New Year's Turnip Greens ♥

For financial success in the New Year, be sure to cook some greens!
The last vegetable recipe of 2007: a New Year's traditional food said to ensure 'financial success' in the new year. Fresh greens cooked slowly with onion, ham and seasoning.

Happy New Year's to all!

So are we ready for New Year's Eve festivities? Champagne, check. Fancy appetizers, check. Check. Check. Check.

But come New Year's Day, we need a recipe for black-eyed peas for good fortune and greens for financial success.

These greens are really rich. It cooks down to just two cups but I suspect it'll go a long ways -- even though I skipped a whole five tablespoons of fat from this Paula Deen recipe. (I know, what was I thinking ...)

HOW to CLEAN & STORE GREENS This technique helps fresh greens 'keep' for at least three days. Soak the greens in cool water in the sink for a few minutes, sloshing them around every once in awhile to loosen dirt. Then rinse the leaves individually under running water, making sure to get water into the crevices. Throw away any leaves already turning soft. Drain in a colander for maybe an hour, then slip into a plastic bag but don't close it tightly. Store in the frig. I always eat a whole leaf just before cooking, to make sure they're not gritty.

SEE YOU in the NEW YEAR January will be filled with -- surprise! -- low-point and low-carb vegetable recipes, all for y(our) post-holiday dieting!



VEGETABLE RECIPES from the ARCHIVES
~ more leafy green recipes ~
~ more New Year's recipes from Kitchen Parade, my food column ~

MAKE IT A MEAL
Check the pork recipes in Kitchen Parade, my food column, to serve the greens with.


NEW YEAR'S TURNIP GREENS

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Makes 2 cups

2 tablespoons bacon grease (Paula Dean uses 6 tablespoons butter, starting off with 2, adding the rest plus a tablespoon of bacon grease after the greens cook)
1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 1/2 cups water
1/2 pound smoked ham, chopped (or maybe better, a meaty ham hock)
1 teaspoon seasoning salt (I used Lawry's)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound turnip greens (just the greens, not the stems, though these were tender enough I really did think about chopping up and cooking with the onion)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the bacon grease on MEDIUM heat til shimmery. Add the onions and toss to coat with fat (and flavor!). Cook til just beginning to turn golden. Add the water, ham and seasonings and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add the greens, submerging in the liquid, and cook until the greens are tender, 20 - 40 minutes.



KITCHEN NOTES
Next time, I'll use a meaty ham hock rather than leftover ham, something that is more stringy than meaty.
Turnip greens do come frozen, which would cut way back on the prep time. I have to say, however, these greens were just so gorgeous.
I'm quite sure you could make this a day or so in advance, then just reheat when ready to serve.


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: Smoked Turkey Chowder ♥

A long-time favorite soup recipe, slow and now localWhen it comes to New Year's, it's a quandary. Some years, champagne and lobster, sure! Others? Well, there's nothing like a bowl of rich and creamy soup, one that cooks a long, long time on the stove, as if in remembrance of all things past.

This week's Kitchen Parade column introduces my local readers to the slow food movement, including St. Louis' own Slow Food chapter. It's at KitchenParade.com and includes the recipe for Smoked Turkey Chowder.

But whatever your New Year's plans, whether bubbly celebrations or morning-after breakfasts or comfort food on New Year's Day, Kitchen Parade's archives has New Year's recipes for inspiration. And for good luck in the new year, don't forget to cook some black-eyed peas.

See you on the other side! Happy New Year's, all!



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



Pumpkin Fruitcake ♥

Pumpkin Fruitcake ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, tender spice-rich fruitcake moist with marsala or tawny port.
A tender spice-rich fruitcake made with pumpkin purée, filled with dried fruit, moistened with marsala or tawny port.

So the whole world is baking for Christmas and behind the pixels, me too! Now by any rights, if I were to share a proper fruitcake recipe, it would be my grandmother's and the season would be summer. You see, her recipe needs shall we say? to soak awhile for what shall we call it? lushness. But since it's winter (really! look at the snow!) and there's no proper fruitcake in the pantry, this recipe for pumpkin fruitcake caught my attention. And I have to say, for a make-it-now and serve-it-fast fruitcake, it's got all the right parts.

