vivid greens

yummy vegetarian meals on the fly

CSA Week Four December 31, 2010

Filed under: CSA — Vivid Greens @ 2:55 am

We got some lovely veggies in week four of our CSA.  The brussels sprouts are my favorite – I love how they grow like minature cabbages up a thick stalk.  I am planning to roast those little guys here real soon.

This is the first week where conventional vegetables would have been cheaper than the CSA.  The total for these items at our local store would have been $19.02.


I am excited to dive into the recipes for this next week.  Since I’m off work on Monday, I hope to take some time and create an actual meal plan!  With all the holiday festivities these past few weeks I haven’t even thought of meal planning.  I’m so looking forward to the start of a new year.


Green Cabbage and Greens Soup December 29, 2010

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 12:53 am

This recipe is a great way to use up some of those winter greens that might be accumulating in your fridge.  It is a simple and tasty soup that was inspired by a recipe in Greens Glorious Greens.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 head green cabbage shredded
  • 1 bunch dark greens chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes cubed
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons spicy mustard
  • dash of cayenne peper
  • salt & pepper to taste

Put a little olive oil in a soup pot, add onion and coriander.  Let that cook at a low heat for about 15 minutes while you prepare the vegetables.  If you want the soup to cook quickly, be sure and cut the potatoes into small cubes.

Next add the water, cabbage, greens, turmeric and mustard to the pot.  Cook until the potatoes are soft about another 15 minutes. If you have a blender or a food processor I recommend blending a portion of the soup until it is smooth.  If you don’t have a blender just try and smoosh the potatoes up a little bit with your spoon.

Add the blended soup back to the main pot and stir.  This will give the soup a nice thick base.

Now add cayenne, salt and pepper until the flavor is just right for you.  If you think it needs a little something more try adding a touch more spicy mustard.

This made up a whole bunch of soup for me – I’m definitely freezing a good bit of it for future meals.


How to win friends and influence people (aka Mac ‘n Cheese) December 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 1:59 am

This dish is an incredible crowd pleaser.  I made it tonight for Dan and my early Christmas party because it is one of his very favorites.  It is not a complex meal, but it is satisfying and comforting.  If you are prepared to stir and stir and stir just a touch more, then you will meet with success!

I often cruise the odds and ends cheese bin at the grocery store looking for new and unusual cheeses to try.  For this dish I got lucky with some smoked provolone and a little odd end of something called dubliners cheese.  I added these to about 4 oz of sharp cheddar and it came out very nicely.  You can use what ever combination of cheeses strike your fancy, I usually smell them at the store to try and envision which ones will meld well in the finished dish.  Of course, if you stick with 8 oz of sharp cheddar it will come out very nicely every time.

For this recipe I usually measure out each of the ingredients ahead of time and cut the cheese in to small chunks before I get started.  Once you get that skillet going you really have to stir it constantly until the cheese is done.


  • 8 oz macaroni
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz misc cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

Start by cooking 8 oz of macaroni.  I like the spirals or shells best for this dish, but I just use what I have on hand.  This time I used tiny elbow macaroni.  When the noodles are soft, pour them through the strainer and set aside.

In a good sized skillet melt 4 tbs of butter over low heat.  Slowly add a half cup of flour letting it form a kind of paste.

After you’ve incorporated all the flour it will likely look kind of dry and grainy.  Now start adding the milk – slowly.  You want to wait until the flour milk mixture thickens before you add the next small amount of milk.  It is hard to be patient through this part of the process.  You can turn the heat up a bit if you want to go faster, but be careful that you don’t boil the milk.

If you add too much milk just keep stirring until it thickens back up.  I usually do this at least once each time I make this dish and I always think that I’ve ruined it, but it always turns out okay in the end.  It’s a pretty hardy dish really.

Just keep stirring!

You can start adding the cheese after you’ve added all the milk.  Just drop a handful of cheese in stir until it melts in, then add another handful until all the cheese has been added.

Once all the cheese has been added you can turn off the heat.  Now you will need to put half of the noodles into an oven safe dish.  Then pour the cheese sauce over the noodles.  Then add the rest of the noodles and gently mix the two together.

Put in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  If you’d like a crispy cheese top, you can pull it out and add a little grated cheese and put back in the oven for 10 more minutes.  After you pull it out try and let it set for about 5 minutes before you dive in.

I recommend serving this dish with something very green.  It is a heavy dish and very cheesy so a nice salad, broccoli, kale or asparagus will help to balance it out.  Tonight I made a little green salad with tomatoes from this past weeks CSA.


Vegan Cauliflower Curry December 21, 2010

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 4:12 am

I’m pleased that I found a recipe for my beautiful cheddar cauliflower!  Way too many of my cookbooks skipped right over cauliflower in their indexes.  I was looking for an Indian inspired dish and found this incredibly simple option in Vegetarian Times Fast and Easy.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 can tomatoes (28oz)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 sweet potatoes finely chopped
  • 1 cauliflower chopped into florets
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

This recipe starts off with 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan and one finely chopped onion.  Let that cook for about 5 minutes, then add in the curry powder and stir.  Next add 1 large can of tomatoes, 1.5 cups of water and the lentils.

I didn’t have any brown lentils so I substituted split peas instead – and they took a very long time to cook.  I recommend sticking with lentils of any variety before resorting to split peas in the future!

Be sure to cut the sweet potatoes into small chunks, or you will have to wait a very long time for them to soften in the soup.  Add the vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil.  Then bring the heat down and let cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft.

This made up a sturdy pot of good curried veggies.  I will definitely be freezing a large portion of this for future meals.


Library Haul 12.19.10 December 20, 2010

Filed under: Books,Library haul — Vivid Greens @ 3:50 am

I love the library!  And I can’t wait to dive into these five food-related books.  Dan is most excited by the one in the lower right corner.  What can I say, the boy loves coffee cake.

I’ve been on the waiting list for The Cookbook Collector for months and I am glad that it arrived just before Christmas.  It looks like a nice little read.  From what I can tell the plot involves sisters, cookbooks and an antique bookstore.  Which is fun since I just finished The Thirteenth Tale, a quick read that loosely incorporated antique booksellers, twins, and ghosts.  For some reason I’ve been reading many, many books with these leitmotifs this year.  Has anyone else read Shadow of the WindThe Little Stranger or Her Fearful Symmetry?   I find it interesting when the plots of novels seem to interweave within my reading patterns.

Will Write for Food was not exactly what I expected.  I thought it would be a book about how to write about food.  Writing techniques, things to take note of, focus on, how to describe textures or tastes in pithy creative ways.  Instead it seems to focus on how to become a food writer.  I’m sure that many of the tips will be helpful, but I still hope to find a chapter in this book that deals more specifically on how to improve my own writing about food.

The Greens Cookbook was Deborah Madison’s very first cookbook.  She and co-author Edward Espe Brown lovingly dedicated the book to their mothers.  I’m not sure exactly what I’ll cook out of it, but I hope to find something wonderful.  I adore her cookbooks for the depth of knowledge that she brings to the table, although I admit that sometimes I’m a little intimidated by the recipes themselves.  This book was published in 1987 and I’m curious to see what her recipes looked like 20 years ago.

I have been waiting anxiously to get my hands on Greens Glorious Greens! it is going to be SO helpful as I cook my way through my CSA share.  This book goes alphabetically through many different types of greens giving multiple recipes for each.  I am delighted to see multiple cabbage recipes (not just slaw!) in this book.  I can’t wait to make a soup from this book and get several other dishes put together and frozen before we leave for the holidays.

Now this last book is the one that Dan keeps eyeing hopefully.  Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins and More is an unusual guest in my kitchen.  I’m not much of a baker or a sweets maker but I had fun with the cinnamon rolls last week.  They inspired me to check this book out.  I’ll let you know if I find anything that I can’t resist.


CSA Week Three December 18, 2010

Filed under: CSA,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 5:07 am

After a short weather related delay we are back on track with our CSA adventure!  This week yielded yet another unknown vegetable to me.  Have you ever seen an orange cauliflower before?  I hadn’t.  I am envisioning a beautiful spicy dal but I could be swayed if any of you have other ideas for my cauliflower?  If so, let me know.

This week we received:

  • a dozen eggs
  • half gallon of milk
  • six sweet potatoes
  • three tomatoes
  • popping corn
  • head of savoy cabbage
  • chard and spinach mix

The grocery store total: $25.  Our weekly CSA share is $25 (well, really $23 with the $2 milk bottle reimbursement).

And that means that the CSA has yet again beat the store prices.  I love when that happens.

Now, I need to find recipes to help me use up quite a lot of cabbage!  Luckily, I just got a new cookbook from the grocery store called Greens Glorious Greens.  It looks like a wonderful cookbook and is absolutely chock-full of new and exciting ways to cook greens.  I will most definitely be featuring a recipe from this book in the weeks to come.

