Showing posts with label super side dishes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label super side dishes. Show all posts

Monday, September 2, 2013

true colors

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the farmers' markets. I love all the vibrant colors - bright red strawberries, yellow heirloom tomatoes, deep green zucchini, dusty blueberries. It is a treat to the senses to just walk around and look at everything, even if you don't buy something - not that that ever happens for me. I always find a some colorful beauty that needs to come home with me.

When I picked up my CSA the other day, I was so excited to see not one, but two colors of cabbage. (It has been pretty heavy on the greens thus far this year and it was great to get a bit of variety.) I knew immediately I could make a beautiful slaw that might even entice the kids to take a bite. I mean what's more fun than eating something purple?

The following recipe is adapted from Grow Cook Eat

What you need:
juice from one lime
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tblsp of sugar
kosher salt, to taste
1/3 cup of sesame oil
1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 small purple cabbage
1 small green cabbage
2-3 carrots, shredded
1/2 small red onion
freshly ground pepper

In a food processor, blend the lime juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, oil, garlic, and cilantro until well combined. Chop the cabbages and onion. Combine with the shredded carrots in a large bowl. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss. Top with pepper and toss again. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Serve cold.

The colorful cabbage got better every day it was in my fridge. The slaw was spicy and sweet. Treat your senses to this dish soon!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

these are a few of my favorite things

My dear carnivore has recently learned he has an aversion to on of his favorite things - garlic. Can you imagine? I mean it is a real tragedy. It's like if I found out I was allergic to cheese. But, just like he doesn't give up meat for me, I haven't kicked the garlic habit for him. I just partake in that fragrant clove when he isn't around. After all it is one of my favorite things too. I recently made this dish of garlicky bok choy for lunch.

To make your own you need the following:

1/2 of a very large head of bok choy
2 tblsp of stir fry oil
2 cloves of galic
1/2 cup of chick peas
salt and pepper, to taste

Place the oil in a large skillet. I used a safflower oil that was infused with garlic and ginger, but a plain sesame oil would be fine as well. Peel and chop the garlic. Toss in the oil and heat on medium flame until fragrant. Mean while, clean and chop the bok choy. I like a few stems in mine, but you can remove those if you wish. Add the greens to the pan and wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in the chick peas and stir until warmed. Serve immediately.

Simple and delicious. The greens are infused with the aromatic garlic and the chick peas give the dish some heft. It was one of my favorite lunches. Maybe it will be yours too.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

purple majesty

With two toddlers in the house there is lots of talk about colors. What color is that leaf you found? What color shirt do you want to wear today? What color are your eyes? And so on...My son is went through a stage where he wanted everything pink. I am certain this is because when baby sister came along there was a sudden influx of pink things - and attention on her. But, now he was decided his favorite colors are dark blue, silver, and manatee. Don't ask, I'm not sure what that last one is either.

And since colors are such a big topic of conversation, I try to make our meals as colorful as possible too. Imagine my excitement when these purple potatoes showed up in my CSA bag. I couldn't wait to cook them for the kids.

To make your own you will need the following:
8-10 purple potatoes
1/2 stick of organic unsalted butter
kosher salt, to taste

Rinse potatoes in cold water and brush away an excess dirt. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Place in medium pan and boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Toss with butter and salt until well coated.

I mean who wouldn't be at least a little interested in taking a bit of the pretty purple potatoes? And it turns out they taste just like any other new potato, so the whole family ate them up - because everyone likes potatoes.

menu ideas:
We had these majestic potatoes with sauteed green beans and breaded chicken (well, I have a meat-free version of chicken and the family had the real deal - but you get the idea).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

baby fever

Ladies of a certain age are known to come down with a condition known as baby fever. I'm not sure when it really starts or ends, but I can tell you, despite having two toddlers I am not immune. One whiff of a newborn's head and I am looking at my husband with pleading eyes. And without so much as a word escaping my lips, he barks "No!" We can't help it. Babies are just irresistible.

In the food word, baby veggies can be quite alluring too. When some tiny squash and zucchini showed up in my CSA recently, I made this adorable little raw salad.

