Pumpkin Pudding ♥

A rustic pumpkin puddingBoo! Happy Halloween, everyone!

So here in America, we have our Road Food and our too ubiquitous drive-through food. But except in major urban centers (and in my own experience, only in New York), we have virtually no Street Food, you know, impermanent push carts and open-air stalls, quick windows and roadside stands where people line up because, well, there's just no not joining a crowd that knows from experience that at the front of the line is cheap, hearty and delicious food worth the line and the wait.

So when the publisher of Street Food by Tom Kime sent a review copy, I found myself moving straight to the front of imaginary lines in places like India and Sri Lanka, southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, southern Europe, even the Middle East and north Africa. Ah! the adventure of it, the surprises found! The book is beautifully constructed, part travelogue (with plenty of stops for sustenance) by country but organized into must-cook-now categories like 'best in a bowl', 'finger food' and 'breads, pizzas and savory pastries'.

And - aha! - it includes so many fascinating vegetable recipes, it's some surprise that yes, today, it's 'dessert first'. But if ever there were a reason to start with dessert and only maybe leaving room for something else? Yummm, it's pumpkin pudding. (And besides, it's Halloween. And besides that, I've been roasting pumpkins again -- for anyone who's interested in this, I've updated my How to Roast a Whole Pumpkin post because I've had both good and bad experiences.) It's a rustic pudding, not smooth and ethereal like a pot de creme or a flan but yes, worth the line and the wait.

NEXT TIME I'll go easy on the cloves, they overpowered the other spices and the pumpkin too.

KITCHEN NOTES
I can't imagine making this with canned pumpkin. Use roasted butternut squash or roasted pumpkin. Make sure the roasted flesh tastes good before proceeding. Otherwise, sorry, make something else.
I made this in both quarter-cup and half-cup ramekins. To my taste, with a small dollop of whipped cream, the smaller ones were plenty, the larger ones decadent. And if you're a Weight Watcher, skip the cream, go with the small portion -- it's a one-point dessert, a rarity.
The recipe says that one large single pudding can be made, with the cooking time increase to 1 hour, 20 minutes.
The custard is cooked in what is called a 'hot water bath'. Just find an oven-safe dish that can hold all the ramekins or your pudding dish with some room to breathe. I used a 9x13 pan and a pie pan, they fit in the oven side-by-side just fine. You'll fill the ramekins, arrange them in the pan, then fill the outer pan half-way up the sides with boiling water, then put into the oven. The technique helps the custard cook evenly and stay creamy.



TOMORROW! is November 1 and it's finally time to start sharing all the Thanksgiving vegetable recipes I've collected over the last few (butter-heavy, cream-laden, cheese-rich) few weeks. If you're here for Weight Watchers recipes, I promise, each recipe will include nutrition information so at least we can 'know' the damage before biting in. And much to my surprise, with small portion sizes, many of the recipes have fewer calories and points than you might expect. And never fear, after Thanksgiving, it'll be back to normal around here, with plenty of quick 'n' easy vegetable recipes with no points and low carbs. I promise.



VEGETABLE RECIPES from the ARCHIVES

~ more pumpkin recipes ~

~ one year ago this week Warm Root Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette ~
~ two years ago today Pumpkin Pepita Bread ~


PUMPKIN PUDDING

Hands-on time: 30 minutes (assumes the pumpkin is already roasted and puréed)
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 3 1/2 cups of custard (enough for 14 quarter-cup ramekins or 7 half-cup ramekins; easily halved

1 1/2 cups roasted and puréed pumpkin or butternut squash
1 cup half & half (or 1/2 cup whole milk and 1/2 cup cream)

4 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar (the recipe called for another 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (too much for my taste, I'd cut in half)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Put on water to boil for the hot water bath.

In a medium bowl, gently stir together the pumpkin and half & half.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and 1/4 cup brown sugar til pale and thick, a couple of minutes. Beat in the remaining sugar, the spices and the salt. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the egg mixture - gently, you don't want to deflate the airiness.

Butter ramekins or a baking dish, then fill with the custard mixture. (The mixture won't expand so you can go as high as you like.) Place into a larger baking dish, fill the outer dish with boiling water just til it reaches halfway up the sides of the filled ramekins. Carefully put into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes (for small ramekins and up to 80 minutes for one large dish. I'd check occasionally, however, with a knife or toothpick inserted into the center, once it comes out clean, the custard is cooked.



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

NEVER MISS A RECIPE! For 'home delivery' of new recipes from A Veggie Venture, sign up here. Once you do, new recipes will be delivered, automatically, straight to your e-mail In Box.




Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007


Greens 'n' All Beet Soup ♥

A gorgeous bowl of soup, with no waste since it includes the beets, the stems and the greensOkay, confession time. When fresh beets come home with me, more times than not, the greens go to waste. (I know!) All my good intentions get soft around the edges and then turn to a stinky gooey mess -- just like the greens themselves, rotting in the produce bin.

So this recipe that combines both the greens and the beets in a single soup? Yes, it got my attention. The added bonus? The stems are used too!

