Insalata Caprese ♥ A Simple Summer Treat

Insalata Caprese, the summer classic, just slices of perfect tomato and fresh mozzarella
Slices of perfect summer tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with good olive oil and scattered with fresh basil. Gorgeous!

When I gushed over the taste of the summer's first tomatoes last month, several commenters suggested 'insalata caprese' as a simple way to revel in perfectly ripe home-grown tomatoes. "I've done that", I thought but then wondered, "Have I?" No, not really.

You see, way back on Day 87 (yes, I really did count each day during A Veggie Venture's first year, when I cooked a vegetable in a new way every single day, note to self: how mad was that?) I sliced tomato and fresh mozzarella and then drizzled it with good vinegar -- very good! delicious, in fact -- but not insalata caprese, which is drizzled with good olive oil, here, a truly gorgeous Meyer lemon olive oil from O Olive Oil.

So what is fresh mozzarella and how is it different? If you're new to fresh mozzarella, boy, are you in for a real treat! Mostly, we know mozzarella in the 'ripened' bricks of cheese wrapped in plastic from the dairy department at the grocery -- but for insalata caprese, only fresh mozzarella will do. Fresh mozzarella comes in balls about the size of an orange (and some times in smaller and even tiny balls great for small servings) and is packed in liquid to preserve the moisture.

In St. Louis, some supermarkets keep fresh mozzarella in big jars at the deli counter but you have to ask. Other times it's in small sealed plastic tubs, other times in those deli-type containers. Trader Joe's carries 'fresh' mozzarella but it's not very good though if your only source, go for it.

You can make fresh mozzarella at home though it involves plunging your hands into hot-hot-hot water, something I'm not anxious to do but sure wish my nearby cheese shop (the Wine & Cheese Place in Rock Hill) would, again. If you'd like to explore how to make homemade fresh mozzarella, this recipe and instructions for fresh mozzarella from cookbook author Beatrice Ojakangas seem good.)

2010 Update: For a more casual variation of Insalata Caprese, see Tossed Caprese Salad.

INSALATA CAPRESE

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 5 minutes
Serves 4

1 large tomato, sliced (here the gorgeous heirloom, the Brandywine)
1/4 pound ball of fresh mozzarella, cut in 4 slices
1 tablespoon good olive oil (here, the gorgeous olive oil from O Olive Oil)
Good salt (here, the lovely Maldon flakes)
Fresh basil, sliced thin

Arrange tomatoes and mozzarella on a platter or individual plates. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, top with basil. Devour!


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How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the best source of free vegetable recipes with 700+ quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.


Kitchen Parade Extra: Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes ♥

From Kitchen Parade, Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry TomatoessFrom this week's Kitchen Parade column, a great summer appetizer.

'Got milk? We all recognize the slogan from the dairy industry’s ads featuring celebrities with milk-mustached upper lips. But here’s a new version. “Got milk? Got ricotta.”'

Get the recipe for Herbed Ricotta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes -- made with your very own homemade ricotta -- at Kitchen Parade.



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

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

WHY CAN'T I COMMENT ON THIS PAGE? Because I hope that you'll click through to the actual column and comment there!

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

Romano Beans in Butter-Braised Garlic ♥

Just look at that caramelized garlic!Who knew that garlic could turn so sweet? The garlic cooks on a low flame in butter for nearly 45 minutes, seemingly doing nothing for the longest time, then quite quickly turning a sizzly golden color, all the while filling the air with gorgeous garlic aroma, then transforming into something I'm tempted to call 'garlic candy', sweet and yet still garlicky, not crunchy, the texture of, say, licorice. Garlic Magic!!

The beans are the flattish romano beans that I fell for last year -- ha! romano beans must really scream for garlic, check out Garlicky Romano Beans, especially if you limit saturated fat -- but any fresh green bean will do, I think.

