Posts Tagged 'vegetables'

Watermelon Radish

watermelon radishes

I was searching all over for the White Balsamic Vinegar that I like – Bellino Italian White Vinegar. I went to Shop Rite, Whole Foods, Wegman’s, Stop & Shop, Trader Joe’s, and even, as a long shot, Walmart. I was prepared to find it online when Shop Rite returned it to the shelves. Yay!!! As is my wont, I did check out the fresh produce in many of those stores – you never know what will look appealing and special. I was in Whole Foods when I saw “Watermelon Radishes“. I LOVE radishes and snack on them all the time. I’ve found the large organic ones are almost sweet as well as tart and crunchy. I’d never heard of a watermelon radish. I did what you would do – pulled out my phone and did a search. 🙂 I bought 4 of them. They are indeed an absolutely gorgeous color inside. The ones I had were a bit firmer and perhaps less flavorful than some of the regular red-and-white radishes, but they were still very tasty. I munched on one as a snack, and tossed the others into a green (and now pink) salad. For your viewing pleasure, and as a suggestion for enjoyment if you encounter them in your store, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Watermelon Radishes!

Summer Bounty

produce still life

Friday was Farmers’ Market day. We’d eaten pretty much everything in the refrigerator. The caterpillars had my herbs. There were no ripe grape tomatoes on my plant. I definitely needed someone else’s produce if we were to have salads and snacks. It was glorious weather again, no hurricane near us yet. So I grabbed 2 bags and headed up to the market.
farmers' market pet vendor

I almost thought that it was going to be that rarity – a day when I saw no one I knew. I’d already picked up a few things when I realized I was staring at my next door neighbors. 🙂 We stood about chatting, as one does at the market. Larry took photos of us. This is apparently his “new thing” – documenting his life. Hah! He’s only half-way there. He needs to add commentary!
von thun's stand

As we chatted my good friends Matt and Janice came up. Their block was having their annual block party that weekend (yes, we went – it was great). Matt was walking about with a big huge watermelon and Janice had a sack full of eggplant for parmigiana. We’d probably have talked a lot longer, the market is so conducive for chatting, but Janice had an appointment she had to attend.
farmers' market sandwich board

I had finished picking my cukes, radishes and tomatoes when I heard someone calling my name. It was Bruce, who does occasional fix-it-up work for me. I hadn’t seen him in ages, it seems. I guess having a new kitchen cuts back on repairs. 🙂 We agreed we’d meet up at the block party.
baker's bounty

We had plans to go out to dinner with friends that night, so I didn’t need to do any food preparation once I got home. I decided to make a still life portrait of my purchases. The only thing not immediately recognizable are the pickles. Dr. Pickle is always at the farmers’ market. Thank goodness. Nothing like a good half sour pickle for a snack!
Dr Pickle

Green Curry Paste FTW

IMG_9867Last night I wanted something ‘different’ for dinner – not my typical steamed veggies and whatever. As I mentioned earlier, I buy a LOT of produce. This past weekend I brought home green beans, bok choy, asparagus, mushrooms (a blend of oyster, shitake and crimini) and leeks. I was hungry and didn’t feel like spending a LOT of time cooking. I decided to “borrow” another of my husband’s favorite pots – the wok this time. Our stove has its own fitted wok stand for the burners (it can be used on any burner). My husband uses the wok now nearly every time he cooks.

I wok’d up the green beans, some bok choy, garlic, onions and the mushrooms in coconut oil. It looked so beautifully green and healthy.IMG_9864 Last time I was in the Asian market picking up some curry sauce I saw a package for green curry paste. I took that as well and that’s what I used last night. Wow – that was HOT. The package had called for mixing the paste with coconut milk, which I did not have handy. I’d used the coconut oil and added cream for a liquid. I figured that would get me to the coconut milk taste/consistency. It was delicious. There are no leftovers. My husband loved it too.

IMG_9868That has been unusual the last few years. I stuck to my traditional eastern European flavors: salt, pepper, onion, garlic, paprika. I think he was bored by those flavors. With the new kitchen and the easy availability of spices, and the fact that it’s just the 2 of us, I’ve been trying many new flavors and foods. I’ve begun keeping shallots and leeks on hand. Looking at various recipes online for intriguing flavors (which reminds me – I haven’t talked about the red lentil butternut squash soup). I had never cooked squash (or eaten it for that matter) before my adventures last month. It’s working quite well! (And a side note to my son who reads this blog periodically – if you use green curry paste and don’t cut it too much with milk – you can eat just about any vegetable around. *grin* It’s so hot that is the ONLY flavor you will register. Trust me.)