And I'm so glad -- the soup is entirely delicious. The greens are there but honestly, what you're paying attention to is those beet batons. And since it cooks only just until the vegetables are tender to the tooth, it's nothing at all like my recipe for traditional borscht, even last summer's cold and creamy borscht.

FERGUSON FARMERS MARKET For St. Louisans: The beets came from the Ferguson Farmers Market in North County, which the Riverfront Times recently named as the 'best farmers market in St. Louis'. I've only been once but really liked it. The 'farmers' are better described as 'growers' -- they live nearby and keep gardens of maybe three or four acres. Parking is easy, it's dog friendly (important, people!) and the craft and kids booths were lots of fun. Every 30 minutes, they were raffling off something, I never did figure out what but it added to the fun. Vegetable-wise, late in the season, I came home with piles of peppers, some gorgeous beans, green tomatoes, two kinds of turnips, the beets, an eggplant or two. The prices seem "way" more reasonable than my experience this year at Tower Grove, Maplewood, (especially) Clayton and even my own hometown market, Kirkwood. I spent $8 and change for everything (and more) in this photo -- at my other markets, $8 doesn't go far. It's a hike for me, north of UMSL and I70, but worth an occasional trip. Still, is Ferguson the best farmers market in St. Louis? Hmm. I'll go so far as to say that it just may well deserve the title of St. Louis' best neighborhood farmers market.

HOW to CLEAN & STORE GREENS Just home from the market, I felt so homemaker-ish, cleaning all these vegetables, washing all the greens. But it really worked -- three days later, when I was ready to make the soup, the greens were in near-perfect condition. Here's what I did: I soaked them in cool water in the sink for a few minutes, sloshing them around every once in awhile to loosen dirt. Then I rinsed them under running water, making sure to get water into the crevices. I threw away a few leaves, ones that were already soft. I let them drain in a colander for maybe an hour, then slipped them into a plastic bag but didn't close it tightly, then refrigerated. This worked like a charm -- but I'd appreciate readers' tips, too, if you have them.



VEGETABLE RECIPES from the ARCHIVES

~ more beet recipes ~

including these favorites
~ Beet Pesto ~
~ Beets with Feta ~

~ one year ago this week Warm Root Salad in Horseradish Vinaigrette ~
~ two years ago today Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup ~

GREENS 'N' ALL BEET SOUP

Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Makes 10 cups

6 cups beef stock (I used cubes & water)

1 bay leaf
2 pounds fresh beets, including about 8 small to medium beets plus their greens and stems
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 medium red cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 carrots, cut on the diagonal (I used 1 cup, next time will do two)
15 ounces canned diced tomatoes (whoops! missed this -- and I don't think I'd use it another time, it would change the total concentration of beet flavor, I think)
1/4 cup fresh dill, just the feathery parts, stems removed
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice or a gentle vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)

In the microwave, bring the beef stock to a boil. (I do this in the microwave in two-cup increments. The step can be skipped if you're not in a hurry, it speeds up the cooking just a tad.) Add it to a very large pot or Dutch oven as it's hot. Add the bay leaf.

Trim the root and stem ends off the beets. Peel with a vegetable peeler, then cut into slices, then into batons. Add to the pot. Trim the stems, cut into maybe 1/2-inch lengths and add to the pot. Chop the greens -- but put these aside for the moment.

Add the onion, cabbage, tomatoes, dill, salt and pepper to the pot. Add the greens. (Much to my surprise, this didn't overcook the greens at all.) Bring to a boil, cover, adjust heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes til beets are the desired texture.

Stir in the sugar and lemon juice or vinegar. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt and fresh dill -- then lap it up!



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

NEVER MISS A RECIPE! For 'home delivery' of new recipes from A Veggie Venture, sign up here. Once you do, new recipes will be delivered, automatically, straight to your e-mail In Box.




Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007


Kitchen Parade Extra: Weeknight-Easy Rolls ♥

While A Veggie Venture is developing a certain reputation for slow food (with more to come!), more often than not, quick is the order of the day. Or night.

Plus, as much as I love slow bread, the timing is tricky. With all the ease of muffins, today's new recipe in Kitchen Parade is all about quick.

Weeknight-Easy Rolls are made with yeast (for flavor) and baking powder (for instant leavening) and are on the table in 40 minutes flat, I mean, 40 minutes quick.

On your mark, get set, go ... get the recipe!



ONLY 26 MORE PLANNING DAYS TIL THANKSGIVING My kitchen is decidedly busy! You see, I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving -- yes, it's time to start planning our Thanksgiving menus and when it comes to vegetable recipes for Thanksgiving, I hope A Veggie Venture will be your favorite source.

Beginning November 1, watch for new vegetable recipes perfect for Thanksgiving tables, traditional recipes made fresh, ones that can be made in advance, and feed a crowd, and travel easily, and ... and ... yes, perfect for Thanksgiving.

And of course, I'll be counting calories and carbs and Weight Watchers points, just because I do, but there will be plenty of butter and cheese and cream and yes, even sugar! that make Thanksgiving vegetables the stars they are.

Can't wait? Check out last year's collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes. Beginning November 1, look for brand-new recipes!



