Free Icon for Bloggers: Fresh from the Farmers Market

A quick way to identify farmers market finds, here in 400pxTwo or three or more times a week, I trek to the farmers market. Here in St. Louis, that means any one of my favorite farmers markets.

To encourage all of us to seek out fresh produce from our hometown farmers markets, I commissioned an icon to help showcase fresh vegetables and fruits -- Meet Blush, the Sweet Tomato! -- and invite my fellow bloggers to adopt the icon, too.

[Many thanks to the talented Jeannette of Matchbox Creative aka Kickpleat from Everybody Likes Sandwiches for designing the icon. We all should blush as prettily as Blush!]

Here in 125pxSo yes, fellow bloggers, you are invited to use the icon in posts and places that feature fresh produce and other farmers market finds. Use it once, use it a hundred times, it's up to you.

It comes in a 400px, 125px and 100px sizes. You're free to use the icon as you see fit: in posts, in a sidebar, to link to a list of your own favorite farmers markets, anything creative you come up with that's related to farmers markets. Me, I plan to insert the icon into my Blogger template so that it's easy to add to every post when featuring farmers market vegetables.

"Blush the Sweet Tomato" icon is my gift to the food blog community, so it is "free" for all bloggers to use. But when you use the icon for the first time, I would appreciate your linking to A Veggie Venture. If you're not a blogger and are interested in the icon, please contact me to request permission. (Once you're using the icon, if you'd like others to know, feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog, below. Use this code, {a href="InsertYourBlogURLHere"}InsertYourBlogNameHere{/a}, replacing the { and } with <>. )

COPY INSTRUCTIONS To copy the icon to use on your own site, (1) right click an icon image in the size you'd like to use, (2) click Save As to save the image on your own computer, (3) then upload to your site as normal. No hot linking, please!

VEGETABLE HUMOR Why did the tomato blush? Because she saw the salad dressing. (A friend sent this, I couldn't resist!)

MANY THANKS to Elise, Kalyn and Nupur for acting as 'icon consultants'!



FROM THE ARCHIVES See the Recipe Box for the Alphabet of Vegetables, an A - Z of inspiration of ways to your farmers market finds!



NEVER MISS A RECIPE! Just enter your e-mail address in the box in the sidebar. Once you do, new recipes will be delivered, automatically, straight to your e-mail In Box.

FRESH from the FARMERS MARKET



Here in 100px
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 5 minutes
Serves 4

And for readers of A Veggie Venture, when you see the icon in future posts, you'll be reminded of the beautiful vegetables and fruits and other farm products that we're lucky to find at farmers markets.



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Kool-Aid Pickles ♥

Dill pickles, 'pickled' a second time in double-strength Kool-Aid, in this case, yes, orangeOh I just love crazy stuff like this! And the pickles are surprisingly good! Since the New York Times wrote about Kool-Aid dills a bit back, there's been lots of talk but to my knowledge, no one's actually MADE them.

The color's pretty wild, yes? And at an impromptu rained-out picnic on Sunday, it was great fun listening to people guess what might be flavoring the pickles. They all got 'orange' but none got so far as Kool-Aid.

(Does Kool-Aid translate across the world? It's a packet of powder, just sugar and artificial flavor and dye, marketed to kids. And for those of us of a certain age, it was "the" coveted drink of childhood, in the way soda/pop is now but which, at least for my family, was prohibitively expensive.)

KITCHEN NOTES Since the dill pickles I purchased were quite small, I hoped that the Kool-Aid color/taste would permeate a whole pickle -- no luck. So I cut them in half after two or three days. Be sure to stir the mixture once a day for even color.




FROM THE ARCHIVES Do you love refrigerator pickles, you know the ones that aren't 'canned' but keep in the frig for awhile? Me too! My favorites are Swedish beets, carrot & daikon refrigerator pickle and these cucumber & pepper refrigerator pickles.



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KOOL-AID PICKLES

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 1 week
Serves ?? depends on who'll eat them at all!

Two packets Kool-Aid
1 cup sugar (the 'recipe' calls for a pound of sugar, about 2 1/3 cups)
2 quarts water
Up to 4 16-ounce jars dill pickles, halved or quartered, depending on size

Mix Kool-Aid, sugar and water in a large glass container until well mixed. Add pickles and refrigerate for about a week before eating, stirring every day.



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Thai Roasted Eggplant Salad ♥

An unusual, addictive blend of flavorsThe more I cook vegetables in new ways, the more amazed I become how much yet remains to be explored. Mexican vegetables? Asian vegetables? Indian vegetables? It's a whole new unexplored world that I think, yes, we shall call A World of Vegetables. (There are enough recipes, already, from various cuisines that I'll create a new section in the Recipe Box.) I'll work to limit (but not exclude) hard-to-find ingredients or suggest sources and substitutes when I know. But I'm excited about exploring entirely new flavor profiles and hope you'll enjoy the journey, too. Grab your culinary passport. This could be fun!

We'll start with Thai vegetables, inspired by a new cookbook's introduction to the vegetable section.

"Please do not tell the good people of Thailand that vegetables are good for them. They have no idea. They only reason they eat vegetables is because they like them. They like the way vegetables taste and the way they look. They like the way vegetables crunch and exude coolness when raw, the way the soften and shine when put to the flame. ... So please do not tell Thai people that vegetables are good for them; that good food and vegetables live in different countries, separated by mountains too steep to climb. Let them keep eating their vegetables with pleasure and with abandon, all the time, every which way, five times a day."



And this eggplant salad is soooo packed with flavor. No one ingredient stands out; together they meld to create something entirely new and to me, anyway, in a way that's unusual without being 'weird'.

The recipe's introduction explains that this eggplant salad (yum makeua yao) is a wildly popular dish all over Southeast Asia, some times includes pork or fresh shrimp, and is often served with lettuce leaves for tidy little wraps. I can see why -- it's a keeper!

FISH SAUCE (NAHM PLAH)
The eggplant salad does rely on one essential ingredient that might take some searching out, fish sauce or nahm plah which is (apparently, remember I'm just learning myself, so make no claims to expertise) the 'essence' of Thai food. It's a deep, dark, bold and salty liquid made from salted anchovies. It's worth seeking out and for this particular dish, is essential to the taste. If you can't find it nearby, Amazon sells fish sauce.