NUTRITION NOTES The full 3 tablespoons of butter provides needed volume to braise the garlic. But it's also enough to 'dress' three or even four pounds of beans. For just one pound, it pools unappetizingly in the serving dish. Next time I'll set aside a couple of tablespoons of the braising butter for, say, a mean salad dressing, before dressing the beans.



OFF TO CHICAGO Tomorrow I'm off to attend Blogher '07, where I'm happy to meet so many food bloggers in person for the first time ('oh! you look nothing like the picture on your blog!' and 'you look so different than you sound on the phone'!). My primary question during four days of motivational speeches, geeky technology stuff (and no doubt, ooohing and aaaahing over smashing shoes) is to figure out why in the world anyone would blog about things other than food. Ideas? Oh! And food bloggers who aren't in Chicago? When your pots (get it?!) burn, you'll know ... we're laughing over your last kitchen mishap or nodding in admiration over that last wonderful cake. You'll be missed, one and all! TAG:blogme2007



FROM THE ARCHIVES See the Recipe Box for all the green bean recipes.

A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK Refrigerator Pickles! From my Kitchen Parade column, a pair of refrigerator pickle recipes, one with cucumbers and peppers, another with Brussels sprouts

TWO YEARS AGO Eggplant Sandwiches with Cilantro Hummus

ROMANO BEANS in BUTTER-BRAISED GARLIC

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4

1 big pot of heavily salted water (this means 2 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of table salt for a pound of beans)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 or 5 or more large cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed flat with the blade of a knife (I used my own homegrown garlic)

1 pound green beans (or any snap bean), ends snapped
1 tablespoon fresh sage [the inspiring recipe says 1 teaspoon or a pinch of dried]
[1 tablespoon fresh parsley, suggests the inspiring recipe, I skipped this]
Good salt to taste (I used large flakes of Maldon salt for real bursts of saltiness)

Bring the water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a skillet eventually large enough to hold the beans, too, melt the butter on the lowest flame. Add the garlic when it's prepped, COVER and let cook, watching the flame so the butter doesn't burn, letting the garlic warm slowly until it begins to sizzle and turn golden, watching very carefully after that. At some point along the way, chop or mash the garlic into small bits and return to the skillet to continue.

While garlic braises, cook the beans in the water til the desired doneness (I think just past tender-crisp is right for this, you want the butter to be able to soak into the flesh a bit when the time comes) is reached. Drain in a colander.

When the garlic is done, if you like, reserve a couple of tablespoons of the butter for another use, then stir in the beans and rewarm. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with good salt and serve.



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How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the best source of free vegetable recipes with 700+ quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.

Grilled Eggplant with Balsamic Honey Syrup ♥

Simple grilled eggplant topped with fresh thyme and drizzled with a balsamic & honey syrupSlowly but surely, I'm finally grooving with the grill, attacking the easy stuff first. Grilled corn in the husk. Now grilled eggplant. How're my grill marks, not bad, eh?!

It was late when I turned on the grill, then looked for a recipe for eggplant I picked up over the weekend. The thing I love most about Everyday Vegetables by Jack Bishop (thanks again, Kalyn!) is that reliably, at the very last minute, it's (1) easy to find a recipe that (2) appeals with (3) the ingredients are already on hand and (4) cooks in a flash. Did I mention delicious, too? That goes without saying ... plus I'm pleased to add to a small but growing collection of grilled vegetable recipes.

This, for sure, fits my definition of real food, the favorite recipes and techniques and sources you turn to again and again. If there's anything that I strive to share with A Veggie Venture and Kitchen Parade, my published food column, it's real food.

NUTRITION NOTES It took a full two tablespoons of oil and garlic to brush the eggplant. Are there tricks to using less oil when grilling vegetables? I'd appreciate your tips.

TOOL TIP While I've long discarded all the silly silicone baking gear that was so much the rage a couple of years ago, I do love my silicone basting brush.



FROM THE ARCHIVES For more great every-day vegetable recipes from Jack Bishop, just type 'Bishop' in the Search Box at the top of the page.