You will need:
2 cups of mini squash and zucchini
1-2 spring onions
1 small tomato
2 tbslp of olive oil
1 tsp of lime juice
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 sprig of fresh mint
salt and pepper to taste

Chop the baby squash and zucchini and place in a mixing bowl. Dice the onions and tomato, and add it to the bowl. Add the oil and juices. Toss the mixture. Chop the mint finely and add to the bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.

It was so good even my baby couldn't keep her hands out of it. Isn't that adorable? I could just eat them both up!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

pretty as a picture

You ever make a dish and it is almost too pretty to eat? You just want to admire your work before you take a bite? Whether it is the birthday cake you just frosted for your kid or the tenderloin you made for the potluck, sometimes you take the first bite with your eyes because it looks so good you can almost taste it.

Well, I had just that experience the other day when I made this turnip and potato galette.  And you know how I know it looked good? My carnivore served himself a heaping portion...and ate several bites, before I mistakenly mentioned that it had turnips in it. But no matter, it was so buttery beautiful that even he couldn't resist.

(Adapted from The New Southern Garden Cookbook)

What you need to create your own masterpiece:
6 tblsp of melted butter
5-6 small to medium yellow potatoes
1large turnip
1 cup of vegetable broth
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour 1 tblsp of the butter into the bottom of a cast iron skillet and brush the bottom thoroughly. Slice the potatoes and turnips thinly. Start with a layer of potato slice in the skillet. Then add two more tablespoons of melts butter and some salt and pepper. Add in the turnips and then more potatoes. Pour the broth over the whole pan. Follow with the remaining butter. Then add more salt and pepper. Cover the skillet tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes or until the edges of the potatoes on the top layer get golden brown. Run a knife around the edge and let set for five minutes before serving warm. Top with fresh chopped parsley.

This dish takes a while to bake, but it is well worth it. Carby and rich it is super satisfying. And hey, Michelangelo didn't paint the Sistine Chapel in a day, right?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

all up in my grill

The end of summer is nearing. No more swim diapers or splash parks for my family. Sad, I know. Even sadder, in my opinion, we are coming to the end of summer foods. Before we know it there will be no more juicy cantaloupe chins or strawberry stained shirts. And then there is tomatoes. Thanks to my garden and my CSA, we have enjoyed so many varieties of tomatoes in so many ways this years. Well...I say we...I mean me and the kids. Not so much the carnivore. But the beauty of how our family makes meals work is that I still get to enjoy summer's finest fruit while he enjoys his favorite foods, i.e. any meat on the grill. What can I say? That man loves to grill.

Take this recipe, for example. While he heated up a steak over an open flame, he also helped me cook these grilled tomatoes. I found the idea on a great Italian blog which you should check out here. I wasn't too exact with the recipe, but this is generally what you need:

Several small tomatoes (I used romas and mr. stripeys), halved
1/2 cup or so of grated parmesan cheese
enough olive oil to coat the cheese
freshly chopped herbs (I used basil and oregano)
a dash or two of garlic powder
kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Start by cutting the tomatoes in half and then mixing together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Spray your grill. Then over a low heat place the tomatoes cut side down on the grill for about three minutes. Turn the tomatoes over and top with the cheese mixture. Grill for another two to three minutes. Serve warm.

Summer may be fading, but the taste of these sweet grilled tomatoes will linger in my memory for months to come.

menu ideas:
These grilled guys would make a great side dish at your next cookout. I had these as my main dish along side creamy pasta and sauteed zuchini. Like I said before, the carnivore had a steak with the same sides.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

to each his own

When it comes to my family at dinner there is good news and bad news. Good news - I live with good eaters. Everyone likes food, and lots of it. Bad news - not everyone likes the same thing. Sigh. I am sure you can relate. In my family of four it quite a mystery who is gonna eat what on any given night. Of course, having a vegetarian and a bonafide carnivore in the house creates some chaos, but when you throw in a baby who insists on eating "big people" food and a toddler with an ever changing mood, I just put it out there and hope for the best some nights.