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'. Want to know more? Explore KitchenParade.com, including Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box!

WHY DOESN'T THIS POST ACCEPT COMMENTS? Because I hope that you'll click through to the actual column and comment there!

E-MAIL & RSS SUBSCRIBERS You may subscribe to Kitchen Parade directly, then you'll receive the complete column and recipe directly in your In Box or RSS reader. Just sign up for Kitchen Parade via e-mail or Kitchen Parade via RSS.

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



Roasted Fennel ♥

Just trim, roast, toss, enjoyDon't we just love it when vegetables seem to cook themselves?! This is nothing more than sliced bulbs of fennel, olive oil, salt and pepper -- and time, an hour in a 400F, tossed and redistributed every 15 minutes. And then at the end, lemon juice, a great brightener. They were so good!

HOT? ROOM TEMPERATURE? I served these hot but now note that the inspiring recipe from the ever-reliable Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka, suggests serving it as a side salad, too.

NUTRITION NOTES It takes lots of fat to get vegetables to caramelize while roasting and of course, the more oil and the more caramelization, the more flavor. With less oil, vegetables can dry out before they're fully roasted. It helps to toss the vegetables REALLY well, so they coat with oil -- I use a bowl so I can really toss them, easier than doing it on a flat baking tray. Thought: I could toss the vegetables in a quarter cup of chicken broth, say, before adding the oil but hmm, then the oil wouldn't adhere to the wet vegetables.

There must be some way to keep moisture in AND caramelize using less oil. My goal is to use no more than a tablespoon of oil for a pound of vegetables. Any ideas??? Otherwise, let me work on that.



MAKE IT A MEAL If there's time, I'd start the fennel first, then cook Cornmeal Catfish, perhaps adding fennel to the homemade Cajun spice mix.

WEEKEND HERB BLOGGING This is my contribution to the weekly collection of recipes featuring herbs, plants, vegetables or flowers, hosted this week by Nami-Nami.



VEGETABLE RECIPES from the ARCHIVES
~ Fennel Mashed Potatoes ~
~ Fennel, Leek & Mushroom Sauté ~

~ more fennel recipes ~

~ one year ago this week Sautéed Sunchokes with Apple & Pancetta ~
~ two years ago today Roasted Butternut Squash ~


ROASTED FENNEL

Hands-on time: 15 minutes (10 to start, 5 to toss)
Time to table: 1 1/4 hours
Serves 4

About 2 pounds of fennel bulbs (after trimming, about a pound)
Olive oil to coat - about 3 tablespoons
Salt & Pepper to taste

Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Trim the fennel bulbs: slice off roughness on the root end, then the 'arms' and 'fronds'. (Fennel adds great flavor to vegetable stock!) Cut through the core, cutting each bulb into manageable and roughly equivalent sizes, using the core to keep pieces somewhat intact. Starting with maybe a tablespoon of oil, in a bowl, use a scoop spatula to toss the pieces really well -- really turn them over, maybe for a minute, there are lots of crevices to get the oil into, adding more oil only as needed. Transfer onto a rimmed baking sheet and season to taste. Place in oven for an hour. Every 15 minutes, pull the tray out and retoss the pieces; you may want to cut the larger pieces smaller if they're not cooking at the same rate as the others. When fully cooked, remove from oven and toss with lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.



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

NEVER MISS A RECIPE! For 'home delivery' of new recipes from A Veggie Venture, sign up here. Once you do, new recipes will be delivered, automatically, straight to your e-mail In Box.




Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007


Finnish Carrot Casserole ♥

Finnish Carrot Casserole
Today's Finnish recipe: An old-fashioned carrot casserole from Finland, grated carrots and rice in a light custard.

~recipe & photo updated 2010~

2007: During the year I made a home in Finland, I found much to love. But the food -- the food! was a definite highlight. I have a notebook of recipes - too bad, many written in Finnish 'to help retain the language', ha! though food words mostly remain familiar. And I often turn to the classic Finnish cookbook, The Finnish Cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. I remember carrot and rice casserole -- 'porkkanalaatikko' in Finnish, since you asked -- as a specialty on Christmas Eve. By today's standards, it's plain fare. But its very simplicity lets the carrots shine and the rice melt into the light custard. It hit just the right note with slices of ham on a cool fall evening and the next day, warmed up, tasted even better.

2010: I 'updated' the recipe just a bit, by using the more healthful brown rice and omitting the bread-crumb topping. I actually like this served cold, too, in fact for a party supper, might cut it into squares or triangles, sprinkled with fresh dill, then serve as a 'salad' or side dish. In fact, I'll mention that a little fresh dill moves this casserole from good plain fare to something quite delicious.

FINNISH CARROT CASSEROLE

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes about 4 cups

1 cup cooked rice (white rice or brown rice like Foolproof Oven-Baked Brown Rice)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups whole milk
1 pound carrots, grated with a hand grater or a food processor

TOPPING (optional)
1 slice whole grain bread, made into crumbs by whizzing in small food processor a few times
1 tablespoon olive oil (or butter)

Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk the eggs, then whisk in the brown sugar, salt and then a few tablespoons at a time, the milk. Stir in the rice and carrots. Transfer to a baking dish. Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top. Don't cover - you want the topping to brown and crust up a bit. Bake for about 40 minutes for a shallow baking dish and another 30 - 40 if a deep baking dish.


