Kitchen Parade Extra: Quick Supper: Pepper Steak & Mushrooms ♥

Quick Suppers are a hallmark of Kitchen Parade, perfect weeknight meals for busy families looking for fast, healthful meals at home. Pepper Steak & Mushrooms is a personal favorite and it's featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Four Seasons of My Favorite Herb

The rhythms of food blogging are fascinating. Time and again, we hear:
  • "It started as a lark, then it took on a life of its own."
  • "I started a blog to organize my recipes, then discovered the world of food blogs."
Both could apply to Weekend Herb Blogging, whose first anniversary is being celebrated this week at Kalyn's Kitchen. Stop in to chuckle over the first lark-ish weeks, then see all the nationalities represented in Week 51. And for Week 52, you play too, even if you haven't before, for the anniversary.

It's an herb party! And all the guests are unveiling their favorite herbs, which with all due respect to Kalyn, to my mind is as impossible as naming a single favorite pie, cookie or yes, vegetable. It depends on the day, the season, the mood. Who'd give up summer's sweet basil for winter's rosemary? Who'd pick only tarragon or dill or thyme for fish? Who'd forgo the sweet specialness of lavender for the everyday-ness of ......

Hmm. The everyday-ness. Suddenly I knew, no question, no debate.

Hello, my name is Alanna and my favorite herb is the chive.

Yes, the lowly chive, it's my choice for my deserted-herb-island even if it's always last on ingredient lists, even then, usually 'optional'. Four seasons a year, I step outside just before supper to snip off a few strands for a salad, for a soup, for potatoes, for meat, for dessert ... well, not dessert, not yet anyway. And here's a lovely little salmon chowder topped with those few snips.

Congratulations, Mz Kalyn ... it's remarkable, really,
how Weekend Herb Blogging started as a pet-less lark, then, with a life of its own, has come to represent the creativity and community of the world of food blogging.


(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Broccoli Parmesan Casserole ♥

My mother was a child of the Depression. She knew how ~ and why ~ to scrimp and save. She stretched fresh milk with powdered milk, she substituted margarine for butter and yes, Parmesan cheese was poured from a green can. Even as a child, I despised all three.

But when Tummy Treasure raved about Kraft's new Grate It Fresh product, I wanted to try it for myself. Within a week, it seemed to show up everywhere ... at one grocery end cap after another, then at Wal*Mart ... always on sale for the equivalent of $6 - 7 a pound.

So I bought some. At least I thought I bought some.

I really truly didn't know, until just now checking Erika's review to link to this post, that what I really bought (and cooked with) was Kraft's green-can-in-new-clothes Parmesan cheese. I didn't know the packaging had changed! I bought the stuff so hated as a child.

And oh dear oh dear .......
my foodie credentials are SO about to be yanked.

You see, I did side-by-side taste tests in this broccoli casserole, testing what I THOUGHT was the new Kraft product and real Parmesan. My take? there was MINIMAL difference between real Parmesan Reggiano at $13.99 a pound and Kraft's green-can product for $6 - $7 a pound.
  • The real stuff did smell better and more cheesy right out of the oven.
  • The real stuff did have a tiny tiny bit of that tell-tale Parmesan tang.
  • But honestly, taste-wise, there was no telling the difference.
  • And I loved the broccoli casserole ... both sides.
Ha! The surprise is on me. Really!!

That said, here's my thought. Should we ditch good Parmesan? (Not that I'd persuade the foodie-est among us.) I think not ... because good Parmesan may be like good olive oil. You save the good stuff for recipes where it's central to a dish's preparation, a dish's proportion.

What ... pray say ... do you think?

DO YOU SUPPOSE ... this qualifies for "Weekend Obnoxious But Amazingly Tasty" at
A Fridge Full of Food? Let's try!

NEXT TIME ...
  • I'll slip the casserole under the broiler to give a little color to the bread crumbs. (Oh! I just now remembered that the recipe had this tip for browning: spraying the bread crumbs with cooking spray before going into the oven. This would be worth a try.)
  • I'll never again use bread flour in a white sauce. I was out of all-purpose. Man, was it hard to incorporate the liquids! And even then, working ever so slowly, the white sauce ended up a tad lumpy.
FROM THE ARCHIVES ... The Recipe Box has other vegetable casseroles and hot dishes.

BROCCOLI PARMESAN CASSEROLE
Adapted from Cooking Light August 2006
Hands-on time: 45 minutes (with fresh broccoli, probably 35 with frozen)
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 8
Weight Watchers 3 points per serving
NetCarb 18 per serving


BROCCOLI
Salted water to cover
2 pounds fresh broccoli

SAUCE
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 1/2 cups skim milk (I was out of milk, too, so watered down some half & half)
1 cup fat-free chicken broth (I used a bouillion cube)
1 cup grated cheese (I used provolone, the recipe called for reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar)
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper
[Diced pimento - for color, I skipped this]

TOPPING
1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko, the recipe called for 12 ground garlic melba toasts)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400F (to save oven time, do this about the time the broccoli's done).

BROCCOLI Bring the salted water to a boil in a large covered pot. While the water heats, trim the broccoli. (Use a vegetable peeler to pare away as much thick skin as can be reached on the trunks. Chop the trunks into bite-size pieces and set aside. Cut the florets into bite-size pieces and separately set aside. Why separately? Because they need different cooking times.) Drop the trunks into the water and let cook til soft about 7 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Drop florets into the water and cook for about 4 minutes, until cooked but still bright green. Drain in a colander.

SAUCE In a medium saucepan on MEDIUM, stir together the flour, salt and mustard. A tablespoon at a time to start, stir in the milk and chicken broth, incorporating each new addition before adding more. Let cook until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese, Parmesan and pepper. Gently combine the broccoli and sauce (use the pan the broccoli cooked in). Transfer to a well-greased baking pan.

TOPPING Mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan and sprinkle over top. Spray the top with cooking spray. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Serves 8, Per Serving: 174 Cal (20% from Fat, 31% from Protein, 49% from Carb); 14 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 22 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; NetCarb18; 277 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 480 mg Sodium; 10 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3 points


(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Swiss Chard Gratin ♥

If your kitchen clean-up partner has already had a long hard day, stop reading now.

