/2 cup serving) or main dish (1 cup serving) over brown rice.

Per Half Cup: 85 Cal (20% from Fat, 16% from Protein, 64% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 2 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 14 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 31 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 255 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 1 point

Per Cup: 171 Cal (20% from Fat, 16% from Protein, 64% from Carb); 7 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 29 g Carb; 9 g Fiber; 61 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 510 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 3 points

Day 162: Mini Tomato Pesto Torte ♥

Here on A Veggie Venture, I try to insert vegetables into every course.

So for an easy, make-ahead appetizer from on-hand ingredients, I worked toward something roughly half cheese, half vegetable.

And it worked. The proportions were right. The cream/acid mix was right. The color contrast was pretty.

And OH: yes, it tasted great!

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves about 4

4 cloves roasted garlic
8 sun-dried tomato halves (the ones from my grocery are soft and seem to be dried without oil)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (see ALANNA's TIPS)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Some other liquid (tonight, I used juice from a jar of roasted peppers but fruit juice, even water would work)

In a small food processor (tonight, I used my favorite food processor attachment to an immersion blender), mix all the ingredients except the 'other liquid'. Then add enough of the other liquid to create a firm but moist paste.


Line a one cup ramekin with plastic wrap. Arrange in layers as follows, pressing firmly after each layer:

2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped
Greek yogurt (or goat cheese or cream cheese)
1/2 the tomato pesto
1 tablespoon toasted walnuts, chopped
Greek yogurt
1/2 the tomato pesto
Greek yogurt

Per Serving: 164 Cal (45% from Fat, 25% from Protein, 30% from Carb); 11 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 13 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 90 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 218 mg Sodium; 10 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 4 points

  • I use a Microplane for creating piles of fluffy Parmesan. A cup comes from a piece about an inch square. If you're using a box grater, start with a piece this size, then grate.
  • The Greek yogurt seemed perfect, having a slight tang like yogurt but a little creamier.

Day 161: Eggplant Parmigiana ♥

If there were ever the right time to encourage foodie families to publish their own cookbooks, this is it.
  • The adventurous StephenCooks has been cooking up a family favorite, peroghies, with my Canadian grandmother's recipe. Nana made kazillions of these fruit dumplings over the years. We'd vie for them at weekend dinners at the aunts' and cousin gatherings at the cottage. Today there are only a couple of us who make peroghies but the recipe is recorded for future generations of cooks in our family cookbook.
  • And this week's column over at Kitchen Parade features a kid-favorite cookie recipe from my cousin Laura. We e-mail and talk on the phone. But still, if it weren't for the cookbook? I would have NO idea how delicious Fat Rascals could be.
  • And last night, I cooked a delicious cauliflower casserole from my cousin Sharon, another dish I'd have missed if it weren't for the cookbook.
  • And much by accident, the inspiration for tonight's Eggplant Parmigiana comes from my cousin Lynda. Yep: another cookbook entry.
So yes, I encourage you to share your best recipes. There's lots of software to organize a project, even if yours, like ours, had contributors from all over the world. We used a Web-based application from Walter's Publishing (2007 Update: Walter's no longer publishes cookbooks). And while I haven't used it yet, I'm impressed by the set-up over at Heritage Cookbook.

OH: tonight's eggplant? DELICIOUS. Thank you, family, for all the great recipes. I've not found a loser yet! (For other recipes from friends and family, check out Credit Where Credit's Due in A Veggie Venture's Recipe Box.)

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Makes 4 generous entree servings

1 egg, beaten
about 2/3 cup panko (or bread crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon bacon grease (or other fat)
1 eggplant, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (Lynda peels before slicing)

3 cups slow-roasted tomatoes and garlic (or see ALANNA's TIPS for an alternative)
8 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

2 1/2 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese (Lynda uses 8 ounces mozzarella and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan -- OH MY I just this second realized that if you zap the Parmesan, you're no longer making Eggplant Parmesan ... so what IS this I've made?!)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Put the egg in a large bowl. Combine the panko and salt in another. Line the bowls up next to the stove.