KITCHEN NOTES
2007: The specified baking time was 40 minutes, mine took double that to get hot clear through. Since I cooked this in a deep Corning casserole dish, next time I'll use something shallow like a quiche dish. 2010: A shallow quiche dish worked like a charm, this finished in exactly 40 minutes.
2010: I was short on milk so substituted 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, creating a nice change in texture.
2010: I served the leftovers, cold, sprinkled with fresh dill and it was so good, so very good, that now I want to remake this again and experiment with how/when to add fresh dill. My instinct says to sprinkle it over the hot casserole, rather than to mix in. This solves the 'blank top' issue too, since I'd rather skip the fuss and calories of a bread crumb topping.

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MORE FINNISH RECIPES
~ Spinach Pancake ~
~ Creamed Radishes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Karelian Borscht
~ Caraway Cabbage ~
~ Lenten Grass ~
~ more Finnish recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade




TOURING FINLAND with FOOD BLOGS & OTHER BLOGS
For more Finnish recipes, check out these favorite blogs:

Nami Nami - Pille lives in Estonia, just across the Gulf of Finland. Because Estonia and Finland are so close geographically and linguistically, there is much back and forth between the two countries, especially since the Soviet Union broke up.

Cloudberry Quark - Mostly posts in English (don't be turned off by the posts currently on her home page) with beautiful photography

Daydream Delicious ~ Bonnie was also a Rotary exchange student in Finland and occasionally blogs about Finnish recipes, like rieska, a savory bread and täytekakku, a fruity cream cake that I remember well.

A Wee Bit of Cooking ~ Wendy also lived in Finland for a few years and occasionally posts Finnish recipes, like this omenakakku, that would be apple cake

Axis of Aevil ~ An American married to a Finn and another mom who gave up blog for baby, but the archives of Finnish pastries and classical dishes -- amazing

Life of Jalo ~ Not a food site, but I visit these four very happy dogs who live in the east of Finland every day, just to smile. Wonderful dog photography, many glimpses of the Finnish countryside

Taivasalla ~ Not a food site, gorgeous photographs mostly in and around Helsinki

Are there other Finnish food blogs? I'd love to know!






Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007

Kitchen Parade Extra: Mocha Morsels ♥ & Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes

Chocolate chip cookies for grown-ups? You know, with the taste of a hot cup of coffee?

I call them Mocha Morsels, a favorite cookie recipe from a 2005 Kitchen Parade column, republished today.


SO MAYBE YOU'VE NOTICED? Yes, there have been fewer vegetable recipes for the last couple of weeks and yes, they've been decidedly 'easy' vegetable recipes.

But the kitchen is decidedly busy! You see, I'm gearing up for Thanksgiving -- yes, it's time to start planning our Thanksgiving menus and when it comes to vegetable recipes for Thanksgiving, I hope A Veggie Venture will be your favorite source.

Beginning November 1, watch for new vegetable recipes perfect for Thanksgiving tables, traditional recipes made fresh, ones that can be made in advance, and feed a crowd, and travel easily, and ... and ... yes, perfect for Thanksgiving.

And of course, I'll be counting calories and carbs and Weight Watchers points, just because I do, but there will be plenty of butter and cheese and cream and yes, even sugar! that make Thanksgiving vegetables the stars they are.

Can't wait? Check out last year's collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes. Beginning November 1, look for brand-new recipes!



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'. Want to know more? Explore KitchenParade.com, including Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box!

WHY DOESN'T THIS POST ACCEPT COMMENTS? Because I hope that you'll click through to the actual column and comment there!

E-MAIL & RSS SUBSCRIBERS You may subscribe to Kitchen Parade directly, then you'll receive the complete column and recipe directly in your In Box or RSS reader. Just sign up for Kitchen Parade via e-mail or Kitchen Parade via RSS.

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



Reader Recipe: Microwave Acorn Squash ♥

Acorn squash cooked in the microwave, brushed with basil pestoMy mistake. I blasted a commercial winter squash "product" (how can a 'vegetable' be a product? and hmmm ... would vegetables get more attention if more, were?) and failed to share an alternative way to easily, quickly and tastily cook a winter squash in the microwave.

Readers to the rescue! From Bob came this note: "We prepare many different types of squash in a microwave by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, from stem to tip. Scoop out the seeds and stuff (not the meat). Place them in an oval microwave dish, with each half of the squash facing inside down, then adding 1/2" – 1” water to the dish. For some reason, adding the water after the squash is in helps keep water from soaking the underside of the squash as it cooks. We usually microwave on high for roughly 7 minutes. How about a try our way?"

Thanks, Bob, that's exactly how I cooked a couple of small acorn squashes. They turned out great -- not as sweet and flavorful as squash roasted in an oven, but definitely weeknight easy and in-a-rush convenient.

MAKE IT A MEAL Substitute the squash for curried carrots in this Kitchen Parade Quick Supper, Caper Chops with Curried Carrots.



