Category Archives: Vegetables

Back to School Madness and Some Recipe Links

Well. I managed to blog through last year’s end-of-school year madness, blog while on vacation, blog every day in July, and yet this back to school business the last few weeks has really thrown me for a loop.

I do most of my writing in the morning, before the kids wake up. And since my kids are early risers, that usually means I’m at the computer by around 5 a.m. I’m a morning person, so this usually doesn’t bother me. I like the quiet. I like that I can think a complete thought without getting interrupted. Of course, I don’t have that many complete thoughts that early in the morning, but the point is that I could complete a thought if I wanted to.

I don’t know why, but the start of school this year has really worn me down. I don’t remember ever being this tired without having a newborn in the house. I haven’t gotten up early, and I crash on the couch as soon as the kids are in bed at night. So blogging kind of… didn’t happen.

I have some recipes that I’d like to share, but I’m still working on getting my act together. In the meantime, because I miss my blog, I’ll just  share some other people’s recipes that I found recently that I can’t wait to try.

Chipotle-Chicken Meatballs from Rachael Ray:

Chipotle-Chicken Meatballs

Southwest Chicken Chili Mac from Picky Palate

Poppy Seed Chicken from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Baked Breaded Eggplant from Aggie’s Kitchen:

Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Biscuits from Annie’s Eats:

Oh, there are many, many more, but since it’s 10:00 and waaaaaay past my crash-on-the-couch-time, I’d really better be going.

I hope to get back into the swing of things next week. I promise to share some new recipes soon!

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Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

Yesterday was Harrison Ford’s birthday. (It was my sister’s birthday, too, in case you are interested, but that doesn’t lead into my story). He turned 69. Am I the only one shocked by this? Do you think he is?

This is a conversation that I overheard in the backyard today, between two of my three Star Wars-obsessed children:

Batman: Do you think Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are really in love?

Sarah Crewe: [laughing] Madly in love?

Batman: Yeah, do you think they’re ‘madly in love?’

Sarah Crewe: I don’t know. I guess so.

Batman: I wonder what it means to be ‘madly in love.’

Sarah Crewe: I think it means that you love love love someone.

I’m madly in love with my crazy kids. I’m madly in love with my husband. And if “love love love” is the true definition of “madly in love,” then I am madly in love with summer tomatoes.

My favorite way of eating a ripe summer tomato is sliced, on toast, with just a little mayo, salt and pepper. I also like eating them with fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and a little olive oil. I like to just pick up a tomato and eat it like an apple, although it is pretty messy.

Yesterday I made this salad:

Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small or 1/2 large onion, sliced thinly and separated into rings
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese, optional
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Combine tomato, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Add cheese.
  2. Whisk oil and vinegar together in a small bowl. Pour over salad. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tomato, Cucumber, and Onion Salad

This is such a great summer salad. I often make a smaller version of this, with just cucumbers and onions, but this time the tomatoes were calling my name, and if you read this blog regularly, you know that I always listen when food talks to me.

My Critics liked it, for the most part.

Elmo: Some more? Please?

Batman: This is the best salad I ever had in my life!

Sarah Crewe: This is really good!

Don Corleone doesn’t like cucumbers, so he was excused from today’s tasting.

Curious George: It’s good. I think it’s the best salad I ever had in my life, too, but… I just don’t want any more.

I call that a success!

Since I am also madly in love with sleep, I think I’ll go start the bedtime ritual now! Good night 🙂

Zucchini Carpaccio Salad

I never heard of zucchini carpaccio before. “But that can’t be,” you must be thinking, “I thought you knew everything!”

I know. So did I.

I did a search for zucchini recipes, and apparently everybody else in the world has heard of zucchini carpaccio. I’m not sure why you were all hiding it from me, but I found it now! Ha!

We were on our way home from a trip to Delaware, and we stopped at a little farm stand to buy some yummy tomatoes and peppers. They also had zucchini. My family is not in love with zucchini. I’ve prepared it many different ways, but it’s almost always met with, “Eh.”

Except by my 8-year-old daughter (Sarah Crewe), who really doesn’t like it. She begged me not to buy it at the farm stand. “No, Mommy, please don’t buy zucchini! I hate zucchini!”

But the good thing about being a mom is that your kids are not the boss of you. Unless you’re one of those people who think that kids should be allowed to do whatever they want, because they’re “exploring their environment” or whatever. To you, I can only say… You must be soooo tired!

Anyway, my daughter isn’t the boss of me, so I bought zucchini, even though she told me not to. It looked so yummy! And when I got home and googled “zucchini recipes,” I discovered zucchini carpaccio. And now we’re back to where we started.

Zucchini Carpaccio

this recipe is from Kalyn’s Kitchen

  • 2 medium or 3 small zucchini, sliced thinly
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced chives
  • 2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese (I used feta)

Directions:

  1. Arrange sliced zucchini on a serving platter and season with salt and pepper. If you’re doing more than one layer of zucchini, be sure to season each layer.
  2. Zest the lemon and put the zest in a small dish. Squeeze all of the juice from the lemon into the dish, discarding seeds. You should have about 2 tbsp lemon juice.
  3. Whisk oil into the zest/juice mixture, and pour the dressing over the zucchini slices. Let marinate for about 15-30 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle zucchini with chopped herbs and cheese and serve immediately.

Zucchini Carpaccio Salad

Wow. Wow! This is how I am going to prepare zucchini from now on! This was fantastic! Check out these comments from the Critics:

Don Corleone: This is so good! It’d be great on a gardenburger.