But if you and your kitchen clean-up partner appreciate a delicious gratin AND the conviviality of side-by-side clean-up at meal's end, this is your recipe.

You see, this Swiss chard gratin is a wonderful fall or winter side dish but it creates a PILE of dishes: a large skillet, a large pot, a colander, a lemon press, a microplane, a food processor for the bread crumbs and a bowl for mixing. YIKES!

Still, I must say that this is one of the most satisfying vegetable dishes I've made in a long while. It's a definite keeper.

LANGUAGE NOTES ... What IS silverbeet, I've wondered, when seeing blog-sodic rhapsodies? Aha. It's what I call Swiss chard. But it's also "perpetual spinach" and mangold. Beautiful names, all, for a leafy green of extraordinary beauty. For linguists and gardeners, here's more information.

NUTRITION NOTES ... As gratins go, this one is relatively healthful, with small portions of butter, cream and cheese. It racks up 2 or 3 Weight Watchers points (see detail below) and ventures into low-carb territory with a sprinkling (vs generous crust) of bread crumbs.

INSPIRATION ... came from Ellen at Chronicles of a Curious Cook. Thanks, Ellen!

NEXT TIME ...
  • A starting pound of Swiss chard didn't come close to filling my make-shift gratin dish (a quiche pan) so I used individual serving dishes -- but then there was only enough for three. Consider doubling or tripling a bunch for planned-overs. (Ellen's recipe called for 3 pounds of chard.)
  • I'd definitely consider this make-ahead gratin for a fall dinner party, probably served in individual 1/2 cup ramekins placed directly on the plates.
  • It would also be a delicious contribution to a Thanksgiving table.
FROM THE ARCHIVES ... Like gratins? Me too! Favorites include this cheery looking spinach-artichoke gratin, this fennel & parmesan gratin and this cauliflower blue cheese gratin, all in the Recipe Box.

SWISS CHARD GRATIN
See Chronicles of a Curious Cook's inspiring version
Hands-on time: 55 minutes
Time to table: 1 hr 15 minutes (can be made ahead)
Serves 4
Weight Watchers 2 or 3 points per serving (see NUTRITION ESTIMATES for detail)
NetCarb 9 or 14 per serving (ditto)

NOTE: I've modified the preparation steps for my own "keep moving" style so they may read a little disjointed. There are four basic steps: (1) cook the stems in a floured water (2) meanwhile flash cook the greens (3) then combine and top with bread crumbs and cheese (4) and bake for 15 minutes.

Salted water (for the greens)

1 cup water (for the stems)
1 tablespoon flour
1 pound Swiss chard
Zest of a 1/2 a lemon (save rest for greens)
Juice of half a lemon
Salt

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon half 'n' half
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup bread crumbs (this should be enough for 2x or 3x the recipe)
1/2 cup grated cheese (ditto re quantity, I used Romano, Parmesan would be great)

Bring a big pot of salted water to boil (for the greens).

Place 1 cup water in a skillet, sprinkle with flour and whisk in. Wash the Swiss chard stems (set aside the greens for the moment), cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to skillet along with the lemon zest, lemon juice and salt to taste. Let simmer til cooked, stirring occasionally, about 20 - 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash the greens very well and tear into bite-size pieces. Drop into big pot of boiling water and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, until soft but still bright green (I suspect the actual time may vary widely depending on the tenderness of the greens). When done, transfer to a colander and let drain very well, squeezing to press out liquid if needed. Return greens to the hot pot. Stir in butter, lemon zest and season to taste. Stir in cooked stems. Season to taste. Transfer to greased gratin dish or individual gratin dishes. [Make ahead this far.]

Combine the bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle over top. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, longer if coming from refrigerator or even room temperature.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
SERVING 4: 167 Cal (41% from Fat, 21% from Protein, 38% from Carb); 9 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 17 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb14; 227 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 554 mg Sodium; 20 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3 points

SERVING 8 (2X everything except bread crumbs & cheese) Per Serving: 114 Cal (43% from Fat, 19% from Protein, 38% from Carb); 6 g Protein; 6 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 11 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb 9; 146 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 409 mg Sodium; 15 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

SHORTHAND RECIPE ...
SWISS CHARD GRATIN For 2lb chard, sauté chopped stems in 2c water, 2T flour, zest of ½ a lemon, juice of lemon, salt. Cook greens in salted water. Combine w 2T butter, 2T h&h, zest ½ lemon, S&P. Gratin dishes, top w ½ c bread crumbs, ½ c cheese. Bake 425F 15min VV06 8=W2


(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Oh! So Many Surprises!

Hello Sugar High Friday fans ...

Does it happen with every Sugar High Friday? So many entries to this month's Surprise Inside edition used the word 'fun' ... and if there's anything worth striving for in both cooking and eating, it's the fun quotient.

Many thanks to everyone everyone who played along! Each entry was a perfect surprise ... and surprisingly perfect. There were so many surprises: unusual ingredients for desserts (Israeli couscous, brown rice for example to say nothing of the vegetable dessserts, three cheers for those!) and spices (wattleseed, anyone?) and a few surprises outside, too (orange cups and egg cups!). And just wait until you see what we've done with caramel and chocolate and oh my! nuts and oh swoon! fruit. A few extra atta-cooks to ...
  • the Sugar High Friday debutantes - nine ten eleven TWELVE now THIRTEEN! FOURTEEN no! FIFTEEN of you!
  • the Australians, who turned out in force
  • the St Louis/nearby food bloggers, learn more about them here in a second post
[FYI .. I found three four five entries (via Technorati and Google blog search) for which there were no e-mail notifications. This has me worried: if there are others who have been omitted, please accept my apology and e-mail me at blog AT kitchen HYPHEN parade DOT com right away: you'll be on the list in no time! ]

November 16th Update: Sugar High Friday has been featured in the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota, Florida. Writer Laura J. Cullumbine is an SHF fan! Check out her great story (registration may be required).

