Monthly Archives: October 2010

Using up the garden: turnip greens, garlic, Anaheim chilis

Standard of my favorite ways to use up veggies is to add extra veggies to a likely looking recipe. I think most recipes are improved by adding more veggies, with improved taste and definitely superior nutrition! I found a couple of good candidates for this treatment when I was deciding what to make for dinner last night.

First, I have been trying to make more soups, to get more veggies into our diet, and now that I am working at home, I can actually use my crockpot (which really irks me–all the recipes have 8 hour or less cooking times, which is too short for the days that I got to the office), so I went to my copy of Robin Robertson’s Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, and found this awesome recipe for French White Bean and Cabbage Soup.

I mostly followed the recipe, but the biggest change I made was to add a bunch of veggies. Marsha brought me some extra veggies last week, including some red bell peppers and one last zucchini. My zucchini plant died long ago, but they had one more plant that reseeded itself and produced a few late squash. So, I chopped those up and added them to the skillet for the intial sauté. Here is a picture of the veggies waiting to be softened (except the garlic):

As you can probably tell, I sliced up some baby carrots, rather than using a big carrot. I like to buy those for the kids lunches and fast cream of carrot soup. I also substituted 8 fingerling potatoes, some golden and some red, sliced thinly, for the Yukon Gold potato, and I added just a bit more thyme than the recipe called for, because I love thyme. I did not add the liquid smoke, because I can never seem to find that in the store. Here’s my bowl of the finished product:

For the main dish, I found this awesome recipe on the Vegetarian Times website. These days, I am always looking for recipes for greens, both because they are so healthy, and because I have a bunch of turnip greens in the garden that I want to use. Again, I mostly followed the recipe, but I did add an Anaheim chili to the onions and garlic. I also added a whole can of tomato sauce and water to make the full liquid amount, since I was out of veg stock, and a lot of extra garlic. I meant to add some baby spinach at the end, but after running to the Halloween store, then Target, then back to the Halloween store, then to Trader Joe’s, where I bought soy sausage, but forgot to buy more veg stock, I was feeling a bit frantic at the end of the cooking time, and I totally forgot. Next time. Here is my plate of this dish:

Predictably, the boy liked both dishes–he helped with the greens and sausage–but the girl was not a huge fan. I am going to wear her down eventually, I know.

Other things I have done lately with turnip greens and Anaheim chilis:

Tofu scramble: I used the recipe from Vegan Brunch, adding the chili with the onions in the beginning, and the greens near the end of the cooking time

This Yummy Yam curry: This did call for greens, but really, there aren’t many recipes that I don’t find suitable for a nice mild chili or pepper.

In which I care about my health


Did you know that, regardless of how much time you spend exercising, sitting too much makes you less healthy? If you exercise for an hour every day, but spend the majority of the remaining time sitting down, your health outcomes are not that much different than those of a couch potato.

So, standing in the kicthen making sugar syrup, transferring my lemon peel infused vodka to a bigger jar, and mixing in the sugar syrup and more vodka today was clearly done because I care about my health! Now I just need to get some more sugar so that I can move my mint liqueur to the next step, too. You know, because I care about my health so much.

Using up the garden: butternut squash, thyme and garlic


I got two butternut squashes out of my garden this year. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but last year I had a big long vine with lots of flowers and no squash at all, so I was pretty thrilled with these two. Of course, they were ready to pick while my hand was broken, so I couldn’t really do anything with them—they are hard to cut! But, they also last a while, so it was not a problem.

I am feeling a lot better these days, and I have been having some success with chopping when I use my left hand to stabilize the knife and apply some of the cutting pressure. When I was trying to decide what to do with those beautiful butternuts, I was thinking about how much we have been enjoying risotto lately. The kids will eat a lot of things if they are in risotto, and I find it very relaxing to stand there with a glass of wine and stir for 25 minutes or so.

I based my recipe loosely on this one from Food Network, but only as a starting point. I didn’t get a picture, but it was very pretty. I made sure to show the kids the red saffron that would turn our risotto yellow. I love that kind of thing. It’s the chemistry of cooking! (That is why I used to be so obsessed with fudge, back when I wasn’t vegan. I need to find some good vegan fudge recipes. Not that this has anything to do with risotto.)

