Day 354: Wilted Asian Cabbage

[Hmmm. Does that slaw look like broccoli rabe to you? Me either. Day 354 was supposed to be a last March broccoli rabe contribution with a final running round--up. The bad news is that the store was out. The good news is that the produce manager says it's flying off the shelves - she can't keep enough in! Watch for something rapini-rabe-ish in a few days!]

Fast and light! It's a good combination. It's Napa cabbage, wilted with a bit of water in a hot skillet, and a soy-ginger-vinegar dressing.

NEXT TIME ... I'd drain the leftover water from the pan before mixing the wilted cabbage with the dressing. I'd add "something else" ... green onion, toasted sesame seeds, red pepper flake, perhaps.

NUTRITION NOTES ... Another low-carb, low-calorie, low-point vegetable!

Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 5 minutes!
Time to table: 8 minutes!
Serves 4

Splash of water
4 cups thin-sliced Napa cabbage
? Green onion
? Mushrooms

1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon grated ginger (if you've not found it in a jar, yet, keep looking! my grocery has started carrying tubes but they're 2x expensive)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt & pepper to taste
? Red pepper flake
? Toasted sesame seed?

Heat the water in a skillet. Add the cabbage and green onion as they're prepped. Stir often, heating the cabbage until it's just wilted, not fully cooked.

Meanwhile combine the dressing ingredients. Toss in wilted cabbage.

Per Serving: 36 Cal (28% from Fat, 15% from Protein, 57% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 1 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 6 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb4; 46 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 244 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1/2 point

Adapted from Bon Appetit September 2003

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Kitchen Parade Extra: Quick Supper: Crockpot Chicken Goulash ◄

There are days when it's the drive-through or the crockpot, nothing in between.

If that describes your day (or your life!), try the plain, tasty fare of Crockpot Chicken Goulash, featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

It's the latest in Kitchen Parade's Quick Supper series, dishes specially selected to be easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 353: Tuna Salad Vegged Up ◄

It's a simple idea: if you want to eat more vegetables, start by adding chopped veggies to whatever you're already making. Soup. Stews. Rice. Even burgers. I call it "vegging up".

Why? Well there's the eat-more-veggies reason. And the eat-more-veggies-than-meat reason. And the eat-more-fiber reason. And the feed-more-mouths reason. And the using-up-bits-of-leftover-vegetables reason. And the end-of-the-month-budget reason. And ... and ... and ...

Me, all those apply. But mostly there's the it-just-tastes-good reason.

KITCHEN NOTES ... Work toward a 1:1 ratio of vegetables and tuna/meat. While mayo is the typical binding in tuna salad, today I experimented with fat-free Italian dressing: VERY good. Good bread makes a difference.

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes enough for 4 - 6 sandwiches

Cooked tuna (I'm becoming partial to the vacuum-sealed bags ...)

  • When you see this in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 352: Insalata di Finocchio aka Fennel Salad

Today's vegetable comes from my father's companion Olga, who was born in Russia but lived in Italy with her Italian husband Giulio until coming to the United States. At Olga's, "Italian" is the house cuisine, even if the recipes are spoken with a Russian accent!

This is a quick side salad made with fresh fennel and hard-boiled eggs. It's very good!

NUTRITION NOTES ... This is a great low-carb salad for those who are watching their carbohydrate intake.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... See the Recipe Box for other Vegetable Salads.

Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: maybe 15 minutes
Time to table: see notes
Serves 6

4 hard-cooked eggs, cooled, 3 diced in small bits, 1 cut into sixths for garnishing
1 fennel bulb (see OLGA's TIPS)
Green onion, sliced thin

Juice of 1 lemon (or more, to taste)
Olive oil to taste (1 tablespoon used for nutrition estimate)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine 3 eggs, fennel and green onion. Toss with remaining ingredients. Garnish with egg slices. If made with grated fennel, serve immediately. If made with sliced fennel, let rest for a couple of hours.

  • Look for round-ish (vs elongated) bulbs of fennel. (Hmm. It's the roundish bulbs that are called "female" -- not, apparently, in a male-female gender way, but in a memory jogging way to remember that roundish bulbs are less fibrous. Want to know more? Try here.)
  • To cut the fennel, first slice a bit off the root end. Then cut the bulb in half lengthwise.
    • If you're going to eat the salad right away, grate the bulb. It won't keep so be ready to eat it up.
    • If you're making the salad ahead of time, slice as thin as possible crosswise. When sliced, the salad will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
    • Either way, the core is quite delicous so cut it out and dice it separately.
Made with 1 tablespoon olive oil, Per Serving: 92 Cal (59% from Fat, 23% from Protein, 17% from Carb); 6 g Protein; 6 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 4 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb3; 45 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 75 mg Sodium; 164 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 351: Roasted Carrots & Mushrooms with Thyme ♥

Roasted Carrots & Mushrooms with Thyme
graphic button small size size 10 Today's simple vegetable recipe: Chunks of carrots roasted with fresh mushrooms. Weight Watchers friendly! Low carb! Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

~recipe & photo updated 2008 & 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