Surprise Inside: Mom says, eat your VEGETABLES first ...

Nupur from New York, New York (until she moves to ... where? by me?)
One Hot Stove ... carrot kheer

Danielle from Brooklyn, New York
Habeus Brulee ... cabbage strudel and paprika ice cream

JBD from New York, New York ... SHF Debut!
Kiss the Hem of Her Apron ... tomato soup cupcakes

Helen from Sydney, Australia
Grab Your Fork ... banana bread with no bananas

Zorra from Andalucia, Spain
Kochtopf ... Ensaimadas rústicas filled with Cabello de Angel

Carolyn from Michigan
18thC Cuisine ... Asparagus Ice Cream or how to get your kids to eat their vegetables!

Dolores from East Bay Area, California
Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity ... ginger cakes with pumpkin pastry cream



Surprise Inside: CARAMEL-ISH CONCOCTIONS


Jennifer from Tupelo, Mississippi
Bake or Break ... chocolate caramel pocket cookies

Sheryl from Den Haag, The Netherlands ... SHF Debut!
Crispy Waffle ... chocolate walnut tart with cajeta

Stephanie from Knoxville, Tennessee
Dispensing Happiness ... homemade Hostess cupcakes & Dulce de Leche-filled Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Jen from Ontario, Canada
The Canadian Baker ... chocolate caramel cookies

Kirk from St Louis, Missouri
Kirk's Traveling Kitchen ... cardamom-apple cake with molten cider-caramel



Surprise Inside: SWEET CONFECTIONS

Laura from Finger Lakes region, New York
Laura Rebecca's Kitchen ... chocolate surprise cookies

Georgia from Sydney, Australia
Mocktale ... butterscotch surprise cake



Surprise Inside: NUTTY STUFF

Brandie from Ohio, USA
Kaji's Mom... A Transition to Vegan ... cocoa surprise muffins

Peabody from Seattle, Washington
Culinary Concoctions by Peabody ... Nutella ravioli cookies

Monisha from Columbia, South Carolina
Coconut Chutney ... honey-walnut wontons

Josie from New York, New York ... SHF Debut!
Flavor Junkie ... chocolate macaroon bundt cake

Deb from Somerset, New Jersey
Here and There ... deep dark brownies

Annie from East Central Illinois
Bon Appegeek ... chocolate-filled peanut butter scones

Bruno from St Louis, Missouri
Zinfully Delicious ... la galette des rois (king's cake)

Ivonne from Toronto, Ontario
Cream Puffs in Venice ... phyllo pockets with mascarpone, blackberries and marcona almonds



Surprise Inside: CHOCOLATE

Karen from New York, New York
A Couple of Tarts ... rolo cookies

Julie from The Hague, The Netherlands
Tasting Life ... brownie explosions

Elena from Singapore ... SHF Debut!
Experiments ... super super choco high cupcakes

Brilynn from Canada ... SHF Debut!
Jumbo Empanadas ... treasure boxes

Lauren from Washington, DC ... SHF Debut!
The Foodies File ... chocolate-filled cupcakes

Ginny from Paris, France
La Petite Chinoise ... the triple surprise williams

Ulrike from Kronshagen, Germany
Küchenlatein ... chocolate surprise

Barbie from somewhere on the West Coast, U.S.
Barbie2B ... molten lava cakes

Sam from Toronto, Ontario
Sweet Pleasure ... chocolate tarts

Chispy from Longview, Washington
Experimentation of Taste ... steamed bao

Annie from East Central Illinois
Bon Appegeek ... chocolate-filled peanut butter scones

KT from Los Angeles, California
Gastronomy 101 ... red fire brownie bites



Surprise Inside: UNUSUAL INGREDIENTS


Abby from Winston-Salem, NC ... SHF Debut!
Confabulation ... pear upside down cake

Vidya from Tsuruoka, Japan ... SHF Debut!
Foodie Confidential ... vermicelli and milk pudding aka Semiya Paayasam

Ashley from Bellingham, WA ... SHF Debut!
Artisan Sweets ... orange cranberry muffin (which is more surprising, the inside or the outside?)

Haalo from Melbourne, Australia
Cook (almost) Anything Once ... moghrabieh custard with kaffir lime leaf syrup

I-Ling (ilingc) from Melbourne, Australia
Feed Me! I'm Hungry! ... two friands, raspberry surprise friands and green tea chocolate surprise friands

Sheena from Ottawa, Ontario ... SHF Debut!
The Casual Baker ... Two-Bite Sticky Rice Cakes

Michelle from Portland, Oregon
Je Mange la Ville ... Cinnamon & Brown Rice Creme Brulee

Cindy from Melbourne, Australia
A Few of My Favourite Things ... Wattleseed Pecan-Crumble Espresso Cupcakes

Mary from San Francisco, California
AlpineBerry ... curried chocolate brownies

Marie-Laure from Antony, France
Autres délices ... chocolate curry muffins

June from Jakarta, Indonesia (posting for the first time since November!)
June's blog ... hidden black beauty



Surprise Inside: CREAMY GOODNESS

Anita from San Francisco, California
Dessert First ... cupcakes of love

Linda from Vancouver, British Columbia
Kayaksoup ... cardamom babycakes

Faith from Orlando, Florida
Mekudo Cooking ... nectarine coconut surprise

Rebecca from Sydney, Australia
CucinaRebecca ... ricotta and chocolate strawberries

Helene from ?
Tartlette ... creme brulee egg cups



Surprise Inside: FRUIT


Elf from Cambridge, MA
The Kosher Blog ... berry meringue torte

Jennifer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Weekly Dish ... marmalade muffins

Claire from Clinton, MS
Cooking is Medicine ... Aunt Helen's Filled cookies

Ellie from Melbourne, Australia ... SHF Debut!
Kitchen Wench ... Nigella’s Strawberry Sour Cream Streusel Cake

Bea from Boston, MA
La Tartine Gourmande ... Pouches with Vanilla-Flavored Plum and Custard

