Sunday, December 31, 2006


Seven Sweet Potatoes

James Taylor sings about them, they share a genus with morning glories, they are yet another gift from the Americas to the culinary delight of the rest of world, and they make a great pie. Americans do themselves a disservice by only eating this most versatile tuber on Thanksgiving. They are mostly carbohydrate, but also include 4 grams of vegetable protein per 1 cup serving and they are high in vitamin A and high in vitamin C which are powerful antioxidants.

Today’s Lunch
Baked Sweet Potatoes with Curried Ginger Butter

4 sweet potatoes
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp curry powder (any variety will do)
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger or 1 tbsp powdered

Scrub the potatoes well. Prick each potato with a fork in a few places and place them in a baking dish with a 1/2 cup of water. Bake at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft to the touch. (It is easy to undercook the potatoes, as they can appear done if you only pierce the skin with a sharp knife. I like to sue a spoon to test them. Place the round side of the spoon against the skin and if you can leave a spoon shaped depression in the potato it is done!) Melt the butter in small saucepan on medium heat and add curry. Raise the heat to medium high and cook until the butter comes to a gentle boil stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add ginger. Cook the butter for another minute and turn off the heat. Transfer the butter into a small glass dish or ceramic dish and allow to cool until it returns to a semi solid. Serve butter with warm potatoes. Serves 4.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Six Garlic Peppers

Looking for something easy and colorful to serve your friends and family while ringing in the New Year? Try fajitas. Get a bunch of tortillas; chop some lettuces, tomatoes, and avocado; buy a jar of salsa; grill a bunch of chicken breasts, hamburger meat, and/or steak; and fry up a heap of red, green, and yellow bell peppers. Have everyone else bring the beer!

Today’s Lunch
Three Pepper Sauté

Red, green, and yellow peppers; two of each
3 bulbs of chopped garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Wash the peppers and cut off their tops. Remove the stem from the removed tops and cop the resulting ring into slices. Clean the seeds out from the peppers shells and slice the lengthwise. Heat the oil on medium in a large skillet add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add peppers and toss with oil and garlic, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the peppers are tender stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and add vinegar. Cook for another five minutes with the lid off, stirring occasionally. Serves 12!

Friday, December 29, 2006


Five Golden Beets!

The neighborhood where I live is lined with little houses that were once five-hundred feet square, but now sport additions twice their original size. They were built to house the sugar beet factory workers. The hulking factory still stands with its railroad yard, giant silos, cavernous factory, and the impressive managers quarters. I’m not sure how long it will last. There have been various plans for renovation and demolition that surface from time to time. At one point the fields of the plains were covered in sugar beets to feed our nation’s sweet tooth. Today we get our sugar fixes from other sources and only a handful of farmers raise the hulking variety of beet that produces sugar.

Today’s Lunch
Sweet and Sour Beets

2 lbs fresh golden beets, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp maple syrup
5 tbsp red wine vinegar
Juice and zest of one orange
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp coriander

Place the meets in a medium-sized saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reuce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, 40-50 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Place the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and wisk. Pour over beets and serve. Serves 4.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Four Chinese Cabbage

Chinese or Napa cabbage is a perfect winter vegetable. It is in the same family as western cabbage and turnips. It is cold resistant and stores well so it can be harvested late and stored for long periods of time. Its nutritional content isn’t outstanding, although if it is grown in good soil there will be good minerals available to your body and trace amounts of vitamins A and C. It is high in fiber. I like Chinese cabbage for its spicy delicate leaves.

Today’s Lunch
Chinese Cabbage and Tofu

1/2 onion
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1/2 pound firm tofu
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup water or stock
2 cups sliced Chinese cabbage
1 cup frozen peas

Melt oil in a large skillet on medium. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add tofu and spices and reduce heat slightly. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes until tofu is browned on at least one side (my husband and I have tofu debates I like mine brown he likes his still squishy, whomever is cooking wins). Add sliced cabbage (I slice the cabbage from its tip and work my way down to the base), stock or water and frozen peas. Cover and cook for a further ten minutes or until cabbage is tender. Take the lid off and cook for another five minutes if the mixture is too watery. Serves two.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Three Fennel Bulbs

If you are only familiar with fennel seeds you are in for a treat. The tasty bulb that hides beneath the dill like fronds of the fennel plant is delicious. Technically speaking fennel is an herb that can act as a digestive aid and breath freshener, and adds a licorice-like flavor to sauces, stews, and casseroles. I like fennel best grilled on the barbeque or in salads or soups. Today’s recipe comes from the cookbook From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guild to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce published by the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. If you are all befuddled about how to cook vegetables I highly recommend this cookbook. (And, by the way I am shamefully pulling the veggie photos from

Today’s Lunch
Carrot Fennel Orange Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced (reserve a few fronds)
4 cups sliced carrots (approximately 1 1/2 pounds)
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 cups water or vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sour cream

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced fennel and cook, stirring often, until soft and slightly golden. Add carrots and garlic; cook and stir for a minute or two. Add water or broth and salt; bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until carrots and fennel are tender, about 20 minutes. Puree mixture in a food processor or blender. Stir in orange juice and sour cream until smooth and creamy. Reheat on low heat, but do not boil. Serve each bowel garnished with fennel fronds. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Two Tasty Turnips

Fresh is the name of the game with turnips. They get a bad rap because after they are stored for a too long in inappropriate conditions (exposed to light and air) they turn bitter. We are fortunate that the farm we belong to is one of the few CSAs that offers a winter vegetable share. The turnips are stored in deep earthen pits and covered with hay and carpet pieces to maintain the optimal temperature. You can get fancy with your turnips, but like them best peeled and steamed. If they are a little bitter then drizzle with olive oil and salt. That fixes everything!