My CSA thankfully is always providing me with fresh food and inspiration. Take this side dish for example. When I received lovely deep green kale leaves, round red potatoes, and a small yellow onion, I decided to cook them together in a simple saute. I started by cleaning the kale and tearing it into bite sized bits. I then scrubbed the taters and poked them with a fork a few times. I cooked them in the microwave for about four minutes. I then chopped them into small chunks (good sized for my little lady to pick up). I also diced half the onion. Then I poured enough olive oil in a large skillet to coat it well. I cooked the onions until fragrant. Then I threw in the potatoes and tossed them in the oil until they began to get a bit crispy (about eight minutes). Finally, I added in the kale and wilted it, seasoning only with some kosher salt.

I placed a pile of kale and taters on everyone's plates and watched. The carnivore, of course, avoided all things green, but wolfed down the potatoes. My little man did just the opposite gobbling up the kale and leaving the potatoes on his plate. And the baby did her best to mush everything she could get her little fingers on, but I am not sure how much ended up in her mouth and how much ended up in her highchair. Oh well, at least I liked all of it and I only had one pan to clean when supper was over. To each his own, right?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

it's not the heat...

We southerners like to say that it's not the heat, but the humidity that makes it so miserable to be outside in the summer. It is generally true. My husband went out the front door the other day, turned around and came back inside and said, "It feels like walking in a wet sweater out there." He was right. The air was heavy with moisture and burning up the mercury on the temperature gauges outside. Of course, when it is 108 degrees (as the digital bank sign read the other day as I drove past), it is just plain hot.

Of course, as I have survived several southern summers I do know a more than a few ways to cool off on a day when the air feels like soup.  Iced (sweet) tea helps. If you must get out sauntering, not rushing, where you need to go is the best idea. Dipping your feet in a pool, even a baby pool often does the trick. And then there is the ever cooling cucumber.

I have received several in my CSA already this year. I love slicing them in a simple salad with tomatoes from my backyard and a few onions (also from my CSA). I dress them in a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar, a few sprigs of fresh oregano, kosher salt, and cracked pepper. I let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour so it can be extra refreshing.

I also like to sip a simple cucumber cooler on a hot day. I slice up a lemon and a cucumber and place them in a large pitcher with a few mint leaves from my herb garden. I top this with ice and water. I then let it steep for at least overnight in the fridge.

A nice creamy dill cucumber sandwich can make a lovely lunch. I have a simple recipe you can find here. And the cucumbers in a pita chip salad are crisp and cool. Click here to see that recipe.

Of course, my carnivore won't have any thing to do with any of these cucumber concoctions. It's not his fault. He was raised up north most of his life. But with this heat wave, maybe even his brain with melt and he will change his mind.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

changing your mind

My daughter is going through this really cute and somewhat annoying stage. She is learning to stand up. And as many of you parents out there can attest this is an amazing thing to witness. Little legs wobbling and hips rocking as she grips onto the nearest piece of furniture with all her might. And then she decides she wants to sit down, but she doesn't know how. So she cries until I sit her down. In a matter of seconds she has pulled herself upright again. And a few minutes later, you guessed it, she wants back down. We've enacted this ballet more times than I can count. (My mother swears I did the same thing. So, each time I just tell her it's okay as I plop her back down. After all, she is a woman and has the right to change her mind as many times as she wants to.

I have changed my mind about a few things over the years. Much to my husband's chagrin I have decided heavy pieces of furniture look better in different places. I have learned I do like real beer - you know the stuff not found in a frat house. And, I have recently decided I like brussel sprouts. Now coming from a vegetarian this may not be earth shattering news, but nonetheless its a paradigm shift in my mind.

I have found two quick and easy ways to prepare them. Inspired by this recipe I first tried them roasted in the oven. Since I was cooking for just me and the kids I used only one small bag of sprouts, two cloves of garlic, a quarter cup of water, and kosher salt and pepper to taste. I then baked them at 425 degrees for thirty minutes, tossing midway through.

