Tag Archives: vegetable

recipe link: Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

7 Dec

My spouse tasted this when they were handing out samples at Wegmans and came home talking about how good it was. I was a bit skeptical, but I have to admit, he was right. It’s fantastic. 

Spaghetti Squash with Pomodoro Sauce

I’m seriously considering making everything with pomodoro sauce from now on.


recipe: tomato salad

11 May

Now that the garden is getting underway, I am itching to make delicious fresh vegetable dishes and sit around admiring the bounty from our little plot–but unfortunately, the pickings are still slim out there.

Today, I decided to scratch that metaphorical itch with a fresh-tasting, if store-bought, alternative: a tomato salad based on supermarket Campari tomatoes and the bits and pieces I could gather from the garden. You can throw in anything you want here; if you are a fan of a different herb, add it or replace the basil with it. If you like cucumber in your tomato salad, put that in too. This is more of a concept than a recipe.

Tomato Salad

1 package Campari tomatoes (I used a 1-lb package, but it’s flexible)
handful of basil leaves, torn into small pieces
3 large spring onions, white and light green parts only
pinch of salt
fresh-ground pepper
drizzle of olive oil

Wash and quarter the tomatoes. Toss briefly with the remaining ingredients. Let stand for a few minutes.

A few serving ideas:
* top with grated cheese (Parmesan, provolone, Gruyere–whatever floats your boat) or mix in small pieces of mozzarella;
* pick the baby lettuce leaves that are starting to grow in your garden and serve this salad on top;
* chop the tomatoes a bit smaller and serve this salad on rounds of toasted bread;
* use the tomato salad as a combo sauce/garnish for grilled or broiled fish;
* use the leftovers (if you have any) as the basis for a quick frittata.

recipe: Hybrid Garlic or Onion Soup

1 Feb

I have made a bunch of new soups in recent weeks, and some of them were…well…transcendent is the word that leaps to mind, but I don’t want to commit hyperbole here. Anyway, the two that I liked best were the Cheddar Parsnip soup from the Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook and the 44-clove garlic soup from Smitten Kitchen.

I’ve come to realize that the soups I like best have a few things in common that are easily reduced to a couple of basic elements, which you can then mess with as much as you like! I hereby provide you with the “base recipe” for healthy, delicious, creamy soups (which just happen to be incredibly good winter comfort food). The basic idea is that, instead of thickening with cream (which SK does, by the way, but which is not needed), you puree your creamy vegetables to thicken the soup.

You need:
* some kind of aromatic/spicy vegetable: onion, garlic, shallot, or all three. I use a lot of this–maybe 3 cups of onion.
* some kind of broth (chicken is classic, but you can use whatever you have)
* some kind of spices or herbs (for winter: thyme, dill, or chives are delicious)

and you may want to add:
* a smooth vegetable to puree (parsnips, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes)
* some kind of sharp cheese

The basic procedure is this:
1. Cook your onions/garlic/whatevers in a teaspoon of olive oil until they’re tender, or almost tender.
2. Add broth–the amount depends on your other ingredients. I usually just eyeball it and fill the pot about 2/3 full.
3. Add any other vegetable that you want to puree–the “smooth” vegetables listed above will create a smoother soup, but you can add broccoli, asparagus, peas, etc., to make a cream of vegetable soup that is much better than Campbell’s!
4. Simmer until vegetables are soft.
5. Puree in batches (carefully–hot liquids can be difficult in a blender!
6. Return to pot. Reheat. Add your herbs or spices.
7. If desired, add in some cheese and melt it. Parmesan, Gruyere, or Manchego are all highly flavorful choices that make your soup much more interesting without adding much fat or calories, because you only need a little.
8. Taste and add salt or pepper if you need it. If you’ve used packaged broth, you probably won’t want more salt.
9. Serve. Gasp with amazement that it is not loaded with cream or white flour.

This is creamier and thicker if it contains more vegetables. So load it up! It’s very healthful and incredibly satisfying when it’s cold outside. I like to serve these kinds of soups with a salad or sliced fruit and a slice of whole-grain homemade bread.

