Asparagus Tart

April 16, 2008 at 11:50 am | Posted in veggie side | 6 Comments
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When I saw this I knew I had to try it for my family. It’s an Asparagus Gruyere Tart. And it’s good.

My son was willing to smell, lick and even kiss the asparagus. In the end he said he didn’t like it. I tried to entice him by saying that his “pee” would smell funny if he ate it. Potty talk by mom at the dinner table, shocking, I know! But in the end he said no. Okay, no pressure.

My dear daughter also tried it with hesitation. At first she said she didn’t like it, but then, with out another word of encouragement from her mother, she ate a bit. Then another. Then another. Pretty soon she was peeling the asparagus off of her tart and eating it straight. Rounds of applause! She was declared “the winner”! A little healthy competition never hurt, right?

I think it helped that I used very thin/young asparagus. Also I started them first on my indoor grill and then put them on my tart to finish cooking.

The recipe is from Under the High Chair. Kudos to her for coming up with a veggie side dish that my 5 year old daughter enjoyed (along with her parents).

Asparagus Gruyère Tart

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry

5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyère cheese, shredded

1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyère. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyère, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Orzo with Yellow Squash

April 9, 2008 at 8:45 pm | Posted in veggie side | 7 Comments

In an effort to get more veggies into my kids and to acquaint them with different tastes and forms, I’m always on the look out for good recipes. This one scored high with my “I only eat white foods” son. He picked around the mushrooms, but happily ate the rest!

Orzo with Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

(from Bon Appetit’s 50th Anniversary Issue)

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 pound yellow crookneck squash, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups orzo
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp parsley

Melt butter with oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute 2 minutes. Add squash, increase the heat to medium-high, saute until soft. Add mushrooms, saute until tender, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and stir. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook orzo in boiling water until just tender, about 9 minutes.

Mix orzo, cheese, cream, and parsley into vegetables in skillet. Stir over low heat until creamy. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with parsley.

Happily serving up this Orzo with Yellow Squash to Vindicate the Vegetable‘s first event: Yellow Summer Squash!

Ramon’s Mango Salsa

April 1, 2008 at 10:30 pm | Posted in veggie side | 12 Comments

When my sister married Ramon, I had no idea a major foodie and exciting sushi chef had joined the family. To me, he was just Ramon. Faithful Ramon. Adoring Ramon. Kind Ramon.

But over the years he has shared with me a thing or two about preparing good food. This Mango Salsa is so simple to make, uses fresh ingredients, and tastes AMAZING! I actually eat this by the spoonful. Of course, it works beautifully over a piece of fish, chicken or a plate of chips.

The cast of characters (never mind the corn, I lost my mind momentarily)


Here’s my mango up close: (if you look closely at the sticker you will see my wink and smile to Gretchen).


And my mango in the process of being sliced:


Ramon’s Mango Salsa

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tsp honey
  • season with salt and pepper

Chop all of the ingredients to roughly the same size. Stir. Drizzle in vinegar and honey. Stir again. Store covered in the refrigerator about an hour. Stir. Taste. Need salt and pepper? Add a little and taste again. Taste again. And again. Stop eating directly out of the container momentarily. Grab a fresh spoon. Eat again.


A bite:


And another bite:


No chips required:


Edamame Salad

February 25, 2008 at 6:39 pm | Posted in veggie side | 6 Comments

When I am in the mood for some asian inspired flavors, this is my go-to salad. It is easy and has all of the flavors that my mouth is wanting.

Edamame Salad

  • 16 oz shelled edamame (can be fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 t salt (optional)
  • 1 T evoo
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Toss the edamame, vinegar, evoo, salt, pepper, red onion and cilantro in a bowl. Cover and put in the refrigerator for a minimum of 15 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Adapted from The South Beach Diet


February 6, 2008 at 9:39 am | Posted in veggie side | 10 Comments

It’s time again for Dinner Club! This month is being hosted by my dear friend, Angela. She has cleverly chosen a French food theme. Think Paris, amore, love…Valentine’s Day.

I am bringing the famous French dish, Ratatouille (confit byaldi). Honestly, I didn’t even know what Ratatouille was until seeing Pixar’s latest film, Ratatouille.


I know my presentation does not begin to hold a candle to the animators at Pixar, but I am very pleased with the results. Despite all of the steps, I would make this again. My Cuisinart Food Processor made quick work of evenly slicing all of the veggies. Plus, it tastes really good and is full of yummy veggies!

  • 1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces total weight), peeled, seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 a bay leaf
  • Kosher salt


    • 1 zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16-inch rounds
    • 1 Japanese eggplant*, (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
    • 1 yellow squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
    • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1/8teaspoon thyme leaves
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    *I couldn’t find a japanese eggplant, so I just used a regular one. The trick to this dish looking good is to make sure all of your veggies are sliced about the same size.


    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    • Assorted fresh herbs (thyme flowers, chervil, thyme)
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    1. For piperade, heat oven to 450 degrees. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.

    2. Combine oil, garlic, and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs. Pour piperade into a food processor and process until smooth. Reserve tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

    3. For vegetables, heat oven to 275 degrees. Down center of pan, arrange a strip of 8 alternating slices of vegetables over piperade, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed.


    4. Mix garlic, oil, and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover pan with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If there is excess liquid in pan, place over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350-degree oven until warm.)


    5. For vinaigrette, combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

    6. To serve, heat broiler and place byaldi underneath until lightly browned. Slice in quarters and very carefully lift onto plate with offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees, guiding byaldi into fan shape. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.

    Yield: 4 servings (I doubled this recipe)

    This recipe has been adapted from Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in Yountville, CA.


    Want more ideas from Pixar’s Ratatouille? Here’s my take on Potato Leek Soup.

    …and now for that third potato

    November 9, 2007 at 2:19 am | Posted in Family Meals, sweet potato puree, veggie side | 1 Comment

    My friend Tiffany said she makes sweet potato french fries for her boys. These are so easy. And Tiffany was right, they were a hit! Just slice a sweet potato into strips (wedges would be good too).Then put the sweet potato fries, salt, pepper and evoo in a big bag. Shake bag to thoroughly coat the potatoes, but then scoop them out to leave the extra evoo in the bag. Tiffany recommends not too much evoo or the fries get soggy.Place them on a roasting pan in one layer leaving room on the sides. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. May be more or less depending on how thin you cut your fries. Check half way through and give a gentle stir so they can brown on all sides. Put on paper towel lined plate, sprinkle with salt and enjoy. My kids reaction, “YUMMM, these fries are good!”.

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