See the Recipe Box for all the eggplant recipes but I especially recommend my recipe for ratatouille (isn't it cool that kids and grown-ups everywhere are learning that ratatouille is a recipe as well as a rat?!!) plus the Eggplant, Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwiches and the Thai Roasted-Eggplant Salad.

A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK King Hill Farms Simple & Sublime Beets ... "But this "recipe" ~ if you can call something so supremely simple such ~ has changed my beet-cooking habits forever."

TWO YEARS AGO I made Holy Slaw! for the first time. It was so good, in 2006 it appeared in a Kitchen Parade column.

GRILLED EGGPLANT with BALSAMIC HONEY SYRUP

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound eggplant (I used three of the thinner Japanese eggplant, each yielded three slices)

2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 - 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced (I used home-grown 'wet' garlic that yielded more garlic juice than flesh so two cloves was plenty)
Salt & pepper

SYRUP
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

Fresh thyme (or other fresh herbs)

Heat grill. (If you're an experienced griller, you know how to do this. Me, I'm new, I set the gas grill on medium and let it heat up while I continue the prep. It's plenty hot by the time the eggplant is ready.)

Trim the eggplant, then slice lengthwise in half-inch thick strips. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and garlic. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant with oil/garlic mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the grill for about 8 minutes, turning halfway through.

While eggplant grills, mix balsamic vinegar and honey in a small pan and bring to a boil. Let cook down til quite thick.

Layer the grilled eggplant on a platter, drizzle with the syrup. Sprinkle with fresh thyme.



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How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the best source of free vegetable recipes with 700+ quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.

Kitchen Parade Extra: Sengalese Soup ♥

Sengalese Soup, served cold, sweet with honey, corn and shrimpFrom a 2003 Kitchen Parade column, published today online for the first time:

"Sengalese Soup fits busy lives. It makes up in minutes and keeps in the frig for several days ready to serve warm with bread on a chilly evening or cold with a crunchy salad some steamy summer night."

Sound like a recipe for your life? Get the recipe for Sengalese Soup at Kitchen Parade.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER Lucullian Delights is collecting heart-healthy recipes, this month featuring "waterlife" -- made with shrimp, low-fat milk and just-slightly sweetened with natural honey and corn, Sengalese Soup is my proud entry!



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

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

WHY CAN'T I COMMENT ON THIS PAGE? Because I hope that you'll click through to the actual column and comment there!

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

Braised Shanghai Bok Choy

Baby Shanhai bok choy, braised in coconut milk and tumericYes, I'm on a bok choy kick, it happens! (See yesterday's soy-glazed baby bok choy which includes photos of baby bok choy and baby Shanghai bok choy.)

But five minutes of prep? you can't beat that!

This is a super-easy way to cook the 'real bok choy', which can be somewhat fibrous. This means it is often stir-fried, where small pieces and high, fast heat break down the fibers.

Instead, here, the braising technique uses liquid (here, a mix of coconut milk and water colored and flavored with turmeric) and time (a good 30 minutes, unattended except to monitor the temperature) to soften the stalks for consumption. Don't expect the coconut flavor to permeate the bok choy, however -- at least this didn't, perhaps because I used a low-fat version?

Anyway, this is good enough, a useful 'basic' recipe that really lets the bok choy itself shine through.



FROM THE ARCHIVES See the Recipe Box for a growing collection of bok choy recipes.

2006 | Fattoush, the Lebanese salad, the third time's the charm!

BRAISED SHANGHAI BOK CHOY


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Serves 4

1 pound Shanghai or other bok choy, baby versions if possible
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon turmeric
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt (it seems like a lot but it was needed, plus it's really being used to salt the braising liquid, not what will be eaten, the bok choy)
1 cup coconut milk (I used low fat)
1/2 cup water
Lime wedges

Trim the bok choy, then cut into quarters vertically. Let drain.

