And this little figgy piggy screamed “kiwi, kiwi, kiwi” all the way home!
This semi-exotic fruit lends a clean, tart flavor to savory dishes.
Swiss chard always has been a mystery to me, taking the line behind collard greens and kale, both of which I’m much more familiar with. But walking by the produce aisle at Roth’s Vista store the other day, I was stopped dead in my tracks by these beautiful specimens in the organic section, beaming like […]
For most of us, dandelions are obnoxious weeds. They’re something to be pulled, yanked and banished from well-manicured lawns. But consider this: Their leaves are edible and according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, they’re full of vitamins A, B, C and D as well as minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc. You can use them in most in recipes that call for spinach.
It’s fall. Chilly nights. Rainy days. Movie night at home requires a throw blanket, a warm fireplace a chick flick or buddy flick to warm the heart, and a switch from a glass of white wine or amber beer to a glass of hearty red wine or a stout beer. What to do for finger food? Forget the popcorn or bag of chips. Savor the sweet flavors of fall with sweet potato and beet fries, kicked up a notch by tossing with garlic seasoning.
For those of you making a mad dash to the grocery store because you’ve procrastinated until now to deal with your Thanksgiving dinner, this is probably too late for you, but if you’re tired of yams and mashed potatoes, there’s nothing that says fall to me more than some under-appreciated root vegetables like parsnips and beets. Add some delicata squash, a wonderfully sweet squash that beats out acorn squash, with it’s edible skin, the old carrot stand-by and toss in olive oil and garlic seasoning and pop in the oven and before you know it, you’ll have a wonderful melange of flavors that screams fall is here and enjoy the bounty.
Two of my favorite vegetables to eat raw are carrots and sugar snap peas. When I’m in search of a simple side dish that’s nutritious and healthy to boot, I will lightly sauté thinly sliced carrots in some butter or olive oil, toss in some sugar snap peas, and then turn off the heat and add water cress and stir in the hot pan until the water cress wilts. When water cress wilts, it retains its slighly bitter bite, but the cooking brings out a sweetness that you don’t notice when it’s raw. Then I’ll drizzle a little champagne vinegar, toss and serve.
I recently decided to step outside the meatloaf box that I grew up in and lovingly reinvent it for vegetarians. Legumes and rice, especially wild rice, immediately came to my mind as a tasty and nutritious foundation. Supporting characters such as onion, peppers, celery and seasonings will be the bling that makes it sing. If you’re making this for a special occasion or holiday, why not bring on the whole Mormon Tabernacle Choir and include chopped dried fruits (refreshed in a wee bit of your favorite spirit of course) and nuts – putting on the dog, or so to speak.
One of Mom’s kitchen secrets that she’s instilled in me is a method for preparing American or Chinese broccoli in stir-fry. If you try to stir-fry broccoli, sometimes it’s difficult to get the stems cooked as much as the florets. Mom’s secret: Blanch the broccoli before stir-frying it. Our sauce of choice for broccoli stir-fry at home is a combination of oyster and hoisin sauce. You need to cook the broccoli in the wok only long enough to coat it with the sauce and mix it with the other vegetables or meat that you’re using. But Mom’s technique can be applied to a more Western treatment of broccoli as well. I love the contrast between crunchy garlic and tender but still crunchy broccoli, savory bacon and a touch of sweet and tart balsamic vinegar, so I’ll often use Mom’s technique with this combination of ingredients.
During all of the years we lived in Texas, I never learned how to make collard greens, even though it was a dish I loved to eat with fried chicken. It wasn’t until we moved to Oregon that I actually mastered collard greens, from a true southerner who had moved here to Oregon. Mary Irby Jones is from Mississippi and learned to make collards from her mother. When I told her I wanted to learn to make them, she offered to come over to show me her mother’s secrets.
If I lived by a culinary clock, pea shoots would herald the arrival of spring and corn would signal that summer had finally come. We love corn on the cob but also in a Succotash, where the combination of corn with other vegetables can add flavor as well as variety. For an Asian twist, I add edamame (soybeans).
