Eat More Veg

Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce pray.

A Cucumber Cooler

This is wonderful treat for any summer day. I am going to cut to the chase with this one; make this now. You will have no regrets.

1 large cucumber partially peeled and cut into chunks

juice from 1 lime or 2 to 3 TBS spoons Joe’s Key lime juice

3 TBS honey (add more to taste depending on how sweet you like it)

1 cup water

3 cups ice

( Add a splash of vodka for an evening alternative)

Whiz this around your blender until smooth.  Drink it up.

Serves 4  1 1/2 cup servings.

August Linguine with Romas and Zucchini

August. Yes, we have arrived at the longest, hottest part of summer.  If we are blessed, we also have a bounty to harvest from our gardens. It has not been an easy year to grow much veg. Drought, on top of excessive heat, has not only brought the deer out of the woods to nibble on whatever contains moisture (like my treasured italian heart shaped tomatoes and ALL  my yellow watermelon) but the squash bugs and horned tomato worms and have been relentless. Needless to say, I sing praises for whatever I can pluck and eat. Today I share with you a pasta dish that screams “summer!” in every bite. Chill a nice white wine beforehand and enjoy….

August Linguine

3 TBS olive oil
2-3  large zucchini, grated
4 roma tomatoes seeded and diced
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
3 or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 good shakes of red pepper flakes (about 3/4 tsp or more if you like some heat)
2 TBS  of unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
2 TBS chopped fresh basil 
1 lb linguine of choice 

In a colander over a bowl or in the sink add the grated zucchini and diced tomatoes along with several pinches of salt for at least 10 minutes. Gently squeeze excess liquid from veg and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions. Drain and reserve a bit of the cooking water.

In a deep skillet heat the olive oil over med high heat, add the garlic and red pepper flakes for 2 minutes, until garlic is fragrant and lightly browned.  Add the zucc and romas to the skillet and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Add a bit of reserved water if need. ( I added at least a half cup)

Add pasta to the pan and toss to distribute veg. Add butter, cheese, and basil and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve 4-6

Inspired from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday

Eggs Jacquie

My sweet friend Jacquie has never once had me into her home without providing delectable mini feast of artisan cheeses, breads, fresh fruit all meticulously presented with fresh flowers and herbs cut from her own garden. Jacqui has a gentle way about her, I am always encouraged and inspired when I leave. I love our visits. Several months ago she introduced me to “Sage Derby”. Sage Derby is a firm cheddar type gourmet cheese made using leaf sage for flavor, and colored using chlorophyll to give a green marbled finish. The finely chopped sage leaf gives a subtle extra flavor. Uh, did your mouth just water? Mine did. I immediately went out and promptly bought the largest wedge I could find.  Unashamedly, I eat it by the hunk.

With my garden in full swing I can have the pleasure of my favorite breakfast; heirloom tomatoes and eggs. There are a ton of variations of this combo but this morning I decided to turn my favorite duo into a trio and use Sage Derby cheese. “Eggs Jacquie” is what I came up with. Any cheese will do really, guyere, sharp cheddar, or parmesan; just don’t call it Eggs Jacquie, name it after yourself. Enjoy!

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
5 med eggs
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 or 2 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup grated Sage Derby Farmers Cheese

Heat broiler. Melt butter in an 8-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until foamy. Crack eggs into skillet, and cook until whites are almost set, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat. Season eggs with salt and pepper, and top with tomatoes, then cheese. Broil until whites are set and cheese melts and is bubbling, about 1 minute.

Zucchini Blondies

There is nothing more arrogant in my raised beds then my zucchini plant. Every year I kick myself for putting one in; I can only think of the many, many other veg or herb that could quite easily take up its space.  Alternatively, I love how the gigantic green monster makes me feel like a super hero among home gardeners. Neighbors who do not garden will ask with tremendous curiosity what that beast could be and I sheepishly answer, ” oh? that ol’ thing? it’s just my zucchini, it requires a skillful hand.”  The reality is, I just plant and water,  the sun lends a hand and wa-la the “take over king grows”. This year is no exception.  I am currently bursting at the seams with this veg and so today I offer you an unexpected sweet treat, the zucchini blondie. It is crispy on the outside and gooey inside, and wouldn’t be lost with a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!