ORIGINAL POST 2006: Day after day, other food blogs inspire! Today it was Kalyn's Kitchen's great-looking roasted carrots and mushrooms. They were GREAT! Even my dad, who's so-so about carrots, admits they were "okay". For the record, that would be a compliment – he ate every single bite! I followed Kalyn's recipe except that I used:

a whole pound of real carrots! the kind you peel and cut into chunks. The pre-peeled carrots marketed as 'baby carrots' aren't baby carrots at all, just huge humongous carrots formed into carrot-bullet shapes. They're fine for eating raw but have little flavor when cooked.
Just 1 tablespoon oil. In the last year, I've learned that the trick for using LESS OIL when roasting vegetables means dirtying an extra dish. Sure, you can drizzle oil on the vegetables, right there on the baking sheet – but you'll use more oil because it's harder to coat the vegetables to take full advantage of the flavor. So now I always use a bowl and a spatula to combine the vegetables and the oil very well – this means tossing it all several times, it's not hard, it just takes maybe an extra 30 seconds. But it really works!

Day 350: Gypsy Pot ♥
Every-Day Ingredients in Uncommon Combination

Gypsy Pot, a hearty soup with butternut squash, pear, seasonal vegetables, thickened with a garlicky-almond paste. Tips, nutrition, WW points at A Veggie Venture.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's hearty vegetable recipe: A concept recipe, happy with addition and subtractions based on what's on hand and what's in season. Weight Watchers Friendly. Easily made vegetarian or Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". graphic button small size size 10

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

Original 2006: I fell in love with the name, Gypsy Pot. I swooned over the everyday ingredients in uncommon combination. In short order, I moved to the kitchen to begin the peeling and chopping for a somehow completely familiar and yet altogether new soup that is a Gypsy Pot. It's earthy peasant food and something sublimely sophisticated both at once. The inspiration comes from The Traveler's Lunchbox, whose own inspiration comes from Anya von Bremzen's The New Spanish Table.

NEXT TIME This isn't a soup to start when you're in a rush, instead one to savor the experience of cutting and chopping and cooking. It takes 20 minutes alone to peel a &^%&^^%$$ butternut squash. (I've seen the chunks at Trader Joe's but think they look nasty!) While the soup first simmered, I should have kept right on with the garlic/almond and onion/tomato mixtures which took longer than expected.

Update 2014: A romantic allure still attracts me to Gypsy Pot. But this time, I streamlined the recipe to limit the hands-on time and yes, I've now conquered the butternut squash, now I can wrangle one into neat cubes in five minutes flat, you can too. :-) Just check out How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers. Another thing. The first time I made this soup it was late winter, it was a decidedly wintry pot. But this time I made it in September with fresh vegetables from the garden. Again, swoon ...

Two things make this soup different than others. The first is fruit, two under-ripe pears that add sweetness but keep their structure. The second is a gorgeous garlic-almond paste that both thickens and seasons the soup.

Day 349: Fragrant Orange Beetroot Salad ◄

This delicious beet salad comes with lessons.
  • Roasting beets is efficient! Up front, invest five minutes in prep, then unattended time in the oven. Once the beets're roasted, it's one quick salad after another. (The last one was only just on Day 347. )
  • Fragrance doesn't roast in (as attempted Day 346). But it's easy to add later. This salad is scented with orange but lemon and lime would be good too.
  • Well-organized bookmarks take some discipline. But when you've got cooked beets and 30 minutes til supper's expected, no worries if your bookmarks have a folder for "beets", better yet, one for "beets" and another for "cooked beets".
This beet recipe comes from The Flying Apple, posted way back in October. It's easy, it's good. Thank you, Angelika, for making supper's vegetable such a breeze!

Start your bookmarking now! Bookmark or print this recipe only File it in Vegetables / Beets Cooked.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... For more ways to use cooked beets, see the Recipe Box. (Scroll down a bit for the cooked beet section.)

Bookmark or print this recipe only
See The Flying Apple's Orange Scented Beetroot Salad
Hands-on time: 6 minutes
Time to table: 6 minutes
Serves 4

Zest & juice from an orange (you won't need all the juice, just enough to soak in)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
Salt & pepper

1 pound cooked beets, diced

Per Serving: 83 Cal (37% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 54% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 12 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb9; 20 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 93 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1.5 points

When you see this in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 348: Zucchini Lemon-Honey Salad ♥ Recipe

Zucchini Lemon-Honey Salad
<< Today's simple zucchini salad recipe: A pretty combination of sunny-yellow yellow squash and summer-green zucchini, chopped and tossed in a lemony vinaigrette. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 or 2 points. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". >>

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

2006 Original Post: If the weather's not yet spring-ish, the food can be!

Easily slipping the knife through the soft flesh of the green zucchini and yellow squash, I realized how remarkably different, how spectacularly simple, how wonderfully light and bright, this quick chopped salad seems — now — compared to the root vegetables that felt so perfect just a couple of weeks ago but now seem unappealingly heavy and earthy. Wool sweaters may be still in order. But not for long! We'll doff them — like parsnips and turnips — soon enough!

Day 347: Beet & Walnut Salad ♥

Beet & Walnut Salad
An easy beet salad, paired with toasted walnuts and dressed with a vinaigrette that starts with jam and brings out the natural sweetness of the beets.

