Tag: Vegetarian

Grilled Zucchini Caprese

Grilled Zucchini Caprese

When our country’s collective heart feels as if it’s breaking in two and violence appears out of everywhere and nowhere for reasons we know but don’t always understand well, I don’t know where to turn. We have no family in the town in which we live, though we’ve a long run of perfect friends — all distanced at this point. MISS YOU!!!

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Garlicky Two-Potato and Green Bean Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Garlicky Two-Potato and Green Bean Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Those of us raised by southern mothers might have grown up with Green Beans and Potatoes on the table come hot, dripping summertime evenings. Add a plate of heavy sliced tomatoes (well-salted, thank you) and a pan of cornbread with lots of butter, please, and that was dinner. Who needed meat? For the past few years, warm weather brings on the need to re-create that dish with my own twists and turns. Those often include tossing in whatever other vegetables I have on hand, turning it all into a salad, and whipping up a frisky vinaigrette I doubt my mom would ever have added. She might have thrown in a piece of chopped bacon or a tablespoon or two of bacon grease into the pot for flavor, though, now that I think about it. Oh, and that bacon grease never saw the inside of a refrigerator either. (We all lived.)

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FRIDAY FISH: Skillet Lentils and Tuna for Dinner

FRIDAY FISH: Skillet Lentils and Tuna for Dinner

Flexible is this meal’s middle name. Change out the vegetables, broth, protein, and/or herbs to make it your own.

I don’t remember eating lentils as a kid. Even lentil soup — on many tables this week as it’s such a pantry-friendly meal — came to me in adulthood, albeit from a much-loved friend and oddly enough during a hot week at the beach on the Outer Banks. If I ate it earlier, I have no memory of the meal and more’s the pity. The “Lentil” I knew was the Lentil of Caldecott Award- winning author Robert McCloskey (MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS) fame since I’m a lifelong avid reader and also trained and worked as a school librarian at one time in my life.

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INSTANT POT: Cream of Broccoli-Cauliflower Soup with Dill and Chives

INSTANT POT: Cream of Broccoli-Cauliflower Soup with Dill and Chives

Each week this summer, I’ve made a vegetable-based soup to have for lunches or to round out a salad dinner that uses up leftovers. In order to increase my INSTANT POT (IP) skills and to see how many of my soup book’s recipes transfer well to this medium, I’ve mostly made them in the IP or multicooker-the real name for the electric pressure cooker that’s also a sauté pot and a slow cooker. Like folks call all tissue “Kleenex,” we tend to call most multi cookers “Instant Pots.” (Note: I like my regular slow cooker much better than the IP version.) To get food cooked in a flash is the main idea with IP recipes and while I’m rarely in a hurry (in fact, it’s just the opposite in my kitchen), I get the idea. In fact, I do enjoy throwing things in a pot, turning it on, and then being able to disappear to the treadmill or a good book. Magic! Another excellent reason to cook soup this way is there’s much less heat in the kitchen with the stove off.

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Napa Carrot Soup

Napa Carrot Soup

       –garnished with sautéed pistachios, cilantro, and lemon or orange juice

A trip to Napa is incomplete without #1: getting there by going over the Golden Gate bridge and #2: tasting a little Napa Chard– short for Chardonnay–

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INSTANT POT  Winter Vegetable Barley Soup

INSTANT POT Winter Vegetable Barley Soup

Some nights it doesn’t have to be anything fancy-schmancy. We’re not talking a New Year’s Eve buffet or grandma’s Easter brunch. Just a warm, filling dinner that didn’t take forever to make or clean out the bank account. Something all in one pot; something all in one warm bowl. Maybe a little cheese or crackers on the side.  A container left for lunch the next day or to take to a neighbor–my favorite solutions for leftovers.

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Broccoli Soup with Sour Cream and Toasted Almonds

Broccoli Soup with Sour Cream and Toasted Almonds

Between Wednesday and Friday of last week, I’d cooked three separate and distinct meals (one of which was the Coconut Pork Salad below)… and so had various and sundry little containers of meat and vegetables I knew I’d make into a hefty salad come Saturday night when we had planned to splurge a little on an amazon prime movie to belatedly catch “Victoria and Abdul.” (Don’t miss it if you haven’t seen it!) When I visually weighed those leftovers, an accompanying bowl of soup was an obvious necessity.

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