Harvard Beets ♥

Today's classic vegetable recipe: Harvard Beets, perhaps the most traditional beet recipe with long lore. It's simple and delicious, just cooked beets warmed through in an orange sauce.

Harvard BeetsFor ages now, I've been meaning to make Harvard Beets. When A Veggie Venture first launched in April 2005 and I was looking for ideas, my Auntie Meryl suggested them. And back in June, a commenter on Swedish Beets reminded me. Thank you both, they're delicious!

Harvard Beets are a simple, classic treatment for already-cooked beets, apparently first published in the Fannie Farmer cookbook. That said, I haven't yet tried her classic treatment, which calls for using the water in which the beets are cooked to make the sauce. That, I shall yet try.

But Harvard Beets are also good enough reason TO cook some beets. How do you cook beets? Well, you can cook beets in water. Or you can roast beets. Or you can grate beets for pan-fried patties. Or ... I could go on and on but just check here for lots of beet recipes. I may be the veggie evangelist but am also a certified Beet Queen. ;-)

RECIPE for HARVARD BEETS

Hands-on time: maybe 15 minutes (assumes beets are already cooked)
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 8 in small servings, 4 in larger servings

SAUCE
(enough for 6 cups beets so you might consider doing half)
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional, see KITCHEN NOTES)

3 cups cooked beets, peeled and diced (from 3 medium- to large-size beets)
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional garnish: orange zest, chopped chive, chopped dill

In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. (Be sure to work out any cornstarch lumps.) Slowly stir in the orange juice and vinegar, working out any lumps that appear. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter if using. Toss with diced beets. Season to taste. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish. Serve at room temperature.


KITCHEN NOTES
I accidentally left out the specified butter but didn't miss it. Happy accident!
The beets are rich and full of sweetness and flavor. A small serving feels like plenty so I'm providing nutrition information for both small and large servings.
All this is a good lesson in the usefulness of a nutrition analysis program. (I use a program called Accuchef). I omitted the butter, of course. But even afterward, by adjusting portion size and sauce quantity, the point range varies from zero to two points.
Next time, I'll garnish with grated orange peel or bits of chopped chive or dill.





MORE FAVORITE BEET RECIPES
~ Swedish Beets ~
~ Greens 'n' All Beet Soup ~
~ Baked Beets ~

~ more beet recipes ~


© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


"I Like Broccoli"

[The following is cross-posted at BlogHer.]

On Saturday, I packed a goodie bag for Charlie, my favorite three-year-old.

His eyes lit up with surprise, first spying Grover, Big Bird and the Cookie Monster on the very cool tote bag from Stemilt (which has a licensing agreement with Sesame Street's 'Healthy Habits for Life' program), then the just-polished Granny Smith apple, and finally the new story and activity book from Munch Crunch Bunch.

[Want one? A special offer follows ... read on.]

After supper, we cuddled up to read. "I like broccoli," Charlie crowed when he recognized the green stalks among several pages of cartooned vegetables. One by one, we named all the healthful vegetables and fruits. "I like apricots," he announced, which led to a conversation about about what grows on trees, what grows in the ground, what grows on bushes. (And where milk comes from, "the store", he insisted. We'll work on that one.)

"Does the Cookie Monster like broccoli, Charlie?" I asked. "Noooooo," he answered, as if uncertain, perhaps hoping. "Does the Cookie Monster like apples, Charlie?" I asked. "Yes!" he exclaimed, happy to find common ground with the Cookie Monster. "I like apples, too!"

Ever polite, Charlie batted long lashes and said, "Thank you for the book and the apple, Mz Alanna." And you know, I think he meant it, truly.

Stemilt and MunchCrunchBunch are commercial enterprises with profit motivation. But their strategies include promoting health and wellness among children, about making fruits and vegetables fun and cool. Three cheers to both.

And now for how to get your own books and bags:

The MunchCrunchBunch activity book: Order the books online here. But for the first 12 people who write to JCWolterman AT aol DOT com with "I Like Broccoli" in the subject line, a free book will be sent to your home (be sure to include a name and address).

The Sesame Street bag from Stemilt: Check the produce section of your local supermarket. If you happen to be in St. Louis, I found the free bags tucked into the apples at Schnucks. Once again, thanks to Debbie, the produce manager at the Kirkwood store!





(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Braised Cauliflower with Asian Flavors

Simple vegetables for a weeknight supper: can there ever be enough of them? I think not! One of my first 3x5 recipe cards (remember those?!), penned at age 10, is titled, "Cooked Cauliflower". Even then, I wanted to learn how to cook vegetables!

NEXT TIME ... I'll steam or boil the cauliflower, then toss it in the sauce. I have a hard time pan-cooking cauliflower and broccoli to a good eating texture, especially since the bulky florets must be kept in a single layer. This makes it hard to cook enough for leftovers, let alone a whole head of cauliflower.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... The Recipe Box has lots of other ideas for cooking cauliflower but my favorites in winter are roasted tomato with cauliflower and white on white puree.

BRAISED CAULIFLOWER with ASIAN FLAVORS
Hands-on time: 10 minutes plus occasional stirring til done
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon peanut oil (or any oil, really)
1 pound fresh cauliflower (about half a large cauliflower), cored and cut into florets

SAUCE
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 heaping tablespoon fresh garlic (from a jar ...)
1 heating tablespoon fresh ginger (from a jar ...)
2 green onions, chopped (save some to garnish the top for color ...)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a skillet large enough to hold all the florets in a single layer, heat the oil till shimmery. Add the cauliflower and stir well to coat the cauliflower on all sides. Let cook til cauliflower begins to brown.

Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour over partially cooked cauliflower, cover and let cook for about 10 - 15 minutes until cauliflower is done, checking temperature on occasion to stir and make sure not to burn. Uncover and if liquid remains, keep cooking til cooks down. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to serving bowl, garnish with reserved green onion.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Per Serving: 84 Cal (37% from Fat, 13% from Protein, 50% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 11 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb8; 36 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 393 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Every Day Vegetables by Jack Bishop


(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Surprise Weight Watchers Truffles

So when you write about vegetables and really want to make truffles, the selected sweetness for November's Sugar High Friday food blogging event (hosted by Johanna of the The Passionate Cook), what do you do? Get creative, that's what! Enter pumpkin truffles!

For anyone who craves a rush of buttery chocolate sweetness after a meal, these are a great choice. Each truffle counts as 1 Weight Watchers point and since they're small with fiber, can be considered 'low carb' with 10 NetCarbs. And with lots of chocolate richness, it's easy to nibble on just one, making it last. Much to my surprise, I found that eaten slowly, 'just one' was entirely satisfying.

WEIGHT WATCHERS TRUFFLES This is a mean joke, right? It's no joke but it is a (big) lesson in (small) portion size. If we ate pieces of cake this small, they'd maybe rack up just one point too. I've been avoiding my favorite St. Louis chocolatier, Bissinger's, maybe one-a-day, you know, like a vitamin ...

SOAP BOX MOMENT Was I surprised by one-point truffles? You bet. But it's the reason I am so disciplined about providing nutrition information and Weight Watchers points and NetCarb info. (Mostly, however, the surprises go the other direction, more points than expected in a harmless-looking recipe.) If you're a cook, you can calculate nutrition information for your own recipes too with a great product called Accuchef. Its Import Wizard makes it easy to import recipes, then it's easy to adjust quantities and add/subtract ingredients for illuminating what-if analysis.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK Do you buy this? Can a truffle fit into a weight loss and weight maintenance diet?

PUMPKIN TRUFFLES
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 1 1/2 hours
Made 14

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons liqueur
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup toasted almonds, ground
1 cup powdered sugar
Unsweetened Dutch process cocoa

Spoon puree onto a double layer of paper towels, spread evenly. Add a double layer of paper towels on top. Fold edges over the top side and the bottom side, pressing a bit to transfer excess liquid to the paper towels.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan. Let cool a bit. Stir in the liqueur and egg yolk, whisking continuously til smooth. Add almonds, powdered sugar and pumpkin; stir in until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Roll into balls, then roll in cocoa. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Per Serving: 98 Cal (45% from Fat, 4% from Protein, 51% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 13 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 12 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 12 mg Sodium; 18 mg Cholesterol

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Adapted from "Potatoes" by Sue Kreitzman


(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Kitchen Parade Extra: Turkey Wild Rice Casserole ♥

[Looking for the World's Best Green Bean Casserole that everyone's raving about? And the collection of Thanksgiving vegetables? It's not too late for nearly all the great Thanksgiving vegetable recipes.]

Happy Thanksgiving!


We're all busy as bees in the kitchen right now but tomorrow ... there'll be leftovers! Here's my favorite way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It's this week's Kitchen Parade column, a turkey and wild rice casserole topped with almonds. If you're feeling festive, throw in a few dried cranberries.

Not in the mood for a casserole? How about turkey soup?!


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Welcome to new e-mail subscribers to A Veggie Venture!
♥ What's this Kitchen Parade, you ask? It's the published newspaper column that my Mom started when I was a baby and that I've been writing since 2002.
♥ Kitchen Parade is known for great recipes for all courses, with lots of Quick Suppers, family favorites and kitchen tips plus special sections for Weight Watchers and low carb recipes.
♥ If you'd like Kitchen Parade columns and recipes delivered via e-mail straight to your In Box too, just click over to Kitchen Parade, then add your e-mail address to the Never Miss a Recipe box on the right.
♥ Or just check out this week's column here; archive columns are online too.




(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Guest Essay: How Not to Buy Acorn Squash

[Are you looking for the World's Best Green Casserole and A Veggie Venture's collection of Thankgiving vegetables? They are right here!]

Shared delight in food, in words: it binds the foodies in the online world like sausage in stuffing, those of us who write and those of us who read.

As a special Thanksgiving treat, please welcome Kate Bowers, whose acquaintance I've made over, no kidding, butternut squash ...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL ...

Buying acorn squash is a bit of a mystery to me. I take it on faith that inside is sweet, orange flesh. If not, well, I can throw enough butter, sugar, and oven time at the thing to render it edible. This is a vegetable able to withstand almost any neglect perpetrated by cooks suffering from too many holiday distractions. It's an ideal vegetable at this time of year.

On a recent shopping trip, I got myself a lovely "golden" acorn squash; its brilliant orange exterior drew me in. I'd never seen one before. It looked pretty. I bought.

I loaded the groceries into the trunk of my car, which, during the winter, also contains the 20 pounds of rock salt that my father gave to me in the belief that an abundant supply of rock salt will save the day should my car ever become snow-bound. I indulge him in this. It means two things: first, that he, with an endearing naiveté, believes me to be the kind of competent motorist who can successfully deploy rock salt, and second, that he mentally still lives in the era before the cell phone and AAA. He is a true gentleman of the old school.

