Entries in Vegetables (10)


Roasted Broccoli

I recently took a personal chef gig. Sounds awesome doesn't it. And for a new mom with a 11 week old baby it is awesome. I plan menus, shop then go into my clients home one day a week and prepare several dinners for them to reheat. The menus revolve around lean proteins and vegetables. So I am always looking for ways to coax flavor out of ordinary vegetables and make them more exciting. One way to do that is by roasting. I prepare a lot of roasted vegetables in the winter but also love them in the summer and find that they are great cold leftovers added to a salad. 

This week I decided to add some broccoli into the mix. I have a slight disdain to steamed broccoli. To many nights in the early nineties, steamed broccoli was on my Weight Watchers dinner menu. I find though that if I roast it with some tasty seasoning it becomes quite magical. 

It is one of the easiest things you can do. Cut up the broccoli and toss into a bowl. Add some olive oil to lightly coat. Sprinkle with desired seasoning and lay out into a cookie sheet. I line mine with foil for easy clean up. Throw it in the oven at 375 degrees and about 30 minutes later you have transformed your broccoli. 

I love to try out new premixed vegetable seasoning mixes. Whole Foods, Cost Plus, Food 52 and the like usually have a variety of seasonings for vegetables. The one I bought recently is from Urban Accents. It is the Balsamic and Roasted Onion Vege Roaster. I found it at my local Safeway. Occasionally I will also find some great spice blends at the Marshalls near me. So look around and pick a couple up to experiment with. It can really add some depth of flavor that beats just salt and pepper.

You now have a great side dish to go with just about anything and the leftovers can be used in omelettes, salads and more.

Hope you decided to take your broccoli to the next level soon!


Spicy Pickled Corn

It has been really warm here in Seattle - in a good way. This summer and the amount of heat has been helpful for our garden. We have been experiencing amazing crops of lettuce, cucumbers, squash, onions, peppers, beans and peas. We have had so much fresh produce we have had to give some away. If we have a great summer like this next year I may even start a little farm stand!

One thing for sure is that these amazing flavors of summer just don't last long enough. So while we find 100 ways to eat squash I also look for ways to preserve the flavors of summer. I love quick pickles and find that almost every summer vegetable can be turned into one of these tasty delights. This time I want to make Spicy Pickled Corn. 

Corn like so many summer vegetables is gone quickly. But when it is here it is should be taken advantage of. I like to roast it on the grill or peel it off the cobs and turn it into salads and soups. Today I picked some jalapeno from Mr. Ramons pepper plants and thought the corn and these spicy peppers would be a good match.

Spicy Pickled Corn

You need 1 clean quart size jar with lid - I use either a Mason or a Weck jar. 

Corn Mixture

2 cups fresh from the cob corn kernels - about 2 ears of corn

2 small jalapeno seeded and sliced very thin

1 large shallot peeled and sliced very thin

2 small dried peppers of your choice

1/4c fresh squeezed lime juice

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl then spoon into jar. 


1/2 cup white vinegar

3/4 cup filtered water

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

Boil these ingredients and pour over corn mixture in jar.

Gently stir and seal jar.

Let cool then keep in refrigerator for about 1 month - if it lasts this long!

I love this spooned over greens or with grilled steak. It is crunchy and tart and delicious. Enjoy!


Dreaming of spring!

While it is still technically winter we are starting to get glimpses of spring here in the Pacific North West. Bulbs are sprouting and the first daffodils are open with their happy yellow faces teasing the rain. A day here and there of brilliant sunshine. These days get me so excited for starting the garden. This last weekend we carved out a small bed against the fence of our garden and put in Sugar Peas and Snap Peas. I loved working out in the garden, digging in the dirt again.

Today it rains again so I took some time to start planning our garden. Drawing out the beds and pouring over the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide to plan when to put in each plant. Day-dreaming of lettuce, tomatoes, squash and the like. Looking through our carrot seeds spurred me to bake today. I had an abundance of carrots in the refrigerator and with every store filled full of Easter candy and stuffed bunnies holding carrots it just seemed appropriate to make some Carrot Ginger Bread. 