VEGETABLE RECIPES from the ARCHIVES See the Recipe Box for more microwave vegetable recipes and lots more winter squash recipes.

TWO YEARS AGO Broccoli with Fennel, the "fennel adds subtle verve".

MICROWAVE ACORN SQUASH

Hands-on time: 2 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 4

2 small acorn squash, washed well, cut in half stem to stern

Place squash face down in a microwave safe dish. Add water about a half inch or more high. Microwave on high for 7 minutes or til done.



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

NEVER MISS A RECIPE! For 'home delivery' of new recipes from A Veggie Venture, sign up here. Once you do, new recipes will be delivered, automatically, straight to your e-mail In Box.




Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007

Recipe for Spicy Thai Noodle Salad ♥

The classic favorite at potlucks but vegged up
Today's recipe: A traditional pasta salad but lightened with more vegetables and less dressing. Vegan.

Look familiar? It should. It's that noodle salad (well, one of all those noodle and macaroni salads) which makes its way onto every potluck table. And it's a favorite in my Canadian family (hi to Ingrid!), probably every family.

But then again, it shouldn't. Because I 'vegged it up', turning an all-noodle 'salad' into something of substance, still keeping the noodles front and center but using vegetables to bulk it up for flavor and crunch.

I made it recently for friends whose daughter was being married and whose home was thronged with hungry bridesmaids and starving groomsmen. It happens to be a vegan salad - though I don't think the most ardent carnivore would notice - so 'safe' for groups where people's eating choices aren't known.

GARLIC REMINDER If you're in the middle of the northern hemisphere, mid-October -- now!! -- is the time to plant garlic for harvesting next July. Here's all the information needed to grow garlic at home - no garden required!

MAKE IT A POTLUCK I'm such a fan of recipes that make up ahead and are easy to carry and serve that there's a whole group of potluck recipes in the Kitchen Parade archives.

SPICY THAI NOODLE SALAD

Hands-on time: 10 minutes for dressing, 35 minutes for noodles & vegetables
Time to table: 45 minutes (but likely better after sitting awhile)
Makes about 16 - 20 cups

DRESSING
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chili sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 teaspoons Thai chili paste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (vs the 2 teaspoons suggested)
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk. Refrigerate until ready to use, whisk again before using.

NOODLES & VEGETABLES
1 pound good pasta (I used spirals because I love how they look! the inspiring recipe calls for a full 2 pounds of spaghettini or vermicelli)

(All vegetables and amounts are variable based on what you like and what's available)
Green onion, chopped by hand -- I used 8
English cucumber, skin left on, chopped by hand - 1/2 a cucumber
Cilantro, chopped by hand - 1 large bunch
Red radishes, grated in the food processor -- 8 ounces
Fresh fennel, grated in the food processor - 1 bulb
Red cabbage, grated in the food processor - 1/2 a small head
Napa cabbage, grated in the food processor - 1 small head
Carrots, grated in the food processor - 1/2 pound

Cook the pasta in well-salted water according to package directions. Drain well in a colander but be sure to have dressing ready before the noodles cool. Toss drained but still-warm noodles in as much dressing as needed to wet. Stir in vegetables and toss with additional dressing -- use only as much as needed.


KITCHEN NOTES
The inspiring recipe says that the 1-1/2 cups of dressing is enough for 2 pounds of pasta. I used about 2/3 of it on 1 pound of pasta and the vegetables -- which by the way, makes one big PILE of pasta, 16 - 20 cups is my estimate, so much that two extra large bowls were needed for mixing.
Ingrid says that the dressing improves if made a day or so in advance.

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MORE FAVORITE RECIPES for POTLUCKS
~ Classic Seven-Layer Salad ~
~ Mom's Potato Salad ~
~ Fresh Green Bean Salad with Asian Dressing ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Herbs ~
~ Confetti Potato Salad ~
~ Holy Slaw! ~
~ more salad recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade





Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007

Kitchen Parade Extra: Cauliflower Risotto ♥

A creamy cauliflower risotto gets thumbs up from everyoneWhen you travel, are you prepared to cook in your destination's kitchen? I am - and for some months now, the specialty has been cauliflower risotto, the recipe in this week's Kitchen Parade column. Get out your wooden spoons! It's creamy leeky delicious! (And it's cooked and served in a way that makes it 'every-day' for Weight Watchers.



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 KitchenParade.com, including Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box!

WHY DOESN'T THIS POST ACCEPT COMMENTS? Because I hope that you'll click through to the actual column and comment there!

E-MAIL & RSS SUBSCRIBERS You may subscribe to Kitchen Parade directly. Just sign up for Kitchen Parade via e-mail or Kitchen Parade via RSS -- then you'll receive the complete column and recipe directly in your In Box or RSS reader.

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

Microwave Baked Potato ♥

A baked potato cooked in the microwaveThis quick recipe is for my friend Ann who has -- undeservedly, to my mind -- the reputation as a bad cook.

Actually, she's a decent cook. It's just that food isn't high on her priority list and so 'good' is 'good enough'. This I respect, admire even -- not every bite we eat must be 'delicious'. Good is good. Good is plenty. Good is, yes, good enough.

