Vegetable


Last week, I was sitting at the computer when I suddenly felt the urge to do some organizing. That urge is sporadic at best!

I decided to go through some of my back log of blog post photos. I had some in a file from another computer. Some were on the external drive. There were things in wrong folders, and duplicate files were making me crazy! I’m sure NONE of you can relate to such madness!

I finally got everything moved from the computer to the external drive that needed to be moved. Happy dance!!

One of my now nice-and-neat files is “PCTuesday in the Queue”. Unfortunately, there are close to 100 files within this file. UGH!

WHAT ON EARTH?! you may be asking.

Well, these are photos I took for blog posts that I just haven’t gotten around to writing yet. Some of them are missing the ever-important “final” picture. Others, I had hoped to get comments from the Critics but never did. Then there are items that I look at now and go “really?”!

So, all that introduction brings us to today’s post–Vegetable Tart. I’m working on finishing up some of those posts. Hooray for me!

Vegetable Tart

 

You may have seen a photo similar to this floating around Pinterest a while back. (Y’all, I pinned this recipe over a year ago and actually made this last APRIL!)

It is a very fancy looking dish. It takes a little time to prepare but is not difficult.

Ingredients:

Pie crust

3-4 carrots

5-6 zucchini

salt, pepper, thyme

olive oil

Start by prepping your vegetables.

peeling vegetables

Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin slices of each zucchini and carrot. When you start to get to the middle of the vegetable, turn it over. Then you will have nice, wide slices with color on them. Of course the carrot is colorful all the way through. Still flip it over. It makes for nicer slices.

Now the recipe didn’t really say what to do with the oil or spices. I’ll tell you what I did and what I’d do next time.

I did all my spiraling, you’ll see that in a minute, then drizzled oil and sprinkled spices over everything.

I used a bit too much oil and my crust got soggy-and not in a good way.

Next time, I will mix the spices with the oil and toss over the vegetables BEFORE I put them in the crust.

For the spiraling:

Just start in the middle and work your way out.

I had a little piece in the middle. Alternate zucchini and carrot rows.

starting the vegetable tart

Keep adding vegetables until your crust is full.

Isn’t it pretty?

I can’t believe I actually made that!

spiral vegetables

The recipe was vague about the cooking time. I just baked my Vegetable Tart like I would bake a pie. Just follow the directions for your crust. Usually about 375˚ for 30 minutes will work. Just keep an eye on it.

Zucchini and Carrot Tart

I was not sure how well this would go over with the family by itself. So, I served some grilled chicken with it.

I think I could have used a few more veggie strips in my tart.

It was tricky to cut. It kinda fell apart.

veggie tart slice

Ooo, maybe next time I will add a little egg in there, too! I guess it would be more of a quiche then.

I know you gardening folks are planning your vegetable gardens now. Be sure to plan on some zucchini and carrots!

Vegetable Tart

 

The WHAT????!!!

 

cushaw

Cushaw–Cucurbita argyrosperma

You may have seen these green and white beauties at your local pumpkin stand or farmer’s market this fall. They are beautiful to use in your fall decorating. Did you know you can eat them?

Cushaw has always been a part of our family’s Thanksgiving feast. Sometimes we would have it for Thanksgiving and Christmas, depending on how big of a cushaw we found.

I realize that traditionally at holiday time folks have a sweet potato casserole or sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top.

My Dad grew up in Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge’s warm climate is perfect for growing cushaw.

I remember my grandmother making it when we would visit. The recipe for Cushaw comes from the Junior League of Baton Rouge Cook Book.

rrr1cbk

I wish I had taken a picture of my Mom’s cookbook. It is all tattered, stained and well-used looking.

When my husband and I got married, Dad insisted that I have a River Road Recipe book. There are several editions. The first is in its 70th printing! Dad still recognizes some of the ladies’ names who submitted recipes. I don’t know if he remembers Mrs. Edward Wall or not. I’m sure my grandmother knew her.

Thank you Mrs. Wall for your Baked Cushaw recipe. It is a family favorite.

When Mom was telling me how to prepare the cushaw, she told me I could bake it or boil it. She said if I boiled it to be sure that it got drained really well.

I decided to try baking it.

I’ll tell you right now, a cushaw is hard! It took real muscle to get that thing sliced.

Below is the neck of the cushaw. I baked it @400˚. I was a bit discouraged when it was not soft enough to mash after an hour of baking!

sliced squash

The inside of the cushaw looks like a pumpkin. The bottom part was much easier to deal with than the neck.

seeds inside

There was just so much of it!

bagged vegetables

I decided to try boiling the base of the cushaw since the neck didn’t turn out so great after baking.

Boiling is the way to go!!!

Cut off the rind before boiling.