In a large skillet with a cover, heat the oil til shimmery. Add the turmeric and salt and stir a minute. Add a few drops of liquid, stir til turmeric and salt become smooth and un-lumpy enough to add more liquid. Pack in the bok choy, cut sides down. Cover with coconut milk and water and bring to a slow boil. Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the slow boil is being maintained, also to press the bok choy into the liquid to submerge if needed. If the bok choy isn't fully submerged, turn over after 15 minutes. Cook another 15 minutes. Remove bok choy from liquid and serve with lime wedges.



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How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the best source of free vegetable recipes with 700+ quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.

Soy-Glazed Baby Bok Choy ♥

Finally, baby bok choy
An introduction to two kinds of bok choy, including regular bok choy and Shanghai bok choy and their baby bok choy variations.

Last month, I cooked boy choy for the first time - at least I thought so. Turns out, that bok choy was actually Chinese cabbage, a variant for sure but also decidedly different, more like Napa cabbage or even romaine lettuce. So when both baby bok choy and baby Shanghai bok choy showed up in the produce section at my neighborhood international market, I decided to tackle bok choy, for real this time.

And I love the concept of this recipe, just skillet-browned bok choy which finishes cooking in a soy-vinegar glaze. It's good -- very good, even -- but the soy overpowers the flavor of the bok choy itself. So this recipe is perhaps suited for someone who loves bok choy and is looking for a new way to cook it, versus a neophyte like myself who's getting acquainted for the first time. (Or you could just use about a tiny splash of soy sauce.)

Grilled Sweet Corn with Spiced Lime Butter ♥

Corn grilled, right in the huskOh so easy! Oh so tasty! Oh so perfect for an all-grill meal! (And so nice to add to a small but growing collection of grilled vegetable recipes!)

First soak the corn, still in its husk, in water for a half hour. Leave the silk intact. You don't want to break the husk's "seal", plus the silk will peel away easily once the corn is grilled. (We tried both ways, just to see.) Then grill the corn right in the husks. Peel, drizzle with the spiced lime butter and ... dig in!

Delicious!

NUTRITION NOTES This is a definite indulgence, for a vegetable. But if you've got lovely picked-this-morning sweet corn, it's worth it.



FROM THE ARCHIVES See the Recipe Box for all the recipes for sweet corn. If you like to cook vegetables in foil on the grill, this is a favorite from my cousin Diane, barbecue vegetables oriental.

A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK Perfect Rhubarb Pie ... "three perfect rhubarb pies in all of two weeks. The first pie, we groaned. The second pie, we ate in silence. ..."

TWO YEARS AGO Green Beans with Honey Mustard Glaze ... "The trick to these beans ... is cooking them in what seems like a whole lotta water in a whole lotta salt. ... try the beans. They're amazing."

GRILLED CORN with SPICED LIME BUTTER

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 4

4 ears corn, still in husks, washed well

SPICED LIME BUTTER
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Zest of a lime
Juice of half a lime (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
Fresh chive

Soak the corn for 30 minutes before grilling. Grill over moderately high heat, turning often, til husks are charred all over. Remove husks and silk.

Stir together the butter ingredients. Pour over husked ears. Serve and enjoy!



HOW MANY CALORIES, CARBS & WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS IN CORN
Nutrition Information Per 1/4 pound of raw corn: Per Serving: 98 Cal (11% from Fat, 13% from Protein, 76% from Carb); 4 g Protein; 1 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 0 g Mono Fat; 22 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 2 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 17 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 1 point

Nutrition Information Per ear of raw corn: Per Serving: 31 Cal (11% from Fat, 13% from Protein, 76% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 0 g Mono Fat; 7 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb6; 1 g Sugar; 1 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 5 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 0 points



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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.

TAGS


How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the best source of free vegetable recipes with 700+ quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.

Microwave Beets ♥

White beets cooked in the microwave
What a huge time-saver. If you love beets, you'll want to learn how easy it is to
cook beets in the microwave!

