Slimy: the first word that always came to mind when I thought about okra. My relationship with that funky pod is a fairly new one. I used to think you could only eat okra fried or use it in gumbo. The fried are tasty–but often greasy–and after one bad gumbo experience, that slime memory was all that I needed to cross okra off my list. Except for the occasional piece of fried okra that my mom will put on my plate at Cracker Barrel, this stuff was never on my radar. It took one meal to change my mind…
Ok, so maybe a bunch of blueberries: maybe even a truckload. Since it pretty much feels like varying degrees of summer all year ’round in Florida, I rely on produce to tell me when summer has officially arrived: corn, cherries, melons, and stone fruit are in abundance. Best of all, it’s finally time when organic berries don’t cost an arm and a leg for a half-pint. Florida’s strawberry season comes sometime between December and February, but summer is when blackberries, raspberries and blueberries come into their own here. Last month, I found an entire pint of blueberries for $3.99…I bought two. I should have bought four. I went back to Publix a couple of weeks after and they were $3.00…I bought six. Six pints of blueberries; that’s about 14 cups! I laughed as they practically filled an entire shelf in my fridge. I was feeling so ambitious, I didn’t want to freeze a single one. And so the baking commenced!
Paleo, vegan, lactose-intolerant, allergies: whatever your reason for dumping dairy, it will inevitably leave a nagging void in the milk department. Although nut milks seem to reign as the “other” milk of choice, those with nut allergies can rejoice as there are hempseed, rice, soy, coconut, and oat milks all trying to make their mark. They each have their own unique flavor; choosing one is a matter of taste and nutritional restrictions. Of the lot, almond milk is the go-to staple in my house.
The first time I saw an article about homemade nut milks, it was in a Martha Stewart Living magazine. Of course she makes her own nut milks: it’s such a Martha thing to do. I filed that one under “someday” in my mental file–like sooo many other things. As time passed, I started seeing it more and more on blogs and Facebook posts. I would have never thought I had the time to make homemade milk, but it turns out that soaking time aside, it took less than 10 minutes…10 MINUTES! I only needed four things to make my first batch: almonds, water, a blender and a nut-milk bag. This was so simple; it made me wonder why I didn’t Martha it up sooner.
Oh, the simple egg. Used in just about everything, savory or sweet, it is the most versatile food on the planet–and one of those few things I don’t think I could live without! Back in my quiche post, we talked about the importance of a good egg; good quality will make all the difference in your dish! Topics on the Table today are the three ways I love eggs: fried, soft-boiled and hard-boiled. Let’s break them into sections–I just can’t resist a good pun!
Today is National Zucchini Bread Day! It is a great excuse to discuss my least favorite vegetable–which is technically a fruit: zucchini. I’m not exactly sure who designates these national food holidays, but given the fact that summer squash is starting to pop up everywhere, it makes perfect sense why today’s feature would highlight a way to use up the overabundance of zucchini that we will be seeing in the upcoming months.
Why don’t I like zucchini? Well, in a word, it’s bland. When it is cooked, its texture is nothing short of mush. Despite its lackluster qualities and the fact that few chefs do it justice, it’s amazing to me that zucchini has been crowned king of the token ingredients used in vegetarian dishes on soo many menus. Blah…
I have big plans for zucchini; I want to find more ways to make it palatable, maybe even cravable. Despite my gripes, I need to give zucchini the proper credit: it is one of the most versatile ingredients. This squash can be eaten raw, roasted, fried, or grilled; it can be baked into breads and muffins; it can even be pureed into a soup. My favorite zucchini recipes cover the gamut from savory to sweet.
I know what you’re thinking; you don’t even have to say it: “Breakfast again?!” It is said to “write what you know,” and I know breakfast foods–oddly enough, I rarely eat them in the morning. So much so, that when my son was younger, I made eggs for breakfast one morning; he promptly told me, “Mommy, eggs are for dinner, NOT breakfast!” This isn’t a post about breakfast per se; it is about apples–and lots of them.
Do you ever receive or share cooking tips with the cashier at your grocery store? It happens to me often. I have been given tips about how to ripen avocados–put them in a paper bag with an apple; how to grill a whole Brussels sprout stalk–just oil it up and throw it on; and many recommendations from cashiers on their favorite supermarket items. I’ve shared many tips as well and the most recent topic was beets. Beets seem to be one of those all or nothing kind of foods: people either love ’em or they hate ’em—it may just be their uniqueness that turns people away. If you are of the latter group, humor me as I attempt to sway your opinion of my favorite vegetable on the planet.
One day they eat it, the next day they won’t. If you have kids, or have at least been around kids, you know that when it comes to feeding children, there is a certain degree of trickery involved–getting them to eat veggies is perhaps the most difficult feat. I’ve gone so far as to hide pureed veggies in other foods–mainly smoothies–and I’ve used cheese or ranch dressing to jazz up those hard to eat vegetables. No matter your strategy, it’s hard catering to the most fickle creatures known to man; accommodating a child’s ever-changing palate is one of the great challenges every parent will face.