I boiled it until it was soft enough to mash. I was sure to let it sit and drain thoroughly before doing anything else to it.

two sticks of butter

I guess the fact that there are 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar in the Baked Cushaw might be the reason Cushaw is a family favorite!

add nutmeg

My 4 quart mixing bowl was too full to allow for mixing. I had to move to the Barbie popcorn bowl-ha!

bigger bowl

ready to bake

Baked Cushaw

1 medium cushaw (Mine was HUGE. I’m not real sure what “medium” means. You can see how much I used in the pictures above.)

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 Tbsp flour

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter-melted

1/2 tsp baking powder

Nutmeg-to taste

Mix together. Bake at 350˚ until browned.

Note: Be sure you mix your butter in before the eggs. You don’t want scrambled eggs in your cushaw.

Nutmeg grater

Nutmeg goes in the mix. I don’t know how much I put in there. The recipe says “to taste”. I grated until Mom said “stop”. I know–not very helpful, sorry.

It also goes on top.

more nutmeg

It turned out so yummy!

Healthy? With 2 cups of sugar and 2 sticks of butter I’m gonna say-no.

The cushaw is rich in vitamin A. It is a vegetable! I’m countin’ it!

This summer I tested out a daring, new recipe. Well, it was daring and new to me. It was a green vegetable, so THAT was daring in and of itself!

In an attempt to incorporate more vegetables into my diet, I tried Brussels Sprouts! Being part of the cabbage family, Brussels Sprouts tend to get a bad rap. I’ll admit, I was in that camp.

However, here is website that has tons of positive things to say about Brussels Sprouts.

In the spring we tried roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon and apples. That was yummy! It did have bacon in it.

Since that recipe was a success with everyone, we went bold and tried the stuffed Brussels Sprouts.

I found the recipe on Pinterest which led me here.

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts 2

Let me just say, I thought these would be a lot harder to make than they were.

Most of these pictures are from the first time we made them. I made them again for our Christmas dinner. I was just too busy fixing the food to photograph it.

(The family went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty the other night. There is a line in the movie where a photographer is talking about taking a picture or not taking a picture.  “Sometimes, it’s just for me” was the gist of the statement. That’s kinda how I felt about Christmas “blog photos”. Anyway, I ‘m rambling!)

Jerry James Stone does a great job of explaining exactly how to prep the Brussels Sprouts. He even has a little video on his blog.

Now, at my little semi-super Walmart we don’t always have a large selection of, well, anything. All I could find the first time I made these was frozen Brussels Sprouts-and they weren’t particularly large.

I actually thought that was okay, because I didn’t really have high hopes. I thought, the smaller, the better–less “green” taste.

Prepping Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

Turns out, when stuffing Brussels Sprouts, bigger is better–so is fresh rather than frozen. The picture above is of my nice, large, fresh sprouts from Sam’s.

The frozen ended up tasting good. (That’s why we made them again.) They were just a little harder to handle.

stuffing

And handle you must!

kitchen helper

The recipe calls for 15 large sprouts. Since I knew how yummy these turned out the first time, I made extra. I sure had plenty since I had bought mine at SAM’S!

I did not, however, increase the filling proportions. When I made this recipe this summer, I had quite a bit of the filling left over.

I didn’t go exactly by the recipe on the original recipe. (See link above)

stuffed and ready

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

15-30 large, fresh Brussels Sprouts

1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta cheese

1 cup shredded Parmesan

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs-this is key! The Panko breadcrumbs add more crunch than regular breadcrumbs.

3 cloves minced garlic

1 T dried thyme

1 T dried basil

1 t. dried sage

1 t. salt

Olive Oil

(The original recipe called for 1 t. marjoram but I didn’t have any, so I skipped it.)

•Trim Brussels Sprout stems and cut in half length-wise.

•Blanch sprouts. (To blanch: Drop sprouts into boiling water for a couple of minutes-literlly about 2 minutes. Transfer from boiling water to a bowl of ice water.)

•Scoop out middle of the sprouts, leaving enough for a shell wall. (Watch the video for help on this.)

•Finely chop sprout middles.

•Sauté chopped sprouts with minced garlic in olive oil until everything is tender and smells really good!

•Mix your garlic-sprout mixture with the other ingredients.

•Use a spoon to fill the sprout shells with the mixture. You will have lots of mixture!

•Bake at 400˚ for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

I used a piece of parchment on my cooking sheet just to be sure there was no sticking.

Stuffed Brussels Sprouts

I am so glad I tried this recipe. I think it is a keeper! These would be great to take to your New Year’s Eve party. Surely people are getting tired of rich, heavy food. They are ready to at least think healthy!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: The “stuffed” part of this dish was really good. The Brussels Sprout part tasted too much like Brussels Sprouts.

Megan: I think this batch was a little more herb-intensive than the last, but either way, these tasty little things are definitely winners.

Katie: Everyone is always like, “OOOOoooo! Brussels Sprouts! Let’s feed this to the dog!” Ha-ha-ha NO!  Wait’ll they try these! They have this nice blend and blast of flavor.

You’ll eat ’em, to be polite.

You’ll have some more, to be polite.

You will be very polite.

Trust me on this one. : )