I back out, stop at the exit from the parking lot, and, waiting for traffic to pass, begin to contemplate the myriad possibilities of my impulse purchase. No been-there-done-that brown sugar and butter for my new discovery! "Cranberries?" I thought. "Sage? Perhaps curry?"

Taking a sharp left out of the parking lot, I hear from my trunk muffled noises, the sort that I imagine a loan shark's muscle man might hear when he brings a reluctant payer to see the boss. I'm puzzled for a moment or two. I take another corner, more scuffling. Ah, I realize. That's my acorn squash, freed from its paper bonds, making a break for freedom. I drive home, taking turns carefully, trying not to bruise my precious squash.

I open the trunk. Frustrated in its true purpose (saving me from a frozen death), my rock salt has decided to throw itself heroically upon my acorn squash. My trunk is awash in rock salt and groceries.

By the time I got it all cleaned up, I was too tired to be creative. My purchase suffered the indignity of being cut in half, scooped out, and baked in the oven with sugar and butter in the cavity as if it were any of its humble green cousins. It was delicious.

- Kate Bowers is alive and well in Belmont, Massachusetts and tries to eat five servings of vegetables and fruit every day.

Copyright Kate Bowers 2006


Squash graphic by Shanothy Exum

Weight Watchers Smoothie Recipes ♥
(Pumpkin Smoothie & Mocha Smoothie)

Pumpkin Smoothie by A Veggie Venture
Two Weight Watchers smoothie recipes, one pumpkin, the other mocha. A great way to drink a day's quota of milk.

Many thanks to my sister Adanna for sharing this five-minute meal-in-a-glass. It's delicious, it's filling, it's satisfying. It does use a Weight Watchers smoothie packet but anyone can walk into a Weight Watchers office to purchase a box ($7.50 for a box of six).

Adanna uses the French vanilla, I had creamy chocolate on hand so went with that. It's on hand because the Weight Watchers Mocha Smoothie is my 'summer breakfast'. In the winter, some times, I'll even stir a little of the chocolate mix into the morning oatmeal, a change from the usual 'winter breakfast'.

The Weight Watchers pumpkin smoothie is worth trying. I love it!

Beet Salad with Lemon & Olives ♥

Today's beet salad recipe: A simple beet salad, just cooked beets tossed with a little lemon juice and olives. A great contrast to rich vegetable dishes, spare and earthy.

Beet Salad with Lemon & OlivesThis beet salad would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving table. Unlike so many Thanksgiving vegetables, it's not sugary, it's not creamy, it's not soft(y). And it requires no cooking or prepping on the Big Day! Plus, beets add lovely color.

Just don't think about roasting or cooking the beets at the last minute for the cooking time varies way too much. The good news is that beets can be roasted or cooked two or three or even four days before, then used in delicious cold salads.

RECIPE for BEET SALAD with LEMON & OLIVES

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

1 pound cooked beet, skin removed, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Pitted Kalamata olives, halved (I used a couple of dozen)
Fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients except the parsley. Just before serving, stir in the parsley. Serve at room temperature.

TO PREP AHEAD
BEETS Cook the beets -- well before Thanksgiving, several choices are with the beet recipes
DAY OF Assemble the salad (except the parsley) -- the morning of or a few minutes before serving, your choice







(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Kitchen Parade Extra: Turnip Puff ♥

The quest for great Thanksgiving vegetables continues: the collection of recipes is nearly complete!

Today Kitchen Parade joins in with the favorite of my Canadian family, a creamy turnip puff made with purple-topped turnips (not rutabagas, some times labeled yellow turnips or Swedes). It's simple ... and simply lovely. The column is here ...

OTHER TURNIP DISH IDEAS for THANKSGIVING

Creamed turnips
White on white puree


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Welcome to new e-mail subscribers to A Veggie Venture!
♥ What's this Kitchen Parade, you ask? It's the published newspaper column that my Mom started when I was a baby and that I've been writing since 2002.
♥ Kitchen Parade is known for great recipes for all courses, with lots of Quick Suppers, family favorites and kitchen tips plus special sections for Weight Watchers and low carb recipes.
♥ If you'd like Kitchen Parade columns and recipes delivered via e-mail straight to your In Box too, just click over to Kitchen Parade, then add your e-mail address to the Never Miss a Recipe box on the right.
♥ Or just check out this week's column here; archive columns are online too.



(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Winter Squash Polenta ♥

What a brilliant combination, roasted squash and creamy polenta!

The recipe called for instant polenta but to avoid a grocery run on a stormy day, I made polenta from scratch for the first time! What a breeze. Just cornmeal and water and salt -- and a wooden spoon, for stirring. I checked several techniques, then decided to follow one that took a little longer but required less hands-on time, just a good stir every five minutes. I claim no expertise in polenta but this polenta was easy -easy to make and tasted great.

