Lettuce Soup ♥ Unusual Recipe!

Lettuce Soup
Today's soup recipe: Simple soup made from leftover lettuce that's no longer fresh enough for a salad (or even lettuce that's been dressed for salad the night before and is too soggy to enjoy as a salad again) and new potatoes. Surprisingly tasty! Weight Watchers 2 or 3 points.

"Supper contrived from air" is what comes to mind with this soup recipe. Seriously, I used nothing more than less-than-perfect romaine and bok choy and some completely wilted radish leaves. And still? Delicious – a great recipe to have in your back pocket when looking for ways to use up leftover lettuce, especially lettuce too sad for a salad. This soup really hit the right note on a wet, chilly spring day.

NUTRITION NOTE The recipe yields four cups of soup, for which I'd normally allow just a tablespoon of fat. But I was intrigued by the inspiring recipe's technique of stirring in a last tablespoon of butter at the end, flavoring the water-based broth. Next time, I'd skip that butter. It does add richness but it also adds calories and clouds the broth. Because of the idiosyncrasies of how Weight Watchers points are calculated, however, either way, a cup of soup counts as 2 points.

"Best Ever" New Potatoes & Green Beans ♥ a Kid-Friendly Recipe

'Best Ever' New Potatoes & Green Beans cooked in one pot with just a touch of sugar, tossed with garlic and butter. Kid approved!
graphic button small size size 10 What makes today's vegetable recipe special: New potatoes and green beans cooked together in one pot with just a touch of sugar, then tossed with butter and garlic. That tiny bit of sugar somehow makes all the difference! Kid approved! graphic button small size size 10

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

First Posted 2008: My favorite seven-year old Kate has a knack for opening the back gate at the right moment: she knows when the dog needs a romp. Plus, she often catches me mid-cooking and is happy to sample. She loved the raw asparagus salad we made together; she and her BFF Elena moaned that glazed turnips & carrots were "delicious".

Over the weekend, Kate and her sleep-over friend Jillian showed up just as I was snapping pictures of still-untasted potatoes and green beans. I handed Kate a bean and she munched right in, then announced, "These are the best beans ever!" (Yes, Kate got a hug.)

I handed Jillian a bean and she scowled. "I only eat canned beans." Tough cookie, that Jillian! The house rule is, You don't have to like it but you do have to try it and applies equally to grown-ups and kids. So after snapping off the objectionable curlicue at the end of the bean (I think when we talk about "topping and tailing beans", she took off the 'tail'), Jillian took a tiny tentative bite. Her face brightened, "These beans are the best beans I've ever tasted. They're sweet!" (Yes, Jillian got a hug too.)

Spinach Burgers ♥ a Recipe for the Grill

graphic button small size size 10 A burger laced with fresh or frozen spinach and fresh herbs. Moist and delicious, either grilled or oven-baked. Low Carb. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free. Weight Watchers friendly. Whole30 Friendly. Paleo Friendly. Don't let me forget to mention: all that and delicious too!

Trust me please I never once imagined a burger recipe – made with meat, no less (Note to Vegetarians, the short word is the A Veggie Venture is about vegetables and mostly but not entirely vegetarian) – hitting the pixels of A Veggie Venture. But this is not only a good spinach burger, it's one great burger. They were pulled off the grill just last night but I'm rushing them into a post pronto because it's Memorial Day Weekend here in the States and heaven knows, there will be plenty of hamburgers hitting the grill over the next couple of days. If you have the chance, add this burger recipe to your summer grilling menu!

graphic button small size size 10 "I made two versions ... the meat version ... and a vegetarian version! My husband (the meat eater) thought both ... were tasty ... he enjoyed the vegetarian ones just as much!." ~ seashell

Kitchen Parade Extra: Sauerkraut Salad Recipe

Today's recipe at KitchenParade.com: My recipe for sauerkraut salad, a great summer salad, perfect for potlucks and barbecues and good old-fashioned summer eating. It's a 'fresh classic', lighter and more healthful.

This week's column introduces us to a convenience food that's too-often overlooked: sauerkraut. What is sauerkraut? Nothing more than cabbage (so it's chopped) that's been fermented (so it's already got flavor) with virtually no calories (so it's healthful).

NEVER MISS A KITCHEN PARADE RECIPE! Who's been missing Kitchen Parade recipes? You know, like that recipe for Lime Chicken so perfect for a weeknight supper? Or light, bright and quick Lemon Asparagus Pasta that so celebrates the best spring asparagus? Or the recipe for strawberry rhubarb cobbler that has people moaning?

If you were accustomed to learning about new Kitchen Parade recipes via announcements here on A Veggie Venture, well, those announcements are a thing of the past, thanks to the two sites attracting increasingly different readers. Good news: Kitchen Parade is easily available too, just sign up for Kitchen Parade via e-mail or Kitchen Parade via RSS. Many thanks!