Now piles of people think fruitcake is a scourge and for good reason, for truly inedible fruitcakes abound. I've got two tricks for great fruitcake, ones which I think might turn the tastes of the most ardent fruitcake hater.

Use real fruit, not that candied red and green and syrupy sugary gooey gunky rock-hard bumps from the supermarket. Real fruit. In this batch, I used a full four cups of currants, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dates and golden raisins and to my taste, the perfect amount. Other years, I've used the unsulphured candied fruit from King Arthur flour (unsulphured fruit is key) and love it.
Use real liquor, something with taste you really love. This cake is laden with marsala and the syrup is just delicious. But I'd also use dry sherry, tawny port, Gran Marnier, anything a bit fruity that yes, that you like the taste of.

EXPERIMENTING with a STANDING MIXER I do love to bake and for all these years, have been completely happy with just a bowl and an inexpensive hand mixer. But this winter, I'm borrowing my mom's 1970s-vintage KitchenAid stand mixer. I've got mixed feelings about it. I do miss the control of the hand mixer and find myself wanting to reach for it with each new batch of cookies. I'm still not ready to commit to a stand mixer, that's for sure, the money or the counter space.

MY BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT Meet Lisa, my best friend for so long it was before BFF. We've swapped favorite books, recipes and much more for so many years now, half the time, it's not clear not sure if a book or a recipe started with her, or with me. And now, yes, she's blogging too at My Own Sweet Thyme. If you're baking for the holidays, be sure to check out her recipe for peanut butter fudge (addictive!) and I've got my eye on the ginger cookie sticks too.

ABOUT THE PHOTO When I remade this recently, I intended to update the photo, too. But I'm sticking with the old one out of nostalgia. I no longer live in that house, it had such pretty light, the back yard was so pretty both summer and winter. And there's a nuthatch in the lower right corner! I'm sticking with the memories ...

Turkey Florentine ♥

An oh-so-easy casserole, just spinach, leftover turkey and a cheesy sauce
Today's Vegetable Recipe: An easy turkey casserole. Layers of frozen spinach and leftover turkey topped with a cheesy sauce. Low carb.

Turkey leftovers! I like them so much that after our turkey-less, ham-happy Thanksgiving, I roasted a big turkey breast and all the trimmings just for the leftovers. But after a bit, just like anyone else facing a mountain of turkey, I was asking, What to do with leftover turkey? This easy casserole used up the last of the turkey in a one-dish meal, tasted great and fed a small crowd quite happily.

FLORENTINE? What does 'florentine' mean? In recipes, it usually means something on a bed of spinach. In general, it means something from the city of Florence, Italy.



VEGETABLE RECIPES from the ARCHIVES
~ more spinach recipes ~
~ one year ago this week Date-Night Chicken from Kitchen Parade, not all that different! ~
MAKE IT A MEAL Ha! This already IS a meal so will be added to the still-being-updated list of Main Dishes, recipes for main dishes with vegetables, of course.


TURKEY FLORENTINE

Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Serves about 6

WHITE SAUCE (takes the longest so start first)
3 tablespoons butter
3 bouillon cubes, crushed (or you could soften in a bit of the milk that will be added later, I used 3 teaspoons of bouillon concentrate)
1/2 an onion, chopped (optional)
garlic? mushrooms? other chopped veggies? add what's on hand (optional)
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups milk (I used whole milk because it was on hand, skim works fine too)
1 cup cheese - grated Parmesan, cheddar, etc.

SPINACH LAYER
16 ounces frozen chopped spinach
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & pepper

TURKEY & FINISHING
Cooked turkey, chopped (I used a good two or three cups)
Other cooked leftovers, if you have them and want to extend the casserole
Paprika (for color, optional, I used the smoky Spanish paprika called pimentón, which is quite delicious)

Preheat oven to 350F.

SAUCE: In a large saucepan, melt the butter til shimmery on MEDIUM. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms and other veggies and sauté a bit. Stir in the bouillon, flour and salt, stir til fully incorporated. A tablespoon at a time, add the milk, incorporating each tablespoon before adding the next. (This is what recipes mean when they say to "gradually add the milk". Doing so slowly prevents floury lumps from forming in the sauce.) When it's fully added, add the cheese and let cook for a few minutes, stirring often, til it's thick and hot and the cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, spread frozen spinach into a shallow casserole dish. Mike it for two or three minutes. (After miking, if it's really wet or if you're picky, you might squeeze handfuls of the spinach over the sink a bit to release some of the excess liquid.) Sprinkle the lemon juice over top, season with salt and pepper.

