My mother has always said that the Canadians have it right: Thanksgiving should be in October. The harvest is so much more bountiful a month earlier than American Thanksgiving. However, there are some great vegetables that are in season this time of year. In our area, that includes many varieties of winter squash, carrots, kale, chard, and beets.
While beets haven’t featured often in our Thanksgiving line up of side dishes, there’s no good reason for that. Except perhaps that we have them with dinner regularly. If you do too, consider preparing them a different way for Thanksgiving (check out the three options below). If you don’t make beets, give them a try. My husband swore he hated them until about 3 years ago, when a good preparation won him over. I’m still working on our son, but he will eventually join us on the bright side, too.
I love beets for their distinctive taste, nutritional value, and flexible preparation. Allow me to elaborate. Continue reading Thanksgiving side dish: Beet salad three ways
I had in my mind that I didn’t like minestrone. I probably got that idea from the numerous cans of it I’ve eaten over the years, with their suspicious cubed carrots and potatoes. All the chunks have the same texture, except the beans, which are mealy. And the taste of tin pervades each bite. Restaurant soup, with few exceptions, isn’t much better. It tastes like nothing more than tomato, holds no surprises, and is still a bit tinny. So I was convinced minestrone itself was deeply flawed.
Folks, I was wrong. (See, honey, I can admit it.) Continue reading Stone soup. Not really, it’s Minestrone.
Recently I inherited a package of pre-cooked lentils when my sister left for a business trip. I’m not sure if she thought they’d expire while she was away (they wouldn’t have) or was just taking pity on my family while we conducted a $200/month grocery experiment (read all about it next week!). Either way, I gratefully accepted them, and then privately scoffed the frivolity of her purchase. Lentils are so easy and inexpensive to prepare. Plus, our mom’s lentil salad is one of my sister’s favorites, and I promise you that recipe does not start with pre-cooked lentils. What could she have been thinking?
I couldn’t imagine buying those little vacuum-sealed packs. However, they were delicious. They had been simmered with a variety of herbs that gave them a lovely flavor. But most importantly they were a wonderful variety (French, I think). Small, firm, black. Like vegan caviar. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. But still, they were great. A little balsamic vinegar and olive oil really made them sing. The only sour note (aside from my ugly moment of judginess) Continue reading Lentil soup
With the zucchini harvest up to 60 pounds now, I have been scrambling to find new ways to prepare it. They’ve all been great, and so diverse (zucchini quinoa cakes, zucchini muffins, relish, soup, stir fry). But sometimes you just want an old favorite. This recipe is one my mom included in the book she made for me when I went off to college, complete with adorable illustrations. Continue reading Italian-style sweet & sour zucchini
Ripping out four of our beloved tomato plants this weekend left us with about 5 pounds of green tomatoes. Having already made Piccalilli and Green Tomato Chutney, I wanted to try something a bit less New England-y. After browsing numerous options (e.g., Fried Green Tomatoes, green tomato gratin, green tomato jam) I read several Indian-inspired recipes. Bingo! Just the alternative I was looking for. Continue reading Green tomato curry
We are deep into zucchini season now, and my monster is still pumping out 3-5 lbs of fruit a week. At last count we had 24 pounds stashed in the freezer. As nice as it is to have an enormous supply of garden fresh vegetables ready to cook into something delicious, I find it even more helpful to have my freezer stocked with meals I have already prepared. Continue reading Zucchini soup two ways. And a confessional
This recipe is adapted from several I found in The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook and The Earthbound Cook but simplifies the techniques they use. My version yields the benefits of cooking the tomatoes in a two-step-process (i.e., roasting and simmering) just as some of the cookbook versions do, but avoids the tedious steps the originals use to remove the tomato skins. Continue reading Roasted tomato sauce – Take I