IMG_9865

Why We Compost

I do the majority of the grocery shopping for our household. I use a shopping list, I check the shelves and stocks before I go.IMG_9861 While I shop I have a general idea of the week ahead – what I think we’ll be doing, what meals will be needed. Yet somehow I always seem to be led astray in the produce department. The fresh fruits and vegetables are so appealing that I’m SURE we will be running short before the next grocery trip. I’m often wrong in that assumption. A few years ago I began composting. This has alleviated a lot of my guilt about ‘wasting’ the produce we don’t eat. I don’t consider composting “wasting”. I love to garden, I need fresh soil every spring. It’s my own little circle of life – produce to dirt to produce.
IMG_9860

The Big Red Pot

le creuset oval dutch ovenThat’s what we call it – my husband’s favorite pot. Other people would call it a dutch oven or, more specifically, Le Creuset Oval dutch oven. It weighs a ton, cooks like a dream, and is easy to clean. I’d never used it until I tried another of the great vegan recipes I’d found.

Last year (or perhaps it was even the year before) I’d seen a recipe in the local newspaper for a whole roasted cauliflower. fresh from the gardenThe recipe called for removing the leaves, a little bit of the core, but otherwise keeping the head intact. Steam the cauliflower until a fork will pierce it easily, then coat it with a mix of mayonnaise, chili sauce and grated cheese, and roast it in the oven. (I’d give you the link, because it’s sooooo easy and yummy, but although I searched online, I can’t find that specific recipe. But there are many others that show up.) Normally I’m opposed to recipes that require “phases” – cook it once in one pot and be done with it was my motto. But that was BEFORE the new kitchen. My life apparently has a new demarcation line. I made many dishes for T-day that required preparatory stages.

There were 2 recipes that I thought might be perfect for Thanksgiving dinner – the cauliflower pot roast and the vegan turducken (also called vegducken). cauliflower pre roastingThe cauliflower pot roast won out for testing first because I had most of those ingredients. Of course I ended up doing things just a wee bit differently than the recipe directed, because I was (oh surprise) multi-tasking and wasn’t paying sufficient attention. But the end result was so tasty, and so satisfying, that there was no question – THIS would be the Thanksgiving dish we’d bring to dinner. My husband’s verdict on the dish: spectacular.

Here were my changes for the test run: I didn’t have fennel so I used anise. I didn’t have vegetable broth so I used chicken broth. I left out the nutritional yeast. I don’t remember if I used red or brown lentils, but I’m going to guess I used red lentils. As for following the cooking directions, I missed some steps there as well. I cut the core of the cauliflower too deeply and it was no longer one complete unit. I had one big piece and I propped that on the ones that had separated. first cauliflower pot roastAfter I cut all the side vegetables I put them into the pot with the cauliflower – I didn’t realize I was supposed to toss them with the oil and seasoning first. I ended up drizzling the oil and sprinkling the seasoning. I didn’t saute the onions – I tossed them straight into the broth (and I blame my husband for this because he was talking to me at the time 🙂 ). We did not at the time have an immersion blender (we do NOW) and so I did not puree the gravy. It smelled fantastic anyway. We also felt that the vegetables needed more cooking than the directions indicated, but that is probably because I used more vegetables than specified. When it was all done, we poured the gravy over the vegetables in the pot, rather than serving separately. It was delicious. We both purred as we ate. There were so many tantalizing flavors and textures.

For the “production” version I did much better at following the ingredients and the directions.thanksgiving cauliflower Again I used anise instead of fennel (my local store seems to only carry anise and I didn’t feel like making a special trip). I left out the potatoes since I knew there would be lots of other potato dishes. I added parsnips in place of the potatoes and I included some extra florets of cauliflower. We now own an immersion blender so I did puree the gravy. I forgot to get a picture of it, however. I believe that everyone at the dinner enjoyed the dish – there was less than a portion left. 🙂 I recommend this dish completely. I think I’d also skip pureeing the gravy – I liked it more as a broth with veggies, but obviously that is a personal preference. It tasted fantastic both times.

I’m so glad there are such creative people out there posting their recipes. I’m okay with modifying a recipe, but I don’t think I’ve ever created something from nothing. And on that note I’ll tell you that soon I’ll post about the red lentil-butternut squash soup I made for dinner last night. Yum.

And now for the obligatory cat photo.
BC closeup 2


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