Top the spinach with the turkey and any other cooked ingredients. Spread the sauce over top, covering completely. Press a bit to help get down into the turkey and a bit into the spinach. Top with cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes.



KITCHEN NOTES
The spinach layer was delicious, perfectly fresh and green. It started with a bag of frozen spinach. A box would work too but spinach from a bag meant that the spinach didn't need thawing to spread across the casserole dish.
The inspiring recipe didn't thaw the spinach beforehand. But it was easy enough to throw into the microwave for a few minutes while the rest of the casserole came together.
Next time I might cook some chopped mushrooms with the white sauce. (Or go ahead, use a can of mushroom soup thinned with milk. I won't tell!)
Cheddar cheese would add more color to the top.
But next time, I'll turn the cheese into the white sauce so that the cheese-iness works into the turkey and spinach.


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: Perfect M&M Cookies ♥

Tomorrow is my annual cookie swap and for perhaps the 15th time in 15 years, my friend Kathy will bring her M&M cookies.

Now why would someone make the same cookies year after year? Because these M&M cookies are oh-so-good and because they're so good, we won't let her bring anything ELSE.

But she might be off the hook, because Kathy gave me permission to share her recipe -- it starts with the classic Tollhouse cookie recipe, with M&Ms.

But Kathy's been tweaking the recipe for more than a decade, so now they're absolutely perfect mix of crispy chewiness and chocolatey sweetness. So here you go, Kathy's recipe for Perfect M&M Cookies.



CHRISTMAS COOKIES from AROUND the WORLD One of my favorite food bloggers is Susan from Food Blogga and she's collecting Christmas cookie recipes from food bloggers all over, it's a great collection of cookie recipes, be sure to check it out! Perfect M&M Cookies are so very American, yes?



The recipe for Perfect M&M Cookies will go go into the collection of recipes for Christmas in Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box.

~ my favorite roll-out cookie recipe ~
~ the cranberry-macadamia nut cookie recipe I'm making for this year's cookie swap ~
~ the graham cracker toffee that everyone finds so addictive ~
~ one way to share the true meaning of Christmas with children, Jesus' birthday cake ~
~ the mix-now and bake-later bran muffins I'll pull from the oven a couple of mornings ~
~ the Swiss muesli that lets everyone choose their own favorite nuts, dried fruit and sweeteners ~




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



Braised Brussels Sprouts ♥

Simple & seasonal
Today's Simple Vegetable Recipe: Fresh Brussels sprouts braised in shallots, cream and broth, then stirred with mustard and parsley. Low carb.

Here's another winner, just fresh Brussels sprouts cooked in liquid in a covered skillet (yes, that's what it means to 'braise').

"BUT MY FAMILY WON'T EAT BRUSSELS SPROUTS!" I know, I know. Discomfort with Brussels sprouts and other vegetables in the cabbage (ahem) family is likely all about a sensitivity to bitterness. And the bitterness comes from chemicals called glucosinolates. If someone in your family is hesitant, resistant or outrightly militant in opposition to Brussels sprouts, know that the trick is to break up the center of the sprouts by cutting them in half and then, in order to leach out the chemicals, to cook them in a lot of well-salted water. (Thank you, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, for this lesson.) Or, like tonight, as I learned, well-salted cream.

When trimming these particular Brussels sprouts, I could tell that they were definitely on the bitter side. So even though the inspiring recipe suggested leaving them whole, I cut them in half, pole to pole, right through the core. Then I cut a small slit into the core, opening up the most dense part of the sprout. (I knew this would make them cook faster, too, and would let the cream sauce wind its way into the caves and tunnels inside a sprout.) Bitterness, be gone!

NEXT TIME I'll try a couple of changes, not because the recipe needed improving, taste-wise, but to simplify it further.
When the sprouts were finished cooking, the halves looked so pretty in the skillet that I was sorry to have to 'stir them up' to add the mustard. So next time, I'll stir the mustard into the cream and broth beforehand and then take the entire skillet to the table. Yay! A dish saved!
For calorie purposes, I'll skip the cream and just braise the sprouts in chicken stock and mustard.