Melt about half the bacon grease in a large skillet over MEDIUM HIGH. Working in batches, dip each slice of eggplant first in the egg, then the panko, then add to the skillet and cook until crispy and beginning to brown. After the eggplant is done, if there is un-used panko, transfer it to the skillet to lightly brown.

Grease a quiche pan with cooking spray. Arrange about 1/4 cup of the slow-roasted tomato on the bottom, then a layer of eggplant slices on top, then about 1/2 the green onion and the roasted garlic. Arrange about half the remaining tomato on the eggplant, then top with another layer of eggplant. Top with remaining tomato and then remaining green onion.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes (the recipe says 25 minutes but tonight's version, starting with cold slow-roasted tomatoes, took 35; the eggplant should be not only heated through but steaming hot). Top with the cheese and leftover browned bread crumbs. Bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is beginning to soften and melt.

Per Serving: 374 Cal (45% from Fat, 13% from Protein, 42% from Carb); 13 g Protein; 20 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 42 g Carb; 10 g Fiber; 83 mg Calcium; 4 mg Iron; 755 mg Sodium; 70 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 8 points

  • Alternative sauce: Saute 1/2 an onion and a clove of garlic. Stir in a 15-ounce can of tomatoes, about 4 ounces of tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes, then add a 1/2 teaspoon of basil or oregano.
  • I found it frustrating to wait for the eggplant to get crispy. I could have -- but didn't want to -- add more fat. Next time I'll either use two skillets to speed up this step or relax with a glass of wine.

Kitchen Parade Extra: Fat Rascals ◄

Any cookie monsters in your family? Check out the Fat Rascals featured in this Kitchen Parade column for a tasty after-school treat.

Day 160: Cauliflower Tomato Medley ♥

Cauliflower Tomato Medley, slices of tomato and steamed cauliflower topped with cheese and baked until warm. Low carb.
Today's recipe for late-summer or early fall, a gratin of steamed cauliflower and tomatoes, lightly seasoned and topped with melty cheese. Delicious!

~recipe & photo updated 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~

2006 Original Post: So what's a seasonal cook to do on a 93-degree first day of fall? Build a bridge between the seasons, that's what! This cauliflower dish struck just the right note tonight, fall's creamy cauliflower paired with summer's slightly acidic tomatoes. Thanks to my cousin Sharon for the recipe, who serves this with roasted meat or grilled fish and says that it's attractive for a buffet supper. I agree! Next time (and there will definitely be a next time) I'll make one or two changes to lighten it, with little change in enjoyment, I think. I'll either double the cauliflower or use half the bread crumbs and cheese.

2012 Update: How often I feel "called" to remake something at exactly the same time of year (or the "feel" of the year) as the first time. That's the beauty of eating with the seasons, taking advantage of what's readily on hand right now and then waiting a year – or some times two or three or six – to make that something again and have it feel exactly right for the moment.

Day 159: Broccoli with Orange & Curry ♥

"Trees" are tasting better and better, thanks to the aggressive trimming learned back on Day 55.

This was bright and refreshing though next time I'll use half the orange/curry. But it's a definite keeper.

For other broccoli possibilities, see the broccoli section.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1/2 cup orange juice (reduced from 1 cup)
Juice from a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 tablespoon curry powder (reduced from 1 tablespoon)

1 pound broccoli, trimmed aggressively

Mix the orange juice, lemon juice, butter and curry in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer until the liquid begins to thicken just slightly.

Meanwhile, bring about an inch of water to boil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Place a collapsible steamed inside, add the broccoli, cover and cook for exactly 5 minutes. Drain the water, return the broccoli to the hot pan. Stir in the sauce, cover and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Per Serving: 56 Cal (20% from Fat, 22% from Protein, 58% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 1 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 10 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 71 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 35 mg Sodium; 3 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 1 point

  • To trim aggressively (quoted from StephenCooks)

    "Cut the last 1/4" from the end of the stalks, use a paring knife to trim any gnarly stumps or little branches from the stalks and then, using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outer skin from the stalks, starting at the base of the flower and going to the end of the stalks. Some larger stalks have a fairly thick skin and may need two passes of the can tell when you got it all when the inner flesh of the stalk is has a softer wet-green look, with no fibers visible and a consistency like a cut radish or potato.