RECIPE for WINTER SQUASH POLENTA

Hands-on time: sorry, completely lost track on this one, maybe 30 minutes?
Time to table: sorry, this one too
Makes about 4 cups

ROAST SQUASH
2 - 3 pounds winter squash, washed (I used a small butternut and a medium buttercup)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Set oven to 400F. Carefully (so not to lose a finger) cut the squash in half either lengthwise or crosswise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Rub olive oil on the flesh, season with salt and pepper, then place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Place in the oven, even if not fully preheated. Roast until a knife easily inserts into the thickest part of the flesh, about an hour. (If the squash halves are of different thicknesses and varieties and moisture levels, they will likely finish at different times. I set a timer for 30 minutes, then check every 5 - 10 minutes until all the pieces are done. If the squash exudes a lot of liquid, pour it off otherwise it will scorch.) Let cool a bit. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a potato masher or a fork. I used about 3 cups cooked squash, more would be fine, less would make this very much a "starch" versus a "vegetable".

MAKE THE POLENTA & ASSEMBLE
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup coarse stone-ground cornmeal (I love the Bob's variety, often kept with the specialty bread flours)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces fresh Parmesan, grated with ribbon microplane (for larger pieces), some reserved
Salt & pepper

Bring the water to a boil in a medium non-stick saucepan on MEDIUM. Stir in the salt. Slowly stir in the cornmeal with a whisk. Reduce heat to MEDIUM LOW, cover and set timer for 5 minutes. When timer goes off, check to see if it's cooking at a slow simmer, adjust heat accordingly and whisk gently for a minute. Repeat every 5 minutes, adjusting temperature and whisking. When it thickens, uncover and stir for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and (most of the) Parmesan and stir til melted and glossy. Stir in the cooked squash and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Transfer to a greased baking dish. [If you're cooking ahead, stop here and refrigerate. Return to room temperature.] Top with reserved Parmesan. Bake at 350F for 60 minutes.

TO PREP AHEAD
TWO OR THREE DAYS BEFORE Roast the squash.
DAY BEFORE Cook the polenta and assemble the dish, then refrigerate.
DAY OF Return to room temperature before baking.

LEFTOVERS To reheat leftovers, just warm in a saucepan.


A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic




OTHER WINTER SQUASH IDEAS for THANKSGIVING
a long-time family favorite
~ Squash Puff ~
squash with some spike
~ Curried Squash ~
for small gatherings
~ Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries ~

2006 collection
~ Thanksgiving vegetable recipes ~




© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


Maple Ginger Sweet Potatoes ♥

Maple Ginger Sweet Potatoes, tossed with a buttery syrup of maple syrup and fresh ginger. Great choice for Thanksgiving or everyday.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's special sweet potato recipe, one of my favorites of all time, perfect for Thanksgiving (duded up with a pretty topping) or everyday (as pictured). The sweet potatoes are glazed with a syrup made with no more than butter, maple syrup and fresh ginger.

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

2006: Oh man, oh man, oh man. Is this good?! Yes it is! It's a perfect vegetable recipe for Thanksgiving, a less-but-still-sweet sweet potato casserole, full of flavor and buttery-gingery-syrupy goodness. But it's also simple enough for everyday. This is my favorite, so far, of the Thanksgiving vegetable collection. Hmm. Or wait. What about the World's Best Green Bean Casserole? And the Smothered Cabbage? And the Creamy Carrot Purée? And ... hmmm, must do another taste test.

2014: It turns out that while I'm not "famous" for Maple Ginger Sweet Potatoes (I am, I really am, for the World's Best Green Bean Casserole) but I do make them often and find the recipe most adaptable, even while adhering to its essence, cubes of sweet potato glazed with a buttery, gingery syrup.

Creamy Cauliflower Gratin ♥

Oh. My. Goodness. What a little cream and cheese won't do for vegetables. I've raved over cauliflower before, it's a favorite low-carb, low-calorie vegetable. But add some carbs and calories ... oh.my.gracious. Did I say that this is really really good? It is.

But the real trick with this cauliflower is the anchovies, which generate a remarkable sweetness, a memorable depth -- and not one bit of fishiness. I'm willing to bet: you won't 'taste' anchovy, you'll just think, Wow, this cauliflower is wonderful.

RECIPE for CREAMY CAULIFLOWER GRATIN

Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 10 (smaller big-meal servings, 5 standard meal servings)

1 large cauliflower head (mine weighed in at 2 1/2 pounds after the leaves were removed, much of the core Vd out)

SAUCE
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic
2 anchovy fillets
3 green onions, white and green parts (these add color but could also use chopped leek or shallot)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream

TOPPING
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup with a Microplane ribbon grater)
Salt & pepper to taste

STEAM CAULIFLOWER: Put steamer onto boil. Trim cauliflower (remove the leaves, cut a deep V into the core and remove it) and cut into small florets (bite-size is good). Add to steamer and cover, cook about 7 minutes or until a knife inserted into a thick stem releases easily. (The cauliflower won't really 'cook' any more, just reheat, so make sure it's the texture you like.) Remove from heat and uncover to cool a bit. Transfer to a baking dish.

SAUCE: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmery on MEDIUM. Add garlic and anchovy, use a spatula to mash the anchovy into small bits, then let cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the green onion, stir well to coat with fat, cook for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, adjust heat to create a fast simmer and cook down a bit. Add the cream and cook down a bit, watching temperature carefully to avoid scorching. Pour hot sauce over cauliflower. (Or combine the cauliflower and sauce in a separate large bowl before transferring to the baking dish, it might help coat the florets with sauce.)

TOPPING: Mix the topping ingredients, spread evenly over cauliflower just before ready to bake.

BAKE: Bake at 400F for 20 - 25 minutes if done right away, while cauliflower is still hot. If baking from room temperature, I'd allow 30 - 40 minutes.

