Fresh-Tomato Chili ♥ Recipe

Fresh-Tomato Chili, ♥, made and topped with fresh tomatoes. Low Carb. WW5.
Today's recipe: A meaty chili made with fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes, a great way to use up a surplus of garden tomatoes, especially late in the season when it's cooled down a bit too. Most of all, fresh tomatoes served on top of chili are wonderful!

At the farmers market on Saturday, the woman selling tomatoes reported that for years, she fought off Vicious Tomato Fiends aka Box Turtles. Even one turtle, she said, can ravage a good garden because it will reach up, take one bite, then move onto the next tomato and take another bite! Don't turtles know about the Clean Plate Club?! Or food waste?

Anyway our garden must be turtle-free because it's still producing Roma tomatoes like crazy. Last week we picked a huge basketful and I wanted to use a bunch, asap. Here's what I learned:

Yes, fresh tomatoes make a great chili – no better than canned tomatoes but still, a great chili. If you have lots of tomatoes to use up, yeah, for sure, make chili. But chili made with fresh tomatoes isn't much different than chili made with canned tomatoes.
A great chili topped with really good fresh garden tomatoes? Now that's special! We loved how the deep/dark/spicy/spiced chili contrasted with the cool/wet/fresh tomatoes. Gorgeous, will totally do this again!

Oh and before I forget. About that meat? A Note to Vegetarians.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette ♥ Recipe

Apple Cider Vinaigrette ♥, a no-fat salad dressing, full of fall flavor, lovely with salad greens and fruit. Low Carb. WW0.
graphic button small size size 10 Today's salad dressing recipe: A no-fat vinaigrette made with apple cider, cider vinegar, agave (or honey) and spiked with cinnamon. Weight Watchers zero – yeah, that's zero, nada, no – points, really! Low carb. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real". graphic button small size size 10

~recipe republished for a little weekend cooking inspiration~
~more recently updated recipes~

WAY BACK IN 2008 When it comes to food, we're all creatures of habit in our own ways. My way, these days, is to experiment with one new salad dressing recipe after another – this after years of making the same salad dressing again and again and again. Granted, it's a concept recipe, so no night's salad was ever the same as the last. Still.

This latest salad dressing is so perfect for fall, just as autumn's apples and apple cider are beginning to reach the markets. (Peaches? So last summer!) It couldn't be simpler to make! Plus, if you're looking for a guilt-free dressing, this is it. There's no oil (although for anyone who likes, it's quite lovely whisked with a little good olive oil, too) and it's sweetened with agave, the plant-based low-glycemic sweetener especially appreciated by vegans (who don't eat honey), carb watchers and diabetics.

UPDATE Call me smitten with this dressing! Last year, I kept a jar of Apple Cider Vinaigrette in the fridge all winter long! I also took to whisking in a tablespoon of good olive oil into three or four tablespoons Apple Cider Vinaigrette. It practically pops, like fall acorns falling on pavement!

Sheetpan Supper: Roasted Salmon with Garden Hash & Creamy Avocado Sauce ♥

Roasted Salmon with Garden Hash & Creamy Avocado Sauce cooked on a sheet pan, a Quick Supper recipe ♥ Low Carb. High Protein. WW7.
Fresh salmon and a vegetable hash with summer squash, bell pepper and corn roasted together in a sheet pan, served with an avocado-buttermilk sauce that reminds me of guacamole. Low Carb. High Protein. Summer gorgeous.

THIS TIME OF YEAR, OH! THIS TIME OF YEAR August and September, they're my favorites months to cook. The fullness of late-summer and early fall make each day's stove-side dance an unrestrained rhythm of reaching for vegetables plucked from the garden earlier in the day, adding some onion, garlic maybe, a few seasonings. Mostly, the vegetables tell their own stories without the rigidity of a recipe. But I take notes, listening to their requests, learning what this zucchini likes, what that corn does not. And when the rhythm plus the words make a dish that sings, my notes later arrange themselves into lists of simple ingredients and hints to guide the hands of other cooks in other kitchens, a chorus of sorts. Yeah, pure poetry. Not my words, but the dance itself. Do August and September make you dance? It's a happy thought, all of us dancing in our respective kitchens, listening to the songs of vegetables.

QUICK SUPPERS So y'know, what I call "Quick Suppers" are much-visited favorite recipes at How I never thought to deliver the same to A Veggie Venture, I'm not sure! But look for more recipes like today's, still vegetable centric but more attuned to an evening meal.