Sarah Crewe, zucchini-hater: It’s yummy! It tastes like pickles!

Batman: It’s really good! It’s delicious!

Elmo: I tasted it. I try more, okay? (then, asking for seconds): I some more? It’s delicious!

Only Curious George wasn’t pleased: At first it tastes like lemon. Then it just tastes like zucchini.

Why am I so ecstatic about this salad? Maybe it’s because it’s SUPER YUMMY! Maybe it’s because my 8-year-old, who begged me not to buy zucchini, liked it. Maybe it’s because my 2-year-old called it “delicious.” Maybe it’s because I will finally get all those “zucchini carpaccio” jokes that used to just go over my head.

I don’t know. I just know that it will definitely show up again and again at our house!

Red, White, and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Do you know what day it is today? You probably don’t remember. It’s okay, you’re not supposed to. It’s I Forgot Day. Apparently you are supposed to use this day to remember all the birthdays, anniversaries, etc, that you previously forgot, (or think you might forget?). So I hope that you remember that you forgot them.

I have a terrible memory. Things tend to leave my head as soon as they enter. I do remember some strange things, though, like my first phone number, even though that number hasn’t been used for 25 years. And yet, ask me what my husband’s cell phone number is. I can’t tell you, because it’s stored in my cell phone, which is upstairs right now. (Dear Evil Aliens, when you come to take over the Earth, hit the cell towers first. You will have no trouble after that, I promise).

My brother remembers everything. He says things like, “Hey, remember that time when you were five, and I was three…” Um, no, I don’t even remember that time when I was thirty-five and you were thirty-three. I don’t know how he does it.

My husband remembers everything we’ve ever done based on what we ate. “Hey, Vito, remember that time in 1995 when we went to the aquarium in Baltimore?” “Of course, I do, that’s the same day we went to that restaurant and had those fantastic chicken fajitas.”

Of course, there are things that you should forget. A big one… childbirth. I remember telling my mom there’s no way I would ever have kids. She said, “As soon as you’re holding that sweet little baby in your arms, you forget all the pain.” Yeah, right, Mom, whatever. (Except we didn’t say ‘whatever’ back then. I’d tell you what we did say, but I forget).

She was right, of course. My second child was born so fast that I didn’t have time for any pain medication (even though I shamelessly begged and pleaded). Then when I was pregnant with my third child, I told my husband I was thinking about not asking for medication this time, because “last time really wasn’t that bad.” His response? “Ummmmmmm…. okay.”

But enough about my terrible memory. Wasn’t I supposed to be doing something? Oh, right… potato salad!

Red, White, and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes (or mix of red and white)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Cut potatoes into small pieces. Add to boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, combine sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, pepper, chives, and blue cheese in a large bowl.
  3. Drain potatoes. Add to sour cream mixture. Stir in bacon.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, until chilled.

Red, White, and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Click here for a printable version.

My grown-up Critic and I love, love, love this potato salad. Probably a little too much. What’s not to love- potatoes, blue cheese, bacon, buttermilk… it’s heavenly! But the younger Critics? Well…

Batman said he liked it. Elmo spit it out and said, “Mommy, I don’t like it,” but ended up eating it, and asking for more.

Sarah Crewe and Curious George coughed and gagged so much you would have thought I was feeding them leftovers from Fear Factor.

Don’t listen to them.

Have a very happy I Forgot Day! I hope you forget some stuff!

Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers

It’s July 1. I have been blogging for six months now. The mealtime question, “Is this for your blog?” has been asked so many times around my house, I lost count. My Critics are, of course, human, and even though they are small, they love to see their words in print. Even if their only review is, “It’s good.”

I have a bunch of recipes on deck that I want to try. But I put them aside, because the other day I was at Trader Joe’s, and I saw these:

"Buy us! Buy us!!!"

They started whispering to me: “Buy us! Don’t we look so delicious?? Who cares if we’re not on your list? Buy us!”

Why does that always happen to me at Trader Joe’s?

I’ve never bought sweet mini peppers before, and I didn’t know what to do with them, but I had to buy them, because they told me to, and I’m a good girl, and always do what I’m told.

I got it into my head that whatever I did with these peppers, it had to involve goat cheese and fresh basil. I am growing a basil plant. I do this every year, and this year (so far) is the first year the plant hasn’t died in the first two weeks. So I really, really wanted to use basil. Plus I love the smell of fresh basil more than anything else in the entire world (that may be a slight exaggeration).

Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers

  • 6-8 mini sweet peppers
  • 5.5-oz package goat cheese
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • handful of fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚
  2. Carefully cut each pepper in half lenghwise. Lay the peppers out on a baking sheet.
  3. After you chop the basil, take a few pieces around to your family, and say, “Smell this! Isn’t that a wonderful smell? Can you believe Mommy grew this herself and it hasn’t died yet? Doesn’t it smell fantastic?”
  4. Combine cheese, herbs, and pepper. Spoon into pepper halves. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

 

Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Click here for a printable version.

Wow, these peppers are so good! It’s definitely a grown-up treat, though. The young Critics weren’t interested. Elmo thought she was interested, until she took one and got a closer look. Then she said, “Actually, no,” and gave it back to me. Batman and Sarah Crewe each took a bite and then gave theirs, back, too. Curious George was excused because of his strep throat. My 19-year-old cousin was here and she politely declined.

Don Corleone and I ate way too many. Okay, fine, we ate them all. They’re so delicious! They’d be a great appetizer for your Fourth of July party!

Thank you for reading my blog! I love writing it, and I look forward to the next six months of cooking adventures!