DRIED SHRIMP
The salad also calls for another unusual ingredient, dried shrimp, that the recipe says is optional and I agree. That said, it might be that dried shrimp has an effect like that of anchovies, creating a depth and complexity of flavor without standing out on its own.

Dried shrimp really stinks -- really really stinks. At my nearby international grocery, it's kept in an end-cap refrigerator behind glass and the odor still permeates that area. (Yay rah, Dried shrimp is sold on Amazon, too!) I'm storing it in the frig in a heavy glass jar, no odor problem!

Dried shrimp are very salty. I'm friendly with a check-out woman at the grocery; she advises that when dried shrimp are used with already-salty fish sauce, they should first be soaked in hot water, then drained. I also wanted to diffuse the strong flavor. The shrimp didn't mash well in a mortar and pestle didn't work, but did grind beautifully in a small food processor.

NEXT TIME I'll grill the eggplant, which I suspect will add a lovely smoky essence.

MOM, IT'S TOO SPICY Even with a tablespoon of fresh chillies, this salad had no 'heat'.

NUTRITION NOTES This salad has virtually no fat, only that used to mist the tray before roasting. All the flavor comes from that long list (for me) of ingredients -- though don't worry, the instructions are very short.

COCONUT & LIME
One of my favorite food blogs, Coconut & Lime, is celebrating its third birthday and has invited followers to post recipes that contain, surprise, coconut and lime. Happy Blog Birthday, Rachel!



FROM THE ARCHIVES Eggplant recipes are a favorite search here on A Veggie Venture, all in the Recipe Box.



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THAI ROASTED EGGPLANT SALAD

Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 4

Olive oil to mist
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, preferably the long slender Asian eggplant (that won't likely require peeling, though mine did today) or the larger globe eggplant

1 tablespoon dried shrimp, optional
2 tablespoons shallot, chopped thin (I replaced this and the green onion with 1/4 a white onion, chopped)
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon fresh hot chilies (I used a finger chili), trimmed, seeds and membrane removed, chopped fine
1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Zest of 1 lime (my addition)
3 tablespoons lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 tablespoon sugar (I used chopped palm sugar and think brown sugar would be some better than white)
2 tablespoons chopped roasted salted peanuts (I skipped this)
Additional coconut and cilantro for garnish

EGGPLANT Set oven to 400F or heat grill. Mist a baking sheet with olive oil. Trim stem ends and (for ASIAN) cut in half lengthwise or (for GLOBE) in quarters lengthswise. Place cut-side down and roast or grill til golden, about 25 minutes. When cool, decide whether skins are tough and should be removed. Chop into pieces.

DRIED SHRIMP Cover with hot water while prepping salad, then drain. Chop finely or run through food processor.

MEANWHILE Collect the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the cooked eggplant and shrimp. Garnish and serve at room temperature or chilled.



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Kitchen Parade Extra: How to Make Rhubarb Jelly & Rhubarb Jam ♥

The start of a second-generation rhubarb patch, the start of the second yearWhen my sister and I were girls, on hot June days, our Mom would send us with a bowl of sugar to the backstep where her rhubarb patch was within arms' reach. Ruby stalk by ruby stalk, we'd wipe off the most evident dirt with our fingers, then dip -- and dip and dip -- the rhubarb into the bowl to sweeten each tart biteful. When I was home last summer, I rescued the last bits of my Mom's Round-up ravaged rhubarb from the back step and planted it in my own garden. Some years must pass before my rhubarb plants will qualify as a patch but someday I'll sugar my very own rhubarb.

Rhubarb? It's almost as good, straight from the farmers market and this time of year, even, carefully picked over, the supermarket. This week's Kitchen Parade column is a kitchen lesson in how to make rhubarb jelly and rhubarb jam. In an hour, you'll have six or seven pints of rhubarb confection. Where's that column? In Kitchen Parade, of course!



Botanically, rhubarb is a vegetable. And since it suits my northern soul, rhubarb recipes show up often on both A Veggie Venture and in Kitchen Parade. How about a cinnamon-sweetened rhubarb pie? or an unusual but simple rhubarb sorbet? Or for true indulgence, consider a rhubarb cobbler or last year's favorite with my book club, a rhubarb bakewell tart.



SO WHAT IS KITCHEN PARADE, EXACTLY? Kitchen Parade is the food column that my Mom started writing for our family newspaper when I was a baby. Today it's published in my hometown newspapers in suburban St. Louis and features 'fresh seasonal recipes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences'.

Where A Veggie Venture is 'pure food blog', full of experimentation and exploration, Kitchen Parade features recipes a modern cook can count on. All are thoroughly tested by a home cook in a home kitchen and many are family and reader favorites. All recipes feature easy-to-find ingredients, clear instructions and because I believe so strongly in informed food choices, nutrition analysis and Weight Watchers points. Want to know more? Explore Kitchen Parade, including Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box!

A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Kalyn's Roasted Asparagus & Mushrooms ♥

Roasted Asparagus & Mushrooms
Fresh spring asparagus and fresh mushrooms are a magical combinations, especially when their natural earthiness is accentuated by roasting, seasoned with no more than a little salt and pepper. Delicious.

~recipe & photo updated 2011~
~more recently updated recipes~

2007: Fans of the South Beach diet (which of course starts out as a diet for losing weight, then evolves into a healthful way to eat while maintain the new weight, much the same as Weight Watchers) either already do or should know about the great food blog Kalyn's Kitchen which is packed with weight loss tips, low-carb product recommendations and of course, South Beach recipes.

Kalyn regularly features vegetables so I am often inspired by her site. Still, isn't it funny that the two recipes I've felt most drawn to both feature mushrooms? Roasted Carrots and Mushrooms with Thyme was soooo good and so is Kalyn's roasted asparagus and mushrooms! This is a total keeper!

