Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This has become traditional at our house for dinner on Christmas Eve

Clam Chowder

8 SERVINGS TIME: 1 ½ hours

2 13 oz cans of chopped clams
2 cups potatoes, cubed
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped

¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
4 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon sage

Combine clam juice, vegetables, and enough water to cover. Bring to boil and simmer until vegetables are tender (30 to 40 minutes). 

Make white sauce:  Melt butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add flour, and stir to mix.  Cook for a few minutes.  Add milk slowly while stirring.    Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce starts to thicken (warming milk in microwave first makes this go quicker).  

Add white sauce to vegetable mixture.  Add clams and spices. Simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve hot.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

Roy is blaming me for a somewhat orange skin color due to all of the pumpkin and squash I have been feeding him.  It started a week ago with pumpkin muffins, then pasta with roasted butternut squash, then brunch yesterday that started with a roasted butternut squash salad and ended with pumpkin mousse crepes. There was a Prosciutto and Asparagus Strata and Lox and Bagel-less Salad so its not like there have not been other things to eat.  However, most of the remaining squash from the salad went on a pizza tonight… Guessing the creamy roasted butternut squash soup will not be on the menu tomorrow night.

Anyway, Pumpkin Muffins are a very easy muffin to make (no chopping or food processor needed).   

Not to change subjects, but a note on flour:  in my quest to eat foods that are closer to their whole (and un-fortified) state, whole wheat is an obvious choice over regular all-purpose flour.  But regular whole wheat has a pretty distinctive taste and color, and doesn’t easily substitute into most baked goods.  But white whole wheat, which is whole wheat flour made from white wheat instead of red wheat, cooks up much  more like AP flour.  King Arthur Flour makes it, and I can find at Trader Joes or Safeway.   In most muffin (or quick bread) recipes, you will be hard pressed to tell that half of the flour is white whole wheat.  I’ve been using all white whole wheat in muffins and they still come out great. 

Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose, white whole wheat, or a mix)
2 tablespoons oat bran 
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ (scant) teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1/2 to 2/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ cup milk (or soy milk)
¾ can pumpkin (or more… save some for the dog!)
½ cup raisins

Pumpkin seed or sliced almonds for topping

Oven:  400oF

Put dry ingredients in a small bowl, and mix with whisk.

Combine eggs and brown sugar with a whisk, mix in butter, then add milk, pumpkin, and raisins.  Mix well.  Fold in dry ingredients.  Place in greased muffin pan.  Sprinkle pumpkin seeds or almonds on top, making sure none stick out too much.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


As I am now the proud owner of an old and large lemon tree, expect to see more recipes that call for lemons. As an added benefit, the tree is in California, near the ocean, where the lemons can just hang on the tree all year as opposed to Arizona, where lemons turn to mush when it hits 100F.

I'm just not used to drinking really sweet stuff: I have weened myself off any kind of soda (and for that matter, rarely drink juice). But I like lemonade, and have adjusted the typical recipes (which typically call for a cup or more of sugar) to one that fits my taste and my lemons.


1 ¼ cups lemon juice *
¼ cup sugar **
Optional: a few thin slices of lemon

Dissolve sugar in a ½ cup or so of boiling water. Add some ice cubes to cool off. Put lemon juice, sugar syrup, and enough water and ice to fill a 2 quart container. Garnish glasses or pitcher with lemon slices

* Suspect that if you are using fully ripe Meyer lemons, you should use a bit more, and if more sour store-bought lemons, a little less.
** at this sugar level, there is a little less than 10g of sugar per 12 ounces, compared to 33g for your basic cola. Still not something I will guzzle by the gallon, but very nice treat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pasta with Sausage and Squash

I know its not winter (not even close in Phoenix) but we are starting to see butternut squash in the farmers market....

Pasta with Sausage and Squash

Adjust to your taste… this works well with pre-cooked chicken sausages, or with Italian turkey sausage. I have been getting some good sausage at the farmers market, but it’s not Italian. So I add some fennel seed and red pepper flakes. The original recipe did not call for any greens, but I really like it, and it looks good.

1 small winter squash, peeled and chopped into cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces Italian pork sausage
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced (optional)
1 small onion, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
6 ounces baby spinach or other greens (chopped if large leaf)

½ pound pasta, such as penne

Parmesan cheese

Chop the vegetables, then you can start cooking everything at the same time..