Bullied by my success I next tried them grilled. I generally followed this recipe. I simply tossed the sprouts along with some home- grown grape tomatoes and a bit of horseradish mustard and olive oil. I skewered them and had the hubs grill them for about ten minutes rotating as needed. I then served the veggies with crumbled maytag blue cheese.

I really can't decide which way I like them better. But that's okay. I guess I am allowed to change my mind on that too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

give it one more try

As you know I am always trying to get the carnivore (and our kids) to try new food. This is especially true in the green vegetable category. His list of verde veggies that he deems edible is brief to say the least. But, I have something to admit. I too am not immune to banning a few fresh foods from my plate. It is a much much shorter list mind you. It includes beets, brussell sprouts, and asparagus. (And meat, of course.)

Well, to be fair to my hubby who I am constantly torturing with "just try one bite before you decide you hate it" pleas, I thought I'd give some of these guys another try. I started with asparagus. It is not that I wouldn't eat it. It's just if I never saw it again I wouldn't have missed it. Or so I thought...

Now, I'm a good Southern girl so I know better than to talk bad about anyone, especially my mother. But, bless her heart, I think this food phobia was her fault. Look, she worked hard as a single mom and raised my in an era when the TV dinner hit its peak. Long story short, her asparagus came from a can and was cooked til mushy. Sorry, Mom. Good news, it turns out I do like asparagus, just not yours.

To make your own it couldn't be more simple. Gather the a bunch of asparagus. Toss it on a baking sheet after rinsing it off and trimming the ends. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes. It should be tender, but still crunchy - definitely not mushy.

Turns out asparagus can be fresh and tasty. Now, if I could only get the carnivore and the kids to come around....

Oh, and I promise an update on brussel sprouts soon. Beets may take awhile.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

real simple

Sometimes I look at recipes and I get a bit over-
whelmed. Too many steps, too many ingredients, too much time - with two young kids I just can't get past the pretty picture. Looks nice, but it won't be on our plates any time soon. Luckily, really simple food can be really delicious too. Take this spaghetti, for example. Just a few ingredients and yet the flavor is spectacular.

To make your own, you will need the following:
1 box of thin whole wheat spaghetti
1 lemon
1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan & more for topping (not from a green can)
2 sprigs of fresh oregano (we grow herbs in containers on our deck)
several leaves of fresh parsley (also homegrown)
2 tblsp of olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Boil the pasta for about eight minutes in salted water. Drain and return to the pot. Toss with oil, salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice of half the lemon and toss again. Add in the parmesan and stir once more. Chop the herbs coarsely and add them in last. Serve immediately. Top more parmesan and garnish with thin slices of the rest of the lemon.

Easy, uncomplicated, and satisfying. Now that's real simple. 

menu ideas:
This dish is great as a side. It can also star as the main attraction easily. Simply add grilled chicken or sausage to the carnivore's bowl of pasta, and to the vegetarian's dish toss in olives and sundried tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

bulking up

There are things that the carnivore and I buy in bulk. For example, having two kids under two we have a stash of wet wipes that is chest high and almost as many diapers. This are essentials you don't want to run out of people. We also have some food staples - frozen green beans, canned peas, berries of all kinds, organic milk, avocados, whole grain pasta, organic butter...the list goes on. One of the more recent additions to our bulk purchases is brown rice. This was all part of the carnivore's life style change that had led to many dropped pounds and inches for both of us. We ate rice occasionally before, but now it is more of a fixture on our plates.

But as you know, brown rice can be bland. After reading a NYTimes article about different kinds brown rice and ways to cook them (you can find it by clicking here), I have been inspired to spice things up with our simple side dish. I recently cooked some brown rice in our new super awesome Japanese rice cooker (go figure they know a thing or two about cooking rice - it even has its own brown rice setting!) and tossed it with a bit of butter, salt and freshly chopped cilantro. This made a great side dish to our small corn tacos (sauteed mushroom and spinach for me, grilled chicken and steak for the carnivore) along with spicy black beans. 

