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Vegetables

Healthy, Hungry for Louisiana, One Pot, Soups, Vegetables

Down to the Bones: Which ones are best for great soup?

February 23, 2016

I thought I’d squeeze in one more hot soup blog before the weather gets toasty and our thoughts turn elsewhere.

Lately, I’ve been making a big pot of vegetable soup on the weekends, starting with homemade beef stock. I went through a phase when I bought beef stock from the store – there are so many good quality ones these days, and it definitely saves time – but honestly, nothing compares to the real thing. And last year, I got inspired to return to homemade stock after we did a fun 225 Magazine story on great local soups. I had the best time picking the brains of local chefs on what makes their signature soups so delicious. Some soups were cream-based, and their success turned on straightforward decadence. But others, like Dang’s pho, MJ’s Café’s black bean and Galatoire’s Bistro’s turtle, were soups that rose and fell on house-made stocks. No surprise, they were tended for many hours at a time.

Chef Kelley McCann at Galatoire’s Bistro told me about roasting a medley of veal bones, including lots of gelatinous joints, before simmering them for hours in order to make a super rich reduction for the restaurant’s signature turtle soup. Even Maureen Joyce’s vegetable stock, used in her black bean soup at MJ’s, called for overnight slow-roasting of multiple root vegetables. Soup seems so simple, but a really good soup requires some behind-the-scenes work.

I’m not sure I have that much time to devote, but I can certainly muster a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon while I’m hanging out with my family and doing loads (…and loads…) of laundry.

So, the question is, which bones are best for creating a stock that makes your soup sing?

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Breakfast, Budget, Easy, Eggs, Local, Louisiana, Vegetables

Easy, fast and cheap: Sweet potato-spinach frittata

January 20, 2016

Frittatas are fast, affordable, easy and the perfect vessel for leftover meats, herbs and veggies. If they’re not yet in your repertoire, it’s time to give these quick-cooking, crust-free egg tarts a try. They’re versatile in flavor and in texture, and depending on the fat content of the dairy products, they can be rich and unctuous or lean and healthful. They’re a great use of Louisiana’s year-round local produce, and they can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. And, clean up is easy since you use minimal equipment.

One of my favorite flavor combinations in a frittata is sweet potato and spinach. Here’s how to make it….

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Fresh produce, Healthy, New Year's, Salads, Vegetables

3 yummy choices for salad-a-day resolutions

January 5, 2016

My friend Elena once set a clear and simple personal goal: eat a salad everyday. The resolution was straightforward and easy to measure, exactly as a doable goal should be. Elena’s idea was that by committing to a daily dose of green, she was assured of a healthy injection — no matter what the rest of the day brought.

I love salads – and I love this idea. It checks so many boxes. Salads are affordable and generally good for you. You can change them up daily, creating something substantial and rich in protein, or something light and refreshing. They’re seasonal, portable and naturally stress-reducing. All that crunching takes your mind off life’s realities.

This week, I’ve got three comforting and filling salads that will start your new year off right. Enjoy.

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Farmers Markets, Local, Louisiana, Sandwiches, Soups, Southern, Vegetables

Meatless Mains: Curried 3-squash soup with fresh tomato bruschetta

November 19, 2015

Here’s one for my vegetarian pals, or anyone who likes to incorporate an occasional meatless main course: a veggie-centric soup-and-sandwich combo made with fresh farmers market ingredients.

A couple of weeks back, I posted on 5 fall produce soup ideas, and briefly mentioned this one: roasted butternut squash soup studded with sautéed summer squash and zucchini. It showcases the range of produce available in south Louisiana right now. We can still get a lot of summer produce alongside the inaugural harvest of fall vegetables. And with fresh tomato bruschetta on the plate, too, this dinner takes advantage of Southern vegetables that refuse to be confined to just one season.

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Appetizers, Fall flavors, Herbs, Vegetables

Homey and woodsy, chanterelles on toast perfect simple supper

October 28, 2015

The other day, my friend Anna-Karin Skillen and I were talking about chanterelles. They’re in season in her native Sweden right now, as well as in the U.S. on the northwest coast, in New England and other spots. I’ve been drooling lately watching a Facebook friend from Seattle document her family’s foraging trips, the kitchen table blanketed with fresh (and free!) chanterelles, soon be thrown in a scorching skillet or tossed in buttery pasta or noodle soup. Just this week, the Boston-based radio program, Here and Now, featured a segment on fall mushrooms, complete with easy recipes by resident chef Kathy Gunst, who had picked up several different wild mushroom varieties from Boston-area farmers markets.

ChanterellesNatural

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Labor Day, Salads, Tailgating, Vegetables

Bleu cheese coleslaw great for Labor Day and fall tailgates

August 26, 2015

I am a huge, huge coleslaw fan.

Given a choice between coleslaw and potato salad, I’d choose the former every time. I love the crunch of the cabbage. I love the range of dressings, from creamy to vinegary. I love to experiment with old-fashioned, church supper versions steeped in mayonnaise-y simplicity, as well as modern takes that incorporate stone fruits or Asian flavors. I love slapping coleslaw on a hot dog or a pulled pork sandwich. And I love when the homemade barbecue sauce on my smoked baby back ribs seeps into the adjacent pile of slaw on my plate.

With Labor Day right around the corner and the fall football season nearly upon us, it’s time to get into a slaw routine. It’s incredibly easy to make at home with fresh ingredients, and a lot cheaper than using packaged cabbage and bottled dressing.

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