Steam the squash in a covered bowl in the microwave. Use just a bit of water, takes 4 or 5 minutes (should be almost tender).

Start a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium, add the oil. Crumble the sausage in the pan, add rosemary (and other spices if using) and cook. When the sausage is mostly brown, add the onion and garlic.

When the water comes to a boil, throw in a good bit of salt, then add the pasta.

Add the wine to the skillet, and scrape any bits. Add the cooked squash (and cooking liquid). Turn the heat down.
Just before the pasta is done, add the spinach to the pan (if using kale or other studier green, add a bit earlier). Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss. Add some pasta water if it seems dry.

Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


This might be the best granola I have ever had, love the texture. Adopted from an Alton Brown recipe. I’m sure I won’t leave well enough alone (the original recipe called for cashews). It’s a bit on the sweet side, but perfect mixed into plain yogurt!


1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Add the oats, nuts, and brown sugar and mix well.

Pour onto 2 sheet pans covered with parchment paper. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven, cool and put into airtight containers.

Just FYI, I figured the nutritional values (per 1/4 cup): calories - 180, added sugar - 7g, protein - 5g, fat - 10g, fiber - 2g.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Favorite Pizza Combo’s

We are a little off schedule this week, and had pizza on Sunday night. Just crazy. But we had one of my favorite combo’s tonight (salami and corn, one of those sweet-hot things), so that was a good reminder to follow-up on the pizza post:

Hot salami, fresh corn and onion. Cut fresh corn from the cob for this.

 Bacon and potato. Saute bacon pieces until the fat just renders out, and slice potato VERY thin (this takes about a half a potato). I like thyme as an herb for this, cheddar or jack works well for the cheese 

Mushroom, red pepper, onion, and sausage. This is my basic combo. Usually I use a link of left-over chicken sausage. Sometimes I throw some baby arugula or spinach on top right when out of the oven.

Roasted red pepper and 4 cheeses. Use whatever 4 cheeses that need to be used up! I usually fire up the grill to roast the pepper, you can also do using the broiler. 

Zucchini (or yellow summer squash) and sausage. Slice the zucchini very thin and put on top.

Grilled eggplant, goat cheese, and pine nuts. With basil as the herb.

Caramelized onion and goat cheese. Slowly cook 2-3 sliced onions plus a clove or two of garlic over low heat with some olive oil and salt. Add lots of thyme. Put this directly on the dough. Sprinkle with a couple of ounces of goat cheese and fresh ground pepper.

What are your favorites?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friday Night Pizza

Both my proficiency and confidence as a cook has grown by making the same thing over and over, but never the same twice. Pasta is the best example… learning what goes together, how long to cook, how to be quick and efficient, how to use what’s in season and in the house at 6pm on a Wednesday.

Pizza is another dish that I make over and over, but never the same (although I do have some favorites).

We like pizza on Friday’s, when there are usually bits of this and that left around that go wonderfully on a pizza. I have written before about grilling pizza, and recently about the dough using natural starter I have been making… but never a blog on my everyday pizza. In part because I don’t really have a recipe, just a general technique. Which as I’m writing it down, seems long and convoluted, and I’m not even including making the dough. But don’t fear: if you are intimidated by making the dough, sliding the pie onto the stone, etc., let me tell you a secret: you can buy the dough, use a cookie sheet, and make wonderful pizza. Of course, it’s at the risk of getting hooked; next you’ll be keeping a pet named Blob in your refrigerator for natural dough, entertain making your own mozzarella, and fantasizing about a wood-burning pizza oven in your back-yard. But I digress. Let me start with the equipment, then the ingredients, then the process. I'll share some of our favorite combinations next time!

Oven (the only thing on the list not optional, although you can substitute the grill)
Pizza Stone (I use one I bought at one of those cookware parties… mine stays in the oven all the time, unless I really need the second rack)
Pizza Peels l (thing to slide the pizza onto and off the stone)
Cheese grater (optional)
Silicone Pastry Mat (optional… you can do on the counter if you like)
Rolling pin (maybe)
Knife and cutting board (ok, not is not optional)

Ingredients (for one pizza, serves 2):

Corn meal (just a teaspoon or two)
Pizza dough (about a pound, which is half of these recipes: sourdough or yeast, or a purchased ball from Trader Joes or your favorite upscale grocery) ... if your dough is refrigerated, bring up to room temperature (leave out for an hour or so) first.