The next day I used some of the leftovers to make a quick lunch for the little guy buy mixing the cilantro rice, some black beans and a few bits of the grilled chicken. He gobbled it up. And when I told the carnivore about it the next day his eyes lit up and he kept saying, "I bet that was good. It sounds good." I too could nosh on it all mixed in a bowl by simply adding some avocado and corn to the rice and bean mixture. 

In fact, we may have that very soon...since we do buy brown rice in bulk. What is your favorite way to cook with brown rice? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I need all the ideas I can get!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


As I told you earlier, the carnivore planted a veggie garden as a gift to me this year. So, far we have had a few successes. Not a ton, but a few. As he puts it, we have the most expensive local fruit and vegetables you can get. But, what you are looking at here is one of his triumphs. His very first squash. And, it is actually one of mine too. See, the real test was not only could he grow this yellow fellow - but would he eat it?

I know it isn't a green vegetable, and he does eat zucchini (begrudgingly), but squash has never been on his repertoire of veggies. Sure I've hidden it in his macaroni, but this was different. So, when I was faced with the challenge of getting him to eat (and possibly like) this squash, I did what all moms of picky eaters out there do - I covered it in cheese!

To make your own smashing success of a squash casserole you will need the following:
butter to coat a baking dish
2 medium yellow squash, sliced
2 tblsp of vegetable oil
1/2 small yellow onion diced
1 cup of shredded cheddar
1 egg
2 handfuls of (whole wheat) ritz crackers, crumbled
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add the oil to a skillet. Heat on medium. Add onions and squash. Toss til soft. Salt and pepper to taste. Grease small baking dish. In a medium bowl whisk egg. Add in sauteed squash. Coat well. Add in 1/2 of the cheese and one handful of the crackers. Combine thoroughly and transfer to baking dish. Top with more crackers and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

When queried later on this super side dish, made with a combination of our own homegrown squash and one from our CSA, the carnivore's report was simple - it was good. Good!?! I knew the baby and I would like it, but I had no idea he would too. Success!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

comfort food

Let's face it - we all have rough weeks every now and again. I had one this past week. May be its the heat, maybe its the hormones...I don't know. Let's just say I'm glad it is a new week. Really glad. And I don't know about you, but when I'm in a funk I crave comfort food. To me nothing is more comforting than a big pile of fried potatoes. Lucky for me my CSA has supplied me with plenty this year, as well as these purple jewel-like shallots. Aren't they adorable? I feel better already.

I started making my better mood dish with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet that I heated on medium. Next I peeled and diced the shallots and tossed them in the pan. While they got fragrant, I washed and scrubbed the red potatoes. I poked them each with a fork a few times and placed them in the microwave for about three minutes - just enough to soften them some. I then cut the hot potatoes into chunks and added them to the skillet of simmering shallots. Just a bit of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper topped the mixture. I cooked them til they were a bit brown, but not burned. Once ready, I transferred them to our waiting plates and sprinkled a bit of fresh thyme from the herb garden on top.

Like I said, nothing is more comforting. With my belly full of starchy heaven, I was in a much better mood. Funk fizzled...finally.

menu ideas:
That night we also had garlic green beans. The carnivore had a rosemary grilled organic chicken breast, while I had a big tomato salad.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

secret agent man

I had to make confession to my carnivore the other night in order to share this recipe with you. See, this is not your ordinary mac and cheese. It has a secret ingredient. One that my carnivore allegedly doesn't like. And, if you think the fact that he has eaten heaping helpings of this super side dish would mean he wouldn't immediately stop from eating it, you would be wrong. He went on a decades long strike against baked beans because he found out they had a minute amount of mustard. Lucky for me, even after revealing the truth he went back for seconds. (Whew!)

So what is this undercover agent? Squash. Finely grated, yellow summer squash to be exact. As you know I am always trying to get my meat eater to have more veggies. And what better way to hide them than coated in cheese and baked in pasta? Hey, don't knock it. At least he is getting the wonderful benefits of squash (like vitamins A, C, beta carotene, and iron). Combine that with his recent switch to whole grain pasta and its at least a semi-healthy side dish.