TO PREP AHEAD
DAY BEFORE Make and assemble the dish, except the topping, cover and refrigerate
MORNING OF Make the topping and set aside
BEFORE DINNER Return the dish to room temperature, add topping just before going into oven


KITCHEN NOTES
If you use a rasp-like microplane to grate Parmesan, you just might need two, a ribbon microplane as well a fine microplane. And if you're following a recipe exactly, you'll want to measure by weight, because the volume differences are enormous, just look at these two piles of Parmesan, grated from two chunks of the same weight.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic







© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


Creamy Carrot Purée ♥

Creamy Carrot Purée, a show-stopping side dish ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, carrots laced with cream and fresh rosemary. Low Carb. For Weight Watchers, PointsPlus 2.
A creamy-luscious purée of carrots and cream, laced with fresh rosemary. This is a show-stopping side dish, one of my very favorites on A Veggie Venture.

2006 Original: Butter. Cream. Brown sugar. Ya gotta love what they do for vegetables, too. Here, they create an utterly delicious smooth-as-silk carrot puree that's sublime in its simplicity: sweet but not over the top-ly so, creamy but not tongue-thickening. It is smoother than mashed potatoes, so creates another texture for Thanksgiving tables. I'd also make it in a heartbeat as a creamy base for roasted pork or beautiful grilled chops.

2006 Update: These oh-so-smooth carrots paired beautifully with a smoked ham for our Christmas dinner in 2006. The recipe is one of my very favorite recipes on A Veggie Venture. People really love these carrots!

2012: All these years later and Creamy Carrot Pureé still remains a favorite. It's rich but not over-the-top rich. People take one bite and say, "These are carrots? Wow."

Kitchen Parade Extra: Thick Chops with Sauerkraut ♥

It's Quick Supper time over at Kitchen Parade, where "quick" means easy on the clock plus easy on the budget, the waistline and the dishwasher. No wonder Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites!

This week's column features juicy, flavorful thick chops tucked into good sauerkraut with onion and apple. Not excited about sauerkraut? You'll still want to check out the pan-frying technique that yields moist and delicious chops. Anyone hungry? Here's the recipe!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Are you looking for Thanksgiving vegetables? A Veggie Venture will publish more Thanksgiving recipes on Monday but til then, check out this great collection.

Welcome to new e-mail subscribers to A Veggie Venture! What is Kitchen Parade, you ask? It's the published newspaper column that my Mom started when I was a baby and that I've been writing since 2002. Kitchen Parade is known for great recipes for all courses, with lots of Quick Suppers, family favorites and kitchen tips plus special sections for Weight Watchers and low carb recipes. If you'd like Kitchen Parade columns and recipes delivered via e-mail straight to your In Box too, just click over to Kitchen Parade, then add your e-mail address to the Never Miss a Recipe box on the right.

Or just check out this week's column here; archive columns are online too.




(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

Autumn Sunchoke Salad ♥

And so the quest for Thanksgiving vegetables continues! From now until Thanksgiving, I'm collecting vegetable recipes perfect for Thanksgiving tables. So far, I've collected recipes for green beans and Brussels sprouts and potatoes and ... and ... more to come!

Today's featured vegetable is the 'oddball', that is, any out-of-the-ordinary vegetable whose appearance might be welcome on Thanksgiving tables.

First up ... the sunchoke, also called the Jerusalem artichoke, used in a simple salad, almost a slaw. It's nothing more than sunchokes from fall farmers markets, turnip and carrot in a simple vinaigrette.

It doesn't stand up and shout, there will be no moaning or exclaiming. But it's very good, an earthy respite from the rich- and strong-flavored dishes for which Thanksgiving is famed.

TO MAKE AHEAD ...
  • Assemble the salad the morning of (or late the day before)
  • You might stir in the dressing an hour or so before serving but here, it kept in the frig for 24 hours without getting the least bit soggy or changing color
  • If you do dress the salad in advance, think about stirring in the parsley just before serving
OTHER IDEAS for UNUSUAL THANKSGIVING VEGETABLES

A low-carb potato substitute ... fennel puree
Root vegetables and apple are a magical combination ... mashed rutabaga & apple
Make two days ahead, served at room temperature ... wild rice salad
Made with frozen grilled peppers from Trader Joe's ... warm pepper salad

AUTUMN SUNCHOKE SALAD
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Makes 4 cups

1 pound sunchokes (see TIPS for cleaning instructions)
2 small turnips, peeled
1 large carrot
1/4 of an onion (or 3 shallots, as specified by the inspiring recipe)

DRESSING
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon, about 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Grate the sunchokes, turnip, carrot and onion in the food processor and transfer to a bowl. In the same food processor, whiz the dressing ingredients. Stir into grated vegetables. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in parsley.

SO WHAT ABOUT SUNCHOKES ...
  • How to recognize sunchokes? They look knobs of ginger.
  • Do sunchokes need to be peeled? No, and a good thing since all the knobs would make that a fussy endeavor.
  • Do sunchokes need to be washed? Yes, carefully, for between the knobs are pockets of collected earth. Just break off the knobs to wash.
  • Must sunchokes be cooked? No, I like them raw, either grated (my favorite way, so far) or in chunks like a carrot.

  • NUTRITION ESTIMATE
    Per Half Cup: 118 Cal (51% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 44% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 13 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb11; 22 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 49 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points

    CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
    This Good Food, Contemporary French Vegetarian Recipes from a Monastery Kitchen (a gift from my friend Ann, many thanks, I'm loving it!)