~recipe & photo updated 2010~

2010: This beet salad recipe was first published in 2006 on Day 347 for a food blogger event featuring 30-minutes meals. I used a Rachael Ray menu. It took 35 minutes to make the menu but I was astounded at the cost and the calories. The meal was expensive ($6.50 a person) and packed with calories (an enormous 1030 calories and 24 Weight Watchers points). (For anyone interested in all the detail, I've left it verbatim at the bottom of this page.)

Even Rachael Ray's beet salad was loaded with calories. But MY version of the beet salad is light and lovely, entirely delicious and worth making. I like to make this as a main dish salad.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 8 as side salads, 4 as main dish salads

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted in a small pan for 3 - 4 minutes til aromatic
1 heart romaine lettuce, washed, torn into bite-size pieces
4 radishes, sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, finely minced (1/4 a large red onion)

2 tablespoons jam (I used blackberry preserves but really any jam would work, marmalade might be really good)
2 tablespoons good vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil (Rachael Ray uses 3 tablespoons, it's just not needed!)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (definitely optional but does provide an interesting contrast)
Salt & pepper to taste

1 pound roasted beets, diced (Rachael uses a can of sliced beets, but this recipe shows my favorite way to roast beets)

(1) Stir the beets into the dressing and -- at the very last minute -- toss with the salad ingredients or (2) Dress the greens with the dressing, then top the salad with the beets without mixing them in.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

A 30-minute meal, a forgettable goulash and a delicious beet & walnut salad (in the corner)After early-on nixing this month's "Make It in 30 Minutes" food blogging event of the inpenetrable acronym IMBB (Is My Blog Burning), at the last minute, I felt suddenly inspired, if in a 30-minute sort of way.
  • Who wants to spend 30 minutes figuring out WHAT to cook, then COOK it in 30 minutes?
  • So I turned to the Grande Dame of Half Hours, Rachael Ray, whose food style has never inspired aside from the 30 Minute Schtick.
  • Then I allowed -- start the clock, please -- five minutes to find something that worked. Easy was a given. Fewer pots than Rachael usually uses, please. And of course -- vegetables.
  • Lo and behold, right off I did find something.
  • For reality-show authenticity, I hit the grocery store at 6:15 pm. (Packed.)
  • For real-life authenticity, I hit the kitchen at 7pm. (Starved and wanting supper NOW.)
How'd it go?

TIME-WISE -- great, 35 minutes later, not counting the inevitable photo delay, supper was on the table.

TASTE-WISE -- let's call it one gutter ball and one strike and one gimme:
  • The chicken & mushroom goulash with store-bought tortellini (my on-hand substitute for store-bought gnocchi) was forgettable.
  • But the beet & walnut salad was spectacular, a definite keeper (my recipe is above).
    • The directions called for tossing the beets with everything else which discolored the lettuce and radishes; better would be to toss the salad without the beets, dress the greens and then top with the beets.
    • Or -- this would make for a great beet salad, sans the greens entirely.
  • And since I thought that Rachael Ray always included dessert -- note the chocolate pudding cup. (Not that great but it did somehow hit the spot ...)
PORTION-WISE -- Even cutting back the meat to a pound (vs 1 1/2 pounds), the goulash portion sizes were huge; that said, the volume was largely made up of peppers and mushrooms, so relatively healthful. The beet salad's portion size was again huge, better sized to a main dish salad than a side salad; still if you're going to err on the big side, salad's the place to do it.

CALORIE-WISE & Weight Watchers POINT-WISE --
  • Made Rachael Ray's way, the goulash alone racks up 451 calories, 30 grams of fat and 11 points!! That's without the calorie-high tortellini/gnocchi!
  • Made my way (with a pound of meat and using 1 vs 3 tablespoons fat), the goulash drops to 294 calories, 16 grams of fat and only 6.5 points
  • The beet salad isn't as "virtuous" as you might think -- see the nutrition information below the recipe.
  • The * whole meal * made Rachael Ray's way comes in at -- get this -- 1030 calories, 56 grams of fat, 78 grams of net carbs and a whopping 24 Weight Watchers points! (For reference, that 1/3 more than a woman looking to lose weight is allowed in an entire day!)
  • What bothers me is that -- even to me, someone who pays attention to ingredients/etc every single day as they relate to calories/health -- this Rachael Ray meal didn't look that bad!
  • I had NO idea it would rack up so many calories. It's the reason why I urge everyone involved in the food/recipe business (including the 'amateur' but ever so professional food bloggers) to start including nutrition information with their recipes! (Hmm. Sorry, I'll step off the soapbox.)
PRICE-WISE -- hmmm, $26 (with the pepper and stock on hand for the goulash; the beets, jam, poppy seeds, olive oil on hand for the salad). At $6.50 a person, that's more expensive than fast food, perhaps equivalent to a simple meal at some family-friendly casual dining place. It does budget $5 for the tortellini/gnocchi -- so rice or couscous would be a cheaper (and more diet-friendly) alternative.

A BIG THANK YOU to Meg and Barrett from Too Many Chefs who're hosting this month's event and devised the 30-Minutes theme. I suspect the round-up will get millions of bookmarks -- I know I intend to send it around to my busy friends -- that means all my friends. And I know -- KNOW -- that I learned a lot by participating. So -- thanks!