"ALL THAT TRIMMING, WHAT ABOUT FROZEN BRUSSELS SPROUTS?" I don't have good luck with frozen Brussels sprouts. Especially if you're trying to convert someone to how good Brussels sprouts can be, I would definitely use fresh ones. This time of year, supermarkets will often have whole stalks of Brussels sprouts, just break off ones of similar size.





BRAISED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon butter
2 large shallots, chopped
1 pound small- to medium-size fresh Brussels sprouts

1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock (I used bouillon)
Salt (only if the stock or bouillon isn't already salty)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or other good mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (definitely optional here)

In a large skillet with a cover, melt the butter til shimmery on MEDIUM. Add the shallots and cook gently til just cooked. (The sprouts may not be fully prepped when the shallots are cooked, turn down the stove so they don't burn.)

Meanwhile, trim the Brussels sprouts. HOW TO TRIM BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Wash well. Slice off the end, this will loosen some outer leaves. Discard these, then remove a layer or so of leaves, until what's left inside is clean and bright-looking. Now slice the sprouts from top to bottom, slicing through the center of the core. With a knife, make a small slit just into the core.

Stir the cream and stock into the skillet (and the mustard, if you're trying this). Place the Brussels sprouts in a single layer, cut-side down, in the skillet. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. (Taste one to see if it's done, if salt is needed.)

Remove the skillet from the from heat. If needed, stir in the mustard and the parsley. Serve immediately.



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: Five-Week Bran Muffins ♥

Bran muffins that you mix now and bake later, much laterSo this week I mixed up some muffins to serve hot from the oven when family visits over the holidays. (What? Mixed muffins now? for serving in three weeks? Yes!) Talk about make-ahead recipes!

The batter keeps in the frig for five weeks. Along the way, bake fresh muffins (as many as you want, even just one or two) any time. The recipe is from a 2002 Kitchen Parade column, published today online for the first time. So check it out, it's my recipe for Five-Week Bran Muffins.

The recipe is just one in a collection of recipes for Christmas in Kitchen Parade's Recipe Box.

~ how to host a cookie exchange along with my favorite roll-out cookie recipe ~
~ the cranberry-macadamia nut cookie recipe I'm making for this year's cookie swap ~
~ the graham cracker toffee that everyone finds so addictive ~
~ one way to share the true meaning of Christmas with children, Jesus' birthday cake ~




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



Potato Latkes ♥

Delicious potato latkes, traditional for Hanukkah, celebrated here, yes, with the lighting of the Advent candle
Today's holiday recipe: Potato latkes fried in oil for Hanukkah. Crispy on the edges, warm and potato-y in the center.

After writing about Hanukkah recipes for Blogher yesterday, the only question was 'what kind' of latkes would we have for supper? Carrot? Spinach? Sweet potato? I chose traditional potato latkes, prepared (I think, based on other bloggers' recipes) in a somewhat unconventional method. Instead of grating, the potatoes are whizzed in the blender with onion, apple and egg to the consistency of applesauce. This lets them 'splat' into hot oil for cooking, creating lots of crispiness.

Served with sour cream, warm applesauce and sorghum, the latkes were completely delicious, enjoyed immensely by both my dad and me. Since this was my first time to cook (and eat, too?) latkes I have a few impressions but certainly can't be considered an expert.
  • While crispy is good, Dad and I both preferred the latkes crispy on the edges (way more than in the photograph, I got better as I went along) but a little thick in the center. This might be a case of 'to each their own taste'. Luckily the latkes can be cooked to different consistencies.
  • To achieve crispy, you have to use a heavy layer of oil in the pan. With less oil, the latkes were more like potato pancakes.
  • The potato mixture definitely turns an ugly gray if left for more than 30 minutes. So while you can gather the ingredients ahead of time, don't put them through the mixer until the griddle is heating up.
  • A griddle would be useful. For the two of us, I used a skillet which held only four small latkes at a time.
  • I loved these with applesauce and sour cream. My dad loved them with sorghum (or maple syrup would be good).
  • It's messy to make latkes! I was glad I'd changed into a sweatshirt before starting, as oil splashed everywhere.
NUTRITION NOTES I wish I'd kept track of how much oil was used -- it wouldn't surprise me if I used nearly a cup, just for the two of us. But these were delicious. To my taste, they're worth an occasional indulgence. Next time, I'd like to try grated sweet potato latkes. And of course, there are still six more nights of Hanukkah ...



