Archive for the ‘vegetable sides’ Category

Happy last week of January, y’all! 2015/01/img_2151.jpg *picture of snowy evergreens at Steven’s Pass

I know people have mixed, and sometimes strong, emotions about the month of January. Some people fall into the camp of having the January blues…post holiday let-down, short days, cold, and snow/rain. In other words, not much excitement to follow the long Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Eve run.
I actually think it’s the lack of excitement that draws me into this month. I love the quiet following all of the festivity. I love the expanse of a clear and open set of 12 new months on the calendar. I love feeling alright about retreating inward, about staying home a little more often. I will admit that I think January might be one of my favorite months. I’m not sure if this is a new feeling or if this feeling has just surfaced with the passage of another trip around the sun. Sometimes age can make you look at things differently.
As we move out of this month and into the next, I hope the feelings of serenity and quiet remain. I hope I can keep finding some time to write and to be reflective. I think this feels especially important to me this year as I sense the change about to descend upon our lives. A change we are thrilled beyond belief to welcome, but a change nonetheless (and one that is sure to bring a little chaos and a little less time for writing and inward reflection).
Wishing you all a peace filled week as we close out January 2015.

Dinner Menu, Week of January 26th:
(Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna; simple arugula salad
Tuesday: Veggie burgers; baked fries
Wednesday: Egg and cheese wraps; roasted potatoes with green beans and mushrooms
Thursday: Gnocchi with marinara sauce; roasted Brussels sprouts
Sunday: Cauliflower fried “rice”; edamame 2015/01/img_2179.jpg Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

Admittedly, this dish did not really taste like fried rice, so I would be wrong in claiming that it’s a fair substitution. But it is really quite tasty and feels so light and healthy. You could add whatever vegetables you have on hand, or add an additional protein like tofu or chicken.

1 medium head of cauliflower, cleaned and broken into large florets
large glob of olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 cup diced zucchini, about 3 small zucchini
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 sliced green onions
2 large handfuls of cleaned and chopped kale
2 large eggs
1 spoonful coconut oil

To make cauliflower “rice”, finely chop the cauliflower florets by hand or in a food processor. You want the cauliflower to look like fairly uniform pieces of couscous or quinoa.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and toasted sesame oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, zucchini, green onions, ginger, and a pinch of salt, and cook until beginning to brown. Next, add kale.

Once kale has wilted a bit, add cauliflower and sauté for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, scramble eggs in a separate skillet. Once the eggs are cooked, add to the vegetable skillet along with the coconut oil. Sauté another few minutes until all flavors have had a chance to mingle.

Recipe adapted from Goop


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I’m just getting around to sharing the recipe from our St. Patrick’s day dinner…it’s only been 2 months, no big deal! I sautéed cabbage with sage and bread crumbs to make it perfectly caramelized before tossing it with pasta to create a dish full of flavor…one that became the perfect accompaniment to grilled sausage.


In the past, I’ve always boiled cabbage, but I’ve been experimenting more and finding that this vegetable is so versatile and full of flavor.
A member of the brassica family (along with kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, and broccoli), cabbage is extremely healthful and very low in calories (only 25 calories/100 grams). Cabbage contains more vitamin C than an orange! and many phyto-chemicals that have been linked to lowering risks of cancer as well as lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

So, first is my Caramelized Cabbage with Pasta recipe,
adapted from the New York Times:

5 cloves peeled and crushed garlic
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1 pound dry penne pasta
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese


Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in one clove of the crushed garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the bread crumbs and sage and cook until bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Season with black pepper.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook about 10 minutes, until barely al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining garlic and cook until golden brown. Add the cayenne pepper and cook until fragrant. Stir in the cabbage and cook, stirring only occasionally, until it begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes. You are looking for the edges of the cabbage to brown. Toss in the pasta and bread-crumb mixture and heat through, then quickly toss in the cheese and remove from heat. Season with salt and more pepper, if desired, and serve immediately.


And, next is my recipe for Roasted Cabbage Wedges Topped with Goat Cheese. Roasted cabbage seems to be circulating through blogs lately, so I had to give it a try. It was yummy!

1 small to medium head of cabbage
Olive oil
Goat cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Core your head of cabbage and then slice it into 1/2 inch thick slices and brush both sides with olive oil.

Roast for 25-30 minutes, until edges start to brown.

Top with a few small spoonfuls of goat cheese and roast for about 5 more minutes, until cheese starts to brown and bubble.

Top with cracked pepper.

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I hope you had a fun weekend. Ours was festive…filled with candy eating, egg hunting, good food, and friends.