Just so you know, my definition of a "Quick Supper" doesn't just watch the clock. Instead, Quick Supper recipes go easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Every recipe fits at least three of those four goals and the best recipes match up with all four. Since A Veggie Venture is the "blog about vegetables" but not vegetarian, please know, some of these recipes will include protein from meat and fish. But not to worry, the already-long list of Vegetarian Suppers will continue to grow as well. Want to know more? Note to Vegetarians

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Vinaigrette ♥

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Vinaigrette ♥ Low Carb. WW2. Vegan. Easy!
How to roast a whole head of cauliflower in the oven. Yes, I really did say a "whole head" of cauliflower! It comes out all brown and nutty and dramatic looking, easy enough for a weeknight but impressive enough for your mother-in-law. And Weight Watchers? All this for just one or two Weight Watchers points! Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

~recipe republished 2015 for a little weekend inspiration~
~more recently updated recipes~

So isn't it gorgeous?! There's just something so spectacular about cooking a whole head of cauliflower. I am my mother's daughter after all, she loved to cook a head of cauliflower and top it with cheese sauce. (Who remembers Whole Cauliflower with Homemade Cheese Sauce?!)

But this is even more dramatic looking, thanks to how the florets get all toasty brown in the oven. It's like a cross between the comfort food of Mom's cauliflower and ease of Roasted Cauliflower, which was the very first – first! – recipe published on Day One of A Veggie Venture back Before the Internet in 2005.

Slow Cooker Beans & Tomatoes ♥ for Meatless Monday

Slow Cooker Beans & Tomatoes, another Meatless Monday idea ♥ Vegan. Low Carb. WW7 or WW8.
Fresh green beans and tomatoes cooked in a slow cooker and served with rice. A great recipe for spanning the seasons, late summer through early fall. Gluten Free. Paleo. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

So.Here's.The.Thing. Slow cookers? You drive me C.R.A.Z.Y. The inspiring recipe from a trusted recipe source, one I have great success with again and again, said to cook these beans and tomatoes for seven hours in a slow cooker. Seven hours? Lucky I checked, mine were done in one hour although I did let them cook another half hour.

And then because dinner wasn't planned for another few hours, I just let the beans/tomatoes cool down and served them later at room temperature on top of rice. The result? A wonderful late-summer and season-spanning supper, easy, simple and satisfying.

Tomato & Onion Salad ♥

Tomato & Onion Salad ♥, so simple, so sumptuous. Low Carb. Vegan. WW1.
OH MY. This is salad is food for kings, so much more than the sum of its parts. "All it is" is perfect summer tomatoes, sliced thin, drizzled with olive oil and vinegar, topped with ice-soaked onions and fresh mint. But somehow? So so much more.

~recipe updated 2015 for a little weeknight salad inspiration~
~more recently updated recipes~

WAY BACK IN 2008 Whew! For a week or more now, St. Louisans have been worrying whether the 2008 tomato crop would be worth eating. Perhaps because of a long, damp and cool spring, the early tomatoes were mealy and flavorless. The heirlooms were worse, scaly on the outside with dense pockets of inedible flesh inside.

What a difference some hot summer sunshine makes! These tomatoes from my hometown farmers market were gorgeous, definitely worthy of this oh-so-simple treatment that adds up to way more than the sum of its parts.

There are two tricks here. The first is the effect of soaking thin-sliced onions in ice water for a half hour, releasing the sharpness. The second is letting thin-sliced tomatoes macerate in a little sugar, a little salt, just a splash of olive oil and vinegar, also for 30 minutes.

These tomatoes, tomato lovers, are worth waiting for.

Green Pepper Frittata ♥

Green Pepper Frittata ♥ a riff on my master frittata recipe, perfect for late-summer breakfast. Low Carb. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free. Weight Watchers PointsPlus 6. @
graphic button small size size 10 Today's easy vegetable frittata: An easy-to-make, quick-to-the-table frittata, soft and custardy and studded with bits of green bell pepper. Weight Watchers Friendly, just PointsPlus 6 for a generous, filling and satisfying serving. Low Cal. Low Carb. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free. graphic button small size size 10

Hello, all! Anyone else having a relaxing long weekend? It's the unofficial end of summer for many, me too, even if it's still hot-hot-hot here in eastern Missouri, even if the cornucopia of late-summer vegetables will be with us for at least another month. You know the ones, right? Eggplant. Tomatoes. Zucchini. Tomatillos. And Bell Peppers! Barrels and baskets of rainbow-colored peppers, orange, red, yellow, purple, gold!

And yes, green peppers too although too bad, the most common pepper isn't so popular right now. Me, I love the savory side of the green pepper, slightly bitter. The ones from our garden (and your farmers market) have thinner skins, a more pungent flavor than their thick-skinned cousins from the supermarket. I wanted to showcase the less-loved green pepper and it turns out, a Green Pepper Frittata did just the trick.

Not into frittatas? Me either, for the longest while. Then I came across a Donna Hay recipe that calls for a lot of milk. All the milk creates the frittata of my dreams, soft and custardy. And that's the way I've been making frittatas two or three times a month since 2012, learning the in's and out's, playing the variations. Kitchen Parade readers will remember Never-the-Same-Twice Vegetable Frittata, that's the basis of today's frittata too.