Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Little people and other creatures

Little by little I will eventually get all my pictures up on the web.  This set is my little people (click here to look), which I think of as doodles in clay.  I usually use a left over chunk of clay, make a couple of slices to get the legs and arms started, and then just work it until it looks like something.   It’s not too unusual for them to crack during firing (and then they typically end up in a pot with some plants).   There are a few in here (like the Airedale) which are slab built.  I have done many lizards this way…  my next group of photo’s will be lizards, so stay tuned.

I can’t say I am happy with these photo’s, I think that what worked a few months ago (shooting the pictures outside in the shade) is not working with the summer sun, especially with shiny glazes.   It was interesting to notice that most all them have their legs crossed the same direction (something I never noticed until I was sorting through bad pictures, and using positions of legs and arms to figure out which was which).   I’m open to suggestions on getting better pictures. 
Let me know what you like!

Friday, June 15, 2007


Today we hit another summer milestone, the first day you walk out of the house at the crack of dawn (so 5-something early-am) to walk the dog, and its noticeably warmer outside than inside my 80F house.    (This is followed by later in the summer where you walk out at 5am and just burst into flames).

The good news is they are going to try to go all summer at the Ahwatukee farmers market. It’s on Sunday, and they are now starting at 8am.   The find for the last couple of weeks has been mango’s, the really good kind.    There are two types of  Mangos (ok, there are probably more than that, but I’ll stick to what I know).  First are the ones you find in grocery stores, what I know as Mexican mangos.  They have been bred to ship well, and are pretty good if you let them ripen (these will go from green to a pretty rose/gold shade when ripe) but tend to be a bit fibrous.  The other kind of mangos, the really good kind, are Philippine mangos.   I first had them in Manila (when I had to go there periodically for work, I tried to go in February, which is when mango’s are in season and before the summer monsoon’s hit).  These mango’s are generally a little smaller, more yellow (no red color at all), and really sweet and juicy, not fibrous… in fact, you can cut them with a tableknife (the sharpest knife they will leave in the hotel room).  And they have had them for the last couple of weeks at the farmers market.   I am not sure what the season is in Phoenix, but glad they are growing them!

Mangos are a bit tricky to eat.   You need to peel them, they are somewhat slimy once the peel is off, and they have a strange flat seed inside.  Here is how to be a mango master (this works for either kind of mango):  After washing the mango, hold it in your hand with stem end up, and you will notice that its wider in one direction.  With a paring knife, starting at the middle of the top, slice down with the knife running across the widest dimension.  Once you are through the skin, you will hit the seed. Let the knife go either right or left, and slice down along the seed, you should just feel the seed with the knife.  Cut all the way through so half is cut off.  Repeat for the other side.  You will be left with a slice from the middle that’s about ¼ inch or a little wider.   Next, pick up a half, and gently make criss-cross cuts, in the size you want (small, like a ¼ inch for salsa, closer to an inch to just eat). Just push on the skin and turn inside out, and scoop off with a spoon.  There is a bit of fruit you can still get off the seed, cut off the skin, and then cut the remaining fruit from the edge (maybe a ¼ inch or so).   That’s it.

Mangos are good with ice cream or just to eat straight, but I really like Mango Salsa.  Its great with grilled fish or chicken, with chips or on sandwich, or dumped into a salad (with a simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing).  Here is a recipe to try, feel free to adjust to your taste!   It will keep for several days.

Mango Salsa

1 Mango (preferably a Philippine mango), diced (¼ inch)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ to ½ a bell pepper (yellow or red), diced
¼ teaspoon chili power*, or a bit of finely minced JalapeƱo (to taste -- going for a mild heat)
About 1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of salt
Juice of ~ ½ a small lemon
Cilantro (optional)

Mix everything together, adjust sal t, chile, and lemon to taste.   Best if done a couple of hours ahead of time, and this will keep for several day’s.

* I have been using a green chili powder from Native seed search which is quite yummy  (thanks Barb!)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Results from May’s Glaze firing…

The most exciting thing about pottery is unloading the kiln after a glaze firing.  I have been making some masks based on a consignment order from my in-laws for their new back-yard..  (its very private, so they needed a few faces staring back at them ).  This opening definitely had some mixed results.  I liked all the pieces, but I really didn’t expect the cracks in most of the masks.  Oh well, I think the cracks like wrinkles… it gives some character, but we will have some mixed feelings.  Notice the face that Bridget did does not have any cracks… ah, to be a kid again!   Here are the pictures:

There is also a very nice, very purple bowl (do you like purple,,, it can be yours!), and one pretty cool vessel (one with some attitude), and another that looks good in the herb garden (maybe it will need to find a permanent home there…)

There was one more vase in the firing, which is back in the kiln now… I am trying to slump some glass on it.  Also trying to decide if this is the fate of “Ghostly”… I originally planned to add some glass as well, but liked it too much to do an experiment.

