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Side dish/ Vegetables

Charred Broccoli with Blue Cheese Dressing and Spicy Rice

What do you do after a hard day’s work?

I’ve always loved cooking, taking cooking classes, watching cooking competitions, talking food, recreating a dish that I have enjoyed from a restaurant and teaching someone how to make something special. So, even today, in my old age (ha) after helping out in the kitchen at our son and D-I-L’s brewery for 6-8 hours I’ll come home and watch a good “food movie” or some of my new favorite food shows on Magnolia network or even sit down and search the internet for some new recipes. 

One of my favorite things to do is to look at menus from restaurants where friends or family have dined. You can’t imagine how many ideas I have gotten from reading menus and unless it is an over the top restaurant with like super complicated foods and techniques, it’s pretty easy to come up with a recipe.

This particular recipe is from Stephanie Izard (The Girl and the Goat Restaurant in Chicago). She won Top Chef competition in their fourth season and now has four restaurants. (Her green bean recipe is still one of my all time favorite green bean recipes.) My son, Scott, is always sending me new things to try. I would have to say that he is a lot more adventurous than I am. I have not tried his tahini brownies and probably won’t but I will try almost anything else he recommends. When he showed me this recipe I think he had already made it twice so I knew it must be good.  

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Smashed Brussel Sprouts with Pistachios

No chasing these little spheres around the plate!

Seems like Brussel sprouts have always gotten a bad rap in the green vegetable category.  Ever wonder why? Well, after some searching I found that it is in your DNA. Either you have the “sprout gene” (PTC) or you don’t. This gene comes in 2 forms – bitter and non-bitter tasting. If you are really interested in why you may be a BS hater, read on here.

The BS’s, for me, have become less bitter and I think that is the way I prepare them these days. A little sweetness from balsamic or adding dates or golden raisins can’t help to elevate this little vegetable to a better place in our vegetable choices. My mother never prepared Brussel sprouts and that’s probably because my dad didn’t like them and back then she cooked vegetables like cabbage and even green beans long past their “done” stage making things a drab color and mushy. In later years all of my mother’s and dad’s cooking changed and green beans were cooked to a vibrant green or cabbage not cooked to death. I personally like my cabbage cut into small pieces and sautéed very quick so it still has a little bite to it and the color resembles more of what it looked like when cut from the garden.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Roasted Cabbage Steaks

New Year’s Cabbage, Pork, and Black-eyed Peas and Friends.

So It’s been 11 days since New Year’s Day and I’m still waiting for my good luck/money/prosperity. Well, it will come but I will have to wait awhile I guess.  

It’s been a busy few weeks with kids coming from Chicago and Austin for Christmas and all six little grandsons able to play together for first time in 2 years. And, a little covid to bring things to a close earlier than expected. But as I told our son, Scott, we at least got together for Christmas, had a great steak dinner for his Christmas Birthday, a fish fry and lots of new games we got to play. Things will get better and I’m looking forward to at least a couple of trips to Chicago this year. We also did a pizza night on Sunday after Christmas after the brewery closed. Paul made all the crust, I got together the toppings and GA grilled them on the Big Green Egg at the brewery.  

On top of holiday fun/blues/COVID, my Mac computer died and it had to live at Best Buy for a week just uploading all my thousands of pictures. So, blogging hasn’t been on top of my list of things to pick from everyday to keep me busy. Of course, I’ve been busy helping in the kitchen at the brewery and that is always fun to see what new menu items Paul is going to come up with for the weekend. This past week it was a country pate to go along with his chicken liver pate. They look and taste wonderful.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Roasted Rainbow Carrots and Green Beans

Love those rainbow vegetables!

Anytime I see any rainbow colored vegetables they end up in my shopping basket. The last time I was at Central Market I snatched up some rainbow radishes; shades of purple, pink, reds and whites (and even black) were just waiting for me when I cruised the produce section. These beautiful rainbow carrots yelled out at me while walking through Whole Foods in Austin one weekend when we were there visiting our daughter and her family. At the time, I did not have any idea for these other than slicing them up in a salad and how boring would that have been.

So Thanksgiving eve morning I’m cruising the internet and came across this beautiful recipe from and knew MacKenzie Smith’s (2 time Food Network Champ)  recipe would be a hit at our Thanksgiving meal. Thank you MacKenzie for sharing this recipe. I will definitely be “lurking” your blog for more yummy ideas. (Note: it took my green beans forever to even get close to being tender and if I ever did these again I would probably blanch for 6-7 minutes before roasting.) Good dish but the green beans just tasted too undercooked. I decided that my green beans might have been about a week too old to use and I should have used fresher ones or even frozen.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Green Beans and Dates

Vegetables with dates? Yum!

Since moving to Round Top in July 2020 I have not been cooking as much as I use to and I guess that’s because I’m baking at Lollitop Sweet Shop (Paul and Brooke’s place) four days a week. There aren’t a lot of places to eat around here especially on Monday-Wednesday and one would think I would be cooking more at home, but I’m not. 