To make your own batch, gather the following:
1 box of whole grain pasta (I like rotini or cremini best, but elbows will do, and you don't have to use whole grain)
2 cups of organic milk
1 bay leaf
a dash of nutmeg
4 tblsp of organic butter
1/3 cup of flour
2 cups of shredded cheese (I like about half cheddar and half Italian - provolone, mozzarella, etc. - but just use your family favorite.)
1 cup of grated summer squash
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Seasoned breadcrumbs for dusting

First finely grate the squash. Place it in a colander in the sink and let any excess liquid drain. Then, boil a large pot of water with salt. Cook pasta til almost al dente (remember it will get a second cooking in the oven). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large sauce pan, heat the milk and bay leaf over a low flame. Do not boil or scold. In the meantime, melt the butter in a small pan. Add in the flour until well combined. Remove the bay leaf from the milk and add in the butter mixture. Whisk til smooth. Add all but 2 tblsp of the cheese and melt completely. Stir in the squash. Flavor with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer and thicken til pasta is ready and drained. Return pasta to the pot and coat with cheese mixture. Place the cheesy pasta in an oven proof dish. Dust with more shredded cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for twenty minutes, until bubbly. Let stand for five minutes before serving.

So, if you joined a CSA and just got a ton of squash or if you have even grown your own, give this side dish a shot. You may even trick your carnivore, or your kid for that matter. I mean, who would ever think there are veggies in all that cheesy pasta? Just don't tell...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

fiesta salad

Last month our baby omnivore turned one. Since he was born on Cinco de Mayo we had a Mexican fiesta. We had everything from mariachi rubber duckies for the little ones to hand squeezed margaritas for the big people. It was a blast. And whther it was taking swings at the pinata or swigs of Negro Modelo, young and old alike had a good time. We even got everyone in a sombrero for some fantastic photo ops.

I also had lots of good food, of course. There was fresh guacamole, lime and cilantro chicken drummies, several kinds of quesadillas - from grilled flank steak to sauteed veggies, and Mexican chocolate cupcakes (dark chocolate with cinnamon) from our favorite local bakery. But one of the best menu items in my opinion, was this fiesta salad.

You will need the following:
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag of frozen corn, steamed
1/4 of a red onion diced
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
3-4 medium radishes, cleaned and sliced
the juice from one lime
several sprigs of fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Simply toss the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let set over night. Stir again before serving and top with more cilantro. I have tons in my herb garden. I also got the green onions and radishes from my CSA bag that week. The are optional, but I think they add a bit of festive color to the salad.

The guests gobbled the salad up. And the baby and I enjoyed the leftovers, the little that remained. Party on!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a midsummer night's dream

The carnivore and I have planted a full garden this year. (I promise to show you it soon in an upcoming post.) It is pretty exciting news in our house. We already have a couple of green tomatoes, a few strawberries, and one lone blueberry already popping out. But, while we patiently wait for all our homegrown goodies to bloom, I am supplementing with fresh veggies from our farmers' markets and the CSA we joined this year. But, even they aren't able to satisfy my summer (second trimester) cravings fully. So, on a recent trip to my local produce market I scooped up some mid-summer vegetables and made this dreamy saute. Its the kinda thing that will get better as the season goes on.

I diced one medium tomato, one zucchini, and one yellow squash. I sauteed them in olive oil with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. I also tossed in several oregano leaves from our herb garden (which is already in full bloom).  Once the veggies were softened, I transferred them to my plate and topped them with grated paremsan cheese.

The result was fantastic. Fresh, clean, and uncomplicated. The veggies were the stars. I can't wait for our own tomatoes, zucchini, and squash to burst from the ground so I can make it again. Until then I can dream about this dish.

menu ideas:
I served this up with garlic green beans and fried red potatoes with red onions. The carnivore had these sides along side barbecue chicken. We both left the table stuffed and satisfied.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

hot potato

It is that time of year again - Spring! The dogwood is blooming, the azaleas have just popped with bursts of red and pink, and wisteria is scenting the backyard breezes. The kids next door are alternating playing on their swing set and riding their bikes every afternoon. And baby omnivore and I are taking daily walks around the neighborhood listening to the birds sing to each other. It is such a nice break after winter.