5 TBS Butter (melted)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 med zucchini, peeled and chopped into 1/4” peices
1/3 cup butterscotch chips

1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Pour melted butter into a lg mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar and mix well. Crack the egg into the bowl, add vanilla and beat until blended.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl and stir to mix.  Add the zucchini and chips and stir into a stiff batter.
4. Spread the batter into a 9” baking pan . Bake for 30 min or until the knife inserted into the center comes out “nearly” clean. Take care not to over bake. These blondies will have a gooey center.
Cool 15 min before serving.

Adapted from Smith and Hawken The Gardeners’ Community Cookbook. (Which is AWESOME!)

Just look how rude:

Green Bean & Potato Salad with Lemony Mustard and Thyme Dressing

O Creator! Thou who givest life to all things and hast made men that they may live, and multiply. Multiply also the fruits of the earth, the potatoes and other food that thou hast made, that men may not suffer from hunger and misery.”
Inca Prayer

Seriously?  Of all the veg to mention in prayer of thanksgiving, the potato?  YES! So, let us celebrate the potato by NOT tossing her in mayo, shall we? This snappy dressing is absolutely perfect for a hot backyard bar-b-que. The thyme brings a nice sweetness to the zing of the fresh lemon.  Just remember to give thanks for the potato and all the “other food” thou hast made.

1lb green beans, trimmed
3 1/2  lbs small potatoes,  quatered
1 small red onion thinly sliced, about 3/4 cup
kosher salt

for the dressing

Whisk 1/4 cup Olive Oil with
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 TBS whole grain mustard
1 tsp dried thyme

Simmer the green beans in salted water until crisp and bright green; about 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse under very cold water. Meanwhile, add potatoes to pot of salted water and simmer for 12 min or until tender.
Gently toss the potatoes with green beans, red onions and the dressing. Finish with a bit of kosher salt to taste.

Serves 8

original recipe from

It’s a Dutch Baby, baby.

Let me wake you up with some french press coffee. Let me seal the deal with a dutch baby pancake drizzled with fresh lemon juice and butter and dusted ever so gently with powdered sugar.


2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

3 TBS melted butter divided (2 and 1)

Preheat a 9” cast iron skillet in a 375* oven.  While the oven and skillet are heating add all the ingredients  including 2 TBS melted butter into a blender and give a good wiz for 30 sec or so.  Carefully remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and brush with remaining 1 TBS of butter. Pour the batter into skillet and return to the oven for 25-30.  The pancake will rise with funny large bubbles as it bakes but fall again as it cools. Serve with powdered sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice.  
Serves 1 or 2 

Lasagna Floret

What do you get for your mother who is turning 62? She has just about 2 of everything she has ever wanted, everything  that is, except a 14.5 lb vegetable lasagna. So that is what she got ; along with a 6 smiling grandchildren (which is only 2/3 of her flock ) and a few other family members to enjoy it with her.

I won’t fool you , this is a lot of work.  You can cheat, cut corners and go buy your  red sauce but I believe you will lose a lot in the flavor. If you don’t care the I don’t.  Lord, just don’t tell me.  This is so great for a casual dinner party because you can make it several hours ahead and bake it up later.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head cauliflower, small chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 large carrots, chopped
1 large head of broccoli, small chopped
8 ounces mushrooms undrained
15 ounce container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup parmesean cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 recipe for red sauce DOUBLED click here (or 2 jars store bought)
1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked according to directions

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a lasagna pan.
In a large skillet over medium heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the chopped cauliflower, onions, carrots and broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2  teaspoon of salt.  Add the undrained mushrooms. (If using fresh mushrooms, add 1/4 cup water) Cook for 5 minutes more, or until vegetables have just become tender.
Set aside.

While vegetables are cooking, mix ricotta and cottage cheese. Add  oregano, rosemary, basil, parsley, garlic, pepper and 1 ½ teaspoon of the salt together and set aside.
When vegetables are just tender, remove the pan from heat and season with the remaining 1 ½ teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes.