    Cut the broccoli into serving portions...I usually cut it crosswise into three pieces - the flower and two pieces of stalk about 2 1/2 - 3" long. Then divide the flowers from each other and halve or quarter the stalk pieces lengthwise. For uniform cooking, the flower stems should be about the same diameter as the quartered or halved stalk pieces."

  • Timing is important in this recipe. The broccoli won't be cooked after only five minutes of steaming. However, be sure to have the sauce ready by then. Add it to the drained broccoli, cover, and let rest for five minutes so that the flavors can meld and the broccoli can finish cooking. Another five minutes? Too many, trust me.

  • StephenCooks adds this note about making ahead.
"I frequently cook a large amount of broccoli. I remove the portion I need immediately and covering it for a few minutes as you describe, I shock the remaining brocolli in cold water to totally stop the cooking. This leaves the brocolli slightly undercooked and ready to be reheated without being mushy for the next meal (microwave or quick steam) OR a nice crunchy addition to salads fully cooked brocolli is too soft. It keeps really well in the refrigerator."

Broccoli technique: StephenCooks
Orange/curry sauce: Great Good Food by Julie Rosso

Day 158: Turkey Burgers "Vegg-ed Up"

Tonight's supper decision was made at the last minute, standing in front of the meat counter.

Did it turn out okay? Of course. Could it have turned out better with planning? Of course.

Some cooks are naturals at makin' it up. But I'm not one of 'em.

If I'd only made a little bit of effort beforehand, I'd have had a basic recipe like this (nope, too much added fat) or this (hmm, better, lime juice is a good idea) or this (that's it!) to follow and THEN vegg-ed up -- likely with better results and just as importantly, results more likely to be repeated.

A good lesson, another to add to A Veggie Venture's growing list.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound 99% fat-free ground turkey
1/4 an onion, chopped fine
1/2 a red bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup grated carrot (tonight, a handful of grated carrot from a bag was chopped in just seconds)
1 teaspoon curry
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper

Cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients. Form into patties. Heat a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Add the patties, season with salt and pepper. Cook until cooked clear through.

Without a bun, per patty: 136 Cal (11% from Fat, 79% from Protein, 10% from Carb); 28 g Protein; 2 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 3 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 11 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 73 mg Sodium; 66 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 3 points [if you're watching calories, watch out, the bun, a Brownberry 100% Whole Wheat, doubled the points!]

Veggies for Kids: Healthy Snacks

Here are several thoughtful-yet-practical tips for serving up healthy snacks for kids. They've have been condensed from the Burlington Free Press, where you may read the complete story.