Lisa from Champaign, IL ... SHF Debut!
Champaign Taste ... cinnamon crumb surprise

Emily from South Jersey, New Jersey
Appetitive Behavior ... chocolate merlot cupcakes

I-Ling (ilingc) from Melbourne, Australia
Feed Me! I'm Hungry! ... two friands, raspberry surprise friand and green tea chocolate surprise friands

Vaishali from Dusseldorf, Germany (on her way back to ... where?) ... SHF Debut!
Happy Burp ... jam-in-the-hole muffins

Ginny from Paris, France
La Petite Chinoise ... the triple surprise williams

Becke from Columbus, OH ... SHF Debut!
Columbus Foodie ... Mom's Jewish Apple Cake

JenJen from Sydney, Australia
Milk and Cookies ... fortune cookies

Lara from Seattle, Washington
Cookbook 411 ... plum-stuffed roasted pears aka crouching pears, hidden plums

Sam from San Francisco, California
Becks & Posh ... Pierre Hermé bittersweet truffles with lime and honey

SurfinDaave from Southern California, USA
The Serendipitous Chef ... Bavarian fig pastries with fig and pomegranate compote

Eric from Mississauga, Ontario
Do You Know the Muffin Man ... lemon muffins

Susan from Mississippi, USA
Fatfree Vegan Kitchen ... peach and pluot gyoza

Elise from Carmichael, California
Simply Recipes ... apple turnovers


That's all until next month, folks!

[Update: Cook Sister! is hosting SHF24 on October 27th]


Sugar High Friday: the St Louis Food Blogger Edition

"We start food blogs for reasons a-many ... to record and share our recipes, to stay connected with family afar, to break writer's block ... but we KEEP blogging because of connection and community."

- Current theory, yours truly
One of the great joys of food blogging is getting to know fellow foodies from across the world.

But a second joy, one I've watched with some envy in San Francisco and the United Kingdom, is getting to know the fellow foodies who live just a few miles away, the ones we might run into at the farmers market or the grocery store, the ones whose kids we meet and whose spouses know our last names AND our blog names.

This connection among the St Louis food bloggers (and several other nearby food bloggers we're pleased to adopt!) is just now beginning to form. Many participated in Sugar High Friday and may be new to you. Please say hello to ...

Many of you already know Nupur from One Hot Stove. But wait, doesn't Nupur live in New York? Yes but as soon as her thesis is finished, her new kitchen will be right here in St Louis! For Sugar High Friday, Nupur made her version of a traditional Indian dessert, carrot kheer. I can personally attest that it's surprisingly delicious -- and deliciously surprising!






Next up meet Kirk Warner, one of two chefs in our group of St. Louis food bloggers. He is the former executive chef at King Louie's and Savor, both much-loved local restaurants. Now Kirk is starting a personal chef service called Kirk's Traveling Kitchen and his website includes a blog. For Sugar High Friday, Kirk followed his seasonal style with a cake I am looking forward to making very soon, cardamom-apple cake with molten cider-caramel.


Meet Bruno from Zinfully Delicious, the second chef in our group of St Louis food bloggers. (For those who whine about ovens? Listen up: Bruno is an on-board chef for executive jets. Imagine cooking with no flame.) Bruno and his blogging partner, Duane, have a friendship that dates back to UCity schools. (Duane lives in central Texas and is dealing with medical issues; we wish him and his wife the best ...) For Sugar High Friday, Bruno used puff pastry to make la galette des rois, a king's cake.


Lisa from Champaign Taste is newest food blogger in our bunch. (And no, that's not a typo: Lisa lives in the city of Champaign ... Illinois.) For Sugar High Friday, she dusted off the baking pans for a wonderful-sounding coffee cake, cinnamon crumb surprise.





Then there's Annie from Bon Appegeek, a blog written with great style and humor from East Central Illinois. For Sugar High Friday, Annie has me drooling over these chocolate-filled peanut butter scones.






And then finally there's me, the St Louis food blogger here at A Veggie Venture, the self-appointed ambassador of St Louis food blogs ... and the host of this month's Sugar High Friday food blog event. I made some spice cupcakes and ice cream with a surprise ingredient, parsnips!





But wait! There are more food bloggers here in St Louis and nearby! Here's the current list; watch my blogroll for additions.












Kitchen Parade Extra: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies ♥

[Are you visiting for Sugar High Friday? Welcome! All the details are here. And here's my own veggie-surprise-inside contribution. Isn't blogging fun?!]

When the air conditioning goes off, the oven goes on: it's fall cookie-baking time!

First up are a long-time family favorite, oatmeal raisin cookies. The especially good thing about these classic home-baked cookies? Raisins are optional. Just read this week's Kitchen Parade column.

[For newcomers, A Veggie Venture is pure blog, a food playground just like all the others except focused on vegetables. Kitchen Parade is the food column I write for small-town newspapers; I publish it online too, just because it's fun to share recipes with lots of people. Kitchen Parade is known for 'fresh seasonal recipes for everyday healthful eating and occasional indulgences'. Oh. And Quick Suppers.]



(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

SHF23 "Surprise Inside" Spice Cupcakes

So you think that veggie lovers don't some times long to make pretty little cupcakes? We do, we do!

For this month's Sugar High Friday (the Surprise Inside edition, hosted by yours truly) I soooo wanted to try XX cupcakes with XX ice cream, recipes I've had my eyes on for a few months, awaiting the perfect occasion.

THE CUPCAKES The surprise XX ingredient is ... parsnips! (No surprise that it's a vegetable, of course!) These cupcakes were really easy to make. If you don't have a mixer, this is perfect because no mixer is required, just a whisk and a wooden spoon. Taste-wise, they're great! The raw, grated parsnips fade into the background (like zucchini in zucchini cake) but the spice combination and proportions are magnificent, nothing shy, perfectly balanced. In fact, another time I wouldn't hesitate to try the cupcakes withOUT the parsnips.

THE ICING Was good, maybe even very good with fresh ginger (another surprise?) stirred into an otherwise standard cream cheese icing. But I find a standard cream cheese icing cloyingly sweet and would love to try other options ... does anyone have an alternative to suggest?