    (c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

    Smothered Cabbage ♥

    Savoy cabbage cooked slowly with bacon, pancetta or proscuitto. Especially good when made ahead.

    There's just something other-worldly about savoy cabbage, the crinkly-wrinkly still somehow perfect-looking cabbage. This 'smothered' treatment, traditional in Italian cuisine, is completely delicious. If you're looking for a savory Thanksgiving vegetable to pair with sweet potatoes, this would be a great pick.

    Savoy CabbageI found savoy cabbage at Whole Foods but it might not be available everywhere, even in good grocery stores. Could green cabbage be substituted? Yes, I think so but I wouldn't recommend a bag of shredded cabbage, its texture is too fine for this dish.

    DECEMBER 2006 UPDATE I made this again for a holiday meal and was even more impressed with the make-ahead versatility of this dish. Because my favorite Italian grocery, Viviano's, had experienced a huge Christmas rush and was out of pancetta, I used thicker-cut proscuitto and liked this just as much.

    RECIPE for SMOTHERED CABBAGE

    Hands-on time: 30 minutes
    Time to table: 90 minutes
    Serves 4 for every-day servings, 8 in small servings for a large meal like Thanksgiving

    1/4 pound pancetta (or proscuitto or bacon) finely chopped (I used 10 thin-thin slices, not even close to 4 ounces, it was plenty)
    1 onion, chopped fine
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine (1 teaspoon dried rosemary, bruised and broken into bits with a mortar and pestle, worked great)
    0 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 pound savoy cabbage
    Salt & pepper
    3/4 cup white wine

    In a large skillet or Dutch oven heat the pancetta or bacon on MEDIUM. Add the onion, garlic and rosemary as they're prepped. "Sweat" the onions, cooking at a low temperature but not allowing to brown, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, adjusting temperature to make sure not to brown. Depending on the fattiness of the pancetta or bacon, you may need to add 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

    Meanwhile, prep the savoy cabbage. (To prep, remove the leaves from the core and wash well. Cut the thick stem out and discard. Pile up three or four leaves and then fold over to create a pile six or eight layers thick. Cut thin slices, cross-wise. The cabbage will keep its structure so make sure that the pieces end up bite-size.) Add the cabbage and stir well to coat with other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine and bring to a boil, cover and let cook at a slow simmer for an hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.

    TO MAKE AHEAD
    ONE OR TWO DAYS BEFORE Cook completely, cool and refrigerate.
    DAY OF Before serving, rewarm gently on the stove.


    KITCHEN NOTES
    If you multiply the recipe for more servings, make sure to have enough surface area in your cooking vessel, especially if you're counting on a one-hour cooking time. This started off about three inches thick (and didn't cook down much) and cooked perfectly in one hour.
    The cabbage soaked up the wine as soon as was added, making me wonder if more wine would be needed. None was, the 3/4 cup was the perfect amount.
    Alcohol never really cooks off entirely, even over a long time (sorry, can't find my reference to cite, I'm remembering it was Cook's Illustrated) so care should be taken with children and those who don't drink.
    Note to Vegetarians

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    MORE CABBAGE RECIPES for THANKSGIVING
    ~ Swedish Red Cabbage ~
    ~ Cape Breton Cabbage ~
    ~ Caraway Cabbage ~
    ~ more cabbage recipes ~
    2006 collection of
    ~ Thanksgiving vegetable recipes ~


    (c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

    Mashed Potatoes with Vegetarian Apple Cider Ginger Sage Gravy ♥

    And so the quest for Thanksgiving vegetables continues! From now until Thanksgiving, I'm collecting vegetable recipes perfect for Thanksgiving tables. So far, I've collected recipes for green beans, Brussels sprouts, greens. Today's post is about vegetarian and vegan options for Thanksgiving but here's the entire collection ...

    Oh, the travails of a Thanksgiving guest who doesn't eat meat. One year, even the Thanksgiving green beans were laden with bacon. Another, Thanksgiving dinner had plenty of meatless vegetable dishes but during the clean-up, the host asked me to pick the turkey. Oh dear ...

    These days, many cooks are sensitive to people's food choices, food allergies and prescribed diets. But is anything strikes fear into a cook's heart, it's the prospect of vegetarian guests for Thanksgiving. But don't despair, with just a little bit of forethought, it's easy to cook make-ahead dishes that vegetarians and vegans can eat and all your guests will enjoy.

    Mashed potatoes and gravy means a meat-based gravy, right? Nope. This vegetarian apple gravy is a real stand-out. It's a simple make-ahead gravy, delicious for everyone but also a creative option for vegetarians or vegans. It's full of flavor but won't fight with turkey and stuffing.

