New Carrots and Leeks07.15.10

123 A few weeks back, we ventured back to the Farmer’s Market here in Santa Rosa.  We came away with baguettes and flowers, honey and cherries and figs and a couple of bundles of new carrots and leeks.  Oh, and some butter.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

We always have a blast wandering around sampling and deciding on what to bring home.  The Boy is more adventurous when faced with tables loaded with fresh-from-the-farm produce, and I’ll admit, I’m even more excited than he is to see him go – ooh, what’s that?  Mom, let’s buy those and try them.

Of course, once we get them home, that’s a whole different story.  Carrots and leeks are both familiar and one of those things I’m negating the try-it-three-times rule on.  The Boy was not that excited about it, but hello?  Look at how cute these carrots are:

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Posted in Farmer's Market, Fruit, Local Eats, Salad, Savory, Side Dish, Summer, Vegetable, Vegetarianwith 2 Comments →

Okonomiyaki (Cabbage Pizza)06.12.10

055I spent a few weeks in Japan when I was 15. I stayed in the suburbs of Osaka with a lovely host family, who introduced me to Okonomiyaki. In train stations and little restaurants all over the place, you can point to a bowl of ingredients displayed in a glass case, and then take your seat around a table with a frying surface embedded in the top. Servers bring your ingredients to the table and add an egg, and then you fry up your own and top it as you like with sauces and cheese.

While my host mom insisted that this was a form of pizza, the actual base of this treat is cabbage and other veggies, in a thin batter. There are some traditional Japanese ingredients that give real okonomiyaki a distinct flavor. For my family, I tend to just clean out the produce drawer, adding whatever leftover meats or cheeses we have on hand.

Around here, it’s called Garbage Pizza. And it is delish.

Here’s what we started with:
Okonomiyaki veggies
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Posted in Comfort Foods, Exotic, Main Course, Spring, Uncategorized, Vegetablewith 6 Comments →

Cabbage and Ramen Noodle Salad05.13.10

032First of all, let me just get the obvious out of the way.  My child is not wearing a shirt in the photo.  This is fairly common dinner attire around here in warmer weather, and while I’m not exactly proud of the fact that he’s not wearing a shirt while eating, it doesn’t trouble me much.  This year, produce.  Next year, manners.

Anyhoo… the salad wars rage on here at the Circus.  One of my favorites, precisely because it is complete trash, is a salad made from shredded cabbage and some other stuff, topped with crunched up ramen noodles and almonds that have been sauteed in butter and then sprinkled with that packet of death that comes with it. Ramen isn’t so bad you say?  Let Maki over at Just Hungry give you the rundown on why ramen is very, very bad for you.  I could top the salad with Doritos for the same nutritional effect.

Let it never be said that I’m high-brow over here.  Here’s what we started with:

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Posted in Salad, Savory, Side Dish, Uncategorized, Vegetablewith 3 Comments →

Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup05.04.10

052 I have found them.  I found the lost photographic evidence of our foray into cooking like Pioneer Woman!  On a cold, dreary night in February, back when I was still on my soup bender, I realized I had all the ingredients on hand to attempt Pioneer Woman’s Cauliflower Soup.

None of the kids were excited, and thinking back on the soups I’ve put in front of them over the last couple of months, I get it.  I really do.  But Ree is An Expert.  So I figured this had a shot at pleasing them, even if I’ve failed over and over previously.

Right away, I knew I was going to be making a few modifications to the recipe, based on my hope that the addition of cheddar cheese would make this soup more Boy-friendly.  And we typically replace sour cream with plain Greek yogurt – and my kids haven’t been big fans of tangy recently, so I figured I’d just top my bowl with it and let everyone else get a pass.

Here’s the cast of characters:

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Posted in Comfort Foods, Local Eats, Main Course, Savory, Soup, Spring, Uncategorized, Vegetable, Winterwith 1 Comment →

Steamed Artichokes02.24.10

004 Artichokes. They aren’t the most reasonable vegetable to approach a produce-averse child with, but I figured it was time. I love artichokes. And although the Chef and my husband will eat them as well, The Boy has never willingly eaten a plain, steamed artichoke before. (He’s had them in that spinach pie I made, and I’ve sneaked them into casseroles.) I figured this would be a one-biter before he ran screaming into the night.

To up the chances that he’d eat SOMETHING, I decided to pair the artichokes with chicken sausage and quinoa.  Here’s what we started with:

  • Quinoa, prepared according to package directions in my rice steamer, using chicken broth as the liquid.
    • One scrawny carrot
    • A couple cloves of garlic
    • 1/2 a small red onion
    • 1 package of spinach, fontina and roasted garlic chicken sausages (fully cooked)
    • grated Parmesan cheese

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Posted in Comfort Foods, Main Course, Savory, Side Dish, Vegetable, Winterwith 5 Comments →

Chicken soup with invisible spaghetti01.18.10

016“You’re a sucker for punishment.”  That’s what my husband said when I announced that it was Chicken Soup Returns:  The Reckoning night.  And I’ll admit, that last go round was tragically off the mark, but this time, I was sticking to classic chicken soup flavors.  And I had little helpers!  It was going to be great!

