All posts tagged: vegetable

Grilled Kale with Balsamic Vinaigrette

I like kale. That’s the biggest surprise I’ve had writing this blog. I love all sorts of food; there are few foods I actively dislike. But greens and I have always had a stand-offish relationship. Kale chips changed all that. Suddenly, I was looking forward to those dark greens in my CSA box, and seeking them out at the grocery store. As you can probably tell from reading this blog, I grill a lot. (I may have a grilling problem. Don’t tell anyone.) I tried to get kale chips to work on the grill, oh how I tried…but I kept failing. I couldn’t get the little chips off the grill quickly enough, and they would be blackened and ruined. I stumbled across the solution earlier this summer. Don’t try to make chips; instead, grill the whole kale leaf, using the stem as a handle. Now I have the crispy crunch of kale chips with the convenience of a quick grilled side dish. Why didn’t I think of that? Recipe: Grilled Kale with Balsamic Vinaigrette Adapted from: …

Shaved Asparagus and Parmesan Salad

I don’t know when shaved asparagus became a thing…oh, wait, I take that back. It was two months ago, on Serious Eats. There was a picture of was Jim Lahey’s Bird’s Nest Pizza, from his new book, and it looked amazing. A blistered crust, covered with shaved asparagus, eggs nestled in their green nests. I threw it in my ideas folder, and moved on. Suddenly, shaved asparagus was everywhere. It was topping other pizzas. It was covering coppa. When I saw it on the cover of Charred and Scruffed – a grilling cookbook, mind you – I knew that shaved asparagus was having its moment. So, here I go. I’m running with the in crowd, joining the new hip trend. Which surely means it already jumped the shark. That’s OK – this salad is worth it, even if it is no longer “of the moment”. Asparagus is in season, and it is time to celebrate. Pick some up at the farmers market this weekend and give this recipe a try.*And, sure enough, a quick google …

Kale Chips with Chinese Flavors

Spring has been a wet blanket. Every day has been gray and raining. *Every day? I may be exaggerating. But I keep having this urge to build an Ark, and fill it with breeding pairs of animals. I am starting to worry for Tim, my CSA farmer. Every week, he sends our spring CSA update. Every week, he tries not to complain about the lack of sunshine. Now, he’s used to the interesting weather we get in Ohio. But he needs sunshine, at least occasionally.*It’s that whole photosynthesis thing we learned about in grade school. No sun, no plants. Tim managed to scrape together enough vegetables for our first Spring CSA share. One of the offerings was a bag of baby kale. I’m used to large leaves of kale; these were tiny, with two to three inch leaves. I forgot all about the miserable spring weather – it is Kale chip time! Following a suggestion from reader terrin, I made these kale chips with a Chinese flavor profile. I can see why she was raving …

Steam-Sauteed Broccoli with Parmesan and Bread Crumb Topping

Looking for a way to add a little pizazz to plain old steamed broccoli? Looking for a side dish that has an intriguing combination of flavors, but fast enough for a weeknight dinner? Broccoli with Parmesan and bread crumbs is a quick side dish that is fancy enough for company. *Steamed broccoli makes a regular appearance in my weeknight dinner schedule. I don’t think a meal is complete without something green, and broccoli is almost always on sale at my local grocery store. This recipe combines the soft texture and mild vegetable taste of steamed broccoli with nutty, salty Parmesan and crispy, toasted bread crumbs. The flavors are complex enough to impress adults, but the cheese and crunchy bread crumbs make the recipe kid friendly. I’ve found I can (sometimes) sell broccoli to my kids as “little trees”. I know, it’s silly, but whatever works…. Recipe: Steam-Sauteed Broccoli with Parmesan and Bread Crumb Topping Adapted from Pam Anderson How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart Equipment: Wide saucepan …

Swiss Chard Gratin

When I was looking for new recipes for Swiss Chard Overdrive week, I started at my usual point – Google. For some reason, a Swiss chard gratin popped into my head, so I did a search for that. It turned up a recipe…from a cookbook I already own. Doh! The recipe was chard gratin from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food. I started from the ideas in Alice’s recipe, but streamlined it. Alice boils the chard until tender, toasts the bread crumbs in the oven, sautes an onion, adds the chard, then moves everything into a baking dish to brown in the oven. I cut this down to two pans, and two techniques – one pan for sauteing everything, then into the baking dish for browning in the oven. The results were a dish that balances contrasts very well. The bitter chard had a creamy taste and texture from the flour and milk, with a hint of sweetness from the onions. The tender chard played well with the crunchy, toasted bread crumb topping. This …