Eggplant Caviar

A low-cal, low-carb, low-point appetizerIt's always fun to inaugurate a new cookbook, this time Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen. It's a personal and amusing look into a fellow blogger's kitchen, the charming Clotilde Dusoulier, with both both recipes and photography all her own. It's doing very well -- at this writing, it's the #206 best-selling book on Amazon! Plus last week Clotilde appeared on the Today show!

And if you like A Veggie Venture, thank Clotilde. I'm quite sure that it was her blog, Chocolate & Zucchini and one of a couple of 'famous' blogs then and now, that was my own introduction to food blogging back in 2005.

left to right, Chinese eggplant, Japanese eggplant & Indian eggplantFor this easy appetizer, I experimented with three different kinds of eggplant. Two small-ish globe eggplants (a pound apiece, not pictured) yielded less than a cup of eggplant after roasting and removing the seeds. (What's a globe eggplant? It's the 'standard' eggplant, at least my experience in American supermarkets. They typically weigh a couple of pounds and are elongated but fat, typically four or five or even six inches across the fattest part.)

So then I roasted Chinese eggplants (these are eight to ten inches in length, a couple of inches wide, one is pictured at the far left) and some Japanese eggplants (four or five inches long, about an inch wide, the smaller eggplant in the middle). The Chinese eggplant were perfect -- they yielded a pile of roasted eggplant with few seeds. The Japanese eggplant were just too small, roasting overwhelmed them. The India eggplants (small and round, on the right) I gauged too small for roasting but I'm anxious to see how they turn out in something else. Here's an excellent comparison of the types of eggplant.

NUTRITION NOTES This is a low-cal appetizer, low-point appetizer, even a great low-carb appetizer. Dig in! (Not counting the bread or chips, of course ...)



FROM THE ARCHIVES

Clotilde inspired this asparagus jam ... "good along roast pork or some other rich meat where the sweetness would contrast richness".

The Recipe Box has plenty of appetizer recipes and of course, eggplant recipes.

TWO YEARS AGO Fiddlehead ferns! ... "these were utterly delicious and so very, very pretty! Look at those curlicues!"



PRINT JUST A RECIPE! Now you can print a recipe without wasting ink and paper on the header and sidebar. Here's how.

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EGGPLANT CAVIAR

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours or overnight
Makes 2 cups

Olive oil
2 pounds eggplant, preferably Chinese, left whole (Clotilde suggests Italian eggplant which are smaller versions of the globe eggplant, or baby eggplant)
Garlic cloves, halved if large

2 tablespoons olive oil (I skipped this, accidentally)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (this creates the more pleasing 'dark' color vs the muddy gray of eggplant flesh)
Zest and juice of a lemon
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (also called Italian parsley, it has way more flavor than the 'curly' parsley that served as 'garnish' on 70s-style plates)
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, toasted in a drop of olive oil in a small skillet
Salt to taste
Pinch of chile powder

Turn oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil and mist with olive oil. Prick the eggplants all over with the tip of a knife. Then cut a slit partway into the fattest part of each eggplant and insert a piece of garlic into each one. Roast for an hour, turning after 20 minutes and 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cut along the length of each eggplant without cutting through skin on the other side. To drain 'excess liquid' from the eggplants, place slit-side down in a colander to cool. Once cool, use a knife to scrape the flesh from each eggplant, discarding the stem and skins.

In a food processor, combine the roasted eggplant with the remaining ingredients and process til smooth. Chill for an hour or overnight. Serve with crostini.



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Asparagus Omelet with Remoulade Sauce ♥

Ethereal asparagus in a simple omelet
A spring treat, roasted asparagus in an omelet, topped with a French sauce called "rémoulade" [pronounced ray-muh-LAHD].

A complaint arrived this week. "Don't you cook anything except asparagus?" Well. Um. No. Not really. At least not right now, while the local asparagus is so completely gorgeous. Gorging on one vegetable during its short season is a twist that accompanies the practice of enjoying vegetables in their season, when they're at their prime and taste the best -- and often, the least expensive, too. While supermarket imports mask the seasons, eating plant foods when they're in season creates an entirely different sense of food and time passage.

And that, my dear complainer, is why here you won't see tomatoes until July and winter squash until October. And in May? Yes, it's asparagus time! (Plus, I'm told, the local strawberries will make their first appearances at St. Louis farmers markets this morning! No more grapefruit!)

BUT: if Missouri seasons don't match your own or if you're just hungry for broccoli? The Alphabet of Vegetables is your home for finding great vegetable recipes.

Vegetables for breakfast aren't as obvious, as predictable. More likely choices: grab a bagel, fill a bowl with cereal, peel a banana, pour a cup of coffee. But especially on weekends, when there's a bit more time to spare, and because the dish is based entirely on leftovers, it made up in mere minutes. And there is something ethereal about the combination of egg, roasted asparagus and the eggy remoulade sauce.

ASPARAGUS OMELET with REMOULADE SAUCE

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 1, easily multiplied for more

Butter for skillet
2 egg whites & 1 egg, whisked til smooth and yellow
Salt & pepper
A handful of roasted asparagus, cut in small pieces (how to roast asparagus)
Remoulade sauce, gently warmed if you like (how to make remoulade sauce)

Let butter melt on medium low in a non-stick skillet. Whisk the eggs and season. Slip gently into the skillet, swirl to distribute evenly. Let edges set, just barely. Add the asparagus and let the omelet cook, gently. When it's nearly cooked, flip one half over the other and let continue to cook. Transfer to warmed plate, drizzle with remoulade. Enjoy!






A Veggie Venture is home of asparagus lover and 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006


Girlie Radish Salad ♥

Radishes, quick-cooked in the microwaveA warm welcome to 'vegetable lover' visitors from Simply Recipes, one of my own favorite websites for recipes. Here on A Veggie Venture, you'll find asparagus recipes galore, for sure -- and don't miss the gorgeous raw asparagus salad from earlier this week! But if there's something else in your frig, check the Alphabet of Vegetables for ideas. Chances are, you'll find the perfect recipe there, too. Look around, let me know what you think. I'm happy you're here! ~ The 'Veggie Evangelist', Alanna

Oops, so there is no radish called 'girlie'. But aren't the colors -- pink, purple, red and white -- just gorgeous and ever so teenage girlie?