Stick close to nature.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are some of the best snack choices because they offer strong nutrition value with no additives.
  • Beyond that, the shorter the ingredients list, the better
    • A box of raisins (with one ingredient) vs
    • Gummy snacks (pear concentrate + three forms of added sugar + partially hydrogenated oil).
  • Don't be a purist: If it takes a little ranch dressing to get your child eating fresh veggies, it's a small price to pay.
No more white bread.
  • Look for at least 2 grams of fiber per serving of any grain-based product such as bread, cereals or crackers.
  • When choosing cereal, follow the "3-3-9" rule
    • 3 grams of fiber
    • no more than 3 grams of fat
    • no more than 9 grams of sugar.
Be a label reader.
  • Avoid trans-fats (usually listed as hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils)
  • Check that other solid fats, including saturated fat and cholesterol, are low.
  • Avoid added sugars, especially high fructose corn syrup.
  • For children older than 2, focus on skim or 1 percent-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt.
Build "staying power."
  • All-carb snacks (crackers, popcorn) don't provide long-lasting fuel. Instead combine "go" (energy) food and "grow" (protein) foods in one snack:
    • Spread a whole-wheat mini-bagel with cream cheese or natural peanut butter.
    • Offer whole grain crackers with string cheese.
No new-stuff at school.
  • Try new things at home first or it's likely they will remain uneaten.
  • Research say it may take 10-15 exposures to a new food before a child likes a new food.
Family food fun.
  • Let the kids help because participation means they'll be more open to trying new things.
  • Let kids choose from a range of healthy options presented by the parents:
    • different spreads for crackers;
    • dip for vegetables;
    • choices for fruit, veggie and cheese skewers;
    • ingredients for a family trail mix recipe.
  • Then make the snacks together.
Easy does it.
  • Many processed snacks are designed for grab and go.
  • For similar convenience, buy inexpensive snack-size plastic containers with lids to keep snacks fresh, uncrushable and convenient.
  • Have your kids help you measure out servings of corn chips, trail mix and dips at the beginning of each week.
  • Dedicate a shelf in the pantry and a corner of the fridge to healthy snacks so that kids can easily help themselves.
Avoid a showdown.
  • It's best to be clear from an early age where responsibility lies.
    • Parents: Ensure that healthy foods are available.
    • Kids: Choose if and how much to eat.
  • When parents give choices, it should be two or three choices, not 'What do you want to eat?'
  • Be flexible. If food becomes a battleground, it becomes harder to try new things.
Be realistic.
  • Change doesn't have to come immediately or overnight. Just take baby steps (bites!).
  • And every once in a while, candy is OK.
VEGGIES for KIDS is a continuing crusade here at A Veggie Venture, a forum for parents wanting to encourage healthful eating habits at home and school. What works for you? What would you like to fix at your own table? Leave a comment, send an e-mail or write your own post -- ideas and links along with kid-tested recipes will be posted in Veggies for Kids.

Day 157: Pasta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes ♥

Wow! Talk about rich, dark tomato flavor, thanks to the latest batch (Batch 3) of roasted tomatoes spending 20 hours in the oven.

This is another delicious use of the slow-roasted tomatoes, tiny little oriechette 'ears' of pasta with bits of tomato and a pine nut stuck in the whorl.

That said, the portion size seemed small even though each one adds up to nearly 400 calories. Another time, I'd serve it as a side dish (serving 6 or 8) rather than a main dish -- or if as a main dish, with lots of other vegetables on the side.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4 as a light entree, 6 - 8 as a side dish

8 ounces pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove shallot
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 cup slow-roasted tomatoes

Grated parmesan

Bring pasta water to a boil. Add salt and pasta, cook until al dente. Drain and return to the hot pot.

After putting the pasta in, heat olive oil in a small skillet, then add the shallot, garlic and pine nuts. Sauté until just barely cooked. Add the slow-roasted tomatoes and let warm through. Stir into the hot pasta. Add the parmesan. Arrange on plates and grate more parmesan over top of the pasta.

Four Servings, per Serving: 365 Cal (35% from Fat, 11% from Protein, 54% from Carb); 10 g Protein; 14 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 51 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 45 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 1793 mg Sodium; 54 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 7 points

Six Servings, per Serving: 243 Cal (35% from Fat, 11% from Protein, 54% from Carb); 7 g Protein; 10 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 34 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 30 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 1195 mg Sodium; 36 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 5 points

Eight Servings, per Serving: 183 Cal (35% from Fat, 11% from Protein, 54% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 25 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 22 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 896 mg Sodium; 27 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 4 points

Veggie Posts of the Week #37

Many thanks (again) to JenGray for her photo, this time the cross-stitch from her Gram's apron.

It's that time again, the vegetable-centric posts from other food bloggers / home cooks.

This week, the focus is on vegetable dishes for the Six O'Clock Scramble, weary from work, trying to put supper on the table in a few minutes, hungry kids waiting in the wing.

From the Accidental Hedonist, a lofty-sounding Spinaci alla Piemonte, really just spinach with a secret ingredient

From the Amateur Gourmet, a quick-to-the-table summer squash and corn pasta

From the Bacon Show, which to my surprise features one vegetable recipe after another, a quick skillet toss of red cabbage and fixin's including bacon, natch

From My Adventures in the Breadbox, a lovely garden minestrone with summer squash, zucchini, carrot, corn and spinach too

And for nights when there's time for the oven:

From Though Small, It Is Tasty, a sweet potato and spinach and egg "tian" (a new word for me, the Epicurious dictionary says it's a 'French word describing a shallow, earthenware casserole, as well as the food that it contains. A tian can be any of various dishes, but originally referred to a Provencal dish of gratineed mixed vegetables'.)