THE ICE CREAM The surprise ingredient is ... more parsnips, this time cooked in milk and sugar, then pureed and processed! And the verdict is ... frankly, the ice cream was a big disappointment. Call it "experimental food" but to my taste, it was way too parsnip-y, more like cold and clammy parsnips with sugar. The recipe comes from the much-vaunted Vegetable Love and is hyped by the Splendid Table so it must suit some palates ... here it went in the rubbish bin after one very small spoonful. [Update: instead it accidentally sat on the counter for a few hours. When I opened up the container, it looked ... interesting, good interesting. I stuck my spoon into the now-warm but still-dense stuff. It was good! I think it'd be a really good layer in a chocolate cake, for example, like lemon curd in sponge cake. Only parsnips. But you get the idea!]

WHAT I LEARNED A sweet is a sweet is a sweet, calorie-wise, even if it contains vegetables and "doesn't look that bad" otherwise. Just look at the nutrition analysis, below. If you struggle with weight, it really pays to do nutrition analysis on what you cook and eat. It's not hard, it takes a few minutes once you get the hang of it. And it'll open your eyes, I promise. (How do you do nutrition analysis on your own recipes? I use this product called Accuchef.)

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... For other sweets and desserts made with vegetables, many for prior editions of Sugar High Friday, see here in the Recipe Box.

PARSNIP SPICE CUPCAKES
Hands-on time: 30 minutes for cupcakes, 10 minutes for icing
Time to table: 2 - 3 hours
Makes 12 cupcakes or a 9x13 cake pan

TOAST the NUTS
1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts)

Turn oven to 350F. Place the nuts in a single layer on a small baking sheet or cake pan. Insert into the oven, even though it's not heated. Toast the nuts until fragrant and beginning to brown. (In my oven, this was the 10 minutes to preheat plus a couple of minutes; set a timer so you don't forget they're toasting!)

GRATE the PARSNIPS
2 cups grated parsnips (from 3 - 4 large, peeled and trimmed parsnips)

WHISK in a LARGE BOWL
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt

WHISK in a SMALL BOWL
3 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

COMBINE and BAKE
Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture. With a wooden spoon, gently combine until barely mixed. Stir in the nuts and parsnips until barely mixed. (Over-mixing will cause holes in the cupcakes. They'll still taste delicious but the texture will be off.) Place paper muffin wrappers in muffin pans. With two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, fill the wrappers. (It was okay to fill nearly all the way. These are dense, spicy cupcakes and don't rise a ton.) Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Let cool before icing. (The inspiring recipe made a 9x13 cake with 25 minutes to bake.)

ICING
(double the quantities for a 9x13)
2 ounces reduced fat cream cheese (neufchatel)
1 tablespoon softened butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or to taste)

Stir together the cream cheese and butter til smooth. Stir in the vanilla and salt, then the powdered sugar, blend til smooth. Add the ginger, adjust quantity to taste. Ice the cooled cupcakes. If you like, garnish tops with fresh lemon peel.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
12 cupcakes, no icing, per cupcake: 283 Cal (45% from Fat, 6% from Protein, 49% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 14 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 35 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 73 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 258 mg Sodium; 63 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 6 points

12 cupcakes with icing, per cupcake: 362 Cal (40% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 55% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 16 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 50 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 78 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 296 mg Sodium; 68 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 8 points

9x13 with double icing, cut into 24 pieces, per piece: 220 Cal (36% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 59% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 33 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 42 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 155 mg Sodium; 37 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2006

TAGS

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Slow-Roasted Tomato Salsa ♥

Are you roasting tomatoes? Are you roasting tomatoes? Are you roasting tomatoes? Are you roasting tomatoes? Are you roasting tomatoes?

Hurry! Time is running out!
It's time! Don't let the window slam shut!

This is the first time I've used slow-roasted tomatoes in their "raw" state ... not that they're raw, exactly, after 12 hours in a slow oven.

But this salsa is absolutely delicious. There's a smoky depth to the tomatoes that makes the outcome unusual and familiar both at once. It worked beautifully as a base for pan-fried fish and later, aside a supper omelet.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... Wondering what to do with roasted tomatoes? Just look at all these wonderful possibilities! And here's how to roast tomatoes.

SLOW-ROASTED TOMATO SALSA
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes 2 cups
Weight Watchers 1 point per quarter cup
NetCarb 8 per quarter cup


About 2 cups slow-roasted tomatoes, broken apart with fingers or a fork
2 teaspoons jalapeno, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (I liked how the dried herb paired with the depth of the roasted tomato but fresh would likely be great, too)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients. Drain a bit if needed, but do save the juices for something else!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Per Quarter Cup: 65 Cal (30% from Fat, 11% from Protein, 59% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 2 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 11 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb8; 16 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 28 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point

SHORTHAND RECIPE
SLOW-ROASTED TOMATO SALSA 1 batch, 2t jalapeno, 1cl garlic, 2green onion, 1t red wine vinegar, 1t Worcestershire, ¼t dried oregano, ¼ c cilantro, S&P, , ¼c =WW1 VV06


(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Potato Okra Curry ♥ Recipe

Potato Okra Curry Recipe
A quick one-skillet supper, just potatoes and rounds of fresh-cut okra. Truly tasty and definitely adaptable to other vegetables.

~recipe & photo updated 2010~
~more recently updated recipes~

2005 Original: Twenty minutes. One skillet. Truly tasty. The trick to Potato Okra Curry is some quick knife work to dice the potato tiny-tiny so it cooks quickly.

NUTRITION NOTES The potatoes and vegetables cook in water, not fat, so this is a very low-fat dish. A teaspoon of bacon fat (or butter, for vegetarians) is added for flavor. A side dish-size serving has only 1 or 2 Weight Watchers points for a side dish, 1.5 to three points for an entrée! It would be easy to bulk this up with other vegetables to serve more people or to use up leftovers. Tomatoes and cauliflower come to mind. But the potato-okra combination is very good.