I set out for a recipe that would preserve the beautiful colors but still cook the radishes. Call my search half successful: the radishes cooked too long in the microwave too long; less time would likely preserve more color.

The microwave? Yes! These radishes are cooked in the microwave! And the taste is truly extraordinary, creating something entirely different than the bite of raw radish. Very good ... and a great side dish, too, if not a salad.

Many thanks to the husband-wife growers at Farrar Out Farm, who show up at my hometown Kirkwood Farmers market every week with fresh produce like my 'girlie radishes' plus eggs and pasture-raised Berkshire pork that I plan to try, soon!



FROM THE ARCHIVES Til now, I've only cooked radish once but there are several radish salad recipes in the Recipe Box. For an easy make-ahead appetizer, there's no beating the surprising easy easy radish spread.

TWO YEARS AGO Fiddlehead Ferns, ... "utterly delicious and so very, very pretty"



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GIRLIE RADISH SALAD

Hands-on time: 15 minutes (5 minutes for just the radishes)
Time to table: 15 minutes (10 minutes for just the radishes)
Serves 4

1 pound radishes (or fewer, this is easy enough to cook 1 serving)
1 teaspoon good vinegar (red wine or malt, as I used today)
1 tablespoon butter (or leftover blender hollandaise, as today)
Salt & pepper to taste (I skipped this)
Parsley to taste (I skipped this)

Salad greens
Radish or daikon sprouts

Trim radishes. Cut in half, lengthwise (to show off more color); the pieces should be equivalent in size so small ones need not be cut, extra large radishes might be quartered. Place in a large microwave dish with vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and cook til done. (Six minutes was too long in my mike for six radishes but it's the time specified for a pound by the recipe.) Toss with butter, seasonings and parsley. Re-cover and cook for 1 more minute.

Meanwhile, wash/dry greens and arrange sprouts. Top with warm radishes and serve immediately.




A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Celeriac Remoulade ♥

Rémoulade, simple to make, versatile to use, delicious to eat!I can't say I set out to make homemade rémoulade.

What? You know, [ray-muh-LAHD], the 'classic French sauce made by combining mayonnaise (usually homemade) with mustard, capers and chopped gherkins, herbs and anchovies'. Thank you, Epicurious!

Heaven knows, I'm happy with shortcuts. But inspired by My French Cuisine's recipe for a celeriac salad recipe bookmarked ages ago, nothing could have been easier!

Recording the recipe here, I see that the chopped hard-boiled egg should be added AFTER the other ingredients are whizzed in the blender. Oops. But I'll tell you: what I loved most about this completely delicious sauce was the underlying egg flavor. I'd repeat the same "error" in a heartbeat.

And if you can't find or aren't interested in celeriac (aka celery root) don't worry. The sauce is itself is simply gorgeous. Essentially it's a mustard-y homemade mayonnaise. It was completely delicious over a light-supper asparagus omelet but it's easy to imagine it with fish, drizzled over steamed leeks, even in an unusual (for the States) cabbage coleslaw. I used about half with the celeriac salad, leaving plenty to experiment with.

BLANCHING Other recipes for celeriac salad call for blanching. My new favorite kitchen tool -- yes, the benriner -- cuts julienne pieces so fine that blanching isn't necessary. For today's salad, just to see, I did blanch the celeriac for 1 minute, though I didn't with this celeriac slaw. The taste and texture were the same.

NUTRITION NOTES Estelle says to use 1 or 2 cups of canola oil -- or "as much as you want". I started with 1/4 cup of oil, then slowly added what turned into another 1/4 cup. With the addition of more vinegar, that was perfect for me. So feel free to adjust to your own taste!

CAUTION If you worry about raw egg and salmonella, this recipe isn't for you - check the recipes below that call for commercial mayonnaise. In addition, this dish and any leftovers should be refrigerated promptly.



FROM THE ARCHIVES See all the celeriac recipes in Recipe Box.

TWO YEARS AGO Green Beans with "Doctored Butter"

GREAT FOOD BLOGS enjoying CELERIAC REMOULADE
Simply Recipes ... Celery Root Salad (no raw egg, suggests addition of grated apple, an idea I love)
Nami-Nami ... Celeriac Salad (no raw egg)
StephenCooks ... Celeriac Rémoulade (no raw egg)



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CELERIAC RÉMOULADE

See My French Cuisine's inspiring recipe
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes (though Estelle advises to refrigerate overnight for the flavors to meld)
Serves 4

1 pound celeriac
Capers (or gherkins)

DRESSING - use about half of this for the salad
1 hard-boiled egg (how to cook hard-boiled eggs)
1 raw egg
2 tablespoons good mustard (Estelle calls for Dijon)
1 teaspoon good vinegar (I used about 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar)
Canola oil (Estelle calls for 1 - 2 cups, I used 1/2 cup)
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh tarragon (I didn't have any but think it would be lovely)

Slice off the skin of the celeriac (it's too big a job for a vegetable peeler). Cut into a fine julienne (or you could use the grated on a food processor, too, even a hand grater, using the largest holes). If you like, blanch in boiling salted water but it should remain crunchy.

In a blender, whiz the eggs, mustard and vinegar til smooth. With the blender running, pour a thin stream of oil into the blender, allowing to 'emulsify' (create a creamy, airy mixture). Taste, adjust mustard, vinegar and oil and add seasoning and tarragon to taste.

Toss ABOUT HALF the dressing with the celeriac. Toss in capers (or gherkins).



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Gorgeous Raw Asparagus Salad ♥ A Simple Asparagus Recipe

Today's vegetable salad: An easy salad, made with thin spears of raw, yes raw! asparagus, then tossed in a simple vinaigrette. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point.

Regular readers know that a certain 'veggie evangelist' is prone to rhapsodizing about vegetables. But -- oh my -- how did I ever miss raw asparagus?

The inspiration for raw asparagus came from the lovely food blog Kitchenography, who recently made a mâche salad with raw asparagus, pistachios and Parmesan (how great does that sound?!).