So when I raved about how I'd just learned how to make the best baked potatoes, she looked momentarily embarrassed (but not really) to admit she just throws baked potatoes in the microwave. "They're good," she assured.

And so they are -- good! -- and frankly, way better than expected. The flesh is actually quite good (a tiny tad gummy but if you haven't tasted the slooow-baked potatoes, you wouldn't notice) but in the microwave, the skin just won't get crisp. So I checked the ever-so-thorough Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka who sure enough, has the solution: finishing the potatoes 10 minutes in a very hot oven.

WEIGHT WATCHERS NOTE If you've ever wondered how many points are in a baked potato, check the nutrition information below. A standard-size potato is huge -- talk about super-sizing -- and racks up 7 Weight Watchers points. And that's before you starting loading it with other goodies. Yikes.

MAKE IT A MEAL A baked potato would go perfectly with this quick supper recipes from Kitchen Parade, Pepper Steak & Mushrooms.

MICROWAVE BAKED POTATO


Hands-on time: 2 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes (for 1)

1 'Idaho' russet potato (they have rough exteriors, are somewhat elongated and the flesh is 'mealy')

Set oven to 500F to preheat. Wash potatoes well and prick twice with the tines of a fork. Place one potato in center of microwave. For more than one potato, place one in the center, arrange other in 'spoke' or 'petal' or 'clock hands' fashion around the center potato. Do not cover.

1 potato - Cook 6 minutes for a 7 - 8 ounce potato, 1 - 2 minutes more for each additional ounce

2 potatoes - Cook 10 minutes (same)

3 potatoes - Cook 13 minutes (same)

4 potatoes - 15 minutes

Remove from microwave and rub lightly with bit of olive oil. Place directly on oven rack for 10 minutes til skins get slightly crisp.


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Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes.
© Copyright 2007

Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seeds ♥

Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seeds
This time of year, when we're cutting open and roasting pumpkins, inside are those seeds and we wonder, Can you roast pumpkin seeds? You sure can! Here's how.

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

2007 ORIGINAL POST Yesterday an e-mail arrived from Ralph, a most careful reader of yesterday's recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze. No good! he objected to a detail. "One of the most nutritious and yummy things is the seeds. Don't discard." And good luck, this time I didn't. What do you do with pumpkin seeds? Any tips to share?

So -- what to do with pumpkin seeds, you know, the gunky ones scooped from Halloween jack o' lanterns and pie pumpkins and yes, even other winter squash?

This is the third year I've tried to create a good recipe for pumpkin seeds. I've got it! The taste is a combination of spicy and sweet - with a little bite that yumm, just works. It's an easy concept recipe: just toss raw seeds briefly into a hot simple syrup, then toss in a spice rub, then with big crystals of demerara sugar.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Maple Glaze ♥

So simple, so fall, so perfect!If summer's unexpected romance was with green beans, then the fall's affair is with butternut squash. This is -- what, the third? fourth? -- time I've cooked butternut squash and its cousins the acorn, the kabocha, the buttercup and other winter squashes.

Such a classic winter squash recipe, this! Squash + pantry + oven = delicious.

If you're nervous about cutting butternut squash, try another recipe, one where you can roast a whole butternut squash or you can put the squash into the microwave for three minutes and then it'll cut like a dream.

But this small (just two pound) butternut squash cut quite easily. I put the cutting board on top of a silicone baking sheet so that it wouldn't slip around.

NEXT TIME
  • The inspiring recipe suggested coating a baking sheet with cooking spray, which I did. Midway through cooking, the squash started to spit out moisture and sugar. Next time I'll try rubbing oil on the flesh itself, which might seal in the flavor better. [Later: I tried this. It did help but didn't entirely prevent the seepage.]
  • The inspiring recipe called for a tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, which turned out to be 2X what was needed for a two-pound butternut squash -- I actually scooped out the goopy stuff before taking the picture.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH with MAPLE GLAZE

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 75 - 90 minutes
Serves 4

1 two-pound butternut squash

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt & pepper to taste

Set oven to 400F. Wash squash well, especially on the stem and blossom ends, where gunk can accumulate. Carefully cut the squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seed and gunk and discard. Brush the flesh lightly with olive oil (or spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil), place face-down on a baking sheet. Place in oven even if not fully heated and roast for 60 - 75 minutes, until a knife slips into the flesh easily.

In a small bowl, melt the butter and maple syrup in the microwave in ten-second increments til melted. Stir together and season with salt and pepper. Brush the cut-side of the squash with the mixture and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the glaze sets. Cut each half into two pieces and serve.


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Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes.
© Copyright 2007

Kitchen Parade Extra: Baked Apples ♥

If a picture paints a thousand words, what are you waiting for? Get on over to this week's Kitchen Parade column for my mother's recipe for baked apples.

You know you've got to, you've just got to --




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 KitchenParade.com, including Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box!

WHY DOESN'T THIS POST ACCEPT COMMENTS? Because I hope that you'll click through to the actual column and comment there!

