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July 22 - Vicki's Vegetable Ventures

Posted 7/26/2011 11:27am by Vicki Phillips.

Cooler full of veggies

While at my son and daughter-in-law’s house in Lincoln last weekend, we made full use of our road-trip veggies. The vegetables had been washed and green-bagged, then gingerly packed in coolers with ice bags. Everything kept well for the long journey to Keith and Amber’s.

Upon arrival, all us foodies swung into action unpacking, planning, chopping and cooking. We grilled steak and had a salad of mixed greens, arugula, beets and goat cheese. For breakfast one day we made good use of the basil for a pesto omelet. And for the finale we made an elaborate Thai dinner using the Napa cabbage, carrots, jalapeno, bell pepper and Thai basil.

Salad days

This week it’s too hot to cook much, so simplicity is key. So far this week I’ve made good use of our distribution dining on braised kale and beet greens; salads with the mixed greens, arugula and our little cutie-pie cucumber and carrots; a pasta salad with salmon, dill and green beans; and cauliflower gratin following Ina Garten’s winner-every-time recipe.

Besides some salad fixings, the main things I have left to use up this weekend are potatoes, beets and cabbage. That sounds Eastern European to me, another favorite cuisine of mine, so I’ll probably head in that direction for ideas. Those Thai recipes are also beckoning. Perhaps a bit too much cooking for the heat; thank goodness for A/C.

Luscious lemon balm

We received a new herb this week, lemon balm, which has a scent so delicious and intoxicating I may just keep in on hand to smell every now and then. Apparently it has a calming effect and has been used since the Middle Ages for insomnia and anxiety.

A member of the mint family, lemon balm can be found in lots of recipes for tea and lemonade. I may make a lemon-drop martini with it, infusing simple syrup with this delectable herb.

Can’t think of a better way to cool down … cheers!


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