My kids have been stuck at home since mid-March. Our summer garden was overrun with fresh cucumbers. The world was on fire. Nothing to do but make pickles. Continue Reading…
In my experience growing up, carrots were served two ways: raw, sliced and served on a green salad, or cut into chunks and boiled to hospital food mush. I loved the former, but despised the latter, and so for years, I figured all forms of cooked carrots were, well, just gross.
Then along came roasting, or at least along came my discovery of it. Roasting any vegetable is one of the greatest ways to bring out its earthy sweetness, but roasting carrots is especially effective. Carrots go from being a pleasantly flavorful raw snack, to being a deeply sweet and elegant veggie side dish.
There is, however, a trick to getting roasted carrots right.
Last week, I picked up a beautiful bunch of rainbow chard at our Red Stick Farmer’s Market and immediately thought about how great it would taste in a batch of white bean, greens and sausage soup. The combination of beans, greens and sausage, along with aromatic veggies and fresh rosemary, is just delicious in soup. I especially love this in the springtime, but it’s fun to make it year-round with whatever seasonal greens are emerging from local farms.
Last week, on my 225 Magazine food blog, Spatula Diaries, I posted about Spinach Madeleine, the iconic spicy spinach side dish that helped make the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s River Road Recipes one of the best selling community cookbooks of all time. The dish has a great story arc. It was invented on the spot, became wildly popular and was thrown into confusion when one of its key ingredients, Kraft’s jalapeño cheese log, was discontinued.
In 2011, I had the pleasure of interviewing its creator, Madeline Wright. Here’s that story, which ran in 225 in 2011.
I’m not a vegetarian, but I make it a point to go meatless at least one night a week. It’s a great way to force yourself out of that confining protein-starch-veggie template that lords over the dinner menu and probably has us eating more than our fair share of meat. It also guarantees you enjoy new flavor combinations since vegetarian cooking so often relies on fresh herbs and aromatic vegetables to impart that umami punch.
One of my favorite veg-centric dishes is a savory vegetable gratin, a layered ‘veggie bake’ if you will that’s also referred to as a tian. While it’s packed with healthy fresh vegetables, it’s got a gooey layer of melted Gruyere on top, and a layer of tender potatoes and onions on the bottom, both of which give it main course heft. Yum.
Fresh green beans are one of my favorite vegetables, in part because they’re one of the few that all three of my kids like. It’s crazy how hard that is. And now that beans are in season* and emerging from numerous regional farms, I’m having a field day cooking with them.
Frequently, I blanch a batch and put them in a food storage bag in the fridge, taking out handfuls a couple of times during the week to sauté for dinner. I love them tossed in a hot pan with olive oil and fresh garlic, then doused with a little soy sauce and topped with basil slivers. Or sometimes I add lemon peel, toasted almonds and fresh chives. They’re amazing with Hollandaise, and I love them served as an hors d’oeuvre with spicy peanut sauce. These guys are versatile.
This week, I’m combining fresh, blanched green beans with gorgeous wax beans, also in season, and using them as a salad with fresh tomatoes, crumbled feta and a homemade lemon-Dijon vinaigrette.