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006

Kitchen Parade Extra: Blueberry Galette ◄

Happy Birthday to my Dad, who turns x0 next week!

No, x0 is no typo. And x0 is an apt age, yes? for a much-loved father of a daughter perennially 29?!

Dad's "birthday pie in the sky" is this wonderful blueberry galette, a quick dessert all dressed up in a fancy name -- and this week's Kitchen Parade column.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 346: Fragrant Roasted Beets ◄

Roasted beets are delicious -- though nothing novel enough for a food blog in its twelfth month dedicated to vegetables in new ways every single day.

(In fact, roasted/baked beets made their first appearance way back on Day 24. And roasting these beets, well, it's the first time to notice how A Veggie Venture is coming full circle, that we're about to move back into spring-ish vegetables, leaving the winter's roots and purees behind. I'm happy to welcome back favorites like beets and asparagus but it feels a little sad, too, an ending of sorts.)

But fragrant roasted beets, now that caught my attention! (Yours too? You're reading, yes?!)

But too-too-bad, the fragrance didn't permeate the beets. It didn't even "smell up" the kitchen, which would have been good enough on a wintry day.

I tried star anise, fennel and lavender with three large (nearly one pound each) beets.
(The star anise and fennel were suggested from the inspiring recipe from The Splendid Table, adapted from Vegetable from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference.)

When I opened the foil packets after roasting -- sniff! -- there was no telling one from the other! It may be impossible for fragrance to permeate large beets. But ... I'm going back to Day 208's balsamic vinegar for fragrance and flavor.

NUTRITION NOTES ... Beets are low in calories and -- because of high fiber -- also low in NetCarbs. And they taste soooo good! If you've only had canned beets, DO venture into roasting fresh beets. There's no comparison!

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... There's a collection of great beet recipes in the Recipe Box.

Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 10 minutes (5 minutes to prep, 5 minutes to finish)
Time to table: forever (these beets took nearly 2 hours to roast, good thing they were for another night)
Serves 4

1 pound beets
Per beet: 1/2 a star anise or 1 teaspoon anise or lavendar or ... or ...

Trim off the beet greens, leaving a couple of inches of stem. Wash very well. Wrap tightly in foil along with the fragrances. Roast at 375F until the beets are tender enough for a knife to easily slip into the center.

Per Serving: 49 Cal (3% from Fat, 14% from Protein, 83% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 11 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb8; 18 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 88 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1/2 point

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 344: Roasted Parsnips with Pine Nuts

Every once in a lucky while, you find a cookbook that's entirely cookable. And if it's an entirely readable history lesson, too? Foodie Heaven.

In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark launched the great exploration of the new Lousiana Purchase. The food logistics alone were enormous: there were no Safeways, no Whole Foods along the traverse of the Missouri River. How and what DID they eat? Well and a lot, it turns out, very well and a whole lot.

The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark by Mary Gunderson describes the expedition in terms of food, applying what Mary calls paleocuisineology -- bringing history alive through cooking -- to make a history book with recipes.
"Welcome to the table of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The dining cloth reaches across the North American continent, circa 1803 to 1806. There is more than enough room for each of us to crowd around. Linger at any point in the journey and a rich food history is at hand, revealing the larger story of the Expedition and its still-felt impact on our national consciousness. Such is the power of food. Dig in!" --- from the Food Journal of Lewis & Clark

It's a great read and -- for the real foodies among us -- eminently cookable. (Want to learn more? Visit HistoryCooks for lesson plans, sample recipes and other goodies.)

SO ALANNA ... WHAT ABOUT THE PARSNIPS? ... Roasted parsnips are wonderful! And the pine nuts are a natural complement. THESE roasted parsnips, too bad, were woody, no fault of the recipe. I'm finding it hard to tell when to cut out the center cores and when not, a discussion that also happened on Day 319. I think I will, from now on, just in case.

NEXT TIME ... I'll use fewer pine nuts since they're expensive price-wise and calorie-wise. Just a few would have been enough.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... I know the roasting season is coming to a close but for cold-ish spring days, there are lots of roasted vegetable recipes in the Recipe Box.

Adapted from Food Journal of Lewis & Clark
Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 45 - 50 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound parsnips, peeled, cored in thick sections (see ALANNA's TIPS), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 - 2 tablespoons pine nuts (the inspiring recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
Malt vinegar (a trick from Day 319)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the parsnip pieces, olive oil, salt and pepper to combine well and transfer to a rimmer baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and stir in the pine nuts. Roast another 20 minutes (or more) until golden, stirring occasionally. (I was busy and didn't stir. It didn't seem to matter.) Season again and sprinkle with malt vinegar. Serve and enjoy!