E-MAIL & RSS SUBSCRIBERS You may subscribe to Kitchen Parade directly. Just sign up for Kitchen Parade via e-mail or Kitchen Parade via RSS -- then you'll receive the complete column and recipe directly in your In Box or RSS reader.

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

Recipe for Smoked Scallops with Zucchini Ribbons ♥

Perfect for summer or a hot-hot-hot fall dayFor the last couple of weeks, my dad's daily four-city weather report has cited only a repetitive 'hot and dry'. So in my mind it may be time for roasting winter squash and simmering pots of soup, the weather isn't cooperating -- so 'summer food' it is.

The good news is, for anyone craving a quick and light supper, this dish will work year-round. Plus, the zucchini noodles are a classic way to substitute vegetables for pasta. Touched with garlic and lemon zest, they were yummy!

HOW LIGHT? WOW! Turns out, too, this quick meal should be a standby for anyone who counts Weight Watchers points and anyone who avoids carbs. Combined, the scallops and zucchini add up to only 2 points. A two-point MEAL is rare. (Technically, separately, the scallops have 1 point, the zucchini 0 points, so if you like, count it as a one-point meal.) For carb counters, the combined meal has only 6 grams of net carbs. Wow. WOW. WOOOOW.

It also turns out that this meal also makes good use of several favorite kitchen tools.

STOVETOP SMOKER I'm still experimenting but love the speed and no-fat cooking on my Camerons stovetop smoker. So far, I keep coming back to smoked scallops, shrimp and trout which are so good, so useful, that I'd purchase the smoker again, just to make these. As it turns out, the smoker pan is also heavy and large enough to serve as a meat roaster so it serves double duty, a good thing, since it is big and clumsy. It does fit inside the oven so 'lives' there but needs to be removed whenever anything else goes in. Here's my (so-far tiny) collection of recipes for a stovetop smoker. Tonight we're smoking thick Berkshire chops!

MEAT THERMOMETER To my mind, an essential companion to a smoker (and to anyone who cooks meat) is a meat thermometer, preferably one with a probe attached to a wire connected to a unit that sits outside the smoker (or the oven or the grill or ...) so you can monitor the meat's progress, also set an alarm to go off when the internal temperature is getting close to your target.


VEGETABLE SLICER For slicing the zucchini noodles, I might have used my favorite Benriner but instead turned to a brand-new vegetable peeler, the one from Kuhn Rikon that needs no warning label and costs $4 - 6. It was perfect for slicing the soft zucchini into just the right thickness. I am worried about the blade rusting -- and note that Amazon says it's not 'dishwasher safe', something the product itself does not say.

If you don't have either of these, I recommend slicing them as thin as you can, but cross-wise, so you'll end up not with ribbons but circles but they'll be thinner, I think, than slicing length-wise with a knife.

MAKE IT A MEAL A low-calorie meal frees up calories for dessert! For fall, I'd recommend this delicious Indian pudding, made with apple cider. Or to keep it light, turn to my Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding.

SMOKED SCALLOPS with ZUCCHINI RIBBONS

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4 (but easy to adjust for 1 or 2)

SMOKED SCALLOPS
1 pound fresh scallops
Good salt & pepper

Place about a tablespoon of Cameron wood chips in the bottom of the smoker. Season the scallops. Insert a temperature probe through the sides of three or four scallops (the probe needs a couple of inches of coverage to work properly). Turn heat to medium, cook scallops to an internal temperature 120F or 125F (I prefer them slightly more cooked but chefs, apparently, take them to only 120F).


ZUCCHINI RIBBONS
1 pound zucchini, washed VERY well, sliced very thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
Salt & pepper to taste
Zest of a lemon

(It takes awhile to slice the zucchini so I recommend nearly finishing this step before starting the oil.) In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on MEDIUM til shimmery. Add the garlic clove and cook for 1 - 2 minutes til golden and aromatic, then discard. Add the zucchini, in small batches if necessary, and stir well to coat with fat. Cook til soft, turning often, and fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to plates. Top with lemon zest.


KITCHEN NOTES
If making both the scallops and the zucchini, set up the scallops in the smoker first, but don't turn on the heat until about halfway through slicing the zucchini.
The zucchini is easier to slice, and there's less waste, when the stem is left on during slicing.
Next time, I'll try an entirely non-fat zucchini, cooking the thin ribbons only in seasoned broth. I'll also wash the zucchini more carefully, somehow some grittiness showed up in this batch.

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MORE LOW-POINT MAIN DISHES
~ Quick Tomato Sauce ~
~ Satisfying Lunch in One Point ~
~ more Weight Watchers recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Squash & Carrot Stew ~
~ Two-Way Lentil Skillet ~
~ Slow Cooker Turkey Breast ~
~ more Weight Watchers recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade





Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007

Sautéed Okra & Garlic ♥

Okra, an underappreciated vegetableDo pods of okra call to you? They do to me! I love picking through baskets of okra at the farmers market, selecting the pods about the length of my thumb (and shorter) which are the most tender.

And okra is quick-quick to cook -- adding this recipe to my growing collection of quick vegetable recipes.