The carnivore has two rituals this time of year too. First, he goes nuts clearing our yard. It must be the male version of spring cleaning. And, secondly, he breaks out the grill - as often as I ask - which is often. I love the charred taste of just about anything. Plus, it helps get me out of the kitchen and onto the back porch where I can get a little sun and properly supervise supper preparations.

Just this weekend I had him cook our entire lunch on the grill. We start with your standard hotdogs. His real, mine not. Then we added something new to our repertoire. Instead of the usual french fries that would require heating up the oven and thus my house - we grilled our potatoes. I just took a couple of large red potatoes, cleaned them and sliced them in half. I then placed them in a large plastic bag with some olive oil, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and a few springs of rosemary from our revived herb garden. I swished everything around til all sides were well coated and left them there to soak while the carnivore heated up the grill. The carnivore cooked them on direct heat for about 20 minutes, turning every five, until the skins were crisp and the insides were soft. They were a bit dry and coulda probably been improved upon by a simple drizzle of olive oil at the end, but all in all were quite tasty.

Oh, and to finish things off we had some grilled pineapple for dessert - yum! So celebrate Spring by seeing if you can't con your grillmaster into cooking your entire lunch for you. (P.S. If you are wondering those are the fake dogs in the pic above.)

Monday, March 7, 2011


Living with a meat and potatoes man means that our family eats a lot of potatoes. I mean a lot! The great thing about them is not only do they come in a wonderful variety, but they also can be prepared in so many different ways that you hardly notice that you are having the same starch over and over again.

Recently I felt ambitious enough to make some smashed potatoes. Note, I didn't same mashed. I don't have the time or patience to get my taters whipped to creamy silky perfection. Between the cat hair that has to be swept off the floors, the dogs that need walking, and the baby who creates more laundry than any tiny human should, I have to pick and choose my battles. So, lumpy but lovely potatoes it is.

When I make these I prefer to grab about 6 medium red potatoes and cut them at least in half before I boil them. I like the flavor better and they cook so much faster. After boiling them til fork tender,  I drain the liquid and keep them in the hot pot. I add in some kosher salt, 2 tblsp of butter, 1/4 cup of cream, 1/4 cup of grated parmesan, freshly cracked pepper and a generous dash of parsley. Them I get out my handy masher and take out my frustrations of the day (Really, mail man, why do you always come when the baby is napping? You know the dogs are gonna bark and wake him.) Once well combined I heap mounds on the plates of myself and the carnivore.

What's not to love about some calming carbs at the end of the day? Plus, the salty cheese and fresh herbs just add that extra punch. They are marvelous and will satisfy the meat and potatoes people in your lives, or just the potato ones....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

better than wendy's

As a vegetarian, my fast food options are very limited. There are a few places where I can grab something. Wendy's is one of them. Their baked potatoes will do in a pinch, but I have to be honest - they are hard to eat on the road and I can do much better at home.

There is hardly anything easier to make out there, I take large russet potatoes, roll them in a bit of olive oil and dust them with kosher salt. Puncture them a couple of times with a fork and wrap in foil. Pop in the oven on 350 degrees for at least 45 minutes. You want the oil to moisten the skin and the salt to season it. The inside should be tender and fluffy. Warm carb heaven!

Once they are done, the fun part begins. This is where the carnivore and I get to dress our taters to our own tastes. While we both enjoy organic butter and shredded cheddar, he prefers a slice of bacon (that I cut up with kitchen shears and fry quickly in a pan) on top. I on the other hand love large dollops of sour cream and the crowns of a few broccoli florets (I like mine raw, but you can cook them if you wish). Of course, you can try just about anything - sundried tomatoes, pesto, chives, chili...

So, take note fast food purveyors - you are missing a huge market out there by not having something for us vegheads on the menu. (I know my carnivore would love his burger joint to have an option for me on our road trips.) Also, anything you do do - I can do better!
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