I’ve always enjoyed cooking my own meals and having friends over for dinner more than going out to eat. Recently (and this is the second time I have tried this service) I joined Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon’s meal boxes or whatever those plans are called where they send you all the food and you cook it.  Maybe those are meant for people who don’t want to shop for their groceries or don’t have access to a big grocery market. Well, that would be me, (now) but this service lasted three weeks before I cancelled. I would have to say I wasn’t happy with some of the meals I chose (tough meat or flavors a little off for me.)

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Garnish/ Salads/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Pickled Yellow Squash

Take advantage of your summer harvest.

I’ve been doing a lot of pickling lately; first my roasted yellow pickled beets and now this pickled yellow squash.

Even if you don’t have a garden you can take advantage of finding great deals on produce and then canning some to enjoy in the winter. I didn’t find a great deal at the farmer’s market; their yellow squash was $3.00/lb. I bought one pound of their squash and then went to my HEB and bought 6 lbs. at $.99/lb. Now that’s a deal.

My mother and dad both use to can things. It seemed like it was more my mother canning tomatoes and pickles from my dad’s garden and then after my dad retired they both tried their hand(s) at pickled okra, beets. When they moved over to Reelfoot Lake he even canned some fish he had caught then they would make fish cakes out of the canned fish. Now, I wasn’t too keen on trying that recipe but I’m sure if he made it, it was good.

I’ve canned some marmalade before and some fig jam and even some cognac raisins to serve with cheese. Oh, I forgot, one of my sister’s (Terry) best canned items is her chow chow. It is better than any chow chow you will ever find in a grocery store and when I can get tomatoes for 50 cents a lb. I make some. I have to go to Missouri to get tomatoes at that price.

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Entree/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Spinach Dal (Dhal, Dhall)

I think this might actually be my first Indian dish to make (other than naan).

Halloween is gone but this is kind of a trick or treat recipe. Kind of looks like corn in above picture (trick) but the treat is if you like Indian flavors you will enjoy this dish of yellow lentils and spinach.

I can actually remember the first time I ever had Indian food and it was at an Austin restaurant, the Clay Pit and it was one Christmas and my daughter-in-law, Brooke was pregnant with our first grandson, Milo. Our kids have always encouraged us to try different types of food and Indian food was always one we resisted.

I think that day started with my daughter and daughter-in-law Missy massaging Brooke’s feet because they had read that was suppose to start labor. Everyone decided we should eat Indian and when we stepped inside the restaurant I knew what we would be eating was going to be delicious because of the spicy aromas that smacked us in the face when we walked through the doors.

When we have eaten Indian in Chicago, we usually rely on son and daughter-in-law there to help us in ordering. Of course the naan is always a favorite; how could any kind of bread be bad and after having naan for the first time I did made it with great success.

I really want to try some other Indian recipes so if you have any favorites, please leave a comment below.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Brussel Sprouts with Squash, Bacon and Raisins

And butternut squash too….

The beginnings of this recipe came from an old March 2012 Bon Appetit magazine. I upped the bacon, added more shallots and the butternut squash. I like the idea of what they did with the chicken broth and raisins so I used that part of the recipe.

I made brussel sprouts twice while cooking for my daughter and her husband after the baby came. (Wow, that means Thomas is already 5 months old.) One day I made a Brussel sprout salad and the next night I just winged it and sautéed some quartered BS’s, added some dried cranberries, almonds, shallots and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

So, for the ease of pronouncing this vegetable I will probably always call it Brussel sprouts instead of Brussels sprouts. That’s kind of hard to say isn’t it, two words side by side ending in an “s”. So, whether it’s correct or not, I’m doing what a lot of others do and calling them just Brussel sprouts. I will capitalize the Brussel since it is thought that Brussel sprouts came from Brussels, Belgium. Just try saying Brussels sprouts ten times and see if you don’t get tongue tied.

Seems like I was in speech class forever when I was younger. My sister and I had a problem with “r’s” and I think one of my most embarassing “pronouncing something wrong” moment was in class when I was suppose to say BRAZIL and it came out brassier.  Maybe that’s why I never like hearing a bra called a  b-r-a-s-s-i-e-r.  It gives me the shivers just thinking about it. 

It’s kind of like when I want a glass of Pino Noir and I can’t quite get that Noir part out right, I just say give me the such and such Pino and they usually know what I’m talking about.

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Entree/ Fish/Seafood/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Green Pea Risotto (with Pan Seared Halibut)

Not only is this risotto beautiful, it’s delicious too.

Our 45th wedding anniversary was August 16th, followed the next day by my husband’s birthday. He married an older woman (by 9 months); I was 21 and he turned 21 the next day so his mom had to “sign” for him to be able to get married.

So, to celebrate our 45th we took off for Seattle/Vancouver/Victoria/Seattle. We called this our “planes, trains, and automobiles” trip (after the movie) but it turned out to be planes, trains, automobiles, water taxis, whale boat, ferry boat, tour bus (to Butchart Gardens), hop on hop off bus trip.

