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Kalyn's Kitchen

Lots of Things Happening in December, and We’re Also Cooking with Herbs!

How did 2007 go by so quickly? It feels like I just looked up from the computer keyboard for a few seconds, and suddenly it’s December. This is a special time of year of course, and in addition to all the holiday celebrating there are two events happening now which should be of interest to anyone who loves food blogs.

First, December is time for A Menu for Hope, a food blogger fundraiser to support the UN World Food Program. I’m hosting for the mid-U.S. region again this year, so contact me if you’d like to offer a prize. You can get more details about A Menu for Hope 2007 at Chez Pim.

Also happening in December is the Food Blog Awards. You only only have until December 5 at midnight to make nominations if you’d like to give a nod to your faves, so head over to the Well Fed Network and nominate your favorite food blogs.

Now, back to Weekend Herb Blogging #111. As usual a lot of fantastic cooks have been using interesting ingredients and sending recipes to share with all of you. This time there are some really unusual things on the menu, so let’s start talking about them.


When he was in a bit of a funk and didn’t know what to cook, Peter from Kalofagas – Pursuit of Delicious Foods found a great recipe on the internet. Take a look at the bowl of Spagetti with Squid and Artichoke Cream Peter came up with and see if you wouldn’t like a taste.

Jerry from Jerry’s Thoughts, Musings, and Rants is really longing for breakfast in bed, but it is not to be, so he gets busy and makes Ham and Asparagus Fritatta. I love the sound of Gruyere cheese in this, one of my very favorite types of cheese.

Assorted Herbs

Kevin of Closet Cooking has been inspired by a previous Weekend Herb Blogging post about Larb, a type of Lao salad, spicy with chiles and served with lots of interesting herbs. Kevin made his version with ground turkey, a nice variation, and it looks very tasty.

Bamboo Shoots
Arfi from HomeMadeS discovers bamboo shoots growing by a river, which remind her of a dish her mother used to make. After some consultation, she creates Bamboo Shoots and Banana Bud Curry, made in the Tagalan style of Indonesian cooking. Be sure to take a look at these interesting ingredients.

Barlotti Beans

For her final post from Italy before she returns to her home of Melbourne, Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once has tried some fresh Barlotti Beans, which are so beautifully colored, it’s almost a shame to cook them. However once you see the dish of Barlotti Beans Braised with Onion, Tomato, and Cime de Rape that Haalo has created, you’ll agree they’re just a lovely once they’re cooked.


Basil is such a versatile flavor, and the Winter Warmer Soup created by Kaykat from Cooking From A to Z has combined it with a lot of good flavors to make a creamy soup. The soup starts with carrots, parsnips and onions, then gets a bit of garlic, ginger, milk and yogurt, and some fresh chopped basil at the end.

An entry from Pepy of The Art and Science of Food reminded me of why I love Weekend Herb Blogging, since she wrote about bilimbi, a fruit I’ve never heard of before. You can follow that link to Wikipedia if you also don’t know what this tropical fruit is, but then be sure to visit Pepy to see her dish of Bilimbi and Cumi Tumis Aceh, which also uses another very interesting ingredients.

Butternut Squash

In Brazil, Patricia from Technicolor Kitchen has honored a request to make Doce de Abