Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer Squash Saute

Kay's school year and soccer season started last week and I have to say I'm relieved. Although the school year is much more hectic than the summer, at least it is scheduled. So far she seems happy with her teachers and, although some of her friend's are not in her classes, there are enough that she seems happy.

As you may have guessed, we are still receiving plenty of zucchini in our CSA bags. This past week we got a combination of 20 zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan squash and whatever those light green ones are called.

This isn't much of a recipe but Kay liked it so much I had to post it.

Summer Squash Saute

4 cups various summer squash, cubed

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tablespoon herbes de provence

ground pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the squash and increase the heat to high. Cook until lightly brown, approximately 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and seasonings. Cook an additional 3 minutes.

Kay: This was really good. The squash was soft so it was easy for me to eat with my braces but they weren't mushy. I liked the herbs but some pieces had too much seasoning on them.

Mom (Dana): I keep waiting for Bill and Kay to rebel against all this squash but they haven't said a word yet! Personally, I'm loving it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Roasted vegetable rice salad

Yesterday, Bill had a bike race in Glencoe, Illinois which is just north of Chicago. We had perfect weather, almost no traffic going up there, and he got 8th place and $55! So overall, it was a very good day! I packed a lunch for us which we ate under a tree. It was lovely!!!

I could have just packed sandwiches but that would have been so boring. Instead I made fruit tarts, vegetable tarts, chex mix, pickled cucumbers, pickled beets, peanut butter cookies and this salad. (We also took potato chips and pop tarts but those don't fit into my beautiful story of my amazing lunch so just ignore that!)

My brother and his family live on the north side of Chicago so this would have seemed to be the perfect chance to meet up with them. As luck would have it, they had already made plans to go to my parent's house which is 40 minutes further south from my house! We still had some energy to burn (along with really expensive gas!) after the race so we headed right passed our house and on to my parent's and invaded their get-together. I plopped the rest of this salad right in the middle of my mom's planned meal so I was able to get second opinions of this recipe.

We are now exhausted but had a really great day so no regrets!

Here are some blurry and just generally bad pictures for your enjoyment!

The back of the truck where you can see the salad as well as the offensive potato chips!

Kay can always find a playground!

Bill coming around the corner. He's right in front of the guy in blue and white.

Kay eating a vegetable tart under a tree.

Lake Michigan was just a few blocks from the race. Here are Bill and Kay walking out on a pier. They got soaked! The wind was so strong I thought we were going to get blown into the water.

Bill a couple hours later at my parent's. (Kay and my niece were in this same room watching a loud movie - I don't think he noticed!)

I came up with this recipe by combining several recipes from Jack Bishop's "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen". I had been planning to make several separate salads but at the last minute decided to throw everything together and see what happens!

Roasted Vegetable Rice Salad
1 can pinto beans, rinsed
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 yellow squash, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup brown rice, uncooked
10 basil leaves, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil

Place all the vegetables on an oiled sheet pan. Turn so they are oiled on both sides and then add salt and pepper to taste. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, flip and then continue cooking 10-20 minutes longer until browned.

In the meantime, Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil and the rice and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain rice in fine strainer and place in a steaming basket. Put 2 inches of water in the bottom of the pan, insert steaming basket and cover. Steam the rice for 10 minutes. Let cool.

For the dressing, combine orange juice, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the 4 tablespoons olive oil while whisking.

In a large bowl combine the rice, vegetables, pinto beans and basil. Toss with the dressing and chill.

Kay: I didn't eat much of this salad but I helped make it. I cut some of the vegetables and put them on the pan and I poured the oil while my mom whisked the dressing.

Mom (Dana): I highly suggest you roast extra vegetables and make vegetable tarts to go along with this!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cinnamon Mini Muffins

We are lucky to have a water park in our town but not too lucky because it is really expensive. Fortunately, Kay has been invited by two friends who had free passes for her and also went for free with the school since she passed all her required reading books last year. Yesterday we had beautiful weather (not too hot) and she went with her friend Anna. Unfortunately, because it wasn't too hot, Kay didn't notice that the sun was burning her to a crisp. She woke up this morning looking very much like a lobster and feeling pretty sore.

Because I am so nice, I made her these mini muffins. I normally would have picked something a little less fussy but she looked so miserable that I softened. Plus, she offered to help. Somehow when we got the the fussy part of dipping them in butter and cinnamon sugar, she disappeared to reapply her sunburn lotion and conveniently didn't return until I was done. Hmmm...

But look how cute they are. Obviously worth it.

Here is one in Kay's hand so you can see how petite they are. Luckily the camera adjusted to compensate for Kay's red hue.

Cinnamon Mini Muffins

1/3 cup softened butter or margarine

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute or 2 egg whites)

1 1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup milk (I used rice milk)

1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottoms of 36 mini muffin cups. Mix the softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar and egg thoroughly.

Sift together the flour, nutmeg and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture and milk into the wet mixture. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes.

Immediately dip into the melted butter and then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Eat while warm.

Kay: The first time we made these, my mom and I both got burnt trying to get the muffins out of the pans. My mom got burnt first so while she was running cold water on her hand, I tried to get them out and got burnt too! These are really good though so now we are just more careful.

Mom (Dana): Luckily Kay didn't remind me of the burning incident until after I made them this time or I probably would have changed my mind!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lemony Couscous with Broccoli

We don't like couscous. None of us. I don't know why, we just don't. Therefore it is a little strange that I had a box of whole wheat couscous in my cabinet. It is even stranger that I saw this recipe and decided to make it for dinner. Both Kayleigh and Bill immediately said, "I don't like couscous". But then the strangest thing of all happened. We all actually liked this. Go figure!

This recipe comes from Nava Atlas' cookbook Vegan Express (which means it takes almost no time to make).

Lemony Couscous with Broccoli
3/4 cup whole wheat couscous
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, sliced (I didn't have a red so I used a regular onion)
3 cups broccoli florets (I used frozen)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh dill
Juice of one lemon
1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil

Combine the couscous with 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a heatproof container. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until golden.

Add the broccoli and just enough water to keep the bottom of the skillet moist, then cover and allow to steam until the broccoli is tender-crisp.

Add the couscous to the skillet along with the parsley, dill, lemon juice and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir together well, cook for 2-3 minutes longer, and serve.

Kay: I usually don't like onions and couscous but this was really good. The onions were so sweet I couldn't even tell they were in there.

Mom (Dana): I had told Kay that she didn't need to be so careful picking around the onions because I had cooked them extra long so they'd be very sweet. As usual, I finished way before her and was outside watering the flowers when she came flying out the door and screamed "I accidentally ate an onion and you're right. They are really sweet!" I can't believe she would admit that!