I didn't follow that recipe nor any other, but instead tossed together my own raw asparagus salad and then slipped it into arugula and mixed greens from the Maplewood farmers market. (Thank you, Schlaffly Beer, for hosting a mid-week market! For St. Louisans, it's held on Wednesdays, 4 - 7 pm at the Schlaffly microbrewery in downtown Maplewood.) But I'm ever grateful to Julie for turning me onto the idea of raw asparagus.


This raw asparagus salad is kid friendly! Here's my seven-year old neighbor learning to 'snap' asparagus like a pro. She then whisked the dressing, tasting each ingredient we added. When we sat down to taste, she declared our asparagus salad "good"!







GORGEOUS RAW ASPARAGUS SALAD

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

Salad greens for four

1 pound thin spears of fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons good olive oil (1 tablespoon if you're not dressing greens, too)
1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
Zest of a lemon, preferably in strips (vs fluffy stuff from a Microplane), reserving a few strips for garnish, if desired
Salt & pepper to taste

Wash and tear the greens. Spin dry (do you use a salad spinner? I love mine!) or tamp gently with paper towels. (Why do we want dry greens? So the dressing will adhere evenly.)

Wash the asparagus well, especially the tips where grit can accumulate. After washing, place on a double layer of paper towels to siphon off water. (This is so the oil/vinegar dressing can adhere.) Snap off the woody ends and discard. Line up the tips of as many asparagus as you can manage, cut off the tips. (Use these in the salad itself or save for something else where the tips are so coveted.) Cut the asparagus in tiny bits, maybe 1/8 or 1/4 inch lengths.

Whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, lemon zest (don't forget to reserve a few for garnish). Stir in the asparagus. Toss the asparagus with the greens. Serve immediately.


KITCHEN NOTES
It's likely that an over-the-top-good raw asparagus salad is dependent on the right collection of ingredients: very fresh tiny-thin spears of asparagus, great olive oil, great balsamic vinegar. To my taste, as well, the lemon zest is essential.
The asparagus bits do tend to drop to the bottom of the salad bowl so if presentation is important, think about dressing the greens separately, arranging on plates and then topping each plate with the raw asparagus -- and a few strips of lemon zest, for extra prettiness!
UPDATE Try adding some sliced strawberries and going heavy on the pepper: double gorgeous!

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© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007


Asparagus Eggs Benedict ♥

A bit of a production but world-class resultsIt takes some juggling to keep all the pots moving for asparagus eggs benedict. I'd recommend a helper and/or cooking for just a few. But still, it's decidedly delicious, a great way to cook skinny spears of asparagus and use up homemade hollandaise.

The asparagus were so fresh and so small that once chopped, they quick-quick sauteed in butter in just a flash, maybe five minutes. Even if you're not interested in the fuss and calories of English muffins, Canadian bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise, still, try the asparagus all by themselves -- very very good!

WEIGHT WATCHERS ENGLISH MUFFINS
On a lark, I tried the Weight Watchers brand of English muffins. Harrrummph. They were cardboard-tasting AND pricey -- $3.59 vs $1.79 for Trader Joe's whole wheat English muffins (I love these!) and $1.99 for Bay's English muffins (long-time favorites). The only upside is that the Weight Watchers muffins add up to 1 point, the others to 2. But the real difference is minimal: 30 calories and 1 1/2 fat grams. Talk about "less is definitely more" and not in a good way.



FROM THE ARCHIVES Vegetables for breakfast? Of course, the Recipe Box!



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ASPARAGUS EGGS BENEDICT

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


MAKE THE HOMEMADE HOLLANDAISE
How to make hollandaise sauce in the blender

SET UP THE TOASTER with ENGLISH MUFFINS
4 English muffins, toasted and (if you like) buttered

ASPARAGUS
1 pound skinny asparagus
1 tablespoon butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Wash the asparagus and snap off the woody ends. Cut into 1/4 inch pieces and saute in butter a skillet til just done.

HOW TO POACH EGGS
In a large shallow skillet, bring salted water and a splash of vinegar (which helps the whites set) to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Carefully slip four eggs into the water (it helps to drop them in small bowls beforehand, then gently slip into the water) and let cook, using a spoon to ladle water over the tops if needed. Cook til just done. (With liquid or soft centers, the eggs will not be fully cooked and so shouldn't be served to anyone concerned about raw eggs or salmonella.) Remove with a slotted spoon, draining well.

ASSEMBLE - per SERVING, bottom to top
Half an English muffin
Canadian bacon, sliced thin
Asparagus
Poached egg
Hollandaise sauce



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Celebrating the Sweet Strawberries of Spring ♥

My great-grandfather kept a strawberry patch of local acclaim in a sunny corner spot. In my mind, he bends low behind a white picket fence, wearing dusky dungarees and a buttoned-up shirt. His hands are gnarled with arthritis but he tends the plants with deftness. Some perfect day in late spring, he brushes soil from the first berry of the season, lifting it to the sun for visual inspection, then pop! it stains his lips as he begins the ultimate flavor test.

And so the three quick and easy strawberry desserts featured in this week's Kitchen Parade column are worthy of the very best strawberries, the ones plucked straight from the lovingly tended plants, the local berries found at the farmers market.

Yes, three recipes, all simple. A gorgeous strawberry banana chocolate -- yes, all three! -- crumble that roasts into fruity chocolatey goodness, each flavor distinct, the blend something beyond measure. And my variation of the classic strawberry fool, just berries and cream spiked with orange. And something so spare and sweet in its elegance, nothing but wine and strawberries and slim strips of lemon zest.

Ah, strawberries, we celebrate your sweet spring. Where's that strawberry column? Kitchen Parade, of course.



SO WHAT IS KITCHEN PARADE, EXACTLY? Kitchen Parade is the food column that my Mom started writing for our family newspaper when I was a baby. Today it's published in my hometown newspapers in suburban St. Louis and features 'fresh seasonal recipes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences'.

Where A Veggie Venture is 'pure food blog', full of experimentation and exploration, Kitchen Parade features recipes a modern cook can count on. All are thoroughly tested by a home cook in a home kitchen and many are family and reader favorites. All recipes feature easy-to-find ingredients, clear instructions and because I believe so strongly in informed food choices, nutrition analysis and Weight Watchers points. Want to know more? Explore Kitchen Parade, including Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box!