A blue bowl of multicolored cooked and chopped Swiss Chard | Swiss Chard Sauteed With Pine Nuts and Raisins

Swiss Chard Sauteed With Pine Nuts and Raisins

For Swiss Chard Overdrive week, I needed a weeknight side dish. I sure wasn’t going to use up all my Swiss chard if I waited for the weekend. Time for a swiss chard saute! Here is a fancy update to my basic sauteed Swiss chard, using the classic Mediterranean combination of greens, pine nuts, and raisins. The sweet raisins and creamy, nutty pine nuts match well with the slightly bitter greens; I add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end for a sour edge that perks up the flavors. And, really, it is the same amount of work as my basic Swiss chard. Just add the pine nuts and raisins after sauteing the stems. That’s it – suddenly I have a much more complex side dish than the basic version. *Which makes me wonder – what took me so long to figure this one out? Puzzled by what to do with the Swiss chard in your CSA box? Try this recipe, and you’ll never leave the chard in the vegetable adoption bin again. What do …

Pumpkin and Squash Soup

Diane had an unexpected bonus in our garden this year. Tim, our youngest, planted a seed while he was helping Diane, and it gave us a mystery squash that we were puzzling over for most of the summer. We assumed it was a rogue zucchini, but there was only one of them, and it kept getting bigger and rounder. It had tendrils reaching out to our deck, and was taking over one side of the 4 foot garden box it was planted in. Eventually, it became obvious, even to a garden novice like me – Tim had planted a pumpkin! Tim was so excited. He loves helping mom with the plants, and now he had a pumpkin of his very own. Every time he saw it, he would wiggle with excitement. Finally, it was a nice, bright orange, and it was time to pick it. Now what? I had to do something worthy of Timmy’s pride and joy. I went with a recipe I learned from Patrick Payet while I was in Provence. This recipe …

Zucchini and Summer Squash Kebabs

The tidal wave is here – I’m up to my armpits in zucchini and summer squash, and there’s no end in sight.  I used this recipe for Zucchini and Summer Squash kebabs at the Seville Farmers Market for their Zucchini Explosion event. *I needed an excuse to bring my grill.  Some people have their blankie, some have a lucky rabbit’s foot…I have a Weber kettle.  It’s not as cuddly, but it feeds me better. This recipe uses a trick I learned from Cooks Illustrated – kebabs taste better when they are flavored by peppers and onions.  I never make a kebab without some peppers and onions on the skewer, to give their flavor to the other ingredients.  Other than that, it is about as simple as a recipe gets – toss the vegetables in olive oil, salt and pepper, and cook over medium-low heat until they are browned and softened.  And did I mention it uses up zucchini and summer squash?*Yes, I was developing this recipe on August 8th, “Sneak some zucchini on your neighbor’s porch …

Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad

Time for another Omnivore’s Dilemma: What do I do with all the zucchini? Or summer squash? Or both? Zucchini is one of the first summer vegetables I get in abundance in my CSA box.Non-greens, non-lettuce category. I might not be able to find anything else at the farmer’s market, but there will always be zucchini. It is wonderful to have this bounty…but after the first few weeks I start to wonder. What do I do with it all? Michael Symon gave me this idea in his Greek cooking class – a raw zucchini and summer squash salad with almonds and lemon dressing. I’m always trying to figure out what to do with zucchini come late July. Here, in the middle of March, was a new recipe, and a delicious one at that. The meaty squash is brightened by the lemon, and the nutty crunch of the almonds gives the salad extra depth. I saved the idea, waiting for the first summer zucchini. Now I get to share it with you!*It was a long wait – …

Kale Chips

I’ve mentioned The real omnivore’s dilemma before – what do you do with all the kale in your CSA? The last time I asked that question, I got a response from reader Maria in an email, saying: You make kale chips, of course! Kale chips are a food blogosphere sensation – everyone has done them.I mean everyone: Other versions are here, here, here, and here.…and here, here and here.  I’ll stop now, you get the point. Normally, I don’t know what to do with all the kale in my CSA; now I was impatient, waiting to get some.  It arrived, and finally I could try the recipe.It just didn’t seem right, after calling it the CSA box dilemma, to go buy some kale from the grocery store. I found out why they are such a sensation – they’re fiendishly addictive. They come out crispy and salty; the roasting gives them a sweet taste at first, and a little bitter bite at the end. They’re so crisp that my first thought was “how am I going …

