Posts Tagged ‘judy valdes’

Simple Sliced Cucumbers

Friday, October 20th, 2017
Simple Cucumber Salad

Simple Cucumber Salad

This has been the year of the cucumber for us.  I still have a dozen cucumbers sitting on the table (in mid-October, no less)  but I think the vines have died back and that will be the last of them.

We ate plain cucumber spears, chopped cucumbers with tomatoes and onions and various combinations of fresh veggies, with or without dressing, and cucumber soup.   I made 2 different kinds of savory sliced refrigerator pickles including one with vinegar and one fermented with salt brine.

Here’s a simple cucumber recipe that’s great for a last minute add to the dinner table.

1-2 peeled cukes or more, sliced on a mandolin or as thin as you can possibly cut them

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt

1-2 T. white wine vinegar

Sprinkle prepared cucumbers with salt and let stand for about 15 minutes or less if you’re in a hurry.  Drain excess liquid and splash with white wine vinegar to taste.  That’s it.  Makes a very refreshing side dish.  You can add sliced red onions or you can add a little sour cream (or yogurt ) for creaminess. Garnish with dill or parsley if so desired.

Tomato, Zucchini, Onion Potato Bake

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017
Garden Veggies CobraHead Blog

Garden Veggies

Well here we are again in zucchini tomato season.  I first posted this recipe about five years ago here.

I make it several times each year during the height of the season.  It’s a tasty stick to your ribs meal.

This time I layered the following items twice in a greased casserole dish.

  1. sliced potatoes
  2. sliced zucchini
  3. sliced onions
  4. sliced tomatoes (or chopped)
  5. shredded mozzarella cheese
  6. fresh chopped basil
  7. salt and pepper to taste

Bake covered at 375 degress for 45 minutes.  Remove cover and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft or easily pierced with a fork.

You can leave out the potatoes if you wish to make it more of a side dish.  Eggplant and peppers would be a nice addition.  It’s a simple way to use up your garden produce and the leftovers are great!

Stir Fried Vegetables Over Somali Bantu Rice

Monday, February 27th, 2017
Stir Fry Over Rice

Stir Fry Over Rice

Stir fries are a good way to use up small amounts of various veggies.  If you add some tofu or other protein it’s a very satisfying meal.

Here’s what I came up with this time.

8 oz tofu, cubed

2 dried shiitake mushrooms

1 cup water

1 T. Tamari

Simmer the above ingredients and drain, reserving the liquid.  Chop the mushrooms (discarding the harder stems,  and set the tofu mushroom mix aside.

Stir Fried Tofu and Veggies

Stir Fried Tofu and Veggies

2 T. Olive Oil

1 T. fresh ginger, minced

1 T. garlic, minced

1 medium onion, sliced

5 stalks bok choy, stems sliced and separated from the greens

1 cup cauliflower, chopped or sliced

1 cup red cabbage, sliced **

1/4 cup sherry

2 T. tamari

1 T. arrowroot

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté ginger and garlic for 30 seconds, then add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened.  Add bok choy stems, cauliflower and red cabbage along with reserved liquid (and enough water to make 1 cup) from the tofu mushroom mix.  Cover and simmer for 3 minutes.  Add bok choy greens, cover and simmer for 2 more minutes.  Mix sherry, tamari and arrowroot together until there are no lumps.  Mix into vegetables and stir for 1 minute until thickened and liquid looks clear.

Serve over your favorite rice.  I cooked Himalayan Red Rice in the Somali Bantu style – recipe.  The red rice does take 50-55 minutes to cook.  If you start the rice first, by the time you get your ingredients ready and chop up all your veggies the rice will be almost finished when you’re ready to stir fry.  It’s just a matter of prioritizing what needs to be done first.

**If you do use red cabbage be aware that any leftovers will be purple the next day, especially the tofu!






Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Sunday, February 26th, 2017
Veggie Shepherd's Pie

Veggie Shepherd’s Pie

“It is a homely thing in one or another sense of the word, depending on your point of views.”  Glyn Lloyd-Hughes, Description of Shepherd’s Pie:  The Foods of England

I should perhaps title this recipe Shepherdess Pie which apparently is a variation made without meat but I hadn’t heard the term before I started looking at recipes.  Shepherd’s Pie was traditionally made with minced lamb and Cottage Pie was made with minced beef.

It’s easy enough to make and even easier if you have leftover mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables.


Veggies in the Steamer

Veggies in the Steamer

6 cups steamed vegetables of your choice (part or all leftover veggies)  I used bok choy, cauliflower, carrots, collard greens, onions and threw in some frozen green beans at the last minute.