    TO PREP AHEAD

    POTATOES: A couple of hours before serving, wash, peel and cut the potatoes into same-size pieces; cover with water so they don't turn brown; after cooking and mashing, if covered, mashed potatoes will hold a good half hour
    GRAVY: Make a day ahead, rewarm just before serving

    AND FOR THANKSGIVING MAIN DISHES for VEGETARIANS & VEGANS

    It pays to have friends! I asked a few of my favorite vegetarian and vegan food bloggers for their favorite Thanksgiving-suitable recipes that can serve as "main dishes" for vegetarians and vegans and wonderful side dishes for others. It's a great collection:


    MASHED POTATOES with VEGETARIAN APPLE CIDER GINGER SAGE GRAVY
    Hands-on time: 25 minutes
    Time to table: 45 minutes
    Serves 4 (standard supper servings) or 8 smaller large-meal servings

    POTATOES
    Salted water to cover (use 1 - 2 teaspoons of table salt, that's the Morton stuff with iodine, per four cups of water)
    1 pound potatoes, preferably of roughly equal size so the cooking time is similar (I mashed German butterball potatoes, skins on, sooo smooth and sweet. But any firm unwrinkly potato, a Yukon Gold, say, is perfect for mashing)

    Butter (I use a tablespoon or two but some cooks use far more; use olive oil or margarine for vegans)
    Milk (some people warm the milk so it doesn't cool the potatoes down; use soy milk for vegans)
    Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
    Pepper to taste

    Start the water to bring to a boil on MEDIUM HIGH. Scrub the potatoes well, use a paring knife to cut out any small imperfections. If peeling, do so. Add the potatoes to the water whenever they're prepped and cover. When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to MEDIUM, let simmer until the potatoes are cooked. (You can tell by slipping a thin knife into the middle. If it slips in easily, the potatoes are done.) Drain the potatoes and return to the hot pan. With a potato masher or hand mixer, mash the potatoes. (Don't use a food processor, the potatoes turn to glue.) Add the butter and milk, small amounts at first, adding more as needed to achieve the consistency you like. Once mashed, potatoes will hold, if covered, for a good half hour before serving.

    GRAVY
    1 tablespoon fat (butter is okay for vegetarians, use olive oil for vegans)
    1/2 large onion, diced
    1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
    1 cup apple cider (juice would be fine, too)
    3 small tart apples, skins left on, quartered and cored, in thin slices
    1 tablespoon flour
    5 - 8 leaves of fresh sage, minced

    While the potatoes cook, make the gravy. (Or make it a day ahead and then gently reheat before serving.) In a large skillet, heat the fat on MEDIUM til shimmery. Stir in the onion and fresh ginger, let cook til just beginning to turn gold. Stir in the apple cider and apples, bring the mixture to a boil, reducing heat to maintain a slow simmer. When the liquid is hot, spoon a few tablespoons of it into a small bowl, stir in the flour and mix until smooth, then slowly add back to the skillet. (Alternatively, you can also sprinkle the flour across the skillet and gently work into the gravy. There's some risk of lumps this way but it works for me.) Let cook for 2 - 3 minutes more, until floury taste is gone. Let cook, stirring every so often, until apples are soft. Stir in the fresh sage, stir a minute. To serve, pour gravy over top of a dollop of mashed potatoes. Garnish with additional fresh sage, if desired.

    NUTRITION ESTIMATE
    Four Servings, Per Serving: 215 Cal (38% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 57% from Carb); 3 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 5 g Sat Fat; 31 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb 28; 40 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 35 mg Sodium; 19 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points

    Eight Servings, Per Serving: 107 Cal (38% from Fat, 5% from Protein, 57% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 16 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb14; 20 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 17 mg Sodium; 9 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points


    (c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

    Gratin of Greens ♥

    For all the thousands of gratin recipes, I had trouble finding one with greens that appealed. Here was the vision: something rich and cheesy contrasting with spare and slightly bitter greens.

    And that's what turned out, except for the cheesy part: do add a good measure of Gruyere or another rich cheese.

    RECIPE for GRATIN of GREENS

    Hands-on time: 20 minutes
    Time to table: 90 minutes - 2 hours
    Makes about about 7 cups

    FLASH COOK the GREENS (aka Greek Greens)
    Salted water
    About 3 pounds of mixed bitter greens, including the stems (these were turnip, radish and beet)

    Bring a big pot of water to boil. While it does, wash the greens very well. Trim the rough ends, then cut the thin stems (the ones up to a half-inch in width) into half-inch lengths and set aside. Cut the leaves into one-inch strips and set aside separate from the stems. Drop the stems into the boiling water and let cook until just-cook, three to five minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place into a colander to drain. When the water returns to a boil, add the greens, in batches if necessary, and cook for two to three minutes, until cooked but still bright green. Add to colander to drain. Once completely drained, refrigerate. You should end up with about 6 cups of greens and stems.

    ASSEMBLE the GRATIN
    3 eggs
    15 ounces ricotta cheese
    [recommended: 1 - 2 cups grated Gruyere or even Parmesan cheese]
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    Freshly ground pepper
    6 cups cooked greens and stems

    In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Whisk in all ingredients except greens and stems. With a spatula, fold greens into ricotta mixture. Grease a quiche pan or other baking dish and transfer mixture into it, smoothing. Cover with foil and refrigerate

    BAKE
    Pimenton (simple topping)
    Crushed Ritz crackers (richer topping)

    Let gratin come to room temperature. Set oven to 375F. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes (60 minutes if straight from refrigerator).

    TO PREP AHEAD
    ONE OR TWO DAYS BEFORE Flash cook the greens and stems and refrigerate.
    DAY BEFORE Assemble the gratin (except any topping) and refrigerate.
    DAY OF Just before going in the 375F oven, add the topping.


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    © Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


    Kitchen Parade Extra: White Chicken Chili

    It's beginning to feel a lot like ... chili weather!