Two lessons for the 'price' of one today.
  1. Yes, the wily world of vegetables includes creamy white beets in addition to beet-red, pale pink and golden beets.
  2. Yes, beets can be cooked in the microwave!
#1 is a mere novelty but #2 is decidedly useful since cooking beets in the oven takes 60 - 90 minutes.

But in the microwave, cooking beets takes just 20 - 30 minutes, completely unattended except for turning. What a time-saver, what an energy-saver. (Does that, um, make these white beets, ummmm, 'green'?)

These beets were delicious, sliced hot from the microwave and topped with a pinprick of butter and a few fresh chives. I may never roast beets in the oven again.

And the technique is especially convenient when cooking for one or two. Need to cook just one beet or two beets? No problem.

Kitchen Parade Extra: Ratatouille Omelettes ♥

Ratatouille: a food hit worthy of a hit movieFrom this week's Kitchen Parade column:

"Last week I chose my words carefully with a 13-year old. “Do you like rat-a-too-ee?” Not unexpectedly, he was certain I meant this summer’s Disney hit movie and flashed a grin."

How do you nearly put tears in the eyes of a 13-year old? Read the rest of this week's column.



So what about the first foodie movie of the summer? (Still to come are No Reservations and another whose preview I saw before Ratoutille but looks as immemorable as its name, which, right, I can't remember.) Great great fun, for sure!

And for a couple of weeks my 2002 recipe for ratatouille (only column #2, that's how much I love this stuff) has been considerable attention. And it should! Ratatouille (and isn't it great that the world will now know how to pronounce rat-a-too-tee?) may 'sound' fancy but it's just a few vegetables.



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

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

WHY CAN'T I COMMENT ON THIS PAGE? Because I hope that you'll click through to the actual column and comment there!


How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the best source of free vegetable recipes with 700+ quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.

Cowboy Coleslaw ♥

To brighten a plate and a palateSo how pretty is this?!! It's just grated carrot, red cabbage and green onion in an otherwise simple slaw ...

The recipe comes from my cousin Laura who's mother of four, so while I haven't asked, you just know it's kid-friendly! I do know my fifteen-year old nephew had seconds! (All this to explain the recipe name 'Cowboy Coleslaw', which will appeal to kids, versus what I first intended to call it, Colorful Carrot & Cabbage Slaw, which I figure appeals more to the Moms of the world ... I tell you what, call it what you like, you know your audience.)

NEXT TIME I'll use white balsamic vinegar so the carrot doesn't stain.

NUTRITION NOTES I found the sunflower seeds optional -- and without them, the slaw drops from from one to zero Weight Watchers points! For the record, in part this is because the portion size is measured on the basis of a half cup of slaw, where recipes on A Veggie Venture nearly always assume a pound of vegetables divided four ways. THAT said, a half cup was very satisfying, full of crunch and flavor. This is no sissy coleslaw!



WEEKEND HERB BLOGGING This is my official entry to Weekend Herb Blogging that this week is being hosted by Food Blogga. The lovely Susan is a Rhode Islander (hence, blogga!) transplanted in southern California and a lovely story-teller with a knack for simple fresh food. In January, Susan, her husband and I shared a fast-talking late supper, one of those where you hardly notice the food (I know! and we call ourselves foodies!) because you're so enjoying the company.



FROM THE ARCHIVES The Recipe Box has lots of carrot recipes and cabbage recipes.

A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK Carrot & Sesame Salad ... "I'm a complete sucker for simple vegetable salads made with everyday ingredients 95% likely to be already on hand."

TWO YEARS AGO A classic: tomato with fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar and basil

COWBOY COLESLAW

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes 3 cups

2 cups grated carrot (from 3 large carrots, I used a mandoline to grate because I like the perfect little slices but a hand-held grated worked fine too)
1 cup thin-sliced red cabbage (or radicchio)
1/4 cup chopped green onion (don't skip this)
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (these added crunch but also calories, I don't think they're necessary)

DRESSING
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (preferably white)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Gently combine the vegetables (hold off on the sunflower seeds if making in advance). Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with vegetables. Top with sesame seeds and serve. Can be made a few hours in advance.