Day 156: Slow-Roasted Tomatoes ♥

Gathering ingredients for slow-roasted tomatoes
How to roast tomatoes, slowly, slowly, slowly. In 2005, I roasted 15 batches of tomatoes, keeping notes as I experimented with oven temperature, time in the oven, how much oil to use, whether fresh or dried herbs worked better.

From mid-September through early October, the house was aromatic with a gentle tomato scent from 15 batches of Slow-Roasted Tomatoes.

Each batch was a little different. I played with oven temperature, oven time, a little oil and a lot of oil, fresh herbs and dried herbs. I even experimented with Fast-Roasted Tomatoes but quickly returned to these.

The inspiration came from StephenCooks, whose site includes the warning, "If you're looking for something quick here, I'm sorry but most of the dishes I cook take far too long to be called quick." His ideas about slow-roasted tomatoes are here.

Day 155: Never-the-Same Steamed Broccoli ♥

How to trim and steam fresh broccoli, then dress in different ways that are 'never the same'.
graphic button small size size 10 How to trim and steam fresh broccoli, then dress it in different ways that are “never the same”.

~recipe & photo updated 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

After the success of Day 154's Tomato Bread Pudding IV inspired by StephenCooks, I decided to try his ever-so-simple steamed broccoli. And as you might expect, it's g-o-o-d.

I especially like the technique because:
The broccoli stalks are absolutely delicious so do pay attention to the aggressive trimming instructions – they're worth the time, especially for what happens to the stalks. So often, they're chopped off and even discarded in favor of the more tender and flavorful crowns. I love them cold, eaten out of a bowl like vinegar-free pickles.
The herb and vinegar and oil combinations (what I call the "Never-the-Same" Possibilities) are nearly limitless, making it easy to complement the rest of the meal.
It fits a Six O'Clock Scramble supper schedule OR can be prepped ahead of time.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: maybe 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound broccoli

"Never-the-Same" Possibilities, such as:
Olive oil or butter
Fresh herbs
Green onion
Salt & Pepper

Bring an inch of water to boil in a steaming pan. While the water heats, trim the broccoli (instructions by StephenCooks).

"Cut the last 1/4" from the end of the stalks, use a paring knife to trim any gnarly stumps or little branches from the stalks and then, using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outer skin from the stalks, starting at the base of the flower and going to the end of the stalks. Some larger stalks have a fairly thick skin and may need two passes of the can tell when you got it all when the inner flesh of the stalk is has a softer wet-green look, with no fibers visible and a consistency like a cut radish or potato.

Cut the broccoli into serving portions...I usually cut it crosswise into three pieces - the flower and two pieces of stalk about 2 1/2 - 3" long. Then divide the flowers from each other and halve or quarter the stalk pieces lengthwise. For uniform cooking, the flower stems should be about the same diameter as the quartered or halved stalk pieces."

Transfer broccoli to steamer basket. When the water is boiling, place the basket inside the pan, COVER and let steam for five minutes.

Meanwhile, assemble your Never-the-Same choices in a small bowl. When the five minutes is up, drain the water, return the broccoli to the hot pan, stir in the Never-the-Same choices, COVER the pan and let rest so the broccoli can continue to cook and the flavors meld.

To prep ahead, then cook just before serving: Trim the broccoli and set inside the steaming tray but NOT inside the steaming pan. Assemble the oil/garlic/herbs etc in a small bowl.
The broccoli will not be quite done after only 5 minutes of steaming. So do allow time, after the Never-the-Same choices are added, to COVER and let the broccoli rest for several minutes.
If your family really likes broccoli but prep time just before supper is precious, it might be worth it to trim a couple of pounds on the weekend, then cook it during the week.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

Still Hungry?

~ Perfect Pan-Fried Broccoli ~
~ Lemony Broccoli with Lemon Vinaigrette ~
~ Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Power Food Broccoli Salad ~
~ Quick Broccoli Soup ~
~ Smashed Potatoes & Broccoli ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

A Veggie Venture is home of 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005 & 2014

Day 154: Tomato Bread Pudding IV ♥

What, you don't remember Tomato Bread Puddings I, II and III?