    And this week's Kitchen Parade column has a recipe for the kitchen classic, white chicken chili. It's a lighter version, with lots of vegetables added for good measure. It'll fill your house with the lovely scent of home-cooked goodness ...

    NEW! Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe! Just click over to Kitchen Parade, then add your e-mail address to the Never Miss a Recipe box on the right.

    (For new e-mail subscribers to A Veggie Venture: first, thank you! I
    f you'd like to receive complete Kitchen Parade columns and recipes rather than a quick introduction like this from A Veggie Venture, you will need a separate subscription ...)



    (c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

    Brussels Sprouts with Apricot Glaze ♥

    Brussels Sprouts with Apricot Glaze
    Today's Brussels sprouts recipe: my fresh adaptation of a finalist in the 1966 Pillsbury Bakeoff. Start with fresh Brussels sprouts, cook gently and then glaze with a fruity jam and mix with water chestnuts and toasted nuts. Sound strange? Agreed -- but the Brussels sprouts are just delicious!

    Brussels sprouts with apricot glaze, what a winner, literally! This recipe was a finalist in the 1996 Pillsbury Bake-Off.

    [Small world: The recipe's originator is Judy Kroll, sister of our family friend JoAnn Jensen! Plus, new bloggers, do you know that one of our very own food bloggers won the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 2005? And that a St. Louis food blogger was a finalist?]

    I adapted the recipe for fresh Brussels sprouts but was completely amazed at how good the glaze-lemon-water chestnuts were. This is a keeper, great for Thanksgiving but a year-round choice as well.

    RECIPE for BRUSSELS SPROUTS with APRICOT GLAZE

    Hands-on time: 15 minutes to trim, 10 minutes for everything else
    Time to table: 35 minutes
    Serves 8

    Salted water to cover
    1 1/2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and X'd

    GLAZE
    1/2 cup fruit preserves, apricot or peach (what I used) or fig (I'd avoid red preserves like strawberry or raspberry for color reasons)
    1 tablespoon lemon juice (don't skip this: it's magnificent)
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (I skipped this, think it would be a great addition)
    8 ounces canned sliced water chestnuts, drained and sliced into matchsticks

    TOPPING
    1 tablespoon toasted nuts (I used pecans, the inspiring recipe uses untoasted chopped cashews)

    Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add sprouts, cover and adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are fully cooked but still bright green. Drain and return to the hot saucepan.

    Meanwhile, bring the glaze ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over hot, cooked sprouts and stir to coat well. [You could pause for a few minutes here but cover to keep the sprouts hot.] Transfer to a serving dish. Top with toasted nuts.

    TO PREP AHEAD
    NUTS Toast the nuts 1 - 2 days in advance
    BRUSSELS SPROUTS Wash, trim and X the sprouts day before or morning of (if done day before, I think I'd spritz and cover with a damp paper towel until ready to cook) WATER CHESTNUTS Slice into matchsticks the morning of
    GLAZE Combine glaze ingredients in a small saucepan the morning of, ready to warm shortly before serving


    KITCHEN NOTES
    HOW TO TRIM BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Wash the sprouts under running water. Slice off the stem end about 1/4 way into the sprout, then remove the outer leaves. Check to see that the remaining sprout is completely clean and the leaves unblemished, if not wash again and remove another layer of outer leaves. With a sharp knife, cut an X into the stem end, this helps the interior core cook at the same rate as the outer leaves.
    Buy Brussels sprouts of roughly equivalent size so they cook evenly
    To salt water for boiling vegetables, Epicurious recommends a scant teaspoon of table salt (more if you only have the less salty sea salt) per quart (four cups) of water but I use about double that.
    A good cook-ahead trick for any vegetables cooked or steamed in water: bring the water to a boil ahead of time, say 30 minutes or so, then cover and turn off the fire. When you're ready to bring the water to boil for real, it'll take far less time.

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    MORE FAVORITE RECIPES for BRUSSELS SPROUTS
    for large Brussels sprouts
    ~ Brussels sprouts with pancetta & garlic ~
    for small Brussels sprouts
    ~ wine-glazed Brussels sprouts ~

    ~ more Brussels sprouts recipes ~
    ~ Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes 2006 ~




    © Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


    World's Best Green Bean Casserole ♥ ♥ ♥

    World's Best Green Bean Casserole ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, yesterday's comfort food made fresh, no canned mushroom soup, no canned beans. Rave reviews since 2006.
    This is not your mama's green bean casserole recipe – it's made from scratch without canned green beans and without canned mushroom soup! This updated recipe uses fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms yet retains the deserved 'comfort food' familiarity.

    "World's Best Green Bean Casserole". What a lofty name! Still, I just might call this updated green bean casserole the World's Best Casserole, bar none. Old-fashioned comfort food? You bet, just fresher, the way green bean casserole should be. Here's what makes it different:

    No more canned green beans. Instead, fresh green beans are cooked using a technique which draws out all their flavor. This casserole is all about the beans!
    No more canned mushroom soup. Instead, fresh mushrooms are sautéed and tucked into a creamy sauce made extra delicious with a splash of sherry.
    And what about the canned onion rings on top? Well, the inspiring recipe keeps their familiar zing, but blends them with fresh bread crumbs. I love that topping but other cooks have shared their ideas for cooking fresh onions.

    If you want to be a star at Thanksgiving, volunteer to make this. Would you believe that some times I'm called the "green bean casserole lady"? I'm here to tell you, a fresh green bean casserole can change your life!