With 1T pine nuts: Per Serving: 129 Cal (34% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 61% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 21 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; NetCarb15; 41 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 11 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

With 2T pine nuts: Per Serving: 143 Cal (39% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 56% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 21 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; NetCarb15; 42 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 12 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2.5 points

With 1/2C pine nuts: Per Serving: 229 Cal (57% from Fat, 6% from Protein, 37% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 15 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 23 g Carb; 6 g Fiber; NetCarb17; 44 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 12 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 5 points

  • To keep the pieces of roughly equivalent size, you might want to core only the thicker stem ends. To do this, first slice the thin root ends in one-inch pieces -- you might only get one or two. Then quarter the thick section, slice out the woody cores, then slice into one-inch pieces.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 343: Caraway Cabbage ◄

Supper #1: Caraway Cabbage was an easy, tasty, wintry side dish.

Supper #2: After cooking for another 90 minutes, Caraway Cabbage transformed into something akin to noodles, a low-carb, high-fiber substitute for pasta, rice or potatoes.

Lunch #3 Warmed in some cream-ish broth, Caraway Cabbage became a bone-warming soup.

The recipe? It's in a 2004 Kitchen Parade column.

FOR THE RECORD ... This is A Veggie Venture's contribution to ARF Tuesdays over at Sweetnicks, the weekly inspiration to cook 'n' eat up antioxidant-rich foods.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 342: Cauliflower-Broccoli Gratin with Horseradish ♥

Cauliflower-Broccoli Gratin with Horseradish
Today's vegetable casserole recipe: A pretty mix of cauliflower and broccoli in cheese sauce that's got just a touch of heat from horseradish.

~recipe & photo updated 2013~
~more recently updated recipes~

2006 Original Post: "Gratin" sounds much fancier than reality: cauliflower with cheese sauce. But "delicious" barely describes the cheese sauce's bright notes of horseradish and mustard. Call it OH SO GOOD: this definitely qualifies for a 'I Could Easily Make a Meal Out of This' designation.

2013 Update: I've rewritten this recipe to reflect how I make it, how I think it's best made. For example, the inspiring recipe had way too much cheese sauce, two times too much by my measure. I also think that the mixture of cauliflower and broccoli is just so pretty so that's what I recommend too. Plus a bit of texture contrast is really nice. This is a great dish for a holiday table but isn't too much for every day too. It's really important to let the horseradish come through, be sure to use enough in the cheese sauce and the topping both.

Day 341: Wine-Glazed Brussels Sprouts ♥

Wine-Glazed Brussels Sprouts ♥ This one wins no beauty contests but in the taste department? Special!
No beauty contest winner here but in the taste department? Outstanding. The Brussels sprouts are cooked in a quick mix of wine, honey, soy sauce and a touch of butter. After awhile? It glazes the Brussels sprouts. It's not Belgian chocolate but for Brussels sprouts? Gorgeous.

Stop! Do NOT make your decision to make these Brussels sprouts based on the photo! Stop, I say! :-) Now, close your eyes and imagine the goodness of red wine and soy sauce and honey cooked all syrupy. And think about that syrupy goodness soaking into tiny baby cabbages aka Brussels sprouts. Imagine a taste that's familiar and brand-new at the same time. Imagine pure deliciousness.

Okay, NOW you're permitted to open your eyes and study the picture: butt-ugly, as they say. That's because the Brussels sprouts at the store were gigantic so I quartered them so they'd cook evenly – the exposed innards sucked up color along with flavor. You can see that the exteriors still look good: yes, I recommend tiny Brussels sprouts for this magnificent and still simple side dish.

COOKBOOK I find one winner after another in a cookbook I bought many years ago but only recently started cooking from again. It's still available in a newer edition – and cheap on Amazon Marketplace. It's called Vegetarian Celebrations by Nava Atlas who has a brand-new food blog called In a Vegetarian Kitchen. Nava may have a long list of cookbooks to her name but she seems just like the rest of the food blogger/foodie community: excited to talk about food over the Internet table! And unusually? Her blog seems not just to sell her wonderful cookbooks though I recommend you do consider buying one!

Perfect Hard-Boiled Ruby Eggs ♥ Easter Recipe!

Ruby Eggs, just Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs soaked in beet juice for lovely Easter color.
graphic button small size size 10 Just in time for making Easter eggs: How to cook perfect hard-boiled eggs, then dye the eggs in beet juice or pickled beet juice to create stunning ruby-colored "whites" with sunny-yellow centers. graphic button small size size 10

Oh so Easter-basket pretty! And yet ever so simple, just hard-boiled eggs soaked overnight in beet juice. Don't worry, soaking transfers beet color, not beet flavor.

Cooking eggs should be simple! Instead, hard-boiled eggs may "look" simple but they can be tricky to cook. The eggs can turn out too soft (undercooked) or too hard and crumbly (overcooked) or ringed with green (cooked improperly) or impossible to peel (probably too fresh). For each problem, someone supplies a list of tricks aka solutions. No more.

I clipped this "perfect hard-boiled eggs every time" recipe so long ago there's no memory of its source. But this technique (a recipe for hard-cooked eggs? I suppose it's that!) creates perfect hard-boil eggs. Every time. With both fresh eggs (which are said to be still trickier) and older eggs. The trick is to live by the clock for precision timing is the key. Get out your timer!

Day 340: Pride of Erin Soup ♥

Pride of Erin Soup
A perfect soup for St. Patrick's Day or any chilly winter day, for that matter. It's a simple soup, just cabbage, potato and kale for the solids, a gentle blend of broth and milk for the broth.