That’s when the hubs noticed the package of mung-bean noodles on the counter.  His face lit up.  “Invisible Spaghetti!”  I guess growing up, his Korean mom would substitute these clear noodles for wheat-based noodles quite a bit.  With that kind of kid-friendly code name, I figured they’d be a hit in my soup, too.

Here’s what we started with:

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Posted in Comfort Foods, Savory, Soup, Uncategorized, Winterwith No Comments →

Glacé carrots, parsnips and pearl onions01.09.10

070 Well, this is a cheery photo to start off with, right?  Look at my  happy, happy son, eating his vegetables with nary a mite of pushback.  Hah!

First, a little background.  When I was in middle school, I was in the GATE program.  If I remember correctly, that stands for Gifted and Talented Education, but it has been a number of years, and it might have actually meant something else.  I wasn’t sure why I was in the program, and in fact, when I was asked to participate, I told them no.  The school called my mom, and she told me I had to do it.  What exactly I was objecting to, I’ll never know.

In any case, the leader of the GATE kids was a teacher whose name escapes me right this minute (clearly, whatever got me into the program was not memory related) who was either from France, or his parents had been.  Often, our field trips and extra-curricular activities had a tinge of the Gallic to them.  We visited museums, created art en plein air, learned some classic French insults and made up a few of our own, and most memorably for me, we learned to cook.  Not a whole lot, but this teacher (why can’t I remember his name?!?  He clearly made a big impression.  I can see his face in my mind right now…) would pull us out of our regular classes to learn to make cheese souffles and crusty french bread.  In fact, being able to leave math to go punch down my dough, feeling the yield of the glossy mass and smelling the yeast ranks up there as one of those formative memories from that period of my life.  Not a bad moment to remember, considering this was, like, sixth or seventh grade and I was neck deep in tween drama most of the time.

Anyway, one time, we were asked to bring some vegetables from home.  Other kids brought carrots, but I was asked to bring pearl onions.  Not my favorite veggie, to be sure, and I was not so enthusiastic when I found out that we’d be eating the results of our cooking.  I didn’t know we’d be slowly sauteing the veggies in butter until they were tender, and then finishing with a bit of chicken broth so that the veggies were tender, flavorful and amazing.  Those pearl onions made me reconsider my dislike – and I have never looked back.  So when I found these little beauties at Trader Joes a while back, I tossed them in the cart.

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Posted in Fall, Savory, Side Dish, Uncategorized, Vegetable, Winterwith 1 Comment →

Chicken Pot Pie01.08.10

036The weather around here has been chilly and socked-in with fog, and I’ve been craving comfort foods like crazy. Everyone has their own favorites, but one of mine has always been chicken pot pie. While cruising around the internet looking for possible recipes, I came across a beauty of a pot pie recipe at Nicole Aloni’s inspirational blog A Conscious Feast.

Seriously, go marvel at it.

While I loved the list of ingredients she had put together, I wanted to use the veggies and seasonings we already had on hand. What really made an impression was the glorious photo that accompanied her recipe. Ooh, I thought. I have RAMEKINS. And The Boy loves him some puff pastry. Without further ado, here’s what we started with:

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Posted in Bacon, Comfort Foods, Fall, Main Course, Savory, Winterwith 1 Comment →

Carrot and snow pea stir fry01.04.10

not happy about this oneThe Boy is growing snow peas as part of his elementary school’s garden, and he’s very excited about harvesting and eating “his” peas. Since it will be a while before his peas are ready, I picked up some snow peas at the store, bent on trying to find a good preparation for them.

This self-same Boy has been flirting with the notion that carrots MIGHT be edible. He’s attempted to eat them in several ways already, with varying levels of success. He suggested to me that carrots and snow peas would make an excellent stir fry dish, and before he could wiggle out of it, I was chopping vegetables.

Meet the cast:

Stir Fry ingredients

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Posted in Savory, Side Dish, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Winterwith No Comments →

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    A
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    B
    Bananas | Beans | Bean Sprouts | Beets | Belgian Endive | Bitter Melons | Blackberries | Black-eyed Peas | Blood Oranges | Blueberries | Bok Choy | Boniato | Boysenberries | Breadfruit | Broccoli | Brussels Sprouts | Burro Bananas

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    D
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    F
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    G
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    H
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    J
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    K
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    L
    Leeks | Lemons | Lettuce, Iceberg | Lettuce, Leaf | Lettuce, Romaine | Limes

    M
    Malanga | Mamey Sapotes | Mango | Melons | Mushrooms | Micro-greens

    N
    Nectarines

    O
    Okra | Onions, Dry | Onions, Green | Oranges

    P
    Papaya | Passion Fruit | Peaches | Pearl Onions | Pears | Pepino Melons | Peppers, Bell | Pepper, Chili | Persian Melons | Persimmons | Pineapple | Plantains | Plums | Pomegranate | Potatoes | Prickly/Cactus Pears | Pumpkins | Pummelos

    R
    Radicchio | Radishes | Rapini/Broccoli Raab | Raspberries | Red Bananas | Rhubarb

    S
    Salsify | Sapotes | Shallots | Snap peas | Snow Peas | Spinach | Squash | Strawberries | Summer Squash | Sunchokes | Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Sweet Potatoes | Swiss Chard

    T
    Tamarillos | Tamarindos | Taro Root | Tomatillos | Tomatoes | Turnips

    W
    Watercress | Watermelon | Winter Squash

    Z
    Zucchini