Here is one last look at my gorgeous orange (aka cheddar) cauliflower:


Broccoli Cheese Quiche December 16, 2010

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Favorite Meals,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 1:51 am

Tonight I made one of Dan’s very favorite dishes, broccoli quiche.   We were celebrating him being home for dinner and cheesy goodness was definitely in order.  I defrosted the extra broccoli from our CSA a few weeks ago and was delighted to see that it had retained a bright green color and good flavor.

This is a simple quick dinner to throw together, but you have to remember that it needs one WHOLE hour in the oven before it will be cooked through.  The waiting was awfully difficult this evening.  Mostly because it smelled so good as it baked.


  • Pie crust
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 4 oz swiss cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • nutmeg
  • salt, pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start with a pie crust and add broccoli.  Then pile about four ounces of shredded swiss cheese on top of the broccoli.  Next mix up four eggs and a cup of milk and pour in to the pie crust.  It should fill all the little nooks and crevices but not spill over the pie crust.  Then sprinkle salt, pepper and nutmeg on top.

I choose to add a little parmesan cheese to the very top of the quiche and it crisped up quite nicely.  Toss it in the oven for one whole hour and this is what you’ll get:

The darker edges are a beautifully crisped cheese topping.  This is a family recipe (in that slapdash unwritten way we keep them). And, it has become one of Dan and my favorites.  There is enough for two people for a couple of meals.  


Roasted Rosemary Turnips December 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 3:27 am

Oh, these were good.  All I did was chop them up, throw them in a nice oven safe dish, and drizzle a little rosemary infused oil on top.  From the spice cabinet I added a pinch of rosemary and a sprinkle of salt.  Then I popped them in the oven at 375 degrees.  I cooked them until they were soft on the inside and toasted on the outside.

These baby turnips were so tender, they were almost buttery in flavor and the rosemary gave them a nice little kick.

When I re-roasted them as leftovers I added a little shaved parmesan cheese on top.  And that my friends, was a very good idea. Wow.


Homemade Cinnamon Rolls December 14, 2010

Filed under: Recipes,Sweets — Vivid Greens @ 2:12 am

Oh my.  These smell and taste so good!  I am not often a baker, and very rarely a yeast bread maker, but every once in a while the craving takes over me to whip up some homemade cinnamon rolls.  These are so, so good.

I just made up a simple bread dough and let that rise for an hour.  Then I made a brown sugar, regular sugar, flour and cinnamon mixture.  I also stirred some vanilla extract into some softened butter to make up a little gooey paste.

Sugar Mix:

  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon floor
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Butter Mix:

  • 1/4 Cup butter
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla

Once the bread had risen, and I’d punched it back down, I stretched it out on a piece of parchment paper and rolled it into a big rectangle.

Then I smeared the gooey butter mix all over the dough.

Sprinkled on the cinnamon sugar mix and rolled it up staring with the long end.

I particularly enjoyed cutting it into 12 somewhat equal chunks.

Then I popped them right into a 9 x 12 pan and threw them into the oven (oops, I should have let them rise again).

They still turned out nicely.  And quite ooey gooey tasty!


Broccoli (and beer) experiments December 13, 2010

Filed under: Dinners — Vivid Greens @ 2:07 am

I tried three new things in the kitchen this evening.

  1. Tarragon broccoli cheese soup
  2. Broccoli stem pickles
  3. Remarkable vanilla porter

And I must admit that the porter won.

I set all my hopes on the broccoli cheese soup and it was a bit of a dud.  Well, the flavor was nice, it just wasn’t what I had in mind.  I wanted a thick, hearty, cheesy broccoli soup and this was a delicate, buttery, tarragon-infused broth with bits of broccoli floating about.  My mother would love it.  Heck, I would love it if it were the first course in a fancy schmancy restaurant.   Making it at home though, with all the little steps and all the beautiful ingredients – I wanted more.  I wanted a whole meal of a soup in one big pot.

As for the pickles, only time will tell how those turn out.  They were fun to make and still need about 4 more hours to properly pickle.  The recipe come from Mollie Katzen and I had a nice little giggle when I saw that she wanted me to slice the stems in to matchsticks.  I do not have the knife skills to accomplish that task!  I hope that small chunks works just as well.

The beer was lovely though.  Absolute winner of the day!  I picked it up on a whim and it is a nice dark beer with just a hint of vanilla.  Yum.