~recipe & photo updated 2013, republished 2013~
~more recently updated recipes~

2006: Ah, so wholesome, so so delicious! I'll say no more: a simple soup requires no adornment, no rhapsody. But don't skip the cheese, it's a tiny amount and creates great taste and texture contrast while adding few calories.

2013: Our new CSA is bombarding us with leafy greens like kale so I'm busy updating the kale recipes. This soup is delicious! The combination of cabbage and potato makes for something both sweet and creamy, even if the milk is skim milk not cream. The greens add color and heartiness. Glorious, this.

Kitchen Parade Extra: Whole-wheat Soda Bread ◄

So here it is, St Paddy's Day: top o' the mornin' to ya! Shur'n 'tis a grand day, begorrah!

Supper won't be complete without soda bread., perhaps the whole-wheat loaf that's featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

And if the rest of supper isn't set, think about:
  • Caraway Corned Beef, an easy easy stove-top dish with chunks of potato and carrot and wedges of cabbage, all doused in yummy cheese sauce
  • or other "green food" possibilities!

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 339: Cabbage Sprouts ♥

Cabbage Sprouts, a spring specialty.
Cabbage sprouts! I'd never seen them before! Has anyone else come across cabbage sprouts before?

Obvious question: What is a cabbage sprout? (And no, I don't mean broccoli, which apparently means "cabbage sprout" in Italian.) A cabbage sprout is the size of a fist, like loose cabbage leaves, even loose-leaved Brussels sprouts. At the center is a small sprout, about an inch wide, a wonderful little treasure bud that's even more reminiscent of a Brussels sprout.

From the name "cabbage sprout", I suspected – but didn't know for sure – that a cabbage sprout might be a young cabbage, that if it were allowed to grow, the bud in the center would become 'the cabbage' and the outer leaves would become, well remain, the outer leaves of a cabbage. WRONG.

So I asked a farmer at the farmers market. That bud in the center is NOT an immature cabbage. Instead, when a cabbage is harvested, the "sprouts" pop up around the spot where the head was removed! RIGHT!

Next question: How do you cook cabbage sprouts? My ever-reliable sources (Epicurious, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, even straight Google and Wikipedia searches) yielded nothing. With tummies grumbling and everything but the vegetable ready to go, I decided on a quick braise, a bit of butter, a bit of liquid, cover and cook.

The ultimate question: How do cabbage sprouts taste? Well, they don't taste much like green cabbage, instead more like a winter green such as collard or kale. They've got good chew factor and taste very "alive" and fresh. I would definitely cook cabbage sprouts like this again! I might try another cooking method, maybe a slow-cook approach with bacon drippings.

Day 338: Broccoli Rabe with Peppers ♥

Broccoli Raab with Peppers, another healthy recipe ♥ Easily vegan. Low Carb.
How to cook the slightly peppery leafy green called "broccoli raab" or "broccoli rabe" or some times "rapini" with slices of red pepper. Red and green is so pretty!

Sometimes you wonder if 2 + 2 adds up to 4.

2: When I checked the index of How to Cook Everything for a simple treatment for broccoli rabe, I noticed it read "broccoli raab (rape)" ... hmm, rapeseed?

2: See the pretty yellow flowers that were all abud in the broccoli rabe from the grocery? It reminded me of July's undulating fields of brilliant yellow in the northern reaches of Minnesota and the prairies of southern Manitoba ... hmmm, fields of rapeseed for canola oil? (And oh-so-gorgeous when the next fields are ablue with flax.)

Equals 4?: Is broccoli raab the "leafy green" of the canola plant? This piece from the San Francisco Chronicle sorts it out. The short answer is "no" but the two do share the same (ahem) genetic roots. Sometimes 2+2 adds up to 3 1/2 but not 4.

NUTRITION NOTES After last week's sausage and broccoli rabe over-the-top-indulgence, I was starved for something very green and very simple. Plain fare, this met the test. It's low-carb and low-calorie and easy and alive tasting.

BROCCOLI RABE RECIPES! March is "broccoli rabe month" here at A Veggie Venture, or as StephenCooks calls it a Broccoli Rabe Festival. Whether you call this wonderful leafy green "broccoli rabe" or "broccoli raab" or "rapini", please do join in! There's a running round-up of recipe ideas – your contributions, new and archived and just plain recipes, are most welcome!

Day 337: Watercress with Orange & Mustard Dressing

Too bad.

The watercress was gorgeous. The orange and mustard dressing seemed so promising after Day 335's mache with a delicious orange and cumin dressing.

Too bad. The dressing was just blah. Too bad, too bad, too bad.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... Check the Recipe Box for other ideas for green salads and dressings.

Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 4

8 ounces watercress, washed well, trimmed, left to drain/dry a bit while mixing dressing

Zest and juice of an orange
Juice of a lemon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk and toss with salad greens just before serving.

Per Serving: 49 Cal (60% from Fat, 12% from Protein, 28% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 4 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; NetCarb4; 74 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 53 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1.5 points

Adapted from Gourmet April 1993

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 336: Kitchen Stir-Fry with Foolproof Oven-baked Brown Rice ◄

The only downside to food writing is that once a favorite is published, it's rare to make it again -- there's new dishes to try, new columns to write.

