My Veg Table Posts

market-finds
My bounty from last week’s Saturday Morning Market.

One of the things I love about St. Petersburg is our downtown Saturday Morning Market. Have you been? It’s so great to get outside, walk around, listen to the live music, sample new items and stock my kitchen—and my belly—full of delicious finds. I recently found out that getting there early is a really good idea—probably commonsensical—we’re just never ready to be anywhere by 9:00am.

Aside from our usual stop at the Pop Craft popsicle cart, produce is the other thing I almost always buy on market day. Shopping for produce at the market is always tricky: there is never enough room in my fridge for all that I would like to bring home. But, last week, I found some unique items that I knew I had to make room for. First, I found some Romanesco, which is just about the funkiest looking vegetable ever. Then, just when I thought I had seen it all when it came to produce, three veggies jumped out at me that I had neither seen nor heard of before: Yukina Savoy, Hon Tsai Tai, and Celtuce. No matter what is awaiting me at the market, it is an ever-changing source of inspiration.

Inspiration

butternut-squash

Although we have been getting our share of chilly weather here in Florida, I fear that spring is just around the corner. I don’t think we ever have enough “sweater and boot” weather—I get excited when the weather dips down into the 40’s and 50’s—maybe I’m the only one. But, now as I look around and see my once black front porch covered in yellow oak pollen and the beautiful petite, pink flowers blooming on my backyard tree, I know that my favorite time of year is coming to an end. So, to say goodbye to winter, I’m making my favorite Butternut Squash soup. This soup is the first thing I think of when the fall weather begins and it’s the last one I want to make as spring enters.

Inspiration

image
Let’s transform this often-hated vegetable into something spectacular!

Well, we’ve made it to post #13 and I am guessing that by now you are thinking, “OK, Michelle, where are all of the vegetable recipes on My Veg Table?” Thus far, I’ve introduced many of my favorite recipes to you and most of them haven’t had a speck of a vegetable in them. Fear not, the wait is over! Now I get to share one of my favorite veg recipes that receives the most skeptical looks: Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Red Grapes with Walnuts. That’s right; the grapes are roasted in the oven alongside those tiny cabbages. Did you just raise your eyebrows, too? Trust me on this: if I can take a table full of the pickiest people I know and get them to not only taste this, but also agree that it’s good, well, I think that I just might convert a few of you as well.

Tidbits

chocolate-stones
Can you believe that these beautiful heart “stones” are made of chocolate?! Can’t wait to try one! Happy Valentine’s Day!

…he just might ask you to marry him. At least that’s how it happened with us. Ok, now a marriage proposal may not come as a result of just any pancakes, but these were oatmeal pancakes. Oatmeal honey pancakes. Alright, so maybe that’s not entirely the reason that I got a ring, but my husband, Ed says he’s pretty sure these flapjacks definitely cinched the deal.

Inspiration

butter-roasted-tomato-sauce
Before: six ingredients, one dish.

I spent years perfecting my homemade tomato sauce recipe using the “little bit of this, little bit of that” technique.  To this day, I don’t know that I could write an actual recipe for it since it was a tad different each time. What was consistent with my sauce was the incessant tasting, tweaking, and babysitting it required. Despite how involved it was, it was always better than the jarred stuff.

All of those years spent honing my sauce now seem futile: I have found a new favorite that requires far fewer ingredients, zero babysitting time, and even more flavor than the sauce that I lovingly toiled over.

Inspiration

drinking-chocolate

Now that the weather here in Florida is finally getting colder, it makes me want to go to my kitchen, grab a mug, and brew myself up something piping hot. My first choice is always tea–my tea selection rivals that of Teavana–coffee falls in as number two, and a close third is hot chocolate. I just love a steamy cup of hot chocolate with mounds of whipped cream or a dollop of marshmallow fluff floating on top. I grew up adding Ovaltine to my milk–to this day, it is still a staple in my pantry. When I want something extra special, I make myself a cup of drinking chocolate.

Tidbits Travel

hominy
Note the difference in size between standard corn (left) and hominy (right).

Today, my son says, “I don’t like corn anymore”. To which I respond, “Everett, you just had corn the other day”. His facial expression tells me that that is irrelevant. Lately, we seem to be in an aversion cycle that changes almost daily: yesterday tomatoes and today corn—who knows what will be on the list tomorrow! Today’s Tidbit is all about the loophole I have discovered to get around his newfound dislike of corn–Hominy! As my husband always jokes, “How many?”

Tidbits

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Let me just start out by saying that I don’t like banana things; by things, I mean “things” made from bananas. I like bananas straight from the peel or in smoothies, but that’s about it. When I eat banana things, there is almost always an artificial banana-y quality about it that my palate immediately rejects. My husband, Ed, doesn’t understand it. In addition to eating a banana every day–yes, EVERY DAY–he loves all things banana.  This brings me to my story of the infamous banana bread and the recipe that made me a convert.

Inspiration Travel

 

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Smoothies are pretty popular in my house. Sometimes, it is much easier to drink your nutrition than to eat it. Take kale smoothies, for instance: kale on its own can be bitter and overpowering. On the other hand, mixed up in a blender with some fruits and coconut water, it is downright delicious–and nutritious. When my son, Everett, was young, we purchased our Vitamix blender so that we could maximize his veggie intake: green smoothies were served up daily. Now that my kiddo is in school all day, we have dialed it back to about three times per week.

Inspiration

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Good-Bye 2014…

As I sit here in the middle of the night, I look at the Christmas decorations still adorning my living room–my tree would still be lit if the clock didn’t read 1:00am.  Although it is now the fifth day of the new year, I am still reveling a bit in the holiday season and reflecting on the year that has so swiftly passed us by.

Inspiration