Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tackling Turnips

Most people have a vegetable that they just,  don't,  like.  I would have to say that as a child, for me that vegetable was peas.  This probably had more to do with the fact that we ate the canned ones that are slightly gray and mushy.  The first time I had fresh peas, I discovered that they were a completely different thing!!!  :)  :)

I love fresh peas now, and frozen peas too! 

I never had turnips as a child, and the first time I tasted them as an adult I was not impressed.  Since I am convinced that anyone can learn to like any vegetable if they find the right recipe, I went in search of a recipe that would enhance my appreciation of turnips. 

After trying several different ways to prepare turnips:  mashed, boiled, in a soup...

             I found that roasted turnips were the best (in my opinion)!

Here is a recipe that I adapted from one that was in my CSA newsletter last year.  It doesn't really give quantities, so I just try to use similar quantities of each vegetable (usually about 4 small turnips, 2 potatoes, 1 large onion, and 3 carrots).

Roasted Turnips & Veggies
Scrub the turnips and peel them if they are large.  Cut the turnips into 1/2 inch chunks.  Combine with chunks of peeled potatoes, peeled carrots, and onion in a baking pan (it is easier if you use a cookie sheet with sides like a jelly roll pan).  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and mix gently with your hands.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 45 minutes (you can remove the foil for the last 5 minutes for crispier veggies).

Here is what my veggies looked like before roasting:

The veggies came out roasted and delicious!  Enjoy! 

What is a vegetable that you don't like?

Friday, June 17, 2011


Do you like edamame?  Edamame are soybeans, and I use them frequently in recipes because my kids love them! We often eat them just plain as a side dish.  I steam them and we eat them by popping them out of their pods.  You can also find edamame in the freezer section that have already been shelled which makes it easy to just toss them into whatever you are making.  I used the frozen, shelled edamame for this salad. 

This recipe also has wheat berries in it, so you get the nutritiousness of a whole grain too!   Wheat berries are unprocessed wheat, and I usually buy them in the bulk section at Sunflower market.  They have a nice nutty flavor, and slightly chewy texture which is delicious.

Note: this recipe takes some planning ahead since you have to soak the wheat berries overnight.

Edamame Salad (I adapted this from a recipe in Parents magazine)
1 cup wheat berries
2 slices fresh ginger, 1/2 inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 Tablespoons Asian ginger-sesame salad dressing (I used Annie's)
3 green onions, sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions

Place the wheat berries, ginger and salt in a small saucepan with 3 1/2 cups water.  Let soak overnight.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the carrot slices and cook 30 more minutes.  Drain the water off and put the wheat berry mixture into a medium-sized bowl.  Remove the ginger slices.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss to serve.  This salad can be served warm or chilled.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pea Salad

Our garden is coming along slowly.  I am a little frustrated by the peas because we planted them about a month ago, and they are still so small.  There are not even any blossoms yet!

Not to mention the fact that we have a new problem in our garden this year, a bunny!  We have had rabbits in our neighborhood for several years now, but they have never bothered our garden.  This year, a rabbit has eaten several of the cantaloupe plants that I transplanted, which made me really mad!  I started those plants from seed way back in March and I have been coaxing them along indoors until I could put them outside. 

Anyway, I went to O'Tooles to see what they had in the way of rabbit "defense" products.  What I found was some fox urine.  You are supposed to put it around your garden and supposedly the rabbit will think a fox moved in and not bother your garden anymore.  I have put it in the little dispensers that come with it and placed it around our garden.  I hope it works- it sure does smell bad!!!!

Needless to say, we don't have any fresh peas yet, so I had to use frozen peas in the side dish I made for dinner tonight.  I like this dish because it is super easy, and has a great crunchy taste!

Crunchy Pea Salad
1, 10ounce package frozen peas, thawed
1, 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup lowfat mayo
1/4 cup lowfat or fat free sour cream (or lowfat plain yogurt)
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (such as Lawry's)

In a large bowl, combine the peas, water chestnuts, celery and green onions, Stir well.  In a small bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream and seasoned salt; mix well.  Add the mayo mixture to the pea mixture and stir well.  Chill salad before serving. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

We had some hail here last night!  I was already in bed but the sound of the hail stones pinging against the cars outside woke me up.  All I could do was lay there and hope that my garden was not getting demolished!  After raising my little tomatoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, and green peppers up from seeds that I started in February, I feel so protective of them.  I am very paranoid now that they have been transplanted outside that they will be destroyed in a few minutes by hail (which did happen to us a few years ago)!  Fortunately, when I went out and checked this morning, everything seemed to be in good shape. :) 

Since it will be awhile before I get any veggies from my garden, I had to make do with what I have in my house.  I was looking for a vegetable to go with dinner tonight and found a couple of sweet potatoes in the potato bin that were looking a little shriveled and needed to be used.  One of them was too far gone, but I used the other to make one of our favorite sweet potato dishes.  I love this casserole because it is pretty easy to throw together and my kids love it. It can easily be doubled, or even tripled which is what I do for Thanksgiving every year.

I didn't have any oranges, so I just used lemon zest and it was delicious!

Mini Sweet Potato Casserole
1 medium sweet potato
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries (or raisins)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 Tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
2 Tablespoons flaked coconut

Place the sweet potato in a saucepan, cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30-40 minutes or just until tender (check by poking with a fork).  Drain.  When the sweet potato has cooled enough to handle, peel off the skin and place it in a bowl.  Mash with a potato masher until smooth.  Stir in the cranberries, orange zest, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix the butter or margarine with the coconut.  Place the sweet potato mixture in a greased 1 1/2 cup baking dish.  Sprinkle the coconut mixture on the top.  Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Green Bean and Feta Toss

I have been eating a lot of quinoa lately and experimenting with tossing in different veggies.  Quinoa is awesome because it is a source of high quality protein (which is unique for a grain).  I thought I would share my latest experiment which turned out beautifully! 

I can't wait until the green beans that I planted in my garden are ready so that I can try this with fresh green beans.  Green beans are one of those plants that don't like cold weather.  The package of green bean seeds said we had to wait until "all danger of frost has passed", which for Colorado is the end of May.  We planted the seeds last week, so it will be awhile before we have actual green beans.  I can't wait!

Green Bean and Feta Toss
4 1/2 cups frozen French-cut green beans
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 red onion, chopped
6 tablespoons chopped raw almonds

Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the green beans and cook just until done (only about 2 minutes).  Drain and set aside.

In a big bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.  Add the cooked green beans, the quinoa, feta, chopped onion and almonds.  Toss to combine.

Tip: use about 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa to make about 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.

Do you like quinoa?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cooking Whole Grains

Since whole grains are so nutritious and delicious, I pair them with vegetables quite often.  I usually cook them on the stove in a saucepan with water, but you can also use a pressure cooker or crockpot to cook grains.  In fact, I love to cook steel cut oats in the crockpot overnight so that I have a hot, creamy cereal waiting for me when I wake up!

Here are the directions for cooking quinoa: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to remove the bitter outer coating.  Bring 1 3/4 cups of water or liquid to a boil and stir in 1 cup quinoa.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.