VEGETABLE RECIPES from the ARCHIVES

~ more potato recipes ~

~ one year ago this week Carrot & Daikon Refrigerator Pickle, great to have on hand for a quick salad ~
~ two years ago today Celery & Apple Salad, surprisingly simple, surprisingly delicious, a great winter salad ~


POTATO LATKES

Prep time (not including the actual cooking): 20 minutes
Serves 2 - 3 for supper, 4 - 6 for sides

2 pounds baking potatoes (these are the mealy potatoes, often called Idahoes or russets), peeled, cut into 1/2" cubes, (this next step isn't needed if you're putting into the blender right away) dropped into cold water so they don't discolor, dried on paper towels before proceeding
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
1/2 apple, peeled, cored, chopped
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
White pepper to taste
1 teaspoon baking powder (the inspiring recipe suggests using kosher baking powder or omitting)

1/4 - 1/2 cup matzoh meal (or flour) - I used a full 1/2 cup of matzoh meal which was good for crispy-on-the-edges latkes, use less for more crispiness throughout

Oil, vegetable or canola (make sure it's fresh, if it smells even a tiny bit off, make something else)

For serving, sour cream and warm applesauce

Whiz all the ingredients except the matzoh meal and oil in a blender til the consistency of medium-fine applesauce. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the matzoh meal.

Spread a layer of oil in a skillet or on a griddle and heat on MEDIUM to MEDIUM HIGH (you'll need to gauge your own temperature, one that lets the latkes cook through with the brownness and crispiness you like). To know when the oil is hot enough, it should sizzle when you sprinkle a drop of water into it. Scoop about a tablespoon of potato mixture and from about 6 - 8 inches above, drop it with a splaaaat into the oil - look out, it will splatter. If needed, use the spoon to spread the mixture out a bit. Let cook 1 - 2 minutes til crispy, turn over and cook another 1 - 2 minutes. Add oil between batches, letting it heat up before splaaattting more potato mixture into it.

Savor, enjoy!



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


Red & Green Warm Spinach Salad ♥

Red & Green Warm Spinach Salad, another simple but special salad ♥ AVeggieVenture.com.
Today's Christmas-y salad recipe: Quick sautéed spinach with a garlicky yogurt sauce, toasted walnuts, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint, a street food specialty called "salatet bil s'banegh joz" from the Middle East and North Africa. Totally captivating and refreshing, way more than the sum of its parts. Low carb!

And isn't it festive and pretty?! And the unexpected combination of ingredients with a Middle-Eastern feel – spinach plus fresh mint, toasted walnuts, pomegranate seeds and yogurt – somehow really work. This salad has a lot of parts but luckily they're not "moving parts" and if you're inspired to serve this for a holiday meal – it has the right colors, yes? – all but the last step could be done in advance.

The recipe comes from Street Food by Tom Kime, what's turning out to be a real treasure. I love the irony that a street-side specialty called "salatet bil s'banegh joz" somewhere in the Middle East or north Africa (the book doesn't say where) is also perfect for a dinner party salad.

Delicious, this is!

"Wonderful" Glazed Turnips & Carrots ♥

Wonderful Glazed Turnips & Carrots, another Weeknight Easy recipe ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, simple winter root vegetables. These girls call them wonderful! Rave reviews!
Glazed winter root vegetables, simple cubes of turnip and carrot in a slightly sweet glaze. Weeknight easy and yes, kid friendly!

Imagine a pair of seven-year olds, they're BFFs – for the uninitiated, that's Best Friends Forever – my back-door neighbor who appears on A Veggie Venture on occasion and her best friend. Talk about adventurous! Both were willing to spear still-cooking turnips and carrots straight from the skillet. They flashed big smiles and pronounced them "good". And then, after another bite? They exclaimed, "These are wonderful!"

I snapped a quick photo and sent the girls home with a container for supper. But I was sorry to see it go! These cubes of turnip and carrot are really good, slightly but not too sweet with brown sugar, slightly but not too bright with lemon. I will totally do these again, they're already on the menu for over Christmas. And the color is so festive, completely unusual for turnips.

