Tag Archives: vegetarian

Dinner V. Dessert

Old Style Cash Register and Canned Goods in a Butcher Shop in New Ulm, Minnesota ..., 10/1974

I felt virtuous and capable as I plugged in my crock pot before 8 AM on Tuesday.  Here it was, not even light out yet (Pro Tip: Exaggeration), and I was well on my way to a delicious pot of French onion soup for supper.

Just cook the Vidalia onions on low for eight to ten hours, then add broth and a little brandy for an hour, top with cheesy bruschetta and you’re good to go.  Amazing!

I should have known better.

I should have known that, when you combine onions and broth, the result tastes just like . . . onions and broth.  The onions that smelled amazing all afternoon were mushy and mild by suppertime.  And the broth was just . . . broth.  I was crushed.

Luckily, Dessert was there to save the day: homemade pudding pops, inspired by my blogging friend Lady Lisa Bear.  They were a hit with the whole family!

Member of the Donald Dannheim Family Who Operate a Dairy and Ice Cream Store...

Now, I say “homemade”, but what I really did is this: mix up a batch of chocolate pudding (milk and pudding mix), pour it in our new popsicle molds*, and freeze it.  (Okay, and by “I”, what I really mean is, “Mike.”  Thanks, honey.)

So: two incredibly easy culinary endeavors.  One failure, one success.

Thank the good God the success was dessert.

Bonus: the pudding mix makes a little more than our six molds can hold, which means we get to lick the bowl, too.

What are some of your culinary successes or failures?

*Pro Tip: I found these molds for about half the Amazon price at Wal-Mart.  I’m not promoting Wal-Mart, but I am promoting the idea of looking for these or a similar product in an actual store.

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How to Take a Tropical Vacation without Leaving Home

A fashion model in swimsuit poses at Matheson Hammock Park beach: Miami, Florida

Three words: buy a lime.

Or, if you’re feeling decadent, buy two or three or ten.

Usually, I just use my bottle of lime juice when a recipe calls for lime, but when I made carrots and broccoli with lime dressing for my book club last month, I decided to go for the real deal.

Holy buckets.  I sliced the lime in half and it was like I was in Mexico, sitting on the beach or in the shade of an outdoor cafe.  I sat there inhaling that limey goodness for longer than is probably normal.

Florida Citrus Queen LaVoyce Leggett and Mayor William Dickinson With a Box of Limes at the Dade County Agricultural Fair: Homestead, Florida

A few weeks later, I bought two more limes.  One I drizzled over some jicama (Pro Tip: It is exciting that Econofoods now sells jicama, but so far the jicama itself leaves something to be desired).  The other I sliced and added to Diet Coke.

I know.  This is not revolutionary.  But it is a tropical treat that I had forgotten about.  So, in case you, too, have forgotten about the wonder of limes, this post is for you.

And also for you: the recipe for carrots and broccoli with lime dressing.  It was not as lime-tastic as I hoped, but since I didn’t actually measure to see if the “juice of one lime” was the right number of tablespoons, I don’t know if the fault is mine or the recipe’s.

Broccoli and Carrots with Lime Dressing

2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal

3 stalks broccoli, heads cut into florets, stalks peeled and sliced on the diagonal

Dressing: 1 T. dark sesame oil (I used whatever sesame oil they had at the co-op, but spotted some at Econo the next week), 1 T. soy sauce, 2 tsp. honey, 3 T. fresh lime juice (about one lime), salt and pepper, dash of chili oil, Tabasco, or other hot pepper sauce (optional, but why the heck not?)

Bring about two inches of water to a rapid boil in a covered pot.  When the water boils, add the vegetables, cover, and simmer for about five minutes, until tender but firm (like a good parent).

While the vegetables cook, mix together all of the dressing ingredients.

Drain the vegetables, plunge them into cold water, drain again, and chill until ready to serve.  Or, serve at room temperature.

Just before serving, toss the vegetables with the dressing.

Eat it all up, because this dish was tasty but did not make very tasty leftovers.

One more lime treat to make your Monday feel tropical: the Muppets version of “Put the Lime in the Coconut” (thanks, YouTube, for alerting me to its existence):

What’s your favorite lime treat?

Or, how do you get that vacation feeling while still going to work?

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Artichoke Salsa, Any Time

This is the first recipe in my newest cookbook, a collection of recipes by Litchfield Area Hospice volunteers.  It is delicious and very easy.  I am looking forward to finishing it up at lunchtime today.  Make it yourself this week!