HOW MANY CALORIES, CARBS & WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS IN CARROTS
Nutrition Information Per 1/4 pound of raw carrot: 46 Cal (5% from Fat, 8% from Protein, 87% from Carb); 1 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 0 g Mono Fat; 11 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; 5 g Sugar; 37 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 78 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 0 points

HOW MANY CALORIES, CARBS & WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS IN RED CABBAGE
Nutrition Information Per 1/4 pound of raw red cabbage: 35 Cal (4% from Fat, 16% from Protein, 80% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 0 g Mono Fat; 8 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 51 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 31 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 0 points



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

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

Zucchini Carpaccio ♥

Zucchini Carpaccio ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Low Carb. WW2. Super Simple.
A lesson in simplicity, no recipe required. Zucchini Carpaccio is no more than thin-thin slices of small, very fresh zucchini drizzled with very good olive oil and vinegar and sprinkled with good salt. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. How amazing? It impressed a fifteen-year old boy.

"This is lunch?" asked an unimpressed fifteen-year old when encountering nothing but small plates of thin-sliced zucchini on the kitchen table. But with a go-along-to-get-along attitude, my nephew Alex attacked the zucchini and quickly allowed, "This is good, really really good."

For me, it was a lesson in the power of simplicity, how superior ingredients create the possibility of "so much more from a whole lot less". The lesson comes courtesy of the craftsmanship and generosity of the folks at O Olive Oil. These thin slices of baby zucchini are dressed with nothing more than (really really) good olive oil, (really really) good vinegar and a sprinkling of Maldon salt.

Bottles of olive oil and vinegar from O Olive Oil
Even the 15-year old was impressed by the arrival of the O's beautiful bottles. We sniffed first, then read the labels. It was fun! Orange? Yes! Lemon? yes!!

Then over the course of ten days, he learned how to make salad dressing, experimenting with sluicing the oil and vinegar with a fork, some times adding a dollop of mustard, other times fresh herbs from the side garden, matching orange to beets and lemon (and honey, his favorite) to zucchini.

Each new combination was a sensual delight, brightening salad greens and coaxing new depths of flavor from vegetables raw and roasted.

"Yummmm," I'd think, quoting a favorite olive-oil maker.

"We could drink this," said the fifteen-year old after whisking together a clear sunny-colored vinaigrette of meyer lemon olive oil and a champagne vinegar. He was right, we could have.

For simplicity like this, quality counts. It's a lesson not to be forgotten.

And while I've never before purchased really good olive oil or good vinegar, it's a lesson that has me budgeting for the good stuff from now on. My mental gyrations go like this: I happily spend $20 a pound for really good meat that's devoured in a single meal. But what if I skip the meat to purchase a bottle of olive oil that will grace lovely salads for an entire month? That's a deal I can live with.

WHAT IS CARPACCIO? Pronounced [kahr-PAH-chee-oh], carpaccio is an Italian dish, thin slices of raw beef, usually served as an appetizer. By extension, a zucchini carpaccio is thin slices of, yup, zucchini.

FULL DISCLOSURE In 2007 O Olive Oil provided complimentary samples of oil and vinegar in exchange for a fair and honest review. In 2015, I remain a big fan of O Olive Oil and order a case or half case a couple of times a year. It's our go-to "good oil" and "good vinegar" for salads and touches of oil for fresh vegetables. Delicious, this stuff.

ZUCCHINI CARPACCIO

Hands-on time: 15 minutes (for 2 salads)
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 2

2 baby zucchini (1 per person, about 1/8 pound each)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 teaspoon good vinegar
Good salt
Fresh herbs, for garnish, optional

Slice the zucchini as thin as you can, a Japanese mandoline helps but a sharp, thin paring knife works beautifully too. Whisk the oil and vinegar together and drizzle it over the slices. Sprinkle with salt. See what I mean? Super Simple!

