vivid greens

yummy vegetarian meals on the fly

Winter Napa Cabbage Salad January 30, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 8:30 pm

This is an easy and fun little salad that is also quite versatile.  The dressing has a nice tang too.


  • 1/2 head of napa cabbage
  • a small head of lettuce
  • winter root vegetables
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tablespoon greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • lemon juice

First take and remove the outer leaves of the napa cabbage.  Then chop off the bottom and cut into quarters lengthwise, removing the core.  Then cut into small salad sized pieces.  Use your biggest knife for this task – our napa cabbage was easily 5 lbs and it took a little bit of effort to get it cut down to size.  Actually, when Dan saw ours for the first time, he asked me what that ‘alien baby’ was doing in our fridge!

Next tear up the lettuce and mix it up with the cabbage.  Then take and grate whatever root vegetables you have on hand into the salad.  I chose some daikon and turnips.  Mince a small shallot and mix all of the above into the salad.

The dressing is super simple.  Mix the yogurt, vinegar and buttermilk and pour it over the salad tossing it as you go. It is a thin and tangy dressing and a very nice compliment to the napa.

Taste and if it needs any more kick, add a little lemon juice.  This made a large salad with plenty of leftovers.  It was a little reminiscent of cole slaw, but I believe that it took that big step from a summer salad to a winter salad.  Enjoy!


CSA Week Eight January 29, 2011

Filed under: CSA — Vivid Greens @ 8:23 pm

Well, I got a slightly different basket of goodies than expected this week.  Since I missed the main pick up day for the veggies, they gave me the odds and ends of what they had lying around at the end of the day on Friday.  I was super surprised (and excited!) to end up with two little heads of bibb lettuce.  I also got a jar of pickled chow-chow, a three pound sweet potato, a handful of daikon radishes and a tub of homemade pesto.  All told, the grand total for these items from the grocery store would have been $21.27.  Just a little bit cheaper than our weekly share price of $25.


Good news/Bad news January 27, 2011

Filed under: Photography — Vivid Greens @ 8:23 pm


The good news is that today was my first photography class!  It was all very basic – and very, very needed!  I had several settings all a kimbo on the camera.  Yes, it was helpful on December 25th when Dan set my camera to florescent lighting mode.  No, I probably shouldn’t have left it there for the last month.  The same with the light meter being basically turned off and a few other random things.  It feels good to know that now, and to have my four little mini assignments to work on for the next class.

The bad news is that I completely forgot to pick up my 8th week of my CSA share.  I was in a hurry after work and it didn’t even cross my mind!  I’ll have to call and beg forgiveness tomorrow, and swing by Grasshoppers to pick it up before five.  I hear that this week we’ll get pesto.  Yum.  I can’t wait to make some pesto pasta next week.  Perhaps I’ll find a pesto cabbage recipe?   I have so many cabbages at this point.

I am planning to make a winter white salad on Saturday – napa cabbage, daikon radishes and apples.  Wish me luck on that one!


Vegan Caribbean Black Bean Soup January 26, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Meals,Recipes,Speedy — Vivid Greens @ 9:15 am

This past weekend I was in Florida on a mini-vacation with my family.  My darling niece and nephew were full of energy exploring the beach for the very first time.  One night we listened to music at a little outdoor restaurant and danced with the kids on the sand.  The sunset was beautiful.

To keep their energy levels up and their tummies full, my mom and I created the below soup.


  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 can refried black beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • red pepper flakes
  • peper
  • salt

Put all ingredients together in the soup pot, stir and heat.  Add seasonings to fit your preferences.

We didn’t have any vegetable broth at the house so we quick made some with a few onions and carrots (sweet potatoes would work nicely too).  The extra textures in the soup were very nice indeed.  This kind of a pantry soup was easy to make while on vacation and tasted just lovely when all put together.


CSA Week Seven January 20, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Meals — Vivid Greens @ 8:34 pm

Oh my, how did we get to week seven already?  Today was the first time that we had locally canned goods to pick up.  We also got a good five inches of snow this afternoon, so I completely understand why there might be a shift away from the more delicate vegetables this time of year.

This week we received a dozen eggs, milk, tomato relish, pickled okra, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and turnips.  If we had purchased all of this at the grocery store our total would have come to: $24.35.  We paid $25 for this weeks share and will receive a $2 reimbursement for the milk jar.  So local came out just a touch ahead (again!).

And did you get a look at that beautiful soft purple turnip?  I love this color – what would you call it?  Lavender?  Amethyst? Whatever it is, it sure caught my eye.


Black Bean and Kale Croquettes January 19, 2011

Filed under: Dinners,Meals,Recipes,Uncategorized — Vivid Greens @ 6:27 pm

Did anyone else grow up eating salmon croquettes?  Those were my inspiration for these messy and tasty little devils.  Dan says that the flavor is more of a beefy taste (who knew?) than a fishy taste.  That must count as an improvement, right?


  • 1 can or 1.5 cups black beans drained
  • 1 scallion chopped finely
  • 2 kale leaves chopped finely
  • 3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko
  • dash of cayenne

First chop the scallions, add them to the beans, and mix well.

Then chop the kale and add that to the mixture.

Mix in the 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix until the beans loose their shape.  I used a biscuit cutter to mix mine, but I’m sure that a food processor would be a little faster/easier.  Then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and cayenne and lightly mix them in.

Form small bean balls and roll them in the other 1/4 cup of bread crumbs.

Next heat up some oil in the frying pan and pop those babies in.  They fry up nicely, just wait until they brown a bit before flipping them over.

These did not hold their shape well at all, but they were delightful little crumbles with a hearty flavor.  I think that adding an egg would help them ‘hold’ but I’m not sure if it would make them too moist.  If anyone else experiments with this recipe, please let me know what you find out!

This recipe made enough for Dan and I, with another portion of beans leftover for lunch tomorrow.


Black Beans from Scratch January 17, 2011

Filed under: Basics,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 4:39 pm

One of my goals this year was to learn how to cook dried beans.  It always seemed like one of those things that would be kind of hard.  You know, the kind of thing that would require a lot of forethought and planning.  I was intimidated by the idea of soaking the beans for 8 hours before even beginning to cook them.

How silly I was!  Mark Bittman’s new book The Food Matters Cookbook inspired me to cook beans without soaking them first.  This method is very similar to how you cook lentils.  Which is to say, this was a very easy and didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.  Still, I’d recommend doing this on a lazy afternoon when you have at least 2 hours to fiddle with the beans and the cooking water.

First, pick through the beans to see if there were any non-beans in the mix.  Put the beans in your pot and cover with cold water.  There should be about 3 – 4 inches of water on top of the beans.  Turn the heat up and bring the water to a boil.

I added a 1 inch chunk of dried kombu to the beans.  Kombu is a sea vegetable that aids with digestion and adds a nice flavor the beans as well.

Then reduce to a very low heat, just enough to keep a few small bubbles simmering up, and cover with a well-fitting lid.  At this point I was surprised to notice that the cooking water turned a very dark shade of purple/black.

After 30 minutes check the beans to see if they have begun to soften.  Just pop one in your mouth and see if you can bite it.  If so, add salt and pepper.  If not, put the lid back on and check every 15 minutes until you can.

After you season the beans, let them continue cooking until they have achieved the level of tenderness you desire.  Then drain the beans and do with them as you will.  Bittman says they are good in the fridge for about a week or the freezer for a couple of months.


White Bean and Cabbage Fettuccine January 14, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 10:15 pm

This was on the meal plan and I was curious how it would turn out – beans, goat cheese, cabbage, pasta!  What an unusual combination.  I poked around on the internet a bit and couldn’t really find anything else quite like this.

I ended up liking the beans and cabbage combination better without the pasta, so that’s the part of the recipe I’ll relay here.  It has a nice mild flavor and took cabbage in a whole new direction for me.


  • Olive oil
  • 1 small head of cabbage
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can white beans (drained)
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)

First chop the head of cabbage and the onion into very small pieces.  Throw those in the pan with some olive oil and let them cook for about 20 minutes or until the cabbage is soft and the onions have started to brown a little bit.

While that is cooking go ahead and drain/rinse the beans.  Next you’ll want to add the beans, white wine, sage, and garlic to the pot and let the flavors meld.  Let that cook for a little bit longer then salt and pepper to taste.  The finished dish was a little overly mild for my taste so I added some lemon juice to perk it up a bit.

This will make a ton of cabbage and beans.  I halved the above recipe and still had a good amount left over when I was done. It was a nice mild dish and would make decent lunches for the week.  I’m not sure what grains or such that it would be best paired with.  Does anyone else have ideas on how to complete this meal?


CSA Week Six January 13, 2011

Filed under: CSA — Vivid Greens @ 7:05 pm

This week we picked up a nice collection of vegetables.  I was happy to see the kale and the turnips return – and delighted with the appearance of garlic!  This haul of veggies plus the whole milk at the grocery store would have cost us $16.95.  Which means, even with the $2 return on the milk jar, conventional vegetables would have been $6 cheaper.

I am impressed that we are still getting greens this far into the winter season!  Look at the beautiful kale below and that charming bulb of garlic.  I can’t wait to start meal planning for next week.


Butternut Rice (yum) and Blackened Tofu January 11, 2011

Filed under: CSA,Dinners,Meals,Recipes — Vivid Greens @ 4:34 am

This meal is one that takes the cake!  It came from the new cookbook Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  If you’d like to read the fabulously composed, tested, and well-thought-out recipes get to your nearest bookstore or library and grab a copy.  Her recipes definitely deliver on strong flavors and unexpected combinations.  I’ll give my own interpretation of these two recipes here, but I assure you that if you pick up this book and follow along (tailoring the recipes to your own desires) you will be a very happy camper.

The basic idea behind the blackened tofu  is simple.  Just add a tasty spice rub of your choice to the tofu slices and pop them in your oven broiler for 6 minutes, flip and broil for 6 more minutes.  I can’t believe how well the tofu turned out – very similar to blackened fish.  The leftover tofu slices the will be perfect filling for sandwiches later this week.  If you’ve never used your broiler before you may want to google it before you go experimenting.

To make the butternut rice you will need a good chunk of time.  Start by making up a big pot of rice (4 cups water to 2 cups rice) and roasting 2 butternut squashes at 400 degrees.  Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, and let them roast for 45 minutes or until soft.  Then let the squash cool while the rice concludes cooking.  Once all that is done everything else goes very quickly.


  • 2 small butternut squash
  • 2 cups rice uncooked
  • olive oil
  • one scallion
  • one clove garlic
  • one inch ginger
  • one lime (zest 2 teaspoons and juice to taste)
  • one can of coconut milk
  • salt and red pepper flakes

First slice up the scallion and throw it in a large frying pan with some olive oil.  Let that cook for about 5 minutes while you prepare the garlic and ginger.  I pressed the garlic, shredded the ginger and zested the lime. Really you can press, shred or mince whatever is your preference.

And look at how pretty the below zest is.  My sister gave me a new zester and it makes the most beautiful frothy little bits of zest.  Thanks Emily!

After the spices cook for a few more minutes you can add the can of coconut milk to the pan and reduce the heat to low.  There will be coconut solids in the can just mush those up.

Next scoop the butternut out of its skin, add it to the milk mixture, and mash it up a bit with a fork.  Next incorporate the rice.  You don’t have to add all of the squash or the rice, I saved out a little bit of both after I had achieved the right consistency.  Add lime juice, salt, and red pepper flakes to suit your taste.  This made a ton of butternut rice.  I’ve eaten it for three meals now, and probably have two servings left in the fridge and two servings left in the freezer.

This rice was wonderful served with a good sized chunk of butternut squash, and it also made a tasty savory crepe filling.  Experiment and enjoy!