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

Do you suffer from lachanophobia? Turn to A Veggie Venture and Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg for the best vegetable recipes online. Find a quick recipe for tonight's vegetable in the Alphabet of Vegetables or plan menus with vegetables in every course. If you're a dieter, turn to hundreds of zero-point, one- and two-point Weight Watchers recipes and many low carb recipes.
© Copyright 2008

Pimm's Originals ♥ for a Mother-Daughter Weekend

Mothers and daughters enjoying Pimm's on the patio, a refreshing summer cocktail, fresh and fruity
Today's recipe: An easy summer cocktail, Pimm's liqueur with ginger ale and slices of cucumber, orange and lemon.

Yes, there's a recipe here, a traditional summer drink from England. But mostly, this is about mothers and daughters and how friendships can cross generations. I'm in a story-telling mood: many will not be interested, please feel free to scroll down to the recipe!

The story starts in the early 1950s when five girls left home from across Canada to attend the University of Manitoba's college of Home Economics. They were Margie and Shirley (my mother) and Willie and Betty and Meryl -- all those -y names, any surprise Meryl was some times called Merlie? Two were roommates but since the girls were in different graduating classes, they met but really didn't know one another.

Fast forward five years. All the girls -- women, now, of course, new grads and young professionals -- took jobs as county extension agents in rural northern Minnesota, each one 20 - 25 miles apart from one or two of the others. (Signs of the times: county extension agents were not allowed to smoke in public nor -- how funny is this? -- to shave their legs.) In 1955, the five piled into a two-door white Chevy Del Ray coupe named George with a red roof and a monstrous trunk for a two-week road trip to a home ec convention in Seattle. They were a fashionable bunch: four wore skirts and one, the Katherine Hepburn character, wore lined wool Bermuda shorts. Five was a magic number: one to drive, four free to play bridge. On two-week road trips, you either form life-time bonds or never speak again. These five, they bonded.

Five county extension agents setting off cross-country to a convention in Seattle in 1955

Fast forward five years. Four of the women married Americans, stayed in the States and eventually became American citizens; one returned to Canada to marry an Englishman. They continued their careers, raised their families and like busy people do, kept in touch with Christmas cards and very occasional visits, one family with another.

Fast forward 40 years. Retired now, the five women and their husbands come together for the first OCHER -- Old Canadian Home Ec Reunion [o-ker] -- a grand reunion, the five together for the first time in decades, some of the husbands meeting for the first time. OCHER II and III soon follow, moving from Florida to Minnesota and back to Winnipeg, home to the University of Manitoba. During OCHER III, they happen upon a wedding. For good luck, the bride and groom want their picture taken with the five OCHER couples who collectively have been married more than 225 years.

Fast forward 10 years. By now, one of the OCHERs, my mother, is gone. The four OCHERs meet in Michigan, this time sans husbands. Some time mid-cocktail, they begin to fantasize about a future weekend gathering, still all women, but two generations, they and their daughters, a sort of Ya-Ya Sisterhood gathering. None of the daughters really know each other as adults, most had never met. Could it ever happen? Surely not. Could a date be found? Surely not.

Fast forward one year to this weekend. The OCHERs and their daughters -- already dubbed the YaYas -- boarded planes, trains and automobiles to reach St. Louis from Saskatchewan, Colorado, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota and Virginia. We spent three days making introductions and reminiscing, exploring St. Louis and just sitting on the patio, cocktails in hand. Because daughters do learn from mothers and women do learn from women, here's what I learned during our extraordinary gathering.

It pays to dream big. Without the OCHERs daring to dream, this weekend would never have been.
It pays to say "yes" not "maybe". If any of us had hesitated or said "yes" and then didn't act, it wouldn't have happened.
It pays to keep your friends from so many years ago. They know you in ways your newer friends simply cannot.
Women in their 70s? In the ways that count most, they're the same women as in their 20s.
Eight women with bright hats and big flowers attract attention like butterflies. Strangers stopped us to ask, "What is your group?" Strangers asked to take our photograph. Who knew that colored hats could be so much fun? (Willie did!)

