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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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Vegetables

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.https://koffeeklatchgals.hubpages.com/hub/Carrot-sayings-quotes-fun-facts-and-trivia.

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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Salads/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Potato and Green Bean Salad

No mayonnaise in this potato salad.

What would a picnic be without some type of potato salad. It’s a given we will probably have some ants, flies, and a few mosquitoes; and I’m just as sure that there will be someone bringing potato salad. I mean, who doesn’t like the creamy stuff and this would would be great for a Labor Day cookout.

I’m sure everyone has had their favorite potato salad recipe that they have prepared for years. Seems like you never go to a backyard bbq that there does appear at least 2 varieties of potato salad and most of which will probably have mayonnaise as one of the main ingredients.

I love this recipe because it actually has a good healthy green vegetable in it — green beans; and along with a few other ingredients this is a very light tasting cousin of the old traditional mayonnaise/mustard based potato dish.

The next time I make this dish I plan on baking some potatoes scooping out the pulp and then filling the shell with this potato salad. I think it will look so cool that the potato salad has it’s own little container.

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Entree/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Aloo Bainsan (Eggplant and Potato)

My first Indian dish.

Normally I have an endless flow of ideas for recipes to blog. This time though, I found myself staring at white and graffiti eggplants (I bought because they were so darn cute), one potato and a Serrano pepper and thinking what could I possibly make with this. So I did what I do best and I googled the ingredients. One of the first recipes that caught my attention was a Eggplant and Potato Curry recipe from Food & Wine magazine and my first thought was that I could do better than that. So I dug a little deeper and found this wonderful video from Manjula’s Kitchen (Indian vegetarian recipes).

Don’t you just love YouTube. I use it for anything I don’t know how to make and watching Manjula do this recipe I just knew it was going to be good. (One of these days I’m going to YouTube knee replacement surgery and see exactly what was done to my knee.)

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Elote (Spiced Mexican Corn)

Corn for the 4th of July

A squirt of lime makes this even more delicious.

What is it a backyard bbq without some type of corn. Whether it is corn on the cob, corn relish, corn casserole, corn fritters, or corn and black bean salsa…. I could go on and on about the many uses of corn.

Don’t you just love the summer months where so much of your time is spent outside either tending your flowers, gardens or getting ready for a party. I tend to go overboard in the amounts of food I prepare but what the heck, it’s a holiday, a family gathering or a party with of friends coming over for something delicious to eat and that’s what I like to do.

My motto has always been it’s better to have too much food than not enough and if someone doesn’t want to eat EVERYTHING I make, then they can make the decision on which of the foods to pass on.

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Side dish/ Vegetables

Baby Bok Choy with Brown Butter Garlic Sauce

Bok, Bok, Bok, doesn’t that sounds like some kind of strange bird?

Ok, so it isn’t a bird. I don’t think I have ever eaten this vegetable until back in February when we had our annual dinner of golf husbands and their wives. Our golfers have come to call this “wife appreciation dinner” because we let them play so much golf. Not that they really need our permission to do so, but it’s always nice of them to take us to dinner.

(I’ve been saving a few recipes so while I’m having the knee surgery and the first couple of weeks of rehab I can use some things from my draft folder — so here’s the first, hope I’m up and walking soon.)

I used the bok choy under the mashed potatoes here and then topped the potatoes with a little brown butter.  For our dinner that night we had a beef fillet on top of the potatoes. Really nice.

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Morning Foods/ Side dish/ Vegetables

Parmesan Baked Tomatoes

Campari — The tomato lover’s tomato.

Campari tomatoes are one of my favorite types of tomatoes. They are known for their juiciness and extraordinarily sweet taste and low acidity. They are deep red, bigger than a cherry tomato and so cute to boot. As baby bear said, Not too big, not to little, but just right.

Brunch for my daughter’s birthday on Memorial day consisted of ham, bacon and mushroom quiche, tiny cinnamon rolls, these Baked Parmesan Tomatoes, and some pork belly that was fried up by my husband and of course a bunch of mimosas.

These tomatoes are great to add into any menu. I’ve never been accused of not having enough food but I like to cook and I’m not force feeding anyone. Guest can always pick and choose what they want to eat with no retribution from me not even a hurt feeling or two.

It does take me awhile to get over failures. I tend to dwell on something for days (don’t know why) if it doesn’t turn out like I expected. I think I am far, far from a perfectionist but when someone doesn’t like a recipe I know I should have tried it before serving the dish. I feel like if I read a recipe and know the ingredients the end results will be good. Anyone that knows me is aware that I’m not a taster. Never tasted raw cookie dough, can you believe that?  All the years of catering did not change that. Now if I was making something chocolate I would probably taste it (after it is cooked, of course) but I guess I feel like if I like the ingredients then I don’t need to be picking on it the whole time taste testing it. Sometimes I do not hit the nail on the head with a recipe and it may need to be tweaked at another time but most of the time I think I do pretty well without sticking my fingers in the pot.

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