I love quick breads. They are just that quick. The outcome feels like you worked harder than you did and they are all so yummy. This one is filled with fresh grated carrots and several types of ginger for a spicy punch. Top it off with a ginger cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Ginger Quick Bread

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed finely grated carrots (from about 2 carrots)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and dry spices.

In your electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, ginger and carrots.
With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool in pan 5 minutes.
Turn cake out onto a wire rack, and let cool completely.

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Beat all ingredients until fluffy. 
Frost top of cooled cake.

Ginger Carrot Cake Cookies

While every blog this month is filled with salads and juice cleanses I thought I would tempt you with a vegetable filled cookie.  
While a giant cake topped with mounds of cream cheese frosting is a delight - cakes in general can be hard to manage for some gatherings. I wanted carrot cake that was portable. After several recipe attempts I landed on one filled with spicy ginger and plump golden raisins. These are great as soon as they are made or they can be be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. I think they are delicious chilled. 
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, ginger and lemon zest until smooth. Add sugar and lemon juice; beat until combined. Cover and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed, finely grated, peeled carrots
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, Ginger, sugars, and egg yolk.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, and salt.
Add flour mixture to butter mixture; stir until combined.
Mix in oats, carrots, and currants.

Drop tablespoons of dough - 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets and flatten.
Bake until edges are crisp, rotating baking sheets halfway through, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Turn half the cookies over, bottom side up; dollop each with about 1 teaspoon chilled cream-cheese filling. Top with remaining cookies, pressing gently to spread filling to edges. 
Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for 1 day. 

Tomato Summer Squash Gratin

When planting our first garden together this summer I knew that squash would be easy to grow and provide us with some actual "eating from the garden" satisfaction. I also know that squash can overrun a garden and leave you with piles and piles to work through. 

We decided to plant several summer squash and a early winter squash. We put in Spineless Beauty Zucchini, Yellow Zebra Zucchini and Yellow Crookneck Squash - all organic starts from our local nursery. We have had a nice steady flow of squash this summer and have enjoyed them grilled, in bread and raw in salads. 

I was super excited to grow my own tomatoes but knew I needed to be ready for disappointment if summer just didn't bring enough heat. But the good news is - I can get beautiful local, organic tomatoes at our neighborhood co-op. 

I think the idea of a summer gratin sounds delish. Actually the idea of anything gratin sounds good to me. To "gratin" something means to top it with a browned crust of breadrumbs, grated cheese, and/or butter. In this case I want to take care how I prepare the veges as these two items can get soupy and mushy when cooked due to their high moisture content. But once you have a good technique in place you have a wonderful summer dish that is good fresh out of the over or room temperature. 

Summer Vegetable Gratin 

  • 1lb of summer squash sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1lb of zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 4 large tomatoes sliced in 1/4 inch slices
  • 2 onions sliced thin 
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 cup bread crumbs fresh or dried
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Toss sliced summer squash and zucchini with 1 tablespoon of salt and place in colander to drain. Drain for about 1 hour. Arrange squash and zucchini on a folded kitchen towel or several papertowels, cover with another towel or more papertowels and press to remove any additional liquid. 

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Oil a 13x9 baking dish. 

Arrange tomato slices on a kitchen towel or several paper towels. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of salt and let stand 30 minutes. 

Preheat a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and sautee your onions on medium low heat until they are soft and brown - about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Place another towel or paper towels on top of tomatoes and press to remove liquid. 

In a small bowl combine garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme. In large bowl, toss zucchini and summer squash in half of oil mixture.

First layer the zucchini and summer squash in the bottom of the 13x9 baking dish. Spread the onions over the squash evenly. Next layer the tomoaotes over the onions overlapping as necessary. Drizzle the rest of the oil mixture over the tomatoes. Bake until tomatoes are brown on the edges and vegetables are soft. About 45 minutes.

In a bowl mix the bread crumbs, shallots, parmesan and salt/pepper to taste. Turn oven broiler on. Sprinkle bread crumb cheese mixture over vegetables and put under broiler until topping is brown and crispy. Remove from oven and let sit 10-15 minutes before serving. 

We enjoyed this with a yummy roast chicken on the patio with some good friends. It was a perfect summer meal!