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Quick Salad: Celeriac Slaw ♥

What grace a benriner delivers!Talk about a serendipity salad! This simple salad made from raw celeriac is delicious!

At Soulard Market, the local offerings are slim at the moment, thanks to four days of very hard-freeze in April. To make their trips worthwhile, Soulard's real farmers are adding imported produce to their own limited supplies (unlike the Market's many produce vendors who sell only outside produce year-round).

Kruse Gardens is one of my favorite stops at Soulard, a regular source of organic, locally grown and unusual vegetables in St. Louis. I really enjoy Earl and Arlene (whose 50th wedding anniversary I was happy to share last year!) and son Steve, who for 13 years has greeted me with a big smile. And I'm struck by how different the Kruse's add-ons are different from the produce vendors' regular fare.

Take big knobs of celeriac. (Yes, you'll want to! Grab one now!) They're fat and plump and alive-looking, despite their rough, knobby exterior -- compared to the celeriac at the grocery that always seem dry and shriveled and entirely unappetizing. So I picked one up, not sure what to do with it. By the time supper arrived, I had about 15 minutes to spare so decided to pull out the benriner.

Amazing -- a celeriac slaw! And sooo simple. Just the celeriac, lime juice and/or good vinegar, a little oil, sugar, salt and pepper. I can see why people like 'raw' food.



FROM THE ARCHIVES See the Recipe Box for other recipes and ideas for what to do with celeriac. There's only one recipe at the moment, but given this slaw, there will soon be more!

TWO YEARS AGO Asparagus Jam ... "good along roast pork or some other rich meat where the sweetness would contrast richness", from Chocolate & Zucchini!



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CELERIAC SLAW

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

1 pound celeriac / celery knob / celery root
Juice of a lime (the zest would be good, too)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil (use the good stuff for this)
Sugar to taste (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
Salt & pepper to taste
Leaves from celery, chopped

Slice off the exterior of the celeriac (just use a knife, it's too big a job for a vegetable peeler). Use the benriner to cut thin-thin-thin ribbons. (If you want to use a knife for this, slice off the thinnest bit you can manage and taste it. If it's small enough to be edible, raw, than carry on. But if it's not, you might want to cook the celeriac before proceeding.) Add the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Steamed Leeks with Chopped Eggs ♥

Steamed leeks are great!Cleaning the leeks, I wondered, what does raw leek taste like? So I tasted a bit: Whoooah, talk about serious onion flavor, not entirely pleasant.

But cooked? What a difference! Steamed leeks are sweet and buttery and entirely delicious, with great leek flavor but not onion-y at all.

LEEKY HUMOR True story. From my dear Auntie Karen, who's inspired and encouraged and occasionally butt-kicked me since I was seven and happily, my Uncle Ed married her into the family. (Imagine a seven-year old's swoon at the romance of a young, hip and oh-so-cool new aunt sweeping the floors of a Michigan town hall in a wedding dress.) I digress. She shared this in April: "A short note about my own veggie adventure. I wasn't that familiar with leeks, so decided to give them a try. I went to my grocery, found leeks. One bunch was small and one bunch was large, and both were the same price. So, if I'm paying 2.00 per package I'm going to get the best. The veggie guy wasn't around, so I went to the deli (figured they worked with food and would know everything about leeks). I held up the two packages and asked her if she knew something about leeks? She smiled, and replied no but my husband is a plumber! Talk about a veggie adventure! Only Auntie K could run into this."

HOW TO CLEAN LEEKS Leeks collect grit while growing so need careful cleaning. First, cut off the root end, then peel one or two layers of tough outer leaves. (Washed well, these outer leaves can be saved for leek stock, which is quite delicious, or saved in the freezer in a collection bag with other vegetable trimmings for adding to stock later.) Then slice off the leaves just at the point where they turn dark. (This is what recipes mean when call for "leeks, white and light-green parts only".) Now halve the leek lengthwise, then gently separate the whorls, still keeping them together with your fingers, however, and wash well under running water. Slice as needed. NEW TIP Now take a look at the big section of dark leaves you set aside. If you peel back a layer or two of the dark leaves in this section, you'll find still more white and light-green parts for steaming or cooking.

KITCHEN NOTES
  • The only 'hard' thing about this recipe is figuring out how to steam a vegetable that needs to lie flat. I placed a collapsible metal steamer inside a covered skillet - spread flat, it worked like a charm!
  • The leeks are delicious but the sauce only good, not special. Plus the balsamic vinegar makes the color 'off'; next time I'll use a white wine vinegar or even a white balsamic vinegar. I'd also be tempted to drizzle with just a simple vinaigrette, like my favorite salad dressing.
  • Even after steaming, some of the outer leaves were more chewy than really edible. These were easy enough to leave on the plate but for company, I might try "big" leeks but steam only a one- to two-inch core.
MONTHLY MINGLE: SPRING IS in the AIR
This is my first (finally!) entry into the Monthly Mingle at What's for Lunch Honey, a blog written by 'world-citizen' Meeta who lives in Germany. (Perhaps my only disappointment in blogging is that Meeta traveled to St. Louis last year and we didn't get to meet! Another year, let's hope!) This month, Meeta has challenged us to cook something 'springy'. Steamed leeks are definitely springy!



FROM THE ARCHIVES The Recipe Box has plenty of leek recipes.



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STEAMED LEEKS with CHOPPED EGGS

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

2 leeks, trimmed and cleaned (see above for How to Clean Leeks)

Bring water to a boil in a steaming vessel large enough to hold leeks flat. Place leeks in steamer, cover and steam for about 10 minutes. With tongs, lift from steamer and arrange on platter.

SAUCE (enough for perhaps 8 leeks)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine or white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon good mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I used low-fat Hellmann's)
Salt to taste

2 tablespoons capers
1 hard-cooked egg, mashed with a fork (how to boil eggs)

While leeks steam, whisk the dressing ingredients. (If you stop here, you could put the dressing in a squeeze bottle to drizzle across the leeks. You could also mix in the capers and egg.) Drizzle dressing across leeks, then sprinkle with capers and chopped egg.