The trip started in Seattle, one night there and then caught Amtrak for a beautiful 5 hour ride to Vancouver which was almost totally overlooking the water. Once in Vancouver we walked the Calpilano Suspension bridge, tree top adventure and cliff walk along the edge of the park.

A whale watching boat took us on a 4 hour trip across to Victoria where we saw lots of whales. While there we saw Butchart Gardens and of course had to have tea at the Empress Hotel where we were staying.

One night we had dinner at the Blue Crab Restaurant and took a water taxi over to the restaurant since the walk was a little long with the sore foot I developed while hiking through the Cilpilano Park (:() ) It seems like ever dinner we had (they were all great) we called our anniversary dinner.

That night at the Blue Crab, GA (hub) had a pan seared halibut with summer green pea risotto and tarragon butter sauce. It was so beautiful I almost wanted to trade but I had Sea Scallops and Tiger Prawn with pancetta and garden pea couscous and chili citrus butter sauce which I did not want to share. (We did share a bite.)

This was definitely one of our favorite trips and ranks right up there with trips to France, Spain and Italy.

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Honey Lime Carrots and Radishes with Cilantro

Carrots are devine… You get a dozen for a dime, It’s maaaa-gic! – BUGS BUNNY

Carrots were probably one of those vegetables that as a kid I pushed to the side of my plate or did as my kids did and hide them under something else looming uneaten on the plate.

As I aged, and don’t we all hate doing that unless we are 15 and can’t wait for the next year to pass so we can start driving, I learned to appreciate the beautiful orange root vegetable and the things you can do with it. It’s hard for me to pass up a crunchy carrot on a vegetable platter and I’ve used the carrot to make flower coins to mix with other vegetables for a side dish, and who doesn’t like carrot cake. As my grandmother use to say “it’s good for you, it has carrots in it”.

I was looking at some recipes on line one day for carrots and ran across this recipe for baby lime carrots at Carries Experimental Kitchen and knew exactly what I was going to do with this recipe to change it up.

Normally I would steam carrots as not to lose any of the nutrients, but for this recipe I wanted to use a lime water to impart some of the flavor into the carrots and I don’t think the carrots will lose that much of their nutritional value with a quick bath in the lime water.

I couldn’t find red carrots the day I bought these so I opted to add some long skinny red radishes to the mix. Next time I won’t use the radishes. Even though I’ve seen recipes for cooked radishes, I didn’t care for the texture.

Carrots are not only orange but also come in purple, white, red and yellow. Here are some fun facts and trivia I found about carrots at Koffeeklatchgals.

Some other cute notable carrot quotes:

Heaven is the place where the donkey finally caches up with his carrot: hell is the eternity while he waits for it — Russell Green

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie — Garfield

I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond – Mae West

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Parsley Fingerling Potatoes

How about an all vegetable dinner?

My kids were never big vegetable fans; fried okra, mashed potatoes, green beans were about the only vegetables they would touch. Potatoes were on the table for many dinners; whether they were French fries, American pan fries, mashed, baked, or these stewed potatoes (I made this recipe with fingerling potatoes); I knew they would be eaten.

How things have changed now that they have families of their own. They love (one son) growing their own vegetables, shopping the farmer’s markets for the freshest of everything and even joining a vegetable co-op (Johnson’s Backyard Gardens) where a basket of fresh vegetables is delivered to your doorstep once a month. In the last few years I have added new vegetables like baby bok choy, Swiss chard, and kale to my vegetable repertoire. I’m sure there are a few vegetables out there I have never tried and  I am game to try anything new.

I have mentioned in a previous post how my mother use to make what we called stewed potatoes and how she would add the last bits of cornbread batter clinging from the mixing bowl to the potato liquid of cooked cubed potatoes. This would thicken the water and make almost a sauce like liquid around the potatoes. Add a little parsley, butter and salt and pepper and yum, yum, yum.

I decided to have a meatless meal (which we don’t do often) after finding all these other veggies in my refrigerator. So, how does cooked Yellow Squash and Friends, red chard with pine nuts and these cute little fingerling potatoes sound to you? (Those other recipes coming soon.)

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Asparagus Squared

Asparagus Salad Squared and I’m not even good at math.

I watch a lot of tv I have to admit, but most of it is food related shows (almost). I perched myself in front of the TV nursing sore knees while in Chicago a few months ago (before knee surgery). We were watching “Check Please” on PBS where they have three people on a panel and they recommend their favorite restaurants; and then the others on the panel go to the restaurant and check it out themselves. Now that is a job I could do and not even get paid to do it.

So, this one guest’s restaurant was the Pasta D’Arte. I’m not even sure what this group of people sampled from the restaurant but after looking at the restaurant’s website I found a salad that was so interesting looking I just had to try and make it. Only thing is that you really need small asparagus because each salad takes 8 spears and that’s a lot of asparagus for anyone to eat even if you love asparagus.

I’m probably the only person alive that likes canned asparagus. Of course, I would take fresh over canned anytime but there’s just something about the soft mushy asparagus that comes in a can that makes me think of a cheesy asparagus casserole my sister and I use to make when we were both newly weds. But, this recipe would only look beautiful made with fresh thin asparagus.

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