Archive for the ‘Vegetable’ Category
Working hard and playing hard is the motto in advertising. This past week was a testament to that. Thankfully I got to let lose over the weekend by hanging out with my BFF Hillary and spending time with Tristy (aka Tristan).
I figured 8 months was a long enough wait before his first baking session. This kid is going to be a prodigy in the kitchen if I have anything to say about it.
We started his lesson with a boxed cake mix. I use the term “lesson” loosely. It pretty much included Baby T in his high chair banging the measuring cups and grabbing an NSYNC magnet off the fridge (why my mother has kept that for so long, I have no idea). Still, he loved the cake. So I think this is promising.
Last night I tested a recipe for an article I’m working on for the paper. For a side dish, I made roasted acorn squash.
Best acorn squash ever.
In our house, our squash runneth over. Literally. Oliver was almost plummeted by some of the squash that fell off the counter last week. The truth is, I’ve hit a rut, which is why that squash pile isn’t getting any smaller.
I’ve already made Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gnocchi, Butternut Squash Soup and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. With so many squash recipes under my belt this year, I have finally figured out what makes squash taste great.
Mascarpone and fig jam.
I’m pretty much convinced that mascarpone is one of the best foods ever created. Schmear some on a quick bread and you’ll be kicking yourself for not trying it sooner. Dolloping a bit on top of squash gives it creamy texture that makes the squash melt in your mouth. The jig jam offers some added sweetness plus a hint of fruit flavor.
Although this is the least glamorous thing you’ll ever eat (hence no picture), it is by far one of the best ways you can prepare squash.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Mascarpone and fig Jam
Serves 6 side dishes or 3 main servings
- 1 Acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons butter (I used Brummel and Brown)
- Cinnamon sugar, to taste
- 6 tablespoons mascarpone
- 6 teaspoons fig jam
Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a knife, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.
Coat the inside of each half with 2 teaspoons of butter. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon out the flesh and mix in mascarpone and fig jam. Serve.
I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, but I’m celebrating my 2-year blogiversary on Wednesday! To celebrate, I’ll be giving away something extra special that any cook would die to have. I left a hint in this post. Can you guess what it is?
It’s been way too long since my last Thursday Things post. I have a ton of good post and reviews to share, but today I just need to rant (in a good way!).
What I’m eating for dinner:
Laurie posted this recipe for Spaghetti Squash and Sautéed Vegetables a few days ago, and with a ton of squash on our hands, I couldn’t wait to make this. Like most of my cooking, I used her recipe as a guide and made it my own using what I had on hand. I made more of an Italian version that features olives, Italian spices and Parmesan cheese.
Italian Spaghetti Squash and Sautéed Vegetables
Inspired by Laurie
1 spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchini, sliced
1 10-ounce bag frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1 large tomato, diced
1/3 cup sliced olives
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 -2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the spaghetti squash in half, and put in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, and continue boiling the spaghetti squash for 15 minutes. While the squash is boiling, add the olive oil and zucchini to a large pot and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until lightly brown. Add the diced tomatoes, spinach, olives and spices and continue cooking. Remove the spaghetti squash from the water (tongs work well for this), and with a fork, scrape the sides of the squash into the skillet with the other vegetables. Finally, add the cheese, and mix until all the ingredients are combined and heated through.
What I’m eating for breakfast:
Chobani is, by far, my favorite brand of Greek yogurt so I’ll try pretty much anything they make. However, as someone who despises anything pineapple flavored (I LOVE fresh pineapple though), I was skeptical to try their 2% Pineapple yogurt. I have to say though, this is my favorite of their line. It’s so fresh and fruity without tasting artificial at all. YUM!
What I’m coveting:
This blouse…and just about anything from The Limited. This is my favorite clothing store and about 50% of my closet is from here. But whatever they’re showing on their website now is especially calling to me. The tunics…the sheath dresses…the coats. Swoon.
What new gadget I just love:
As someone who brings lunch to work 90% of the time, I know how hard it is to cart salad dressing. Either you bring a full bottle or make a mess trying to fit it into a small Pyrex container. So I was thrilled when I saw this Dressing-2-Go Container from Stonewall Kitchen. At only $4.95, I know I’ll be getting a lot use out of this. Now if I only I had fresh veggies in the house to make a salad :)
Question: Tell me, what’s your favorite clothing store? Chobani flavor? Gadget?
Ok, so this post may be a little overdue. But I still wanted to show you guys my last canning experiment.
In July, I canned for the first time ever by myself. I could have picked something seasonal, but I had homemade lemon curd on the brain. I still have half a jar left (which I’ve been eating on Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread and my own creation – cashew butter and lemon curd sandwiches….TO DIE FOR!).