Sub topping*:
Olive oil (a couple of teaspoons)
Garlic (a couple of cloves)
Chopped Basil (a good handful) or other herb like thyme or chives, chopped
Black pepper or red pepper flakes (not too many)
* a tomato based sauce is also an option here, but not one I typically use.

Main Cheese: about 4-5 ounces of one or a combination, sliced or grated
Fresh mozzarella (slice and put on paper towels to get some of the moisture out)
Whole milk mozzarella
Part-skim mozzarella (although avoid the rubbery ones)
Cheddar or Jack cheese

Toppings: (usually one meat and 3-4 vegetables):
Sausage (1 or 2 links of leftover sausage or cooked bulk sausage),
Leftover chicken, pork, beef
Salami, bacon (cooked until soft), prosciutto, etc
Onions, green onions, bell pepper, mushrooms (about a cup or so total, slice thin..)
Tomato (sliced thin, shake out seeds and juice) or squash
Fresh corn (cut from cob), or potato (sliced very thin)
Grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper
Caramelized onions
Baby spinach or arugula

Accessories (optional)
Nuts (walnuts or pine nuts), ¼ cup or so
Strong cheese (An ounce or so of goat, feta, gorgonzola, parmesan)

Wine (Bordeaux is good, as well as a red Italian or Italian style wine)


Turn the oven on, 475oF. The oven should heat a good 20 minutes, with the stone in it (hot oven + cold stone = broken stone). Get all the equipment and ingredients out.

Grate the cheese, mince the garlic, slice the vegetables, prep the meats and accessories. I usually assemble everything on a dinner plate (and one plateful is good for one pizza) The basil gets chopped very last so it doesn’t turn dark (I usually leave it on the cutting board and chop just before using).

Sprinkle some corn meal on the pizza peel.

To make the crust, dump the dough onto a floured matt (or board or counter top). Start pressing the dough with your fingers to spread into a circle. Turn it over, make sure the bottom has sufficient flour (after doing 20 times or so, you’ll understand what sufficient is). If the dough is fighting back, let it rest a little, and get the rolling pin out. Don’t get the middle too thin. Also important: don’t make the crust bigger than the peel.

Gently pick the dough up (I usually fold in half and lift, a little safer way is to roll over the rolling pin) and put on the peel. The dough should slide around.

(Note: if you don’t have a stone and a peel, or need to do this ahead of time, or if you just don’t need any more drama in your life, just put the formed dough on a lightly greased sheet pan)

Start building the pizza with a drizzle of olive oil, spread gently with a brush or your fingers. Add the garlic, pepper, and basil. Sprinkle with the main cheese. Add the toppings and accessories.

Put the spatula near the oven. The wine should be open, and a glass nearby. I know this seems like a lot... that's where doing it over and over helps, it really only takes about 20 minutes to get to this point with practice.

Put the pizza in the oven: It usually helps to pull out the rack with the stone. Put the peel near the back of the stone, tilt up, give it a little shake, and slide the pizza off the peel on the stone. Swear a little when it doesn’t come off. Grab the spatula and prod a bit (especially the bit that’s hanging off the peel). Push a little from each side from underneath. When it’s finally on the stone, push any toppings that are on stone the back on the pizza and quickly close the door. Have some wine. You deserve it!

The pizza will need to cook from 10 – 15 minutes, depending on how thick the dough is and how much toppings. To tell when ready: the crust should be brown on the edges and bottom, the cheese all bubbly, and toppings just starting to brown.

Pull out (use the peel… or if you are doing a second pizza and its already occupying the peel, just pull the pizza out with a pair of tongs onto a cutting board. Cut and eat!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sourdough !!

The latest adventure in my kitchen has been sourdough starter for making bread. Its kind of like having another pet in the house (one that does not mind the name "Blob"). So far I have done a Boule (this is the standard round sourdough loaf), baguettes, and lots of pizza. Starter takes routine feeding... which is why it makes sense for me, since I do pizza almost every week. I am still figuring all of this out, especially how much feeding is needed in excess of what I use (Roy thinks this is partly a scam to sell more flour, but he's not complaining).