4-6 cups mashed potatoes  (either leftover or made with 2 1/2 to 3 pounds potatoes)

Shallots and Mushrooms

Shallots and Mushrooms

2 cups gravy or sauce of your choice   (this may be leftover gravy or fresh mushroom gravy-see recipe )    If you prefer you could use a tomato or cheese sauce instead of traditional gravy.

Oil a deep dish pie plate or casserole dish.  Mix veggies and gravy and scrape into pie plate.  Place mashed potatoes on top to cover filling all the way to the edge of the dish.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 45 minutes until gravy is bubbling.  Timing will depend upon the temperature of the ingredients when placed in the oven.  If all ingredients are freshly cooked and warm it will take about 25 minutes.  If they are leftovers and cold from the fridge it will take longer to heat through.  Enjoy!

Pie on a Plate

Pie on a Plate

Waiting for a Handout

Waiting for a Handout

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Sweet Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy

As you may have read before, Noel’s sweet potato harvest produced almost 125 pounds of edible roots.  He planted the same number of plants (18) that he has for the last several years but we had such significant rainfall throughout 2016 that the potatoes grew bigger, therefore increased our total poundage.

With that being said . . . we have a lot of sweet potato eating to do.  Since sweet potatoes are, well . . . sweet, I like to counter balance them with something savory.  This time I made a mushroom gravy. Here’s a link to a previous post on vegetarian gravy methods.   I also add other veggies to the gravy, such as baby bok choy or chopped collards.

Bake your scrubbed and fork pierced potatoes at 400 degrees until soft all the way through. Check with a fork or knife. Baking time depends on the size of the potato. Larger ones take about an hour. I start checking after one hour and at fifteen minute intervals for the big ones.  They can take an hour and a half or more.

Mushroom Gravy

Mushroom Gravy Ingredients:

2 T. unbleached flour

2 T. nutritional yeast

Dry roast/toast the flour and nutritional yeast  in a preheated (to medium) cast iron frying pan stirring constantly for 5 minutes.  Set aside.

2 T. olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dried thyme or 1 tsp. fresh if you have it

2 cups sliced button or cremini mushrooms

2 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and chopped or use fresh (I had 8 dried mushrooms)

1 T. tamari

1 T. liquid aminos

2 cups water (I used the shiitake soaking liquid plus enough water to make 2 cups)

Alternatively, use 2 cups vegetable broth and skip the tamari and liquid aminos.

Sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and thyme and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Blend the 2 cups liquid with the tamari, liquid aminos and  flour nutritional yeast mixture.  Pour over mushroom sauté and cook until bubbly and thickened.

Serve your gravy over a baked sweet potato and dig in!


Hot Tomato Sandwich

Sunday, September 25th, 2016
Tomatoes and Garlic

Tomatoes and Garlic

Are you looking for something to do with all those cherry tomatoes?  In addition to salsas, cobblers, pasta sauces, etc., how about a hot tomato sandwich?  This is a vegetarian version of your typical hot beef or hot turkey sandwich and just as satisfying.


1-2 T. Olive Oil

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (about 2 pounds)

1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground pepper

Basil garnish – optional

Shredded parmesan cheese – optional

Whole grain bread slices, toasted

Simmering Tomatoes and Garlic

Simmering Tomatoes and Garlic

Preheat cast iron pan on medium.  Add oil and garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute.  This should keep the garlic from getting too brown or burning.  Add the prepared tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.  Serve over your favorite toasted whole grain bread.  Top with fresh basil and/or shredded parmesan if you wish.  The open-faced sandwich is  pictured here with freshly picked steamed green (plus purple and yellow) beans.  Enjoy – we do!

Hot Tomato Sandwich and Beans

Hot Tomato Sandwich and Beans

Cucumber Salad

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

Need a quick cucumber salad for lunch or dinner that’s just a step up from plain sliced cucumbers?

Try this:

1-2 peeled cucumbers, thinly sliced

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt

1 T. white wine vinegar

Slice your cucumbers as thin as you can.  if you have a mandoline so much the better, and faster.  There’s something different about the slices when they’re thinner versus thicker.  Sprinkle with salt and lightly stir.  Let stand for 15-30 minutes.   Drain most of the liquid – no need to squeeze or dry the cucumbers.