2010 Update: When okra appears in the farmers market from the middle of July through September, the tiny thumbs are irresistible! This is one of my favorite dishes, potatoes and okra are a lovely combination, color-wise and texture-wise.

RECIPE for POTATO OKRA CURRY

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as an entrée

About 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon bacon grease (for flavor or use butter for a vegetarian dish or oil for a vegan dish)
1 firm-fleshed potato (for example, a Yukon gold), about 1/4 - 1/3 pound, skin on, sliced very thin, then cut lengthwise and crosswise to create a very small dice
1/2 pound fresh okra, cut crosswise
1/2 red onion, diced small
1 rib celery, diced small
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the water and bacon grease over MEDIUM HIGH in a heat-tolerant skillet (for example, cast iron). Add the potato, okra, onion and celery as they're prepped. Let cook, stirring often, adding more water if needed to prevent sticking. In last 5 - 10 minutes, add garlic, curry and cumin and season to taste.



A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic





© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


Reminder: Sugar High Friday Is September 22

(Many thanks to Tamara Nicol from Luminous Lens for developing the Surprise Inside logo!)

Have you been wondering, Hmm, when is Sugar High Friday?

Early entries are in but there's still plenty of time to get creative about something a tiny bit surprising for Sugar High Friday, the Surprise Inside edition.


What's surprising, so far? How 'bout Diet Coke? Caramel? Chocolate AND caramel? Chocolate and liqueur? (Julia, dear, are you old enough for liqueur?!) Peanut butter? And the house favorite (no surprise, this IS the Veggie Evangelist writing, after all ...) carrots!

And remember, there's a special welcome mat for anyone who wants to be a "food blogger for a day" and enter Sugar High Friday.



(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Kitchen Parade Extra: Quick Supper: Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad ♥

It's Quick Supper time again in this week's Kitchen Parade column.

Look for another 30-minute meal, this time yummy catfish filets dredged in cornmeal and Cajun spices paired with a warm potato salad spiked with okra (or if you prefer, peas or capers) ~ both cooked in the same skillet! Tis good! Tis fast!

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

How to Make Salad Dressing ♥

Some times, cooking comes naturally, like breathing. Other times, cooking must be learned, like riding a bicycle. I've ridden this salad-dressing and simple-vinaigrette 'bike' for so long, it now seems like breathing.

I make it every day, some times twice. I often use good ingredients, good olive oil, good vinegar; mostly I use the every day stuff. It's always the same, it's never the same, both at once except that it's always good. When I make it for others, I get quizzical looks. "What IS this?" I hear. "It's my favorite salad dressing," I answer. "I'll show you."

Many years ago, it was Ann Lemons who showed me how to make salad dressing. She and husband Joe Pollack are big shots in the St. Louis food world, with piles of credits to their names. Ann and Joe are blogging now. This post is my way of saying Welcome to the world of food blogging -- and to thank you, Ann, publicly, for teaching me how to breathe, even as I, in turn, teach others.

This salad dressing recipe was first published in a 2003 Kitchen Parade column featuring a trio of salad dressing recipes. Along with My Favorite Salad Dressing, there is Buttermilk Balsamic Dressing (easy to make ahead and store in the frig for a week or so, best of all, it's a rare salad dressing with zero Weight Watchers points) and Traditional Balsamic Dressing (delicious and worth an occasional splurge).

MY FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 5 minutes

This is not a recipe, per se, but a simple concept. Once you learn the concept, you'll never need a 'recipe' again and can easily adapt the ingredients for your own taste profile and the quantities for a single serving to a crowd.

For starters, use a garlic press or a fork to mash a garlic clove in a salad bowl. If you prefer a hint of garlic, rub the clove along the bowl’s sides and then discard it; you can also substitute a dollop of a garlic-ginger mixture that’s often found in produce sections near the fresh garlic. Add some salt, then a dollop of a favorite mustard. Rub these together with the fork.

Pour in a double splash of vinegar, your choice, but the less harsh the vinegar, the better the dressing. With the fork, whisk the vinegar into the mustard-salt mixture.

Now add a splash of good olive oil (this is a time to bring out the extra virgin olive oil) and whisk again. The traditional proportion of oil:vinegar is 3:1 but I’ve come to prefer considerably less oil, closer to 1:3. Add some freshly ground pepper. Taste the dressing, then adjust the ingredients to mirror your own taste profile. If you wanted a simple oil and vinegar dressing, you're done!

(If you're making the dressing ahead of time, stop here for the moment, until just before serving. For supper, I'll make the dressing while the meat cooks, then continue while it rests. For parties and potlucks, everything is prepped in advance. The dressing goes in a small jar, the washed greens in a freezer bag, everything else in individual tupperware containers.)

But if you feel exotic, add chopped fresh herbs and/or grated Parmesan. Taste the dressing again. It's good, yes?

Once you're ready to serve, add the salad greens and any other salad ingredients. Toss them into the dressing (your hands will be most efficient but salad servers work too) until the greens are covered, everywhere, with dressing. Grab a fork ... and enjoy!

Do experiment with ingredients: it’s fun, it's always worth eating . And in no time, you'll find yourself looking forward to an always-new, always-fresh salad.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic







© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


And the River Was Like Glass

Life Goes On


The river was perfectly still, like glass, early the morning of September 11th. I'd been home for a few days. My mother had begun to lose motor control of her right leg. We feared this meant the lung cancer for which she'd been treated in the spring had metastasized into her brain.

Our day was already full. Despite the leg problem, Mom was hosting a luncheon for friends at noon. Afterwards other friends would join up for a presentation about one of Mom's many craft passions, scrapbooking.

We'd already had our first cup of tea when Dad turned on CNN to hear the morning news. The first plane -- a small plane, they said at first -- had just hit the World Trade Center. We sat down to learn more. In horror, we watched the second plane hit the South Tower, understanding, instantly, that these strikes were no accident. We sat, mesmerized, horrified, in tears.

At 10, the first call came. "Is lunch still on?" I looked at my Mom. Without hesitation, she answered, "Life goes on."

Still in pajamas at 11, I spoke with Mom's doctor to schedule a brain MRI for that afternoon.