Monday, December 25, 2006


A Parsnip in a Pear Tree

Although many people think of the twelve days of Christmas being the twelve days leading up to Christmas, it is actually the twelve days starting with Christmas day and leading up to Epiphan--the day the three wise men arrived in the manger to shower the newborn babe with gifts. By now we have been showered with our friend’s and family’s favorite sweet treats and we are ready for a few vegetables. To celebrate the conclusion of the Christmas season I’ll offer you twelve days of vegetables starting with the humble parsnip, the favorite starch of the old world until the potatoe arrived on the scene from that uppity new world. A root vegetable related to the carrot, parsnips are paler with more insense flavor. They top carrots in vitamin C content and beat the potato for carbohydrate and vegetable protein.

Today’s Lunch

Roasted Parsnips

3-4 parsnips
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Slice the parsnips at both ends and in the middle. Then cut each piece into four quarters lengthwise (there is nothing magic to the shape, you can simply chop the tuber into whatever sized pieces you want). Bring a saucepan of water large enough to cover the strips to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the vegetable and boil for two minutes. Drain the veggies and spread out on a baking sheet. Turn on your broiler to 425 degrees. Drizzle the veggies with oil and cook on the middle rack until done. This usually takes about 10 to fifteen minutes. The parsnips will get slightly crispy on the outside. You can skip the parboiling and bake the veggies for about twenty minutes and then flip on then drizzle the veggies with oil and flip on the boiler. This can also be done on the grill encasing the veggies in foil. So many choices!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Fun Food

Holidays bring out the fun in food. Two of my coworkers bake cupcakes for each other on their respective birthdays with each batch getting more elaborate. Another coworker shared with me a photo of her friend’s ghoulish apples that she made for Halloween. When I was a kid my favorite birthday cake was one my mom made out of chocolate cake cut in the shape of a bunny. You take two cake rounds and use one as the head and cut the other one like the stitching on a baseball creating two ears and a bowtie. The cake was then frosted with white icing and decorated with nose, mouth, eyes and whiskers.

Today’s Lunch
Chocolate Cake

(This cake is adapted from the back of Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour. The flour contains garbanzo bean, tapioca, white sorghum, and fava bean flour and potato starch. I haven’t tried with substituting regular flour.)

1 1/2 cups Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour
1 cup Sucanat or Brown Sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp Baking soad
1 tsp Xanthan Gum (a thickener available at health food stores)
3/4 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup Milk (cow, soy, or rice)
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1 large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup warm brewed coffee or coffee substitute

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 11 by 7-inch baking dish and set aside. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry in three parts and mix lightly until all the ingredients are blended together. Pur into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, December 01, 2006


Taking Advise

Over the weekend I was listening to the Splendid Table hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. A listener called in with a question about coconut oil. The caller’s personal trainer touted the benefits of coconut oil, but since she had always heard that it was bad she wanted Kasper’s advice (I think she was also looking for recommendations on how to cook with it, but they never got that far.) Kasper stated that she wasn’t a intuitionalist she referred the caller to Dr. Andrew Weil’s website for advise. I booted up my computer to see for myself what advice Dr. Weil might have about my beloved cooking oil ( Although there is evidence that points to coconut oil having nutritional benefits, Dr. Weil does not recommend it because it is a saturated fat and the research is not conclusive enough for him to advise adding it to you diet. Nutritional information is such a quagmire of contradictions. For me I trust my gut, quite literally. My gut feels good when I eat coconut oil. I’ve learned to eat not only according to what tastes good, but also by what feels good. Viva la coconut!

Today’s Lunch
Mulligatawny Soup

Bones from a cooked turkey
1/2 tsp sage
2 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 large onion
1-2 carrots
2 tart green apples (such as granny smith)
4 tbsp butter or coconut oil
4 tbsp flour
1/2 cup rice

Cover turkey with water and simmer for an hour in a large stockpot. Drain stock and remove any meat left on the bones. Add meat to the stock and throw away the bones. Add celery, carrots, and uncooked rice to stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
Melt butter in a skillet and add 1 onion chopped, herbs, salt, and pepper and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add flour and cook over low heat for 3 minutes stirring contantly. Add flour mixture (called a roux) to the stock. Chop the apples into small pieces and add to the stock. Slowly bring to a boil stirring constantly. After the soup comes to a boil remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes and serve.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?