Then kick those slices up a notch with a splash of white wine vinegar.  Gently and thoroughly mix it in.  Add more vinegar if you like but less is better.  This makes a simple but refreshing side salad.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad and Kohlrabi Pancakes

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Sweet Potato Salad and Kohlrabi Pancakes

Sweet Potato Salad and Kohlrabi Pancakes

‘Tis the season for garden veggie meals.  We’ve been mixing the old and the new, i.e. some veggies from last year’s harvest and some fresh from this year’s crop.  It’s not always easy to come up with brand new recipes but by virtue of what’s available in the pantry and/or the garden, the dishes end up being different most of the time.

One of our many favorites is Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad.  I first posted the recipe here.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad

Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad

This time, I tried something different.  I didn’t have a prebaked and chilled sweet potato so I peeled a raw one (from last year’s harvest), cut it into 3/4″ chunks and steamed them for 10 minutes.  I let the chunks cool naturally in a bowl while I prepared the rest of the ingredients.

The chopped red onion was also from last year’s crop.  Instead of a serrano pepper I sliced a banana pepper and threw in some parsley, pepper cress and lettuce from this year’s garden.  It was fine but I still love cilantro the best in this salad.  Unfortunately, unless you plant cilantro every 2 weeks or so (succession planting as they say) it never seems to be available when you really want it!

To accompany the sweet potato salad I made Kohlrabi Pancakes which I first posted here.   I followed the recipe using 2 kohlrabies about 3″ across.  When shredded they made just about the right amount – 2 cups – for the pancakes.  They were delicate and delicious.  I don’t think anyone would guess what was in them.

Let us know what you’re eating from your larder and garden these days.   Good appetite!


Snow Peas A’Plenty

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

This has been a great year for peas and we didn’t even have to share any with the roaming neighborhood deer.  (Noel will tell you about his new electronic deer detractors in another post.)  We have been eating snow peas and a couple varieties of sugar snap peas (edible pods) every day for the past 3 weeks.

We have served them plain right out of the garden, as an appetizer with a dollop of  soft feta/cream mix or hummus on one end, and with various stir fries, fried rice and salads.

Here’s a picture of my latest fried rice:

Snow Pea Fried Rice

Snow Pea Fried Rice

Here’s a picture of a sugar snap pea pod salad taken to a pot luck, followed by the recipe.

Sugar Pea Pod Salad

Sugar Pea Pod Salad


Sugar Snap Pea Pod Salad

4 cups sugar snap peas, cleaned and stringed

1 shallot, finely minced

1/4 cup feta cheese, finely chopped or crumbled

2-4 cups garden lettuce

vinaigrette salad dressing

Blanch sugar snap peas (edible pods and all) for 1 minute in boiling water.  Drain and immediately chill in cold water to stop the cooking and keep the peas crunchy.  Gently dry with a towel.

Toss peas and shallots with 2 T. vinaigrette or Italian style dressing.  (May chill in refrigerator at this point.)  Arrange on a bed of lettuce and sprinkle with feta cheese.  Serve with freshly ground pepper and extra dressing on the side.

Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, squeezed or mashed with 1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. stone ground or Dijon mustard

2 T. white wine vinegar

4 T. extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

Mix mustard into the garlic mash.  Stir in vinegar and beat in olive oil with a small fork.  May double the recipe for a larger serving.

Have a pea pickin’ good day!

Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015
Mulched Brussels Sprouts

Mulched Brussels Sprouts

We still have Brussels sprouts growing in the garden. They can tolerate light freezes and even colder temperatures if covered with straw or leaves – which we have done. Most years I pick the sprouts before it gets super cold, then blanch and freeze them. This year the freezer was already at capacity so that was not an option.

Lately I’ve been roasting the sprouts. There are lots of variations on the theme but basically the vegetables are tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400 degree oven until “done”. I use “done” loosely because your version of done may be different than mine. Timing can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes, depending upon the size of the sprouts and your definition of done. Some people like them just barely cooked and some like them browned and crispy.  Use some caution, overcooking can make them mushy inside.

Sprouts on Parchment

Sprouts on Parchment


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1-2 pounds Brussels sprouts

2-4 T. olive oil

1 clove squeezed garlic mashed with 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt or to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Clean and trim Brussels sprouts. If they are very large you may want to cut them in half or cut an X in the stem end. Mix garlic/salt mixture with olive oil and toss with the sprouts. Grind pepper over all. Place on a greased broiler pan or use parchment paper. Bake until just done or until browned and crispy – your choice! The sprouts pictured were small, about the size of a nickel, and were roasted for 25 minutes.

We served them with a red wine/tamari seared portobello mushroom, buttered potatoes and pureed Red Kuri squash. Yum!

Portobello Harvest Dinner

Portobello Harvest Dinner