I started with starter from King Arthur Flour. There are several sources on the web, but this one was fresh (not dried) which made it easier to get going. If you want to start, just ask and I will give you some! While this might seem generous on my part, it's really just insurance that if I my Blob should fail for some reason, I could start again with one of the son's of Blob. I keep Blob in the refrigerator, using a small casserole dish that someone got us for our wedding. For ongoing care and feeding, I'm following the directions (pretty much) from King Arthur, the biggest difference is that I'm weighing the water and flour (so instead of a 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of flour, I'm using 4 ounces of water and 4 ounces of flour, weighed directly in the casserole. **

For actual bread baking, I have been getting guidance from the Chocolate and Zucchini website (she keep's her starter at room temperature, which requires daily maintenance... the refrigerator is much more my speed). Here is the Boule recipe link for the loaf I made, for "various flours" I used about 1/2 bread flour and 1/2 white whole wheat flour (and no added gluten). Notice this recipe is a 1 - 2 - 3 ratio.. 1 part starter, plus 2 parts water, plus 3 parts flour. And salt.

The real reason I wanted starter was to make pizza dough. I've been making my own for a while (most every Friday), but wanted to take it up a notch. And the starter makes really, really good pizza. The texture is a bit lighter than the yeast based dough, and there is a slightly (just a bit) of the sour taste. I used a combination of my previous recipe, plus the above Boule recipe for Pizza, still following the 1-2-3 ratio:

Pizza Dough from Starter

5 ounces starter
10 ounces: ~1 tablespoon olive oil + water
15 ounces flour: ½ unbleached & ½ white whole wheat
1 teaspoon sea salt (if using kosher salt, use more)

Weigh starter, liquid and flours into a bowl, mix until well combined. Let sit for 30 minutes or so. Add salt and knead 10 minutes, adding just enough flour to handle (dough will be sticky, take care to keep soft and not stiff). Make 2 or 3 balls, place in oiled bowl. Let rise for 4 hours at room temperature, then make pizza. Or put kneaded dough in a Ziploc bag (that you have put a little oil in) and put in the refrigerator for up to a week (I think the dough is best at 2-3 days). Take out and let come to room temperature (you can hurry this by putting into a bowl of warm water) .

I have yet to try grilled pizza yet (most weeks I just use the oven), but have no reason to believe it would be a problem. It seems that maybe I need to do another entry on pizza toppings (including some of my recent try's... caramelized onion and goat cheese, potato and bacon, grilled peppers with 3 cheeses, as well as the basics (salami, mushroom, red pepper and onion).

You can also use the leftover dough to make baguettes.

** I can thank Sharon H. for getting my the cookbook "Ratio" by Ruhlman which teaches all sorts of ways to use your scale in the kitchen.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Javelina Turds

I've had lots of requests for this recipe, its something we typically have around the house.. they are perfect when you get home from the pool or a hike or the gym or off a plane and need to eat something.  I posted a version of this a while back, but that version has lots of options (different nut butters, sweeteners, etc).   Since I make them so often, I have developed an efficient process.   First, I weigh the ingredients (an idea from Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking), especially since almond butter and honey are messy to measure. This also insures that I use exactly half the jar of almond butter, since this the only place I use it.   Then, instead of making balls or log shapes (which begat the nickname which has stuck), I mash into in a large square and cut -- see the pictures.  I can do these in about 20 minutes, including clean up.

Javelina Turds

8 oz     1 cup almond butter (Trader Joes organic creamy / salted)
6 oz     1/2 cup honey (usually from small producer - the flavor of the honey comes through)
1 tsp vanilla extract 
9 oz     3 cups old fashioned oats
3 oz     1/3 cup dried cranberries ( sweetened)
3 oz     1/3 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli dark)

Combine all ingredients together; mix well.  Dump onto a cutting board covered with wax paper, and form into a large square, about a ½ inch thick.  Cut into 1 or 1 ½ inch squares. Place squares on another piece of wax paper, put in a large baggie or other container, and refrigerate. 


After pressing (you can use a rolling pin with a top piece of wax paper) to get really smooth, plus I use the edge of the knife to straighten the edges:

And cut:

Think twice about eating these if you have not just been at the gym, swum 2000m, or hiked up a mountain.  They are about 100 calories per square inch.