But this Kitchen Stir-Fry somehow manages to make it to the supper table several times a year because it's:
  • endlessly variable.
  • easy to keep the ingredients on hand.
  • fast and healthful.
It's from a 2004 Kitchen Parade column. And I always-always-always serve it with my favorite oven-baked brown rice, a recipe which the good folks from Cook's Illustrated recently gave permission to share. And so I do, happily -- here.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... See the Recipe Box for other ideas for vegetarian suppers.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 335: Mache with Orange Cumin Dressing ◄

So pretty! And the dressing, SO delicious! Who knew that orange and cumin are such a magical combination?!

Mache (pronounced "mosh" and accented with a little French hat above the 'a' which I can't seem to figure out on Blogger) is a fresh-tasting salad green, pricey but elegant looking so good for special occasions. But I'd recommend the dressing for other salad greens. It's REALLY good.

NUTRITION NOTES ... Salad dressings seem to call for HEAPS of oil and I just don't get it. The inspiring recipe called for 8 whole tablespoons -- I used just 1 tablespoon and my tastebuds didn't suspect a thing. (My waist and thighs are most grateful, however.)

In fact, I do suspect that with LESS oil, the orange and cumin and green onion had a fair chance to shine. (The same phenomenon happens with sugar. Cut the sugar in half for virtually any baked good, bump up the 'intended' flavor, cinnamon, lemon, whatever and suddenly you have a 'cinnamon cookie' versus one more 'sweet cinnamon cookie' that tastes not all that different than the last 'sweet lemon cookie'. The single exception I've found to this rule is Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies! And I've been experimenting for more than three years. It WORKS.)

NEXT TIME ... I'll try not to eat the whole bowl! (Good luck with that, AK ...)

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... The Recipe Box has several good dressings for salad greens.

Bookmark or print this recipe only
Hands-on time: 6 minutes for dressing, 9 minutes to trim/wash the mache, section the oranges
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 4

Zest and juice from an orange
Juice from a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped green onion, white and green parts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste

Mache for four (about 4 ounces for small servings), trimmed, washed, spun dry (or patted with paper towels)
2 oranges, sections removed (how? see here at Beyond Salmon for a lesson)

Whisk dressing ingredients and toss with salad greens just before serving. Garnish with orange sections. Serve and enjoy!

Dressing Only, Per Serving: 56 Cal (53% from Fat, 3% from Protein, 45% from Carb); 0 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 7 g Carb; 0 g Fiber; NetCarb7; 12 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 297 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1.5 points

Dressing, Salad Greens, Orange Garnish, Per Serving: 109 Cal (29% from Fat, 7% from Protein, 64% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 19 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb16; 68 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 311 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

  • When you see this in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.
Adapted from Gourmet, August 2001

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 334: Cauliflower Blue Cheese Gratin ♥

Ready for the oven, the color is from smoky Spanish paprika called pimentonWhat to make for a potluck? It's like a closet full of clothes: so many choices and nothing wears quite right.

After deciding, redeciding and then starting over three times, I finally decided to take advantage of a gorgeous head of cauliflower, some bacon and blue cheese and then, a rarity in my kitchen, just started to cook, seeing where the gourmand gods would guide.

And the concept is definitely one to work on.
  • To my taste, this version turned out overly rich, so the recipe shows both what I cooked and what I'll do another time.

  • My panko-butter-pimenton topping was so-so, though I loved the color the pimenton added.

But are cauliflower, bacon and blue cheese from-the-gods good? You bet.

Now if I could only decide what to wear.

Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Oven time: About 45 minutes at 350F (from room temperature)
Serves 8 - 10

1 large head cauliflower, in florets

3 ounces bacon, diced (6 ounces was too much)
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed in microwave (3 cups was too much liquid)
3 ounces blue cheese, in chunks (6 ounces was too much)
Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup panko (1/2 cup was too much)
1/2 tablespoon melted butter, just enough to barely moisten (2 tablespoons was too much)
? salt ? sage ? nutmeg? some bit of taste/color for the topping

Steam the cauliflower until just cooked. Drain water from pan and return cauliflower to it.

In a saucepan, cook the bacon til crispy, removing and reserving the bacon fat as it accumulates. When the bacon's mostly cooked and about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat is in the pan (or add it from the reserved bacon grease if needed) add the onion and saute until golden. Stir in the flour and let cook 1 minute. Slowly add the warm milk, stirring in each new addition before adding more. Bring just to a boil but do not let boil. Add the blue cheese and let melt. Season to taste.

Pour the sauce over the cooked cauliflower and gently combine. Transfer to an oven-proof serving dish. Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle lightly on cauliflower. Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.