Saffron Butternut Squash Risotto

1 medium squash (maybe 1 ½ – 2 pounds)

Halve the squash and remove the seeds. Peel the squash and chop into small, bite-size chunks. I put them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, sprayed with a little cooking spray, and tossed with a little bit of Everyday Seasoning, which is a seasoned salt from Trader Joe’s. I put those in a 400 degree oven and got started on the rest.

6 cups veggie broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme, fresh from the garden

I put this in a pot on the back of the stove, and warmed it up, then turned the heat down to low.

1 medium onion, chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP olive oil
1TBSP Earth Balance

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a skillet, then sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add:

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

Stir to make sure that the rice is coated with the butter/olive oil mixture. Add:

½ cup dry white wine

Pour a glass of wine for the cook to sip while stirring. You have to open the bottle anyway! Stir the wine into the rice, and continue cooking until the wine is fully absorbed. Add two ladles full of the warmed broth, along with:

1 tsp saffron
Several twists of the Everyday seasoning

Then, it’s all about the stirring. Add more broth as the rice absorbs the broth already in the pan. During this time, make sure to keep an eye on the squash in the oven. When it is roasted to perfection (25 – 30 minutes), remove it from the oven and set aside while you finish the risotto. When about two thirds of the broth was incorporated into the rice, I started adding some baby spinach as well, a handful at a time. I don’t have a measurement on this one, I just kept adding spinach until there was lots of green in the dish. When all of the broth was incorporated, I turned off the heat and added:

¾ cup nutritional yeast

Wow, this made the risotto so creamy and rich tasting! The final step is to add the roasted squash.

Everyone loved this. My mom thought it was fantastic and even the kids ate the spinach without much complaining. I will probably do something different with the other squash from the garden, but we will definitely have this risotto again with store-bought squash.

Using up the Garden: Turnip Greens


I haven’t been here for quite a while now. A little over a month ago, I broke my right hand. Since then, I haven’t been doing much of anything except for taking pain medication, napping, having surgery on my hand, and then lots of hand exercises. Fortunately this coincided with a slow period in the garden, so I didn’t lose as much produce as I might have. I couldn’t chop anything or even eat much, so I did lose some, but an abrupt turn to colder weather meant that the warm weather crops mostly died off all at once, before the cooler weather stuff was ready to harvest.
I am starting to feel a bit better now, though, so I have been anxiously awaiting my Brussel’s sprouts and beets and turnips. I have been reminding myself to be patient, even though I always want fresh stuff from the garden all the time! But when Marsha came to take care of the garden yesterday, she pointed out that I could get something from the garden now–turnip greens! When I was growig up, my family was not really the greens eating type (more like the canned green beans or corn type,) so it just didn’t occur to me that I could eat the green part, too, even though I have eaten greens as an adult. I was very excited to realize I could go out and pick something for dinner. That is my favorite part of the garden–the way I go out right before I start cooking and pick some ingredients. So cool!
I went out tonight and picked a big pile of turnip greens and an Anaheim chili. Marsha left me some collard greens yesterday, so I used those, too. I de-ribbed the greens, then washed them and chopped them and put them in boiling water for about 10 minutes. While that was cooking, I chopped up the chili and a shallot (I am getting better, but I am still a bit slow…) Then I took the greens out of the water with a slotted spoon, and added a pound of whole wheat pasta. While the pasta was cooking, I put a good amount of olive oil in a skillet, and added some minced garlic from a jar and the shallot and chili. I was using the last of the garlic, so I ladled a little bit of the pasta water into the jar to get all the garlicy goodness and set it aside. When the veggies were softened, I added a few shakes of red pepper flakes, then the greens, and cooked for about 2 more minutes, tossing to coat them in the garlicy oil. When the pasta was done, I drained it quickly, then added it to the skillet with the greens. I added the extra garlicy pasta water from the jar at this point, too. If I was using fresh garlic, I would have taken some of the pasta water out before draining to add to the greens and pasta.
This was so good! I was worried I might find it bland, but it had a nice warm finish without being too spicy, if that makes sense. Even the girl liked it (the boy is off spending the night with a friend, but I am sure he would have liked it, too.) This garden is definitely the gift that keeps giving–fresh, healthy food, and new vegetables that the whole family enjoys!