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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

When it comes to edamame, I have a hard time resisting.  I normally think of it boiled, salted with some fine sea salt and released from the pod with the pressure of your teeth.  This is exactly how we had it this past weekend in the company of the boyfriend’s brother and fiance as we watched the UConn Men’s basketball team make their way to the final four!  (And the edamame made their way from stove to stomach quite quickly as we watched this nail biter of a game…)

Tonight the women play in the elite eight and there will be no soybeans in their pods…but they will be swimming in a sea of wild rice and sesame seeds.  Sure the work required to prepare it is a bit more difficult than some boiling salted water and frozen pods, but it is well worth the effort and can actually serve as a complete vegetarian meal (edamame, cheese and bread are oh so delish – but don’t really cut it!).

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When I think of carrots, I think of a vegetable normally coated with butter and served as an afterthought with a holiday meal.  Yes, my mind wandered back to the holidays as I prepped the carrots with snow flurries falling out the window over the kitchen sink yesterday.  But, I smirked at Mother Nature as I remembered all those little tomato and herb plants germinating in my indoor greenhouse.  She had me convinced New England would not make it through the winter of 2010, but we preserved despite the ice dams freezing our front doors shut, water leaking into our basements and snow banked narrow roads causing held breath each time a car (especially snow plow) came the other way.

Reluctantly thinking of the holidays and the under appreciated carrots I had sitting in my fridge, I thought it was time to up the ante.  Carrots serve as the basis for many stocks, stews and French dishes.  A component of one of the first French words a culinary student will easily roll off their tongue – Mirepoix.  Carrots add flavor to so many other dishes, yet are rarely highlighted on their own – unless in baby carrot form, maybe with some ranch?!

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I was on a business trip at the beginning of January and over dinner talking to my coworkers, all male, about how I limit myself to mostly whole ingredients when I go to the grocery store – veggies, fruits, cheese, yogurt, plain rice.  And therefore make my own crackers.  There was silence at the table.  They already knew I was mostly vegetarian and thought I was crazy, but to them I had just crossed the line to being clinically insane. To further paint the backdrop, we were in the land of excess, Las Vegas, across the street from the Bellagio fountains, eating flown in sushi and I was talking about being healthy to a bunch of sales guys.

“…You make your own crackers?” – if you could see his face!

“Yes – it’s very simple.”


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Baked Egg Napoleons

Baked egg napoleons, or more like baked eggs with toasts or maybe just baked eggs as a way to use up your leftover pesto from the pesto succotash you made over the weekend.  This dish is a bit pretentious with the name napoleon, it isn’t hard to make, unless you forget to pesto your ramekin!

I had been trying to come up with one of the 50 ways Food Network did not think of using pesto and thus, the breakfast caprese stack.  It started to make me think about how pesto is great in everything – succotash, pasta, breads and even eggs.  And how pesto is a great multi-use tool, even to grease your ramekins (leave the door jams to WD40).

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Pesto Succotash

Succotash….

I have tried a many succotash recipes this week and none beats this one.  But in the whole process, the one thing I have learned is I truly have a love/hate relationship with cooking magazines.  It all started off with the Carribean Succotash from Bon Appetit magazine.  Well, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t remarkable either.  I added salt, I added cayenne, pepper, more thyme, more nutmeg and I finally decided…well this isn’t the recipe for me.  All those out of season ingredients shipped in from half way across the world that I trashed the environment to buy…  But imperfect recipes just incite my determinism to charge forward and forge on for perfection. (Me…a perfectionist?!  Oh, you don’t know me all that well yet!)

Left over lima beans, left over pesto in the fridge and a new Food Network magazine I must have read at least six times before going to sleep over the last few nights.  What to do next…well try out Food Network’s succotash recipe in the 50 things to do with pesto section.  So much for using a schwag foodie magazine…

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