"Already," I thought, "life goes on."

Outside, the river remained smooth, a peaceful reflection of the early-autumn sky, as far as imaginable from the destruction we watched in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

My Mom died of metastasized lung cancer on May 1. Some mornings, the river is like glass, just as it was on September 11th. Life goes on.


Written the morning of September 11th, 2002, the first anniversary.




This morning, on the fifth anniversary, the river is again like glass and my Dad reports, "A small flock of giant Canada geese just flew over above the tree tops and the yard is full of small birds of one kind and another, mostly sparrows I do not try to identify. The flocks are gathering and my black ash leaves have fully turned a brilliant yellow, much nicer than most years but not many have dropped yet."

And his friend, our friend, Olya writes, "Sober morning with the background of 9/11 memorial sounds and the moment of silence for the 3,000 people who lost their lives on that day. This moment of history touched deeply my life and made me feel more American than feeling Russian by birth or Italian by marriage. God Bless America!"

Life Goes On.




(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Arugula with Peaches, Concord Grapes & Feta ♥

Arugula? Rocket? For some months, I've kept my eye out since Anne's Food so often writes about the remarkable salads it yields. And then, there it was, a great big basketful at the Green Market in St Louis' Central West End. Gorgeous!

I dressed it simply, just good olive oil and lemon juice, since the toppings were so full of flavor.

NEXT TIME
  • Sliced peaches (sadly, the last ones of a wonderful year for the local Eckert's peaches) were the star topping, pairing beautifully with the peppery bite of the arugula and radish sprouts and the creaminess of the feta.

  • The Concord grapes? They were delicious on their own but didn't add much to the combination except color. (Isn't that one a pretty salad?!)


FROM THE ARCHIVES The Recipe Box has a growing collection of mostly simple green salads.

ARUGULA with PEACHES, CONCORD GRAPES & FETA
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 4
Weight Watchers 1 point per serving
NetCarb 4 per serving


Arugula for 4 (four cups, maybe?)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
A squeeze of lemon juice
Sprinkle of good salt

Peaches
Concord grapes (not recommended in this combination)
Feta

In a salad spinner, wash and spin the greens, let drain while mixing the dressing. In a salad bowl, use a fork to whisk the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the greens and toss with your hands. Sprinkle with salt. Top with peaches, (grapes if using) and crumbled feta. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
(With 4 cups arugula, 1 large peach, 2 tablespoons feta) Per Serving: 63 Cal (61% from Fat, 9% from Protein, 30% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 5 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb4; 58 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 58 mg Sodium; 4 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point

SHORTHAND RECIPE ...
ARUGULA w PEACHES Dress greens w EVOO, lemon juice. Top w ripe peaches, feta crumbles. WW1 VV06


(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Kitchen Parade Extra: Buffalo Ragout ♥

During September, cities along the Missouri River are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the 1806 completion of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, building momentum for the signature event right here on the St Louis Riverfront September 20 - 24.

In honor of the upcoming events, this week's Kitchen Parade column features buffalo ragout, a recipe from a fascinating cookbook, the Food Journal of Lewis and Clark by culinary historian Mary Gunderson.

[I had the pleasure of meeting Mary last month. So did Mark Tafoya so visit the Remarkable Palate to hear his podcast interview with Mary, including how in heavens one develops modern-day recipes from 200-year old experiences.]

The Food Journal is a gem, historybook and cookbook both in one. So is the buffalo stew, lean meat paired with turnips and blueberries. Cook a pot, close your eyes ... you just might feel the wind on your back, the sun on your brow ... the ache in your back and the blisters on your feet. Ah, the food ... and life ... of an explorer.



(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Cherry Tomato & White Bean Salad ♥

Cherry Tomato & White Bean Salad ♥ A summery salad, adaptable as you like. #AVeggieVenture #WW2 #Vegetarian
graphic button small size size 10 A summery adapt-as-you-like salad, soft white and almost-creamy beans paired with sweet-tart cherry or grape tomatoes, a great side dish with grilled meats. graphic button small size size 10

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

2006: This is one of those summery adapt-as-you-like salads, easy, delicious and a perfect side. I've adapted mine from Simply Recipes. Twas good!

2014: I a-d-o-r-e re-visiting recipes from awhile back, ones not made in a long time but still memorable. Beans and tomatoes are a classic combination, add some warm oil infused with garlic, rosemary and parmesan. Heaven? You bet.

COMPLIMENTS!
"... it was SO yummy!! my boyfriend, the meat eater, even loved it!" ~ Randi

RECIPE for CHERRY TOMATO & WHITE BEAN SALAD

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Serves 8

GARLIC-ROSEMARY OIL
1/4 cup olive oil
1 fresh rosemary sprig, about 3 inches
3 cloves garlic, peeled and flattened with flat of a knife

GARLIC-PARMESAN SALAD DRESSING
3 anchovies
1/4 cup grated parmesan
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Zest of a lemon
Juice of 2 lemons (4 tablespoons)
Warm garlic cloves (from Garlic-Rosemary Oil)
1 tablespoon Garlic-Rosemary Oil

SALAD
15-ounce can white kidney beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained and rinsed
Garlic-Parmesan Salad Dressing
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, etc.)

Salt & pepper to taste

PREP Before getting started, it helps to rinse and drain the beans in a colander, rinse and dry the fresh herbs. This way they won't added extra/unwanted water to the salad.

GARLIC-ROSEMARY OIL Heat the oil, rosemary and garlic in a saucepan until the rosemary sizzles. Remove from heat and let rest for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld. Remove and discard the rosemary. You'll use the garlic cloves and one tablespoon oil in the Garlic-Parmesan Salad Dressing, reserve the remaining oil for another purpose.

GARLIC-PARMESAN SALAD DRESSING Meanwhile, in a small food processor, combine anchovies, parmesan, salt, pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the warm garlic cloves, pulse til smooth. Add 1 tablespoon Garlic-Rosemary Oil and pulse until emulsified.