The other thing I just had to learn to do was make homemade pickles. I tried Garlic Dill Pickles and Bread and Butter Pickles using the water bath canner from West Bend. The dill pickles turned out fabulous and I’ve been giving jars away as gifts. The bread and butter pickles? Inedible. They shrank and went limp (insert the part where I tell you to get your head out of the gutter!). But seriously, I was not happy and I don’t know what went wrong. I followed a recipe from the Ball canning company. Until I figure that mess out, here is the recipe for the Garlic Dill Pickles. But beware, they are very vinegary (which probably means that Brigitt will love these!).
Garlic Dill Pickles
From Food in Jars
Makes 8 pints
2 overflowing quarts of pickling cucumbers, sliced into fat coins
4 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
5 tablespoons pickling salt
16 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar (2 teaspoons total)
8 dill heads (1 per jar)
½ teaspoon black peppercorns per jar (4 teaspoons total)
Wash and slice the cucumbers.
In a large sauce pot, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.
Arrange jars on counter and dole out the spices to each. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars. You don’t want to damage the cukes, but you do want them packed tight.
Pour the brine into the jar, leaving ½ inch headspace.
Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
When 10 minutes are up, promptly remove the jars from the pot and allow them to cool on the countertop. When the jars are cool, check the seals (by pushing/tapping on the lid).
Pickles can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
To make refrigerator pickles, pop the jars directly into the fridge once they’re cool.
Question: Have you ever made anything that has turned out completely wrong? My other kitchen fail that I can’t forget was making a spinach and artichoke mac and cheese from Rachel Ray. It said to broil for 30 minutes in the oven. That was obviously wrong because it was burnt after 5!
This week has been flying by. Tomorrow Brenton and I get to go on a Milwaukee Food Tour – The Pizza Bus Tour! I have to admit, my Milwaukee pizza knowledge doesn’t extend much beyond Ian’s, Topper’s, Crisp and Transfer. I’ve taken the Wauwatosa Tour and the Bloody Mary Brunch Tour before and they both were fabulous. I can’t wait to see where we head tomorrow. The only question is what to wear. I was thinking about wearing a new blouse from BCBG, but knowing me, I will most definitely get pizza sauce on it…and probably some wine!
On Wednesday, and article I’ve been working on for a few weeks was finally published. As a nut butter lover, I wanted to devote a whole cover story to the stuff, including flavored peanut butters, health butters and more. My favorite part though was the recipe testing. I made a Thai Noodle Dish with Spicy Peanut Sauce that was too good for words. I also interviewed Julie from PB Fingers on her favorite ways to use the stuff (and she even gave me her Almond Butter Granola recipe to share with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel readers). You can check out the digital version plus the recipes I included on JSOnline.com.
For some reason, I think Oliver is wayyy cuter in person. The photos don’t do him justice!
On the culinary side of life, we’ve been eating pretty darn good lately. In a household of two, anything we make tends to last us a few meals. We made this Japanese eggplant parmesan with homemade tomato sauce a few days ago, and we ate it for three nights in a row. When it comes to eating a dish this good, I did not mind at all.
Brigitt (whose blog I completely LOVE, btw), created this slow-cooker pasta sauce, which I used as the base of my Japanese eggplant parmesan. It is my go-to recipe, and I’ve made it a handful of times (which is a lot for me!). Instead of frying the eggplant, you bake it in the oven. Per Brigitt’s suggestion, I used the tomatoes I froze last year. I thawed them slightly, which worked out perfectly (I just broke up the tomatoes further after an hour and then we took an immersion blender to the sauce when it finished cooking). Of course, you can substitute regular eggplant. I happen to love Japanese eggplant — it’s probably the fun, bright purple color.
Japanese Eggplant Parmesan
3 Japanese eggplant, sliced one-inch thick
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 cups slow cooker pasta sauce (can substitute any pasta sauce)
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Slice the eggplant (throwing away the ends). Sprinkle lightly with salt and let it sweat for 30 minutes. Pat try with a paper towel.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 7 minutes on each side.
In a 9×13-inch baking dish, spread 3 cups of pasta sauce on the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Spread remaining sauce over eggplant and sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!
Question: What dishes do you tend to make over and over? Do you think your pet looks cuter in person? I feel like I’m completely alone on this one, so I’d love to know if you guys feel the same way!
This post is all about the random, but delicious, things I’ve been noshing. First off, I’ve been freezing my own basil with help from Karis’ blog post. This weekend I picked up a heap of fresh basil at the farmers market. And like clockwork, I usually have to throw at least half of it away because I don’t use it in time. Although we do have a dehydrator (shocking, I know!), I’ve never used it to dry herbs. In fact, I’ve only used it once to make fruit leather. opps. But freezing herbs in ice cube trays I can definitely do.
I’ve also discovered the most delicious snack ever. It’s called Skinny Pop and I’m completely obsessed. Thank god the lovely folks over there gave me so many bags because I am tearing through them like a woman on a mission.