In the DEEP 9x13 pan, spray bit of cooking oil and then ladle a layer of sauce; a 1/3 cup+ or so.  Begin the layering process with the lasagna noodles (they can overlap). Next , add dollops of the cheese mixture along the length of the noodle and top that with a layer of the cooked veg. Finally ladle a bit of red sauce over the veg, enough to “mostly” cover it.  Repeat the layering 2 or 3 more times.  The final layer will be only lasagna noodles top with lots of sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Place in the oven at 350 for 1 hour or until golden and bubbly on the sides.
yum me.

Tahini Dressing with Falafel

I never lie. That is the truth. Exaggerate yes, and only when I fall prey to becoming passionate about the subject at hand; but lie, never. I really want to say that I made these falafels from scratch. I really want to say that I keep chick pea flour on hand because, well, I am just that kind of exotic cook. But that would make me a liar. So, before I share my made from scratch tahini dressing let me just say that the (insert deeeep breathe, exhale into shameful sigh) box mixes for falafels are just too easy and quite delicious to even begin to bother with making my own. I feel mostly better about that confession. There I said it. Now, grab your mixture out of the pantry, add water and set aside. While your falafel mix is setting up lets make us some finger licking, bowl scraping awesome tahini dressing to drizzle on top.

Tahini Dressing


1/2 cup Tahini paste
1/2 lemon freshly squeezed
2-3 garlic cloves finely minced
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
3 TBS chopped fresh parsley

Mix it together.  How hard was that?
If you like a smoother finish to the dressing you can pop this into a blender or a mini food processor, however that is not necessary. You can top it with fresh parsley if you wish.

Leek, Spinach, and Cauliflower Frittata

I just spent the day helping a friend and a group of strangers clean up a farm destroyed by a tornado that tore through KY last Friday. I’m tired, both physically and emotionally. I have no words for what my eyes saw today. Many folks on surrounding farms have been  left with nothing. My heart aches. However, it does the heart wonders to see a community come together for the good of a neighbor, know or unknown. I don’t even know the owners of the farm but I am glad they are alive; a miracle for certain.
Coming home tonight, I just wanted an easy meal but I wanted more just to sit with my family and remind them of my love.
So here it is, and meal prepared in 15 minutes plus baking time and a great reason to hash the day over with my husband and 3 yet to become men.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
2 cups chopped spinach
1 cup small chopped cauliflower
7 large eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1/2  cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup small cubed wild garlic Gouda (or more Parmesan)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add leeks  and cauliflower and saute for 6-7 minutes to soften.  Add spinach, sprinkle lightly with salt and saute until tender. Remove from heat.

Whisk eggs, half and half, 3/4 cup cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in bowl.

Place cooked veg  in a baking side 8X10 baking dish or a pie dish. Pour in egg mixture. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top.

Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until eggs look set. Turn broiler on and broil until cheese begins to bubble and lightly brown;  about 3 minutes.

Caprese Salad

Some things in the kitchen are so easy they are sometimes overlooked. This salad was super trendy a few years ago. It seemed to be on every menu in town.  Trends change but nothing about how amazingly delicious this little salad has changed, not at all.

I recently bought some Kumato tomatoes, add those to some marinated fresh mozzarella in fridge along with some fresh basil and thats all she wrote. I could not remember how long it had been since I had a caprese salad but I can promise that I won’t wait so long for my next one. 


Enough for 2 salads

2 ripe tomatoes sliced thin

1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, marinated or not, sliced equal to tomato slices. 

fresh basil cut in to thin strips

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar reduction*

To assemble this salad lay your tomato slices in slightly overlapping circle on the center of a small salad plate. Layer your sliced mozzarella on the center on the circle and mimic the circle pattern of tomatoes. Finally place last tomato slice in the center, top with a big pinch of fresh basil and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the whole salad.

*to make balsamic vinegar reduction place 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan  on med low heat until reduced my half. This small amount should only take about 5-8 min.

**It should be noted that this assembly was what I threw together for a lunch at home. By all means put this together however you see fit. Be creative. Add for cheese, add more basil. Just don’t leave off the vinegar.