That's because up until tonight, the man-who-can-cook-anything over at StephenCooks has been the-man-who-cooks-everything.

Impressed with Stephen's kitchen panache, awhile back I made a casual e-mail inquiry about his ideas for a tomato bread pudding, something I've been working on - entirely unsuccessfully - for a couple of summers, including here in A Veggie Venture back on Day 69.

I thought Stephen might write back with an equally casual idea or two. Instead:

Tonight, finally, it was time for me to push Stephen back into his living room out there in Maine to elbow my way into the kitchen here in Missouri.

I used his Roasted Tomato Bread Pudding as tonight's starting point. But naturally, I made it my own, both from necessity and from creativity. (Hmm. Is creativity a necessity of its own? Ponder that.)

And ... THIS IS DELICIOUS. The tomato flavor is delicate, balancing with a slight sweetness and a bit of basil brightness. The exposed crust is rusk-like crunchy in nice contrast to the soft, creamy custard-soaked bread in the center.

That said, as good as it is, it is not what I've been dreaming about. Maybe in the end, it has no bread, just tomato and custard? Oh no! Whatever Stephen's got, it's catching! I'm already envisioning Tomato Bread Pudding V.

Hands-on time: Didn't watch the clock but do-able, maybe a half hour?
Time to table: 36 hours, counting the slow-roasted tomatoes, maybe 2 hours otherwise
Serves 8

A day ahead, make a batch of Slow-Roasted Tomatoes (or follow the inspiration from Stephen's own recipe)

1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Saute the butter, onion and garlic until soft but not browning.

1/2 loaf of firm, white bread (I used the Great Harvest white which is somewhat dense with a touch of sweetness, sliced thin by their bread cutter which I think was important to reduce the breadiness factor)

While the onion cooks, generously butter a deep dish pie plate. (I used a clear glass French pie plate with sloping sides that holds more than a standard deep-dish pie. I also considered using a Corning dish and a spring-form pan.)

Slice the crusts off the bread. Arrange whole slices along the sides, starting at the top edge and keeping it somewhat even. Cut other bread pieces to fill in the empty areas on the sides and bottom in a single layer. Trim the top edge so that it's neat. (At this point, I tore two additional pieces of bread for the middle section. Another time I'd try to leave out this last bread.)

1/4 pound brie, rind removed (my addition)
1 1/2 cups half&half (Stephen uses cream, I like the texture of H&H custard better)
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
3 large leaves of fresh basil (from the garden)
1 tablespoon sugar (my addition, an important one, I think, but might use 1/2 a tablespoon)

Add the brie and a small portion of the H&H to a food processor and blend til smooth. Keep adding the H&H in small amounts until the brie is soft enough to no longer require slow incorporation. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. Stir in (don't process) the Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and the sauteed onions. Pour carefully onto bread so not to disturb the arrangement. The filling should come to about a half inch from the top edge. Place the pan in a larger pan (here, the bottom of the broiler pan worked great). Let the pudding rest for about 30 minutes, so the bread soaks up all the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bring a kettle to boil and pour into the larger pan until about halfway up the sides of the pudding pan. Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven, cover and let rest for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.

Some things just aren't meant to be known.

Kitchen Parade Extra: (Quick) Brown Bread ◄

Now that the weather's turning, it's time to turn on our ovens!

Here's a great start, an easy, half-good-for-ya (Quick) Brown Bread, featured in Kitchen Parade's weekly column.

Day 153: Creamy Sweet Corn Soup ♥

Boy, this one was HARD work.

First I strode barefoot out to the Back Forty where I battled the grasshoppers to search more than a dozen corn rows for ears that had that just-ripe scent and then ... NOT.

Yes this is a Gimme. But real life needs regular Gimme's, yes?

This Imagine-brand corn soup tastes great -- and because it's from Trader Joe's, it's inexpensive, too -- and a cup is low in calories (100) and Weight Watchers points (2). And for those who attend to such, it's organic and vegan as well.