Let me know what you think... if there is something you like, let me know!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Summer Recipes

I have been waiting for summer to share these recipes, and well, its time.

The first is a Grilled Vegetable Pasta (yes, another pasta recipe).  The reason this is a summer recipe is that its really best to make it when you can get into the pool between turning the vegetables on the grill. It perfectly fits to a relaxed summer weekend.  Grill and swim, then let the vegetables cool, later cut up the vegetables and cook the pasta.   The vegetables can also be done as an antipasti (that’s right, without pasta but also an Italian appetizer).   Arrange the grilled vegetables on a platter, sprinkle with olives, maybe add some salami or other Italian cured meats, some big shreds of parmesan cheese.  I like to eat on slices of French bread, but it mostly takes a fork and knife to eat. 

The second is for breakfast.  I really like oatmeal, but its just too hot to eat in the summer.  So I make a cold oatmeal dish called Muesli.   I’m pretty sure the roots for muesli are Northern Europe, but I first had it in Korea at the Hilton in Seoul.  The do the nice breakfast buffet, and I have found it good to load up on food I recognize (bread, cheese, fruit, yogurt) when you really don't know what you will be eating the rest of the day.   They had a bowl of this goopy looking stuff on the “western” side of the buffet, and I tried it on the advice of one of my co-workers… a little cautious because I couldn’t tell what went in to it.  I like traveling in Asia, and I’m OK without always knowing what went into the food, but breakfast, well, I not as adventurous.    But this was good, cool and sweet, with raisins and some fruit.  I was hooked, but never know how to make it until I started hunting the web.  There are lots of ways to make this, starting with oats, and adding liquid (milk, yogurt, juice), dried fruit, apples, nuts.  The following is what I do, since I typically always have the ingredients on hand. 

Grilled Vegetable Pasta

4 servings

Veggies (use as a guide only!):
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Fresh or dry herbs, salt, pepper
2 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally about ½ inch thick
1 small eggplant, sliced lengthwise in ½ inch slices
1 red or mild yellow onion, cut in 2 large slices and skewered
2 red bell peppers, whole
1 ear corn, silk removed and husk replaced
1 head of garlic, top cut off
And/or:  Mushrooms, Asparagus

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fresh basil (or other herbs)
½ pound chunky pasta, cooked
Save about ½ cup pasta water
¼ cup dry white wine (optional)
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

For Grilled Veggies:  Mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper.  Mix with vegetables (can do earlier in the day).   Drizzle garlic with oil and partially wrap in foil. On grill heated to medium, put in some wood chips and with several branches of rosemary. Put all the vegetables on the grill. The corn will cook quickest, maybe 10 –15 minutes. Cook remaining veggies until soft and browned, 20-30 minutes.  Turn every 5-10 minutes.  The bell pepper skin will be black.  Remove pieces from grill as they get done and let cool.

Dice the squash, eggplant, and onion. Peel bell pepper and dice.   Cut corn from cob. Put in a large bowl.  Put in several cloves of roasted garlic (cut in half if large), use remainder for snacking.  Add the cooked and drained pasta. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a bit more salt and pepper to taste, chopped fresh basil, enough pasta water and/or white wine to moisten (about ½ cup total).  Serve with about 1 tablespoon each goat cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts on each serving.


Great way to get your oats in the summer.  Traditional flavors are raisins, walnuts, and apples… but these seem more fall like.  So I usually use “craisen’s”  (dried , sweetened cranberries), and put some berries on top…

Serves 3.

1 ½ cups old fashioned oats
¼ cup raisins or dry cranberries or other dried fruit of choice
¼ cup walnuts (chopped) or almond slivers
2 cups unsweetened soy milk (or any milk of choice, including part yogurt or juice)
1 tablespoon Apricot or Peach jam
1 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
1 small apple (grated) or other fresh fruit

Mix everything together except for fresh fruit, cover and refrigerate overnight.  If it seems a bit thick in the morning, add some more milk or some plain yogurt.   Stir in grated apple just before serving, or serve with other fresh fruit (berries, banana’s, apricots…)