OCHERs and YaYas at the Missouri Botanical Garden, photo by Victor, another garden visitor

During a weekend with "many highs and no lows" (Meryl), amazing moments occur almost by accident: like drinking surprise bellinis in the shadow of the Gateway Arch, the waters of the Mississippi lapping at our toes, jazz playing at the tour boat a few yards away.
It pays, when you're hosting, to ask for help.
Half of us stayed at my house, half across the street at my neighbors. Thank you, Doris and Max, for making everyone feel so at home!
Ed, Molly (my neighbors) and Skye (their dog) rescued Margie when she arrived two hours early and reached my house only to find nobody home because we were picking up the first arrivals at the airport! Thank you, Ed and Molly!
Imagine feeding eight people for four days without spending every waking hour in the kitchen. I cooked just one -- one! -- meal. After that, we were fed -- sumptuously, right here in my own home -- by the St. Louis' hot new personal chef, Karen Tedesco of DinnerStyle and her food blog FamilyStyle Food. One of the OCHERs said, "... the food was interesting and delicious and so seasonal and personal that it only added to the pleasure".
Imagine a personalized tour of St. Louis from a St. Louis native -- neighborhoods, old stories, little bits of St. Louis trivia. Thank you, Jim, for being our amazing tour guide.

It pays to 'arrange' for good weather. Bookended by cold and rain, our weekend was a spring-perfect 70 and sunny.
Hearing the women who loved your mother most talk about her -- it's humbling, it's emotional, it makes you realize all over again how much she's missed.

Flowers from my dad, eleven roses, five OCHERs and six YaYas

Wow -- good guests make hosting a complicated few days extraordinarily easy. I learned much about being a good guest: going along, no special orders, pitching in, adding to the fun. No e-mail, no long phone calls home: all of us were completely present.
Remarkable women bear remarkable women.
And okay, yes, there is a food angle, entirely unexpected, one we didn't even realize until late on the second day.

One Yaya has two connections: she is an engineer who works with water purity issues, we talked much about the question of pharmaceuticals that reach our water supply. She and her husband also farm 2000 acres in Colorado.
Another Yaya has two connections: she and her husband are the second generation to farm the prairies of Saskatchewan, wheat, cattle, sheep. She's also a physician and thus much concerned about wellness issues.
Another Yaya's husband is in the military and so they have moved often. Even so, every place, she manages to plant a small garden and now also belongs to a CSA. With two children, she is much concerned about nutrition and wellness.
And of course me, writing about food and immersed in the food blog community where we watch and talk about sustainability, local products, scratch cooking, food safety and more.
The four of us were also quite struck by how much, in our own ways, we followed our mothers' paths, how related our own work is to theirs.

To the OCHERs, it was such a pleasure and an honour to be part of your weekend, and to get to know you! (Anne) It was really neat to spend time getting to know the important women in our mothers' lives. (Kirsten) Thank you for showing us how family and career can work, how (and more importantly why) to feed and nourish the friendships of our youth. Thank you for showing us grace. Thank you for laughing, laughing, laughing ...

Four of the OCHERs, laughing over photos

To the YaYas, to Kirsten, to Michelle, to Anne (and also to Heather and to Adanna who were unable to join us and were muchly missed), thank you for sharing your time, your spirits, your mothers. I'm willing to bet that thanks to our own 'road trip,' a long time from now, we will all still be friends, we will all still laugh over bright hats with big flowers and so much more. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for coming.

The Ochers and the YaYas at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

~ Cucumber Lemonade ~
~ Parade-Day Gin & Tonics (a Rass special) ~
~ Tomato Gazpacho ~
~ more recipes for drinks & smoothies ~


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 5 minutes
Serves as many as needed

2 parts Pimm's liqueur
2 parts ginger ale
2 parts lemonade (we just used more ginger ale)

For each glass -
1 slice lemon
1 slice orange
1 slice cucumber
1 slice strawberry (we were out)
fresh mint

Mix and enjoy. Mothers and daughters preferred but not required.

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.

Do you suffer from lachanophobia? Turn to A Veggie Venture and Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg for the best vegetable recipes online. Find a quick recipe for tonight's vegetable in the Alphabet of Vegetables or plan menus with vegetables in every course. If you're a dieter, turn to hundreds of zero-point, one- and two-point Weight Watchers recipes and many low carb recipes.
© Copyright 2008

Easy Spinach Nests ♥

Easy Spinach Nests, an egg cooked in a 'nest' of fresh spinach, onion and a touch of cream.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's easy egg supper or breakfast recipe: An egg cooked in a 'nest' of fresh spinach, onion and a touch of cream. Weight Watchers Friendly, WW 5 PointsPlus. Low Cal. Low Carb. Gluten Free. Paleo. Vegetarian. graphic button small size size 10

~first published 2008~
~recipe & photo updated & republished 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

(2008) Dads and breakfasts: in my family, the combination is a "recipe" for great memories. When my sister started kindergarten, our mother went back to work and our dad went back to the kitchen. Dad cooked breakfast every single day – and without resorting to boxes of cornflakes or quick slices of toast. Instead, he had a Breakfast Plan, a two-week menu written on yellow lined paper taped to the inside of a cupboard. Oatmeal. Fried eggs. Every other Friday, hamburger patties with tomato soup. (Yes ...) My favorite day was the first Thursday when Dad made "Kellogg Eggs", a slice of bread with a circle cut from the center, then fried with an egg. Other people call these "gashouse eggs" and "egg in a hole" and "toad in a hole" and "hobo eggs" and more. (And that Kitchen Parade column for Kellogg Eggs lists dozens of those names ...)