Napa Cabbage Slaw with Honey Lime Dressing

I got a huge Napa cabbage in my first CSA box last week. I combined it with some of the other vegetables in the box – some radishes and spring onions – to make an early summer version of the slaw that is served with fish tacos. *I share my Crown Point CSA with my friend Pam; we alternate weeks. Her first answer to “what do I make with this random vegetable?” is always “make a slaw”. Turnips? Beets? Kohlrabi? Pam says: slice it thin. **My first thought is usually: steam-saute it. This slaw made a great side dish for a Tex-Mex dinner. It has green, crunchy cabbage, a little heat from the radishes and onions, and the tart, sweet honey-lime dressing. It was a great counterpoint to the spicier dishes in the rest of the meal. This recipe is another example of how to use basic techniques and flavor profiles in cooking.  I knew I wanted the slaw to taste Tex-Mex, so I used lime and honey as the base flavors with my vinaigrette basic technique. …

Steam Sauteed Asparagus

It’s spring! It’s asparagus season! I’m waiting patiently* for my first CSA share of the year from Crown Point, and the big bunch of asparagus it usually contains.That is…not very patiently. I share my CSA with my friend Pam, and I’m letting her get the first week’s share. She got us into the CSA, so fair’s fair. As a result, I have to wait an extra week for my first CSA box. Hurry up! While I was waiting, I got a surprise gift. Our backyard garden has finally produced asparagus! We planted the asparagus two years ago, and had to wait until this year to get anything from it. Diane proudly presented me with…two asparagus spears.By We, I mean my lovely wife, Diane. She does all the gardening around here. I built some Square Foot Gardening boxes for her to use a few years ago, stood back, and she took off with the rest. I had to go to the grocery store to satisfy my spring asparagus cravings. Here’s the recipe I use for a quick, weeknight …

Steam Sauteed Pearl Onions and Mushrooms

It’s winter, and it feels like I haven’t seen the sun for weeks. It’s time for rich, hearty stews. Before I get to Beef Burgundy, I have to show you this recipe for sauteed Pearl Onions and Mushrooms. Julia Child’s classic “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” convinced me that pearl onions and mushrooms shouldn’t be cooked as part of the stew. She makes the onions and mushrooms separately from her beef burgundy, and adds them in at the very end of cooking. As a result, the onions and mushrooms have their own distinctive tastes to add to the stew, adding another layer of complexity on top of the beef an the wine sauce. If you add them at the beginning, they give their flavors up to the sauce, and you lose the complexity that elevates beef burgundy above an average stew. *I like a lot of onions in my beef burgundy, probably more than most people would eat. I serve them separately so I can load myself up, while still making a beef burgundy …

Steam Sauteed Leeks

*Here is another recipe in my A Week In Provence series When I think of leeks, I think of French food. Leeks, a relative of onions and garlic, are one of the key aromatics in French cuisine. Leeks aren’t as strong tasting as onions; they add a more subtle base of flavor to any number of wonderful French dishes.*Leek and potato soup is the recipe Julia Child chose to go first in “The Art of French Cooking” I’ve always used leeks like I use onions. They were a supporting player, something to add depth to a dish, not something you eat on their own. That is, until Patrick showed me how to make them into a simple side dish. Leeks, boiled until tender, sauteed in butter. The result is very sweet, with a mild hint of garlic and onion to it.*Patrick, being French, boiled them in a large pot of water, drained them, then sauteed them in butter. That’s too much work for me on a weeknight, so I use the steam-saute technique I learned from …

Steam-Sauteed Green Beans

We have a strange relationship with green beans in my family.  I like them; my wife loves them. *Diane loves green beans so much that I have to make them at least every other week.  If I don’t, she starts poking around in the kitchen while I’m cooking dinner, asking if we’re going to have them any time soon. The kids won’t touch them; they’re green.  It’s just not happening.  My dad picked beans for a summer job when he was a boy, and they’re his favorite vegetable.  My two brothers can’t stand them.  I was talking with Pat last weekend, and he said: “I finally subscribed to your blog by email, and what’s the first one I get?  Green beans!  Why did I bother?” Trust me when I say this is a good recipe.  As I said above, I’ve made it every two weeks for the last eight years.  It uses a steam/saute technique I learned from Pam Anderson’s How to Cook without a Book.  In fact, Pam put this exact technique on her blog …