2 (6.5 ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts; drained and chopped

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped (I used grape tomatoes, since the Roma on offer looked gross)

2 T. red onion, chopped (I used about a quarter of an onion)

1/4 cup black olives, chopped

2 T. chopped fresh basil (I tossed in some dry basil instead)

dash salt and pepper

Mix it up.  Serve chilled or at room temperature with tortilla chips.

This has inspired me to make my own salsa this spring and summer, especially once I can get farmer’s market tomatoes.

What’s your favorite salsa recipe?  

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“Not Bad for a Vegetarian” (Or, How to Feed Your Book Club)

Cloud Room Menu, Seattle

One of the first things I did when I began serving at First and Beckville was accept an invitation to join the Beckville book club.  The group includes, as you might imagine, six ladies from Beckville, as well as a woman from another Lutheran congregation and even a Methodist.  (I know.  It’s radical.)

We meet monthly, and we read all kinds of books.  Everything from The Good Earth to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I love being  a part of this group, where the discussion is lively and the food is fabulous.

This month, it was my turn to host.  Since I only managed to read about twenty pages of the book (Vilhelm Moberg’s The Emmigrants, which was just not for me, at least right this minute), I felt the least I could do was provide a nice spread.

McCall Magazine Homemaking Cover

Sometimes, when entertaining, I still feel like this.

Also, since my house is too small to host a sit down meal for eight (at least, to host it comfortably), I did my hosting at the church.  So the food I served was all easy to transport and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Here’s the menu:

Artichoke Salsa with Tortilla Chips

Broccoli and Carrots with Lime Dressing

Mom’s Mexican Roll Ups

Texas Cowpoke Trail Mix

Edy’s Frozen Fruit Bars (pineapple, pomegranate, or coconut)

In other words: four things I had never made before and one frozen treat I had never bought.  A recipe for success, right?

As it happens: it was!  All four recipes were easy, and all were at least moderately tasty.  (The lime dressing could have been limier.)  As one of the ladies said, “Not bad for a vegetarian.”

Coloured illustrations of meat and poultry piled onto elaborate silver serving stands, 1901

So: which recipe should I share first?  

And, what are your go-to entertaining foods (or your most spectacular flops)?

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Say it with Potlucks

Here’s one way to say you care:

And here’s another:

Voetballer aan het koken / A footballer cooking a meal

Now, flowers are lovely, but personally, I think food is even more lovely.

As you already know, I love a potluck.  But in a community where being a vegetarian is definitely “different” (with the full Minnesotan intention behind the word), I never know how much of the potluck fare I’ll be able to enjoy.

After two and a half years here, there is almost always some salad or main dish I can eat. ( Sometimes it even says, “P. Maggie” on the lid.)  At Game Night yesterday, I was delighted to see deviled eggs waiting in the fridge and vegetable cream cheese pizza on the counter.

But then.  Then.  “That’s meatless chili,” the council president said, pointing to the crock pot I thought contained sloppy joes or some other beefy delight.

“I thought of you, so this is potato soup,” the other council president said, placing another crock pot on the counter.

“Oh my goodness, everyone thought of me tonight!” I said.  I might have blushed.

“Well, you’re loved!” was the gracious reply.

Thanks for saying it with potlucks, First and Beckville.  I love you, too.

 

P.S. You know what else I love, thanks to these fine people?  Pickles!  Read all about it here.

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Fry Me to the Moon

Do you still have some green tomatoes in your garden, or on your counter, or wherever else those guys hang out?  If so, fry them up using Manda’s simple, delicious recipe!  I followed her directions as exactly as possible, of course using canola oil instead of delicious bacon grease (pro tip: being a vegetarian is not always awesome), and here are the results:

Have I mentioned that I am not a food blogger?  I believe these photos make that clear.

Here’s some of the aftermath, and a glimpse of my culinary process (pro tip: put stuff in little bowls and dip, dip, dip, dip):

I have always been intimidated by the idea of fried green tomatoes, but it turns out it is not hard; it is just messy.  The tomatoes were still too tart for Mike, who doesn’t actually like tomatoes that much, and of course Zoe turned up her toddler nose, but I thought they were fabulous!  Next time, I will add more salt.  Because there’s probably a little of that in bacon grease, right?

Now: who has a great idea for leftover fried green tomatoes?

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