It doesn’t happen frequently, but every now and then I just can’t bear to eat another meal of chicken, beef, pork or seafood. On those occasions when Mom’s in charge of the meal and asks what we want for dinner, I’ll say Kang Chup Chay, or our family’s version of a hearty Asian-style vegetable stew.
There are a few foods I first experienced in grade school cafeterias that I’ll admit to still loving. One of them is tuna casserole, another is green bean casserole. The third is creamed corn, although I’m sure the creamed corn served to us in school came out of a can. My version is simple and tasty, and you can enjoy it either hot or cold. If you want to serve it as a refreshing cold soup, make it the day before and refrigerate it. You’ll be amazed at how simple and delicious this is.
While perusing artichoke recipes recently on epicurious.com, I came across one called Grilled Baby Artichokes with Olive Oil and Lemon. As per my usual habit, I checked out the overall rating and also the users’ reviews. Lo and behold, deep into the reviews, a generous reader left the following share. Subsequent readers began reviewing this reader’s offering. We are making this today.
The appearance of the season’s freshest vegetables is always met with joy. Artichokes, asparagus, garden-fresh lettuce, cucumbers, okra and, of course, vine-ripened tomatoes, to name a few. None of these make me happier than the first sight of fresh, sweet English shelling peas.
A wise old Buddhist monk told me a few years ago when I was pondering some drastic possibilities for changes in my life that you can either live your whole life surrounded by people, places, things and experiences that are familiar to you, or you can embrace the unknown and grow from those experiences. I was thinking of that as I was roaming the farmers market this weekend and came face to face with a vegetable I’d never eaten before — kohlrabi.
Native Americans ate this wild green, which has a taste reminiscent of a cross between spinach and French sorrel — slightly green, crisp, but also with a touch of lemon.
Early settlers of the Pacific Northwest also ate it. Folklore has it that California Gold Rush miners ate it, and thus it got its nickname. It’s also known as winter purslane, spring beauty or Indian lettuce.
Sometimes when you hear of a food ingredient you haven’t cooked with or eaten before, it lodges itself in your mind and takes hold. The seed germinates and turns to fascination, and then before you know it, it grows into an infatuation. Before long, it turns into an obsession. I remember the first time […]
I used to hate Brussels sprouts. I think it was my elementary school cafeteria that ruined them for me.
That was until I was introduced to Brussels sprouts that had been sautéed in olive oil and Brussels sprouts that had been oven-roasted. I was converted from an avowed Brussels sprouts hater to a Brussels sprouts lover.
I had always fantasized about having a vegetable garden, but it wasn’t until we purchased our first home in Fort Worth, Texas that I got to develop my green thumbs. I managed to shoe-horn a small vegetable garden into a sunny spot not shaded by the giant pecan tree in our backyard. In that small plot, […]
One of the great things about making stuffed peppers is the ability to recycle leftovers and/or unused items in your refrigerator or pantry and present them at the table with a fresh new look. The possibilities for stuffing are almost limitless, from vegan and vegetarian all the way to serious carnivore. How about kid-friendly mac and cheese or teach your kids to make their own thick sloppy joe mixture as a stuffing? They will enjoy playing with these colorful and edible packages.
I have been pondering writing an article on “cooking with intention” for The Taste of Oregon for some time now. For those of us who enjoy cooking passionately, is it always entered into and experienced with a feeling of joy and excitement? Where is our mind? Nothing can spoil a pleasurable experience more than chatter between our ears, nagging us: “You didn’t start early enough, you don’t have all the ingredients, you’re out of your league, no one will like this, pickled pork is so passé,” etc., etc., etc. Fortunately, I learned some methods for silencing that chatter. After a brief “negotiation” with my mind’s voice I hear it whimpering, “OK, you win, I’ll shut up.”
I was perusing epicurious.com for ideas and inspiration for a new appetizer or an amuse-bouche if you want to be hoity-toity and au courant. I came across Tomato “Sushi”. I’m a patsy for such things that aren’t exactly what they seem to be but rather are culinary amusements, or twists like “Filet Mignon of Tuna.” (You can read more about that in an upcoming post.) It’s also creations like these that Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame does so well and so often.