Swiss Chard Saute

This week, I’m sharing recipes that were inspired by my winter CSA box.Other than the turnips. The Locavore’s Dilemma – What do you do with the turnips? Swiss Chard is my favorite green. It has the deep, biting flavor of greens, but because it’s a tender green, you can have it cooked in fifteen minutes. It is a regular in my rotation of weeknight side dish vegetables. Nothing goes better with pork chops and mashed potatoes than a side of greens. This is one of my core beliefs, right up there with family, god, country, basic techniques instead of recipes and making your own stock. And Swiss Chard is so pretty! Instead of the usual monochrome vegetable, you get a rainbow of green, yellow, orange and red. The explosion of colors brings a smile to my face. Recipe: Swiss Chard Saute Equipment: 12″ frying pan with a lid (I like my All-Clad 12 inch nonstick fry pan for this, but any 12″ pan with a lid will do) Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil 1 bunch swiss chard (roughly …

Grilled Beets

I have a confession to make: I fear beets. It is one of the few food phobias I have.* Whenever I think of beets, I think of the color and smell of canned beets. That horrifying, blood red color, and that tinny, sweet, off smell. Eyuck.*That, and tripe. I tried to be tough and ordered a bowl of menudo at a local mexican diner. Boy, was that a mistake. My problem is that Diane (aka Mrs. DadWhoCooksDinner) loves beets. Just loves them. When we’d go to the farmer’s market, the beets would sit there, in their bunches, looking colorful and innocent.  Diane would insist on getting some, and then it would be up to me to cook them.*This is one of the few downsides to being a Dad who Cooks Dinner. Sometimes you just have to buck up. Luckily, nobody I love wants me to cook tripe.**OK, I confess. First I tried to distract her with brussel sprouts, her food phobia. She would not be denied. After a few rounds of this, I learned to …

Grill Roasted Fennel

I just got my last CSA box for the year from the Crown Point Ecology Center CSA.  This post is in honor of all their hard work, and all the vegetables they gave me and Pam this year.*Pam and I split a CSA share.  Hi, Pam! I was picking up my vegetable share a few weeks ago, and I was happy to see that the fennel was in.  It’s one of my favorite vegetables to grill.  Then I looked in the “adopt a vegetable” bin as I was leaving, and saw another six bulbs.  I couldn’t help myself – I grabbed them all. When I got home, I shot Pam an email: MikeV: I got the share today, and I hit the jackpot.  Lots of fennel this week! Pam: Fennel?  I’m glad you got it.  What do you do with fennel? What do you do with fennel?  Let me tell you… Recipe: Grill Roasted FennelEquipment: Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.) Ingredients: 2 large fennel bulbs Olive oil Salt and Pepper Directions:1. …

Grilled Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have a particular affinity for the grill. The long, hot cooking caramelizes the sweet potatoes, and they get a touch of smoky flavor as well. They make a great mashed sweet potato. I like to play on the smoky taste by adding a little chipotle puree.* Also, I love the touch of heat chipotle brings to the dish – it goes really well with the sweet flavor of the potato and brown sugar.*I learned this trick from Alton Brown. Grilled mashed sweet potatoes are a great side dish. If you’re going to have the grill going for an hour to cook a roast, why not throw some sweet potatoes on there while you’re at it? Recipe: Grilled Mashed Sweet PotatoesCook time: 60 minutes Equipment: Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.) Ingredients: 2 large sweet potatoes 1 tbsp brown sugar 1 tbsp butter 1 tsp pureed chipotle pepper (optional) Salt and Pepper Directions:1. Prepare the Sweet Potatoes: Rinse off the sweet potatoes, and poke them with a fork a few times. …

Grilled Corn

Grilled Corn is my favorite grilled side dish – it’s quick and easy, and grilling brings out the sweet taste of the corn. The only reason I haven’t posted it before this is…I thought I already HAD posted it.*Oops. It’s a perfect recipe for September, when you can still get wonderfully sweet corn straight from the farm, but you’re getting a little tired of plain boiled corn. And…you didn’t hear it from me, Mr. Buy Local, but it’s also great for store-bought corn the rest of the year. Grilling the corn perks up the bland flavor of out of season corn to where it’s actually worth eating! Recipe: Grilled CornCook time: 12 minutes Equipment: Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.) Basting Brush (I like the Oxo Large Silicone Brush) Ingredients: Fresh ears of corn, husked Kosher salt 2 tbsp melted butter per 6 ears of corn (optional if the corn is really fresh) Directions:1. Prepare the corn: Husk the corn, put it on a large sheet pan and give it a …