I couldn't help but reminisce about Dad's breakfast specialties while waiting for the eggs to cook in these nests of fresh spinach. Hmm, perhaps this is a recipe for a low-carb toad-in-the-hole?

(2014) Turns out, spinach and eggs are one magical combination, the mix of "bitter" leafy greens and creamy soft yolks really works for me. So since fresh spinach is a staple in the fridge, these eggs make a regular appearance.

One-Pot Pasta Recipe with Greens, Olives & Feta ♥

Ever wish for a one-pot pasta dish?
Today's vegetarian recipe: A one-pot pasta recipe. Cook the greens first, then cook the pasta in the same water. Toss with olives and feta. Devour! Weight Watchers 6 points.

Two problems with pasta recipes.

1) They take too long to get to the table. Pasta is supposed to be fast, right? -- zip, zip, done. But it takes forever to bring the water to a boil. SOLUTION: Use an electric kettle to boil the water. At the same time, heat up the cooking pot with just an inch or so of water. Together, this makes a big improvement, time-wise. If the idea appeals, I have a small electric kettle from Presto but there's an electric kettle style for every taste for anyone who's interested.

2) They take too many pots, some times three. THIS RECIPE's SOLUTION: Cook the greens and the pasta separately but in the same water then toss in the remaining ingredients. Aha - a one-pot pasta recipe.

I loved the simplicity of this pasta recipe, one developed for the April 2008 issue of Bon Appetit by Molly Stevens of All About Braising fame. (Is it just me or is Bon Appetit really ramping up their use of vegetables in recipes? Every issue, I find myself tagging more and more recipe possibilities for A Veggie Venture.)

The cooked pasta and greens are topped with a mix of parsley, lemon zest and minced raw -- very raw -- garlic. I found this superfluous so next time will skip the parsley entirely and just toss the zest and garlic into the hot pasta.
Mustard greens seemed like a good choice of greens. The idea was that their slight 'bite' would contrast well with the soft pasta, salty olives and tangy feta. Instead, the mustard greens melted into a big mass of messiness, hard to distribute throughout the pasta. Next time I'll use spinach leaves (not baby spinach, too tender to hold up) or broccoli rabe or kale.

As always, I allowed only two ounces of pasta per person - while we might want to eat more, this is the sensible portion, despite the four ounces that recipes typically call for. To her credit, Molly Stevens allows only 2 - 2-1/2 ounces per serving.)
I also dropped the olive oil from 5 tablespoons to one, a big calorie saver. There's no knowing of course how good it might have been with more olive oil, but then again, when savoring this noodle by noodle, I wasn't thinking, "Gosh, this sure could use some more fat."
With Dreamfields pasta, this technically falls into low-carb territory.

FREE ICONS for BLOGGERS Share your love of fresh produce, whether from the farmers market, your own garden or even a CSA farmbox. Four icons celebrate fresh local vegetables and fruits -- and my fellow bloggers are invited to use them on their own blogs. Here's more information about the free icons for bloggers.

~ more pasta recipes ~
~ more vegetarian suppers ~
~ more leafy green recipes ~


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4

Salted water

1 pound leafy greens, preferably spinach (not baby spinach) or broccoli rabe or maybe kale, thick stems removed, cut into one-inch strips (makes about 10 cups gently packed)
8 ounces penne pasta (I used Dreamfields Pasta, the low-glycemic pasta so good for low-carb diets and diabetic regimens)
Salt & pepper to taste

Zest of a lemon
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1 tablespoon olive olive (reduced from 5 tablespoons)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Bring the water to a boil. Add the greens and cook until just tender, 1 - 6 minutes depending on the greens. With a slotted spoon, lift out the greens and let drain in a colander. Return the water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until done, stirring occasionally. Lift out the pasta into the colander, then drain the pot -- but save a couple of cups of liquid.

Return the pasta to the hot pot. Stir in the greens and olive oil. Season to taste. Toss in remaining ingredients plus enough of the cooking liquid to just moisten. 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.

Do you suffer from lachanophobia? Turn to A Veggie Venture and Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg for the best vegetable recipes online. Find a quick recipe for tonight's vegetable in the Alphabet of Vegetables or plan menus with vegetables in every course. If you're a dieter, turn to hundreds of zero-point, one- and two-point Weight Watchers recipes and many low carb recipes.
© Copyright 2008