SALAD Meanwhile, ln a bowl, mix the beans and Garlic-Parmesan Salad Dressing, let rest a few minutes. Gently stir in the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to taste.

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
graphic button small size size 10 2006: I skipped the parmesan in the dressing and instead just stirred in feta crumbles with the tomatoes and herbs. 2014: I considered using feta again, this time in the dressing, but instead used parmesan in the dressing. Both versions are good!
graphic button small size size 10 2006: The leftover oil was very good with Garlicky Romano Beans!



A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic



Still Hungry?


MORE TOMATO SALADS: WORTHY OF GOOD SUMMER TOMATOES

~ Never Take a Good Tomato for Granted: Twelve Favorite Tomato Recipes ~
~ Old Liz's Old-Fashioned Cucumber & Tomato Salad ~
~ Summer Black-Eyed Pea Salad ~
~ Fattoush (Traditional Middle Eastern Salad) ~
~ more tomato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Favorite Summer Salad Recipes ~
~ Panzanella ~
~ Fresh Corn & Tomato Salad ~
~ Greek Pasta Salad ~
~ more tomato 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 2006, 2014



Simple Baby Pattypan Squash with Squash Blossoms ♥

Simple Baby Pattypan Squash with Squash Blossoms
A simple way to cook the sweet little pattypan squash, along with their delicate squash blossoms, so often found at farmers markets this time of year.

Karen from FamilyStyle Food and I went market hopping on Saturday. (For St. Louisans, we hit two relative newcomers to St. Louis-area farmers markets, the Green Market in the Central West End and the Clayton Farmers Market.) Neither stop overwhelmed even if each yielded treasures and it was great fun, sharing the excitement of Missouri's late-summer bounty with a fellow foodie.

My favorite find was teeny-weeny patty pan squash, way too small for Stuffed Pattypan Squash. Most still had their blossoms! Talk about not understanding the anatomy of a vegetable ... wait, I mean, a FRUIT, which summer squash technically are, botanically speaking. (What are summer squash? That's the group that includes zucchini / courgette, yellow crooknecks and pattypan. Winter squash, in contrast, are acorn squash, Hubbarb squash, butternut squash, etc.) There's the familiar STEM end. But the other end is the BLOSSOM end, making squash, especially miniature versions, look like ethereal sea creatures.

For cooking, I had no idea where to begin, apart from checking for earwigs, CRIKEY. Recipes abound for deep frying squash blossoms and stuffing squash blossoms but I chose squash minimalism: a simple-simple saute. It was delightfully spare, letting the pattypan and their blossoms shine in simplicity.

SIMPLE BABY PATTYPAN SQUASH with SQUASH BLOSSOMS

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 6

1 quart baby pattypan squash with blossoms
1 tablespoon butter
[fresh thyme? recommended by my new friend Linda, who also brought home these very same squash blossoms!]
Good salt

Remove the blossoms from the pattypans. Wash the pattypans. Trim the stems close and cut in half lengthwise (optional). In a non-stick skillet large enough to hold a single layer of the squash, heat the butter til melted on MEDIUM. Add the squash and cook, stirring frequently, til just beginning to brown. Transfer to a warm plate and cover.

Meanwhile, gently wash the blossoms and check the insides for critters. Drop into the hot skillet and cook for just a couple of seconds, just as beginning to wilt. Transfer to plate.Sprinkle with good salt. Serve immediately.


ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
I trimmed close nearly all the stems but left a few to see how they'd taste: once cooked, the untrimmed stems were very edible so trimming is an optional step.
I halved some of the pattypans, even though small, in order to have equivalent cooking time. As it turns out, I preferred the taste and texture of the halved ones but the looks of the whole ones. Your call!
The pattypans themselves took more time to cook than expected, about 10 minutes, the blossoms less time, just seconds.
Serving size: for a dinner party, I'd put maybe five of these on a plate, especially since they're pretty expensive. A quart box held 32 baby pattypans so would stretch a long way.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic




© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006

Stuffed Pattypan Squash ♥

Stuffed Pattypan Squash from A Veggie Venture
Cute little pattypan squash, stuffed with a mixture of egg and feta cheese.

Pattypan (patty pan?, no, it's one word, pattypan) squash are just too cute for words! And too precious for anything except stuffing!

I followed the recipe and technique from Feta-Stuffed Zucchini whose inspiration came from my foodie pal Catherine at Albion Cooks who lightened a recipe originating from a Moosewood cookbook.

I stuffed them in advance and then, starting from room temperature, just popped into the oven about 30 minutes before serving. They were a BIG hit at an all-around great patio supper.

STUFFED PATTYPAN SQUASH

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 45 - 60 minutes
Serves 4

4 pattypan squash

1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
2 ounces feta, crumbled

Pimenton (Spanish paprika)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an ovenproof dish. With a small knife, cut a thin slice from the stem (narrower) end of each squash, then a circle from the blossom (wider) end. With grapefruit knife, scoop out the center (save it for the filling) leaving a thin wall. In a small skillet, melt the butter until shimmery. Add the pattypan scoopings, shallot and garlic and saute until soft. In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the flour, feta and cooked zucchini. Stuff the pattypan. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes.


ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
At first, I sliced into the narrower stem-end of the squash (it's the one on the far right) but then switched to the wider blossom-end (the other three). It was easier to remove the contents and I think, ends up slightly more impressive looking.
I also sliced a bit off the bottoms (the stem ends) so they'd sit flat.
A grapefruit knife's curved serrated blade worked great for removing the centers.
These pattypan had a few seeds in the center. At first, I picked them out to discard, then realized they were soft enough for cooking. Sure enough, once the stuffing mixture was done, there was no identifying the seeds.
If you're choosing between zucchini and pattypan squash for stuffing, zucchini are definitely easier and faster.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic



MORE FAVORITE PATTYPAN SQUASH RECIPES
~ Stuffed Pattypan Squash ~
~ Simple Baby Pattypan Squash with Squash Blossoms ~
~ Quick Pattypan Squash ~
~ more summer squash recipes ~
~ more Weight Watchers recipes ~
~ more low-carb recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture




© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006