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007

Asparagus with Blender Hollandaise ♥ A Spring Classic

Asparagus with Blender Hollandaise, another classic vegetable recipe ♥ A Veggie Venture
graphic button small size size 10 A rarity around here, what's special about today's recipe isn't the vegetable asparagus itself but what goes on the asparagus. It's hollandaise, one of the classic French sauces which, no doubt, you've had before, it's the sauce that gets draped over eggs Benedict. Drizzled over asparagus, hollandaise is a seasonal spring classic. Here's how to make hollandaise sauce in, of all things, a blender! Low Carb. Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. graphic button small size size 10

Aiii, my friends. Bow down to the elixir of spring that is hollandaise, the lemon goodness that drapes itself over asparagus and is so captivatingly delicious that you may be tempted to sip it from a glass in order to savor every last buttery drop. Yes, homemade hollandaise sauce is that good!

So how did a home cook known for shortcuts set off to make hollandaise, one of the five sauces of French cuisine? Well, it is the classic sauce for fresh asparagus. Shouldn't this Veggie Evangelist worth her asparagus at least try, yes?

So I was all prepared to make "real hollandaise" with a double boiler and whisk and about 30 minutes of tedium loving attention. Then slow-cook StephenCooks shared the recipe for Julia Childs' blender hollandaise – no whisking required. You know, a shortcut!

I was then all prepared to make "blender hollandaise" only to discover the kitchen was plumb out of lemons. Stephen nixed the idea of substituting vinegar for lemon juice (I know, sorry ... bad choice) so I proceeded with the next-best in-house substitute, grapefruit – the grapefruit hollandaise was good enough, for sure.

A few days later, I made another batch of hollandaise – all in the name of research, I assure you – this time with the traditional fresh lemon.

And so now I know – and you, too – that hollandaise simply must-must-must be made with fresh lemon juice. No shortcuts or substitutions on the fruit front! You see, hollandaise is really truly only hollandaise when it bears the stamp of bright fruitiness that is lemon. (Well except, as Stephen later suggested afterward, unless you migrate to fresh lime ...)

CAUTION #1 When hollandaise is made in a blender, the eggs do not cook. If you are wary of salmonella or raw eggs, this recipe is not for you. That said, my friend Linda tells me that a credible hollandaise can be made with pasteurized eggs.

CAUTION #2 Because of the raw eggs, leftovers should be refrigerated very promptly and used within a day or so.

LEFTOVERS This recipe makes about 3/4 cup of hollandaise. How much we drink in Vegas – I mean, use on the asparagus – stays in Vegas. (But really, you'll want only a tablespoon or two per serving of asparagus.) But leftover hollandaise is a plus! It turns a plain omelet into heaven plus there are eggs Benedict, of course. Or toss nearly any cooked vegetable with a tablespoon of hollandaise and oooooo, yes. Or substitute hollandaise for butter/mayonnaise in sandwiches. Or top a grilled steak. My favorite so far, however, is just dipping raw asparagus into the chilled hollandaise: heaven. A certain favorite seven-year old also declared this "yummy".

HOW TO REWARM HOLLANDAISE A gentle warming is key, otherwise the egg cooks and the texture becomes more corduroy than satin. I had no luck in the microwave, a double boiler is likely to work. Any ideas, all?

MAKE HOLLANDAISE WITH HIGH-FAT BUTTER I haven't tried this yet but my favorite chef and friend Anne Cori suggests using a high-fat European-style butter for hollandaise since there will be fewer milk "solids". CLARIFICATION from the Chef, answering Stephen's question in the comments: "Butter is naturally 82% butterfat. But the U.S. government sets the minimum at 80% so many manufacturers add water to their butter; these butters add too much water to hollandaise. So, we can clarify the butter, that is, we can remove the water. But most people find that clarifying butter is a pain. So instead of clarifying, just use a butter that is at least 82% butterfat, such as Plugra (made in U.S.) or the Land O' Lakes 82% butter. (Be aware that other specialty butters may or may not have the 82% fat.) In addition, whole butter tastes better since the milk solids, especially when cultured, contribute to flavor. Clarified butter tastes only like fat, although it is my favorite fat."

LIVE STRONG: A TASTE of YELLOW
This is my "yellow" contribution to an event hosted by Winos & Foodies of New Zealand. Barbara is a long-time food blogger and lives with cancer. A Taste of Yellow is her way to mark the Lance Armstrong's Foundation's Live Strong Day on May 16th. Read more and make a donation to the foundation. (Sadly, Barbara passed away in 2012. She blogged up until the last few weeks of her life.) And if you ever wonder about the world-wide community of food blogging, here I am, cooking with asparagus grown in the middle of America, participating in an event hosted in New Zealand, joining cooks from all over the world. THIS is why we blog.

St. Louis Restaurant Reviews: Liluma for a Late-Night Bite

Welcome to the latest in an occasional series of St. Louis restaurant reviews and sound-offs from my friend, the Foodie Patootie. It's an A- recommendation for Liluma in the Central West End. Enjoy!

After attending an evening lecture, my husband and I recently stopped in at Liluma in the CWE for a late night bite and were pleased to learn that they indeed offer light bites as well as entrees. Diners are welcome – and encouraged – to eat as they please and need not feel guilty when ordering a couple of appetizers to serve as the entire meal.

My husband ordered the Liluma Soup: this night it was a delicately Smoked Tomato Bisque ($5) with a swirl of basil pesto and it was awesome. That was followed by a great-tasting Tagliatelle Ragu Bolognese ($7) consisting of pasta ribbons with a very thin, light, yet rich (if you can imagine this combination possible) sauce of tomatoes and ground beef.

I enjoyed my Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls ($5) which were hot and crispy on the outside and filled with soft, almost pureed vegetables on the inside, served with a sweet chili sauce that our waiter warned might be too spicy hot for me – but wasn’t. I also ordered Orecchiettte – Cauliflower and Guanciale ($7): the orecchiette (“little ears” in Italian) were wonderful and I loved the way the little discs felt in my mouth, but the dish had waaaay too much oil and not enough cauliflower; guanciale, made from the jowls of the pig, is supposed to be a delicious bacon-like product that enhances almost any dish, but here it was thick cubes of fat – though tasty and salty, greasy and clearly not healthy so I set most of them aside.