Enjoy, immensely, immediately.

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
PROPORTIONS Of course, your own proportions. We started off with 3:1 oil:vinegar but another time tried 4:1 oil:vinegar with a little honey, very very good!
GARNISHES Fresh mint is gorgeous, so are pea sprouts.






A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007 & 2015

Cucumbers in Vinegar ♥

Cucumbers & Radishes in Vinegar
An old-fashioned cucumber salad, just cucumbers and a few pretty-pretty radishes in vinegar seasoned with no more than a little salt. So fresh and summery!

You know how one good deed often begets another? Danielle of Habeas Brulee made my Nana's cucumbers with sour cream, then called up her own grandmother for her cucumber salad recipe -- so for me, there was no not making Danielle's own Ima's cucumbers with vinegar! (Hi, Ima!) Both are simple delights, perfect for a summer table.

I was short on onion so substituted radishes - nice color, yes?! The Benriner (also called a Japanese mandoline) made quick work of slicing though next time I'll set the blade for slightly thicker slices for a texture more like salad and less like pickle. But it's easy-easy to slice cucumbers thin with a sharp knife so a Benriner is definitely optional here.

Life Beyond Lemons: Cooking & Food Allergies

How do you bake without wheat flour? How do you forgo milk and cheese and chicken and turkey and almonds and pineapple and papaya and avocado and heavens! green beans?

Food blogging has opened my eyes to the challenges and successes of cooking gluten-free. But when our very own Gluten-Free Goddess Karina learned that she faces a whole host of food allergies -- oh my, what a list -- it took me aback.

It's one thing to choose to give up meat and dairy. It's another thing entirely to be forced to give up foods from which you've drawn both sustenance and comfort, in order to regain your well-being, your very life.

Gluten-Free GoddessYes, it must be done. But. Really. Now. How do you live without the brightness of lemon?

For whatever reason, it's Karina's allergy to lemons that has got me thinking the hardest. I keep a half dozen lemons on the counter at the ready at all times. Now, thanks to Karina, each time I pick one up, I caress the waxy skin, I breathe in the lemon scent, I take a moment to be thankful for the lowly lemon, to appreciate what it does to food, to wonder at its goodness.

But surely, truly, there can be life without lemons? Easy for me to say, of course, but there can, surely, if only because there must.



Inspired by the gracious Gluten-Free by the Bay, food bloggers everywhere are Cooking for Karina, collecting recipes for foods to inspire Karina, someone with so many food allergies.

Fruity GazpachoI scoured the Kitchen Parade archives, honestly expecting to find only one or two or maybe at best three recipes for someone with Karina's food allergies. I did think my Fruity Gazapcho might make you smile, Karina, and know personally that the avocado, which you can't eat, is entirely dispensable.

Instead -- perhaps because Kitchen Parade recipes tend to be spare, simple and made from 'whole' foods our grandmothers would recognize? I don't know, it's a puzzle to me -- I found a whole collection of recipes missing the verboten ingredients or with known, easy substitutions. Much to my surprise, many of the recipes are also full of color, a dimension that will appeal to Karina's artist's soul.

And so here, as much to inspire my own life as to offer inspiration and sustenance and rainbows of color to Karina, is what shall forevermore be called:

Cooking for Karina:

Life Beyond Lemons with Buckets of Lemonade


Vegetarian Main Courses
RatatouilleRatatouille - Karina my friend, the movie will make you smile throughout and laugh out loud often, then yes, you can eat ratatouille safely, too, just skip the Parmesan

Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries - skip the nuts, you won't miss them

(scroll to the end if you think you may return to meat and fish)




Vegetables Are Your Friends!
Red & Yellow Pepper RelishRed, Yellow Pepper Relish - full of color and flavor and vegetable goodness

Caraway Cabbage - this could be a main dish, too

Trio of Vegetables - roasted cauliflower, honey carrots & lemon asparagus

Pair of Shredded Vegetables - beet roesti, the Swiss classic done in beets vs potatoes and shredded zucchini with thyme

Mashed Potatoes & Carrots - oh you're going to love these, color and taste!