MY FRIDGE, THE ROOT CELLAR If there's ever a reason to stock up on turnips, it's that they keep for weeks. The ones I cooked here had been buried in the vegetable bin in the fridge for seven weeks. They were still firm and smooth and in great shape.

UPDATE I made these a second time, this time with turnips, golden carrots and celeriac to serve with ham for our Christmas Dinner. They were just as delicious but I missed the strong color contrast between the white turnips and bright orange carrots.

COMPLIMENTS!
"Very good recipe; a keeper!" ~ SamC
"Wow, this was indeed wonderful!" ~ Anonymous

St. Louis Food Gifts

My nephew decorating for ChristmasIf you're from St. Louis, you'll likely love this post filled with gift ideas from/for our area. If you're not, don't worry, tomorrow there will be a great recipe that works worldwide!

The St. Louis food bloggers are exploding in number and today some of us are posting about our best ideas for St. Louis food gifts. What do we mean? Well, we'll see! Maybe local somethings, maybe local sources, I haven't seen the other lists yet but am dying to know what we come up with collectively. Here's who is participating -- Kitchen Conservatory, St. Louis Eats & Drinks, Iron Stef, The Cupcake Project and Stl Bites -- check out their ideas for food gifts, too. And now, here you are, my own ideas for St. Louis Food Gifts.

American Visions - American Visions is the lovely gift shop at 9854 Manchester Road in Rock Hill, filled with pieces from American artists and craftsmen. My favorite food items are the beautiful-but-useable measuring cups and measuring spoons from the Tin Woodsman (scroll down to see samples). They come with wood stands, look just great on the counter but are entirely useable too.

Missouri pecans - Missouri is home to native pecan trees that grow alongside fields and rivers, mostly in farm country near Brunswick, 50 crow-miles northwest of Columbia, and Nevada, 90 miles south of Kansas City. Our shorter season and colder climate produce nuts that are smaller, sweeter and richer than the southern brethren. The nuts are remarkable, spectacular even. This site lists the St. Louis locations for Missouri native pecans. But I've also seen them at Straubs and have purchased at the Schnucks in Kirkwood, too.

Miller hams - If you're looking for locally produced and magnificent smoked ham, look no further than our own hometown of St. Louis. I buy Miller hams at Freddie's Market in Webster Groves at Big Bend and Rock Hill. I've cooked four of them in a year and haven't once been disappointed. Miller hams are also available right from the company's Benton Park location.

Apple sausage - I've been taste-testing the apple saugage and the salsiccia (ah! the salsiccia!) from McDonnell's Market in Kirkwood on Big Bend (west of Kirkwood Road, east of I270). It's handmade right there on the premises and is completely delicious. The apple sausage is only available through the holidays, however, so it's my pick for the moment.

Kakao Chocolate - Heather is the young chocolatier at Kakao Chocolate and had me mesmerized from the first nibble, with lavender and then cardamom in truffle bites. This is chocolate to savor in little little teeny tiny bites.

Steak 'n' Shake - Call me a sucker for experience but I'm partial to 3 a.m. trips to Steak 'n' Shake and Uncle Bill's and hey, even Denny's. It's all about the experience. But it could also be or Crown Candy Kitchen for a chocolate banana malt. (Isn't it cool that St. Louis' best ice cream parlor, an original, doesn't have a website but is listed in Wikipedia?!) Or hot dogs at Woofie's.

Chocolate Molasses Lollipops - It's what's best, now, in the new Bissinger's. These are a year-round St. Louis food tradition.

Prime Meat - from Ladue Market, where the butchers make even a reformed vegetarian feel welcome. This is the only place to buy retail prime meat in the entire St. Louis metro area, it's not cheap but, oh boy, is it good. This is where I get crown roasts and tenderloin for very special meals.

Knife Sharpening - Will someone please, please, pick up my knives and take them to Kitchen Conservatory for sharpening? While you're there, I'm out of Plugra and duck fat and covet a Emile Henry fluted pie plate. :0

Christmas Traditions Coffee - Only for a few weeks before the holidays, Cornucopia in downtown Kirkwood blends a lovely Christmas coffee called Christmas Traditions. It's bright with cinnamon, hazelnut and vanilla, perfect for holiday brunches and hot coffee around the Christmas tree all season long.



Straub's website has a nice collection of Missouri food gifts.

Here are more of my favorite St. Louis food specialties, updated occasionally.