Estimate based on suggested ingredients/quantities, Per Serving: 194 Cal (49% from Fat, 18% from Protein, 33% from Carb); 9 g Protein; 11 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 17 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; NetCarb13; 99 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 337 mg Sodium; 26 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Day 333: Pasta with Sausage & Broccoli Rabe ♥

Pasta with Sausage & Broccoli Raab, another easy weeknight supper ♥ A Veggie Venture, now updated to be Weight Watchers Friendly.
graphic button small size size 10 Maybe this is tonight's supper? It's simple pasta supper, made with pantry ingredients plus some broccoli rabe (what that? see its different names, below) that shows up in well-stocked grocery stores in late winter. I've updated this 2006 recipe to make it very Weight Watchers Friendly with High Protein. graphic button small size size 10

A quick announcement, Veggie Lovers! March is "broccoli rabe month" here at A Veggie Venture, or as contributor StephenCooks calls it, a Broccoli Rabe Festival. Whether you call this wonderful leafy green "broccoli rabe" or "broccoli raab"or "rapini", do join in! There's a running round-up of recipe ideas – that's here at Broccoli Rabe Recipe Roundup. All month long, your contributions, new and archived and just plain recipes, are most welcome!

At Simply Recipes, Elise and her folks call Shell Pasta with Sausage & Greens a "keeper". I tweaked Elise's recipe but trust me too, sausage and broccoli rabe are a brilliant combination. This recipe IS a definite keeper! You do have to be careful with calories though, I've got lots of tips and ideas built into my version of the recipe. But first, people, do you know about broccoli rabe? What a find!

IS BROCCOLI RABE THE NEW SPINACH? I'm a fiend for greens and typically buy two or three big bags of spinach a week. But lately I haven't been happy with supermarket spinach. It's tougher. It's more stem than leaf. It seems tough not tender. And it's WAY more expensive than even a year ago.

But since I've been buying broccoli rabe, here's what I've found. Broccoli rabe is fresher. It's easier to wash and trim. And it's WAY cheaper, $1.70 a pound vs $5.50 for an equivalent amount of spinach. The only downside is that broccoli rabe does need to be used within a day or two, where the spinach can last for up to a week. Is broccoli rabe the new spinach? At my house, definitely! (Thanks again to Debbie, the new produce manager at my local Schnucks store, for ordering it!)

I've collected a bunch of my own recipes for broccoli rabe. You just knew I'd be organized about it, right? :-)


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 6 cups

This recipe is easy to make but does take a little pot-juggling and time management. Start the pasta first, then cook the sausage and vegetables (including the broccoli rabe stems) in the skillet. Once they're mostly done, the pasta should already be cooked and drained; use the same pot to flash-cook the broccoli rabe greens. Trust me, it's harder to explain than to cook!

First pot of well-salted water
4 ounces dried pasta
Second pot of fresh well-salted water or chicken stock
1 pound broccoli rabe (or even 2 pounds, it really cooks down), washed well, sturdy stems and tender greens chopped separately and kept separate

1 pound cooked sausage, cut in bite-size chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
Broccoli rabe stems, if using
1 teaspoon fennel seed (don't skip)
Red pepper flakes, to taste (keep tasting, it takes more than you think, you want this to have a hot bite)
Cooked Pasta
Cooked Sausage
Reserved 1/2 cup Pasta Water
2 tablespoons minced garlic (sounds like a lot, but try not to skimp)
1 tablespoon balsamic (or another) vinegar
Flash-Cooked Broccoli Rabe
Salt & pepper to taste

First cook the pasta. Bring the water to a boil. Cook pasta according to instructions. IMPORTANT: Reserve about 1/2 cup hot pasta water. Drain and cover pasta to keep warm.

Now flash-cook the broccoli rabe in the same pot using fresh water, timed to finish just before serving the meal. Just bring the water (or stock) to a boil, about five minutes, before needing the greens, drop the greens (the stems are in the other skillet),

While the pasta cooks, cook the sausage on medium high until lightly browned on all sides, then set aside.

Add olive oil to skillet and heat on medium until shimmery. Stir in broccoli rabe stems, onion, red pepper and fennel seed, cook just until beginning soften but still bright in color.

Stir in Cooked Pasta and Cooked Sausage. In a small bowl, stir together Reserved Pasta Water, garlic and vinegar and stir into skillet. Let cook until everything's hot and slightly syrupy. Stir in the Flash-Cooked Broccoli Rabe. Taste and adjust seasoning.

PASTA Any pasta works taste-wise but shells or oreccheitte or the campanelle I used in 2006 or the penne in 2018 create little pockets for the sausage bits to tuck into: wonderful. The inspiring recipe calls for a pound of pasta, wow, that is a LOT of pasta. At first, I dropped it back to half that (allow 2 ounces per person, which is my usual guideline) but even that was a lot. With the sausage and vegetables and greens, this is already a rich dish, 4 ounces, to my taste is plenty.
SAUSAGE 2018 UPDATE My husband just couldn't understand why, when he was making a last-minute grocery run, I wanted "cooked sausage with a nutrition label" not good housemade sausages from our favorite butcher. For every day, I have good luck with Trader Joe's sausages and Sam's Club sausages and often have a pack or two in the freezer. For special occasions, sure, we go for housemade sausages from the local butcher: but there's no telling what's in them, not "bad" ingredients per se but just way more fat and calories than, for me anyway, is smart.
FENNEL My recipe includes fennel seed: somehow fennel just makes something taste "Italian". Try it, it works!
CHEESE The inspiring recipe called for cheese, but to my taste, the sausage and pasta are already so rich, it just wasn't necessary.
Note to Vegetarians

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