Sneaky tip that I haven’t tried yet but I plan to use this week: this would also make a great base for a casserole (whatever you’ve been missing because you didn’t want to eat a can of cream of mushroom soup) or, in smaller amounts, a good sauce for poultry or vegetables.

I plan to make a big batch this week of a basic cream-of-onion soup, using this method, and freeze it in smaller packages to use for cooking. It should freeze beautifully because it doesn’t contain milk, which sometimes separates in the freezer.

recipe: Veggie Dip

29 Sep

Makes: a big bowl–enough for a party. Halve the recipe if you make it just for you or your household.

This is slightly modified from my mom’s version (for the sake of healthfulness mostly). It’s a very basic vegetable dip that is a big hit at parties. My husband also really likes it as a sandwich spread, and I really like it as a salad dressing, although it isn’t hugely visually appealing as a dressing!

1 cup real mayonnaise (I don’t recommend low-fat–I just use less than the original recipe, as in my opinion the low-fat kind is vile)
1 large container (16 oz) of fat-free cottage cheese
½ onion, or 1 small onion, minced quite small
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
several dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dill weed

Mix all ingredients. You can blend it in a food processor or blender if you like it creamier. Serve with any veggies (at parties people eat mostly carrots, in my experience).

recipe: Brussels Sprouts, three ways

3 Mar

Sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables. I do get a little bored with them steamed, salted, and peppered, though. Here are three suggestions for perking them up a little:

* Clean sprouts and cut in half. Steam until almost tender, then roast with olive oil and garlic in a 400-degree oven.

* Cut sprouts into thin slices (about 1/4-inch thick). Steam and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese, and lots of lemon pepper seasoning.

* Cut in half and steam until almost tender. Then stir-fry with sliced onion, minced garlic, and soy sauce.

recipe: Caesar Salad

24 Nov

This salad–while it is a great summer entree–is really good with soup, so it works in the fall and winter, too. I got the recipe years ago from the food section of The Washington Post and I have loved it ever since!

Caesar Salad

Makes: Enough for about four people as a meal or with a soup–more if you’re serving it as a first course with an entrée.

1 head romaine lettuce (or 1 package hearts of romaine)

2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced

1 tablespoon mayonnaise 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4-6 anchovies, chopped (I know–you think this is gross. Don’t leave them out!)

½ cup olive oil

juice from one lemon

dash Worcestershire sauce

ground pepper to taste

grated Parmesan cheese


Mix all ingredients except lettuce and Parmesan cheese and whisk until completely incorporated. Drizzle dressing over lettuce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

You can, of course, turn this into a heartier meal by adding chicken or shrimp. I often make this when I have leftover roasted chicken. It’s really good as a counterpoint to a thick soup, or in the summer with fresh sliced tomatoes on the side and cold chicken.

recipe: pumpkin soup

11 Nov

This recipe was adapted from a number of different recipes on the internet…by my husband! He does not cook as a general rule, but when he got Fridays off and I was working Fridays, he had to do something. A co-worker gave him a pumpkin, and he got creative! This is a delicious, extremely nutritious soup. We’ve had it about five times in the last two months and are not tired of it yet!


2 cups chopped raw pumpkin (you could also, I suspect, start with pumpkin puree and make excellent soup)

3 cups (approximately) broth

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion (or 2 small), chopped

2-3 stalks of celery, chopped

4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup plain yogurt

ground black pepper


Boil the pumpkin in the broth until soft. In the meantime, cook the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter until soft but not browned. Add the other vegetables to the pumpkin. When pumpkin is soft and tender (rather like an old love song), puree the mixture in a blender. (Look out, it’s hot.) Add the dairy and stir well. Pepper to taste and serve! This is fantastic left over, too. It goes well with whole grain rolls.

Note: the proportions of dairy are flexible here. We’ve used all yogurt instead of yogurt and sour cream.