We started our weekend with the Bunny Bounce at Woodland Park Zoo where Jack had as much fun visiting all of the animals as he did “hunting” for Easter eggs (as you can see in the photos the eggs for the toddler hunt were not exactly hidden!) and meeting the Easter bunny. Then, on Saturday afternoon, we planted a magic jelly bean in the yard in anticipation of waking up on Easter morning to a surprise where the jelly bean was planted…








As you can see, on Easter morning, Jack found a fun surprise of a chocolate M&M bunny, jelly beans, and Toy Story stickers where we planted the magic jelly bean! He was an excited little boy! We spent the record-breaking warm afternoon (it reached 70 degrees in Seattle!) with friends in the sunshine. The kids hunted Easter eggs while salmon cooked on the grill. It felt like summer…it was lovely.

I will leave you with the recipe for a Spring Panzanella Salad that I made for dinner. It looked pretty on our Easter table and tasted like Spring. The asparagus replaced the typical tomatoes found in a Panzanella salad, and lemon and feta added the perfect brightness.
4 large eggs
4 thin slices of rustic white bread, lightly brushed with olive oil then torn into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pounds asparagus, peeled
A handful of baby carrots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt + Pepper
6 cups arugula and spinach, mixed
1/4 pound feta, crumbled
4 large red radishes, very thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Hard boil the eggs- fill a medium saucepan about 2/3 full of water and add your eggs (preferably at room temperature). Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover the pan with the lid. Let side in hot water for about 12 minutes, then immediately plunge the eggs into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and to prevent the putrid greenish color from forming on the yolk. Peel and thickly slice the eggs.

Spread the bread pieces on a baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus and carrots until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, cool and cut the asparagus in half lengthwise, julienned the carrots.

In a small bowl, whisk the 1/4 cup of olive oil with the vinegar, lemon juice, and mustard; season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, toasted bread, greens, and cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Garnish with the asparagus, eggs, and radish.

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I am a purist when it comes to Brussels sprouts. I like them cleaned, trimmed, and roasted at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes so that their outside skins turn brown and crispy, but the inside stays firm, not a mushy paste. And, I love them. I think I could eat them nearly every day without tiring of their taste.

When I read recipes for Brussels sprouts, my interest is piqued yet I can never surrender my bounty away from my go-to roasting method, afraid I will be disappointed with the result. But, when I saw a recipe that required only a few minutes of cooking AND the use of bacon, I thought now’s the time to loosen up and to try something new.


I am so, so happy that I did. This is one of those recipes that make you feel like you are eating something completely indulgent and then you remember it’s your vegetable side dish! The bacon creates this delicious base flavor, the lime brightens the dish, and the Brussels sprouts cook into a lovely hash that stays a bit crunchy, adding a great texture to the dish.

You should really try this. I would love to know what you think…


adapted slightly from in the little red house

1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 slices bacon
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1 lime
1 avocado, sliced into 1/8ths
a pinch of Cayenne pepper

While you are slicing your Brussels sprouts into quarters- lengthwise- so they shred apart, cook the bacon until crispy in a large skillet.
Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels.
Keeping the bacon drippings in the skillet, add your shredded Brussels sprouts, minced garlic, and Cayenne pepper.
Cook for just a few minutes over medium heat, until Brussels sprouts start to get tender.
Mix in lime juice and crumble bacon into the skillet.
Move the Brussels sprouts hash over to the side of the pan, and add the avocado slices–just to quickly warm each side. You don’t really want to stir them around into the sprouts or they will mash right in.
When they are heated through, serve and enjoy!

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Do any of you dig fennel like I do??? I’ve been craving it lately and adding it to at least one side dish each week. It’s crunch and freshness promise to lighten the meal, but also pack it with flavor. I like this about fennel. It’s both light and powerful.

Don’t know much about fennel? Well, let me share a bit…

Did you know that fennel is an herb? From large bulbs, it grows stalks with furry-looking leaves and all its parts are edible. The fennel seeds are a popularly used spice in sausages, meatballs, and rye bread and can be bought dried in the spice section of most markets. Also, the seeds are sometimes used as an after meal breath freshener and digestive aid. The furry-looking leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp, hardy vegetable and can be sautéed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw. And, the stalks can be added to soups, stews, and stocks for lots of added flavor.

Fennel is indigenous to the Mediterranean area, so it’s popular in both Mediterranean and Italian cuisines. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, and folate.

Here’s the first of my fennel recipes that I will share with you. This recipe features fennel in the roasted form, so your home is warmed and filled with yummy smells during the roasting process. Roasted fennel makes a perfect side dish to salmon.


Roasted Fennel with Lemon and Olives

2 fennel bulbs
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 lemon
Cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the fennel bulbs into small wedges, you should get about 8 wedges from each bulb.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. With your hand, rub olive oil on the foil and arrange the wedges of fennel on top of it. Drizzle more olive oil over the fennel and season well with kosher salt. Roughly chop the garlic cloves and scatter it over the fennel. Place in the oven to roast until tender, 25-30 minutes.

While the fennel is roasting, slice the olives in half and zest the lemon peel.

When the fennel is done, transfer it to a bowl and toss with the olives, lemon zest, and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper. Serve warm.

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