For anyone considering Family Survival Packs since Katrina, this may qualify since its aseptic packaging doesn't require refrigeration. I tasted a cold spoonful: not bad. And the expiration date is six months away so as long as the supply were replenished twice a year, it could work.

Day 152: Light Summer Frittata

Still cleanin' out the frig, yes, so it's the perfect night for a veggie frittata.

This one was long on vegetables and short on eggs: that'd been the intent, calorie-wise, but I missed the extra egg, missed the extra creaminess from a bit of cheese.

Still, twas quite good. And there's no reason to despair: the next one will be different because the leftovers in the vegetable bin are never the same.

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 a medium zucchini, diced
1/2 a yellow pepper, diced
1 teaspoon garlic
1 large tomato, diced

2 eggs
3 egg whites
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
Salt & pepper

Heat an oven-proof skillet over MEDIUM HIGH. Add the butter. When it's hot, add the zucchini and pepper and saute for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato and let simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and the tomato liquid has cooked down.

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, the whites (save the yolks for something else) and the ricotta. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the BROILER and reduce the stovetop's heat to MEDIUM. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. As the egg begins to set, use a spatula to gently push the egg from the outer rim toward the center, letting uncooked egg fill those spots but keeping the frittata relatively flat with no mound in the center. Once the egg is really beginning to set, let it cook undisturbed for 4 - 5 minutes. Transfer the frittata to the broiler and cook 2 - 3 minutes until the top is completely cooked and not at all runny. Slice and serve immediately.

Per Serving: 154 Cal (58% from Fat, 28% from Protein, 14% from Carb); 11 g Protein; 10 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 6 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 94 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 114 mg Sodium; 146 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 4 points

  • If your skillet has a wooden handle, cover it with foil before putting it into the oven.

Day 151: Creamed Radishes with Pimentón ♥

~ recipe updated & photo added in 2007 ~

2005: [No photo, sorry, photographer malfunction.] In old cookbooks, vegetables seem to come creamed or fried, fried or creamed. So it is surprising that in 151 (!) days of cooking veggies in new ways here at A Veggie Venture, neither one's been done. But who'd think to start with creamed radishes??? Someone who's cleaning out the frig, that's who.

WOW. Awhile back, the nearby international market had exotic-looking black radishes that ended up tasting like plain-ol' red radishes in a so-so salad. But tonight, cooked and then creamed, they were, my oh my, very good. But it's possible that Creamed Kibbles would have been good too -- so long as pimentón was included. Tonight was my first taste of the smoky Spanish paprika. Wow.

2007: Well, maybe based on their homely washed-out appearance, creamed radishes should remain photo-less. But they sure do taste good! I recommend using them as a base for grilled or roasted meat, where they can remain out of the public view.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Serves 4

Water to cover plus some
8 ounces of radishes (peeled and grated if black, grated if red)

White Sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup hot radish water (or equivalent amount of milk)
1/2 cup milk (tonight, whole milk but I often use 2% or 1% or even skim, fyi the recipe does call for cream but I just don't find the extra richness necessary)
1 teaspoon sugar (next time, skip this)
1/2 teaspoon pimenton (or paprika or nutmeg might be good too)
Salt to taste.

In a medium saucepan, bring enough water plus some to cover the radishes (just estimate the right amount) to boil. Meanwhile, peel and grate the radishes. Add them to the boiling water and let simmer until cooked, about 20 minutes -- try to end up with about a half cup of radish water left over.

When the radishes are nearly cooked, start the white sauce by heating a medium saucepan over MEDIUM heat. Add the butter and let melt. Add the flour and stir in until all the lumps are gone, stirring the whole time, about 1 minute. (This minute's important to remove the a floury taste.) Slowly-slowly-few-drops-by-few-drops to start, add the hot radish water, stirring the whole while. As you stir, the liquid will be absorbed into the flour mixture and seize up. Add a few more drops, stir, a bit more, stir, a bit more, stir. If you add it too quickly, the sauce will be lumpy and nasty. The technique is quite easy, just start with a little til you get the feel for it. Add the milk in the same way. Stir in the cooked radishes, then the pimenton, cook for 2-3 more minutes until completely hot. Season to taste and serve.