And what about the, um, slime factor? Banish the thought! When okra are small and completely fresh - which means they need cooking within a day of finding them perfectly green and unblemished at the farmers market - there's none of that dreaded okra slime.

I loved this quick side dish -- the lemon was a brilliant addition, great contrast. It would be a great way for an okra neophyte to try okra for the first time.

HOW TO TRIM OKRA Cut off the tough stems but do leave a thin slice of the 'cap' which is tender and succulent and helps hold in the okra flavor and moisture.

MAKE IT A MEAL Pair the quick-cooking okra with a Quick Supper from Kitchen Parade, Greek Feta Chicken with Curried Rice. Yum!



FROM THE VEGETABLE RECIPE ARCHIVES See the Recipe Box for more okra recipes.

A YEAR AGO Broccoli & Tomato Thai Curry, "... a satisfying supper with just 3 Weight Watchers points. And if you're a carb watcher, substitute cauliflower for the potatoes to lower the carbs and keep a soft texture."

SAUTÉED OKRA & GARLIC

Hands-on time: 5 minutes (plus occasional attention throughout)
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound fresh okra, trimmed
1 tablespoon bacon grease or olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes
Salt to taste (big flakes of Maldon salt worked great, providing real 'hits' of saltiness without a whole lot of sodium)
Lemon wedges

Trim the okra. (If they've just been washed, let dry on paper towels while continuing to trim. They'll cook more quickly, more evenly, if they hit the hot oil dry.) About halfway through trimming, heat the oil on MEDIUM in a large skillet (large enough to hold all the okra in a single layer) til shimmery. Add the okra to the skillet and toss well to coat with fat. Let cook for about four minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute or two, until the garlic is cooked (but be careful not to burn). Season to taste and serve with lemon wedges on the side.



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Eat more vegetables! A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and is the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes, quick, easy, and yes, delicious. Start with the Alphabet of Vegetables or dive into all the Weight Watchers vegetable recipes or all the low carb vegetable recipes. © Copyright 2007

Pumpkin Bars ♥
A Simple Cake to Celebrate October

Pumpkin Bars
Quick and easy Pumpkin Bars (or Pumpkin Tea Cakes, as pictured), moist and filled with fall spices. The icing isn't really necessary although a little drizzle adds a sweet counterpoint that many people like. Celebrate the glory that is October!

~ first published 2007, recipe & photo updated 2011, republished 2013 ~
~more recently updated recipes~

2007 ORIGINAL POST The Daring Bakers, they're killing me. Last week, I was mining my favorite baking cookbook, the much-beloved Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and I swear, without thinking, found myself in the index checking the Ds for Daring. You see, the Daring Bakers are a group of passionate blogging bakers from across the world who each month, from their own kitchens, cream and caramelize and create the same spectacular somethings. These guys really love to bake and it shows.

Me, I love-love-love to bake too, though lean to 'simple', my own definition of spectacular – especially cakes and cookies and bars and desserts baked on a whim with pantry ingredients. Enter these extra-simple but somehow-perfect Pumpkin Bars. (1) Yes, there really is a 'vegetable' in there so the recipe does qualify for a food blog full of vegetable recipes. (2) Yes, you can really put vegetables into desserts.

As Pumpkin Bars, these stand about an inch tall, with just the right cake-iness, just the right sweetness, just the right mix of fall spices. Then douse them in a sickly sweet icing – no wait! don't do that! I sure wish I hadn't. A mere drizzle of icing would have been nice, just a bit of sweet to contrast with the spices. But all that frosting heaviness? Yuck. It got scraped off every single piece.

How to Stop Inappropriate Ads

If you are using IE (Internet Explorer) as your web browser and are seeing inappropriate ads on A Veggie Venture (and on Kitchen Parade and probably on many other websites you visit), please read this.

A Veggie Venture is a member of Blogher, a top women's website, and participates in its ad network. This week, Blogher is receiving spotty reports that inappropriate ads are occasionally appearing in place of Blogher's legitimate ads from respected advertisers. (NOTE: I believe the inappropriate ads may also be appearing in advertisements provided by Google, whose ads are published on millions and millions of websites.)

I have seen copies of the inappropriate ads that are hijacking the legitimate ads. They are not 'pure porn' but show scantily clad women in suggestive poses. They are completely unseemly for websites like mine.

Blogher is helping publishers like me make our readers aware of the issue by providing this information:

"Blogher believes this issue is caused by a known vulnerability in Microsoft's IE 6.0 (specifically on Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Windows 2000) which exploits the iframe tags, the technology used by ad publishers to 'serve' ads onto websites.

If you have been experiencing this problem, we strongly recommend you both
Alternatively, replace Internet Explorer entirely with a non-IE browser, such as Firefox (download Firefox here, it's my personal recommendation ~ Alanna) to further limit your security risk."
On a personal note, as much as I wish that I or Blogher or even Microsoft could 'magically' fix this situation on readers' behalf, we can't. You'll need to take action on your end -- I know this is a pain and do apologize.



UPDATES
10/10 8:30 am - Other Blogher ad members are welcome to point their readers to this post or to copy/modify the text for their own posts.



Many thanks to the Blogher team for its responsiveness on this issue!