Our waiter touted the side of Asparagus, Blue Cheese and Prosciutto ($7) saying it would be enough for two, but was only enough for one; and we were really surprised it was served cold, not hot. It was just OK - the asparagus were drizzled with a nice balsamic dressing but the prosciutto slices were too think, making the whole dish difficult to chew.

The bread served was made with tasteless white flour and accompanied by a large, thick triangle of butter.

FOODIE PATOOTIE SOUND-OFF
Everyone reading out there, I have a suggestion: we should always request whole grain bread, and when informed that the restaurant doesn’t serve any, we need to state our preference for a healthier bread choice – and that it should be served with healthy olive oil, not butter. Maybe, just maybe, if enough of us continually request more healthful bread choices, restaurants will start to get the message.


Liluma offers Quarantinos of wine – said to be about 1/3 of a bottle (8 oz.) - served in darling little glass carafes. We selected a yummy Merlot that gave each of us a healthy pour - and a healthy glow - for $11.

FOODIE PATOOTIE SOUND-OFF
I returned to Liluma last week, this time by myself and was dismayed to learn that wine is not sold by the glass, only by quarantino. Yikes! If I drank eight ounces of wine, then drove myself home, it would be dangerous, we could all be arrested. It's a shame, really. I would've loved just a glass of red wine and think Liluma is doing single diners a BIG disservice: why should I be tempted to drink twice as much as is safe (and as I'd like) just because I'm alone?


Liluma is owned by the same people that own The Crossing in Clayton – and a new sibling, Acero, just opened in Maplewood. With Liluma’s hors d’oeuvres ranging from $5-7, pastas from $7-8, and sides from $4-7, we will definitely return for a late-night bite – albeit choosing different dishes from the menu.

Foodie Patootie
The Foodie Patootie lives, cooks and sounds off at home in St. Louis County with her husband. She has been on and off Weight Watchers for years, counts Points in her sleep, and works hard to eat healthfully both at home and off restaurant menus. When she 'sounds off' about restaurant practices, is she alone and full of it? or does she represent a silent majority? Sound off yourself, just leave a comment!

The Foodie Patootie previously reviewed Sofia Bistro, Brio's Tuscan Grille and Mihalis Chop House.




Liluma
238 North Euclid (Euclid & Maryland)

314-361-7771

Monday – Thursday 11 am – 9 pm
Friday – Saturday 11 am – 10 pm
Closed Sunday

Learn More About Liluma

See how Sauce's Readers Rate Liluma.

Bubble & Squeak ♥

A Veggie Venture is hardly known for 'haute cuisine'. But some time in the last few months, I recognized -- then accepted, soon relished -- that my food style is that of a home cook, a curious home cook perhaps, a Midwestern home cook likely, but always, a home cook.

In part, the understanding comes from friendship with Karen from FamilyStyle Food, who in her early years of cooking, aspired to be the next Alice Waters. (Alice Waters? If you've not heard of her, as I hadn't til the last three or four years, you may be a home cook too!) Last month, Karen shared how she's always wanted to cook a suckling lamb on a spit -- and I realized it's never once occurred to me that one might roast a whole lamb, let alone a suckling lamb, let alone to make it a life dream. It made me laugh ...

And it makes me realize that even when we're curious about new foods, actively seeking out new recipes, new cuisines, even when we stretch ourselves with new ingredients and new flavor profiles, even when we tackle something harder (or sublimely authentic) than we have before, we still have our own comfortable spaces, the ones we return to most often, the ones that define the kind of cooks we are.

Is this too rhapsodic? Isn't it just supper? It is. But I'd love to know if/how readers define their cooking styles ...



And finally! With no further ado, I proudly present the home-iest (and perhaps homely-est) of home foods, fried potatoes and cabbage -- and share that taste-wise, especially with a liberal dose of ketchup, it sent the table over the moon. The British call this "bubble and squeak" and there are no fewer than 41 "recipes" for it at Cooks.com, each one different, and none on the major food magazines. THAT speaks volumes.

The one requirement is potatoes, often mashed, with any luck leftover. Cabbage is next on the ingredient list though some variations add or substitute other vegetables. Many include Sunday's leftover roast -- as did mine, ham.

And then it's all cooked up in a skillet. If you add lots of fat, you'll get a heavenly crust -- since I can't bear to use that much fat, next time I'll see if (1) a non-stick skillet helps, also (2) a skillet placed on top and weighted with a couple of big cans of tomatoes.

The bottom line is, if you're a home cook, this belongs in the repertoire, hmm, too fancy a word? yes, a place on the menu.

KITCHEN NOTES
  • It's easy to overdo the starch here, I used a 1:1 ratio of potato:cabbage and would go so far as 1:2.
  • This is a great way to use up leftover ham or leftover corned beef but meatless would be great, too. Potatoes and cabbage are the stars.
  • Breakfast food? You bet!
  • Does ketchup qualify as garnish? I do believe!



FROM THE ARCHIVES The Recipe Box has plenty of potato recipes. Sorta-kinda similar are the potato okra curry and the warm potato salad.



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BUBBLE & SQUEAK

Hands-on time: 45 minutes if you're starting from scratch, less if you have leftovers/planned-overs
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4 as main dish, 8 as side dish

Salted water to cover both potatoes and cabbage
1 pound Yukon gold or other potatoes, peels on, cubed small (to cook faster) (or cooked potato)
1/2 medium cabbage, in large wedges (or cooked cabbage)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 a white onion, diced
1/2 pound cooked ham, diced

Bring the salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes as they're prepped, the cabbage on top. Cover and let cook til potatoes are done. Remove cabbage wedges and chop. Drain potatoes.

In a large skillet, heat the oil til shimmery. Add the onion and cook til just beginning to brown. Add the cooked potatoes, cabbage and ham and stir to distribute. With a fork or spatula, mash the potatoes a bit, then press mixture into the pan to form a large 'pancake'. Let cook til edges brown or mixture is heated through. Transfer to serving plates, drizzle elegantly with ketchup, serve and enjoy.



A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007