Per Serving: 61 Cal (57% from Fat, 11% from Protein, 32% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 5 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 16 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 39 mg Sodium; 12 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 1 point

The Finnish Cookbook

Veggies for Kids: Whack-a-Snack

Check out Hungry Girl, who serves up FUN for breakfast, HUMOR for lunch and tops it all off with EATING WELL for supper and WEIGHT MANAGEMENT for dessert.

For kids, click on Whack-a-Snack for an thrill-packed exercise about food choices.

VEGGIES for KIDS is a continuing crusade here at A Veggie Venture, a forum for parents wanting to encourage healthful eating habits at home and school. What works for you? What would you like to fix at your own table? Leave a comment, send an e-mail or write your own post -- ideas and links along with kid-tested recipes will be posted in Veggies for Kids.

Day 150: Cold Cucumber Soup

With apologies to poor poets, I hope to never become one, if this is what there'd be to eat.

That said, Day 150's (!) recipe comes from a charming little 1966 cookbook, The New Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others. It's written for poets and 'others' who are often out of funds and might be, as detailed by author Ann Rogers:
  • young wives and husbands making ends meet
  • students
  • musicians with uncopied scores
  • painters with unsold pictures
  • novelists in the middle of a novel
  • older people with small fixed stipends
  • people who only like to work occasionally
  • aspiring food bloggers (oh wait, 1966?)
It is 'devoted to sitting down meals, however humble' and introduces the 'nickel dinner' (forty years later, what $ would that be?).

It cites only three rules. 'Always have fresh bread. Always use butter. Always serve wine.' Good rules, all.

Its pages are arranged not by course nor by season but by relative cost. Tonight's recipe is found on page 22. (Nuff said?) Maybe next time I'll start looking in the 100s.

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 4 - 5 hours
Serves 4

3 cups yogurt (tonight, homemade non-fat yogurt, a little on the tangy side)
1 cup water
1 cucumber, peeled and diced (tonight from a poet's garden; if the next poor poet can afford a grater as well as a knife, grating is recommended)
1/2 cup currants (all poor poets should shop at Trader Joe's for the best prices on currants)
5 green onions, green and white parts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dill seed
1 tablespoon minced parsley (tonight, from the garden)
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint (tonight, from the garden)
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste

Whisk the yogurt and water in a large bowl til smooth. Stir in the other ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for several hours for the flavors to meld.

Per Serving: 90 Cal (2% from Fat, 33% from Protein, 65% from Carb); 8 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 15 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 33 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 111 mg Sodium; 4 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 2 points

The New Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others by Ann Rogers

Veggie Posts of the Week #36

[Once again, my thanks to Jen Gray for her photographic inspiration!]

It's that time again: reviewing the week's posts by other food bloggers in search of veggie favorites. It's sooo easy to tell that the farmers markets are bursting: nearly everyone, it seems, is using up the last gems of tomato and pepper and ... and ...

We're Squeezing the Last Bit of Summer Out of the Toothpaste Tube

From right here in Missouri, FarmGirl's Summer Harvest Soup with red peppers and yellow squash

From Gastronomie, a cream-rich 'real' tomato soup that's so good she may never open a can again

From Kevin, the personal chef at Seriously Good, a romesco sauce I WILL make soon , that's a promise

And from Mark, another personal chef at ReMARKable Palate, a couple of creative uses for carrots, a salad with daikon and a soup with sweet potato, ginger and maple syrup

But Cool Nights and Falling Leaves Can't Be Far Behind

From Nic at BakingSheet, a cabbage-cranberry soup that'd warm one's innards on the coldest day

From The Bacon Show, a hot slaw with apple, caraway and well, what would you expect, right? bacon

From the state of Georgia where it's been coolish and 10 Signs Like This, a grilled packet of butternut squash, a 'secret spice' and butter ... we heard the moans in St Louis!

And in an ongoing crusade, Veggies for Kids

Barbara Fisher at Tigers & Strawberries writes passionately about families who cook in the same kitchens and eat at the same tables - often