With all this running I’ve been doing, I’ve been ravenous most hours of the day. It is hard to find snacks that fill me up without weighing me down or doing damage to my waistline. With only 39 calories a cup, I don’t feel guilty about digging in and eating however much I want (which usually tops off at about 5 cups if I’m really starving). And the only ingredients are all-natural popcorn, sunflower oil and salt.
So far Brenton hasn’t been too interested in this (probably because he is so obsessed with his fat-laden chips and salsa which are always in the house). But before where I would indulge with Brenton, I have a healthier alternative that doesn’t make me feel like I’m giving up something. And believe you me, I will be bringing a Coach tote into the movie theater next time so I can sneak a bag of this in.
Speaking of corn, fresh farmers market corn has been the star in my latest culinary creation – a veggie orzo salad. I also picked up fresh green peppers, banana peppers and tomatoes. Although I’m not into lettuce salads these days, I have been craving “meal-type” salads that are quick to prepare and make for killer leftovers the next day.
Farmers Market Veggie and Orzo Salad
2 ears corn
1 green pepper, diced
1 sweet banana pepper, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place 2 ears of corn in the microwave (husks and all) and microwave for 8 minutes. Set corn aside on the counter.
Cook orzo according to package directions and drain. Place in a bowl with peppers, tomato, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, basil and olive oil and turn to coat.
Once corn has cooled a bit, run a knife down all the sides to get the kernels off. Add these to the salad and mix.
Question: Do you sneak snacks into the movie theater? What do you pack? I’ve been known to bring apples, homemade trail mix, Good N’ Plenty and Jelly Belly’s (just not all at once). My friend Sun brought Chex Mix when a bunch of us gals saw Magic Mike and I was pleasantly surprised (maybe because I felt like I wasn’t the only one who did this!)
Disclaimer: Skinny Pop has given me this product to review. I was not given the product in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Whenever the King Arthur Flour Catalog comes in the mail, I feel like a gal on Christmas morning — not only for their products, but their recipes too. I immediately start clipping away and circling the products I need for next time.
This catalog I received a few weeks ago had a bunch of awesome recipes that I wanted to try. Since we are lucky enough to have a whole crock of sourdough starter in the fridge, I wanted to tackle their Corn and Scallion Sourdough Pancakes first.
Also, this recipe couldn’t have come at a better time because corn, green onions and tomatoes are all in season at the farmers market. There is a pretty good market in downtown Milwaukee every Wednesday, which is where I picked up my goodies for this recipe. Since the rain was less than stellar this year, make sure to peel pack your corn to make sure it’s good. A cob I peeled back and thought was good a few weeks ago had a worm coming out of it (EWWW!!).
I made these pancakes on our Black and Decker Flat Top Griddle. These first two cakes were our testers, but then we were able to fit on 5-6 cakes at a time.
Corn and Scallion Sourdough Pancakes
From King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed
1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup fresh/cooked or frozen/thawed corn kernels
3/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green part (5 or 6 scallions)
1) To make the pancakes: Combine the starter, flour, and milk. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place.
2) Add the oil, baking soda, salt, and egg and stir until combined. Fold in the corn and scallions.
3) Heat a silver dollar pancake pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan, then scoop a heaping tablespoon of batter into each of the cups. To make the pancakes using a griddle, heat it to 350°F, grease, and scoop heaping tablespoons onto the surface.
4) Flip each pancake over when its surface bubbles and the edges are slightly dry. Continue cooking until the bottom is golden.
5) Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with Tomato Relish.
Semi-Homemade Tomato Relish.
From She’s on the Run
1 tomato, diced
2 scallions, diced
1/4 cup Spinach Artichoke Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip (or substitute 1/4 cup sour cream and add your favorite spices)
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Attention MKE peeps!
The Eat Local Resource Fair is coming up on August 25 at the Urban Ecology Center. This event also kicks off the Eat Local Challenge. If you want to learn more about both events, see the post I wrote last year or visit Eat Local Milwaukee.
Happy Hump Day! This week has been incredibly busy with deadlines, work and other matters – like running. On Monday, I ran my longest continual distance this year…6 miles. I followed Sun’s advice and stuck to a 10:10 min/mile pace to align with my goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon for my race in September. Since it’s been in the 100s this week in Wisconsin, I had to run this one on the treadmill – not ideal but better than facing that brutal heat!
By the way, check out my guest post on Sun’s blog. I talked about my running journey and included a recipe perfect for training – Balsamic and Honey Glazed Salmon. That picture reminds me that bangs are not a good look for me!
Speaking of awesome recipes, I made this black bean and quinoa salad a few weeks ago. It’s perfect for the hot weather temps we’ve been having – and taking leftovers for lunch the next day.
Summertime Chickpea and Quinoa Salad
1 cup frozen mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup radishes, sliced
Mix everything together and serve. How easy is that!?
Question: What do you do for workouts/meals when the weather gets too hot? Feel free to link up any summertime recipes!