Lavender Potatoes - skip the steak, just pile on the potatoes, oh-so-good!

Pair of Refrigerator Pickles - peppers, cucumber, all in the frig!

Grilled Pepper Salad - more color! those pine nuts are dispensable, too if needed




Soups
Laura's Carrot SoupLaura's Carrot Soup - this will be delicious with coconut milk as a substitute for cow's milk

Scandinavian Pea Soup - thick and hearty, winter fare on the High Desert

Low-Fat Vegetable Soup - I practically live on this during the winter

Karelian Borscht - another hearty soup, beautiful color for the artist in you

Lentil Soup Vincent - yes, one more hearty soup, this one with lentils

Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup - skip the sausage with no trouble

Very Very Green Green-Pea Soup - you'll love the color here, too!

Summer's Tomato Soup - coconut and tomato? it speaks to me!

Creamy Wild Rice Soup - I'll send you Minnesota wild rice, the very best!

Quick Cauliflower Soup & Quick Broccoli Soup - two mainstays, just broth and vegetables and eat!



Salads
Confetti Potato Salad - again, color, color, color

My Favorite Salad Dressing - oh the salads you'll make! and with this dressing, no two will taste the same

Alice Waters' Coleslaw - light and fresh and lovely tasting!

Bloody Mary Salad - you'll use xanthum instead of gelatin, yes? but after that it's packed with good veggies and great crunch

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad - hearty enough for a supper salad, too
Panzanella - just skip the bread or use a favorite gluten-free bread, panzanella is all about the tomatoes anyway!

Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Salad - and Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup too, yes, this is your lucky year, Karina, you'll soon be well again



Appetizers
Olivada - the lovely olive 'pesto', though you'll likely skip the pine nuts, yes? it would be delicious on pasta too




Desserts
Peacherry BluesPeacherry Blues - perfect for high summer!

Winter Fruit Salad - skip the pineapple, use lime zest if you can or add cinnamon or even a dash of fresh pepper! for a little oomph

Rhubarb Sorbet - again, this will please your color-hungry eyes!

Fruity Gazpacho - yes, here it is again, it's worth repeating!

Apple Cider Indian Pudding - this could be amazing with coconut milk!

Cranberry Pudding - made with a gluten-free flour and coconut milk in the sauce (yes, it's an eggless cake!), plus do you see that cranberry applesauce? it'll have you singing!

Strawberry Banana Chocolate Crumble - made with gluten-free flour




Main Courses with Meat Protein
(should by chance you decide to eat meat or fish again ...)

Quick Supper: Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato SaladCornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad - getting hungry here!

Asian (No Chicken) Salad - a supper salad I make with chicken but shrimp or pork would be delicious, slices of beef, too, full of veggies (the dressing includes soy sauce so you'll want to use your soy-free substitute

Kitchen Stir-Fry - needs a tofu substitute, also soy sauce, but this is an eminently variable recipe, based on taste, season, preferences and yes, food allergies too

Beef & Mushroom Stew - filling, flavorful, a long-time favorite recipe

Roasted Salmon & Asparagus - use a lovely-scented vinegar as a lemon substitute

Berry Baby Backs - baked or grilled in a gingery raspberry sauce

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce - a quick supper!

Salmon Chowder - with coconut milk, how good would that be?

Pepper Steak & Mushrooms - winter food, another quick supper too

Two-Way Lentil Skillet - skip the tofu, but if you return to shrimp, this is a real winner!




And so, dear Karina, thank you for sharing the difficulties and frustrations and someday soon, the successes, of your struggle with food allergies. And for you I wish this ... that food once again becomes a joy, a creative outlet that feeds your soul as well as your body. With your spirit and determination, there will, yes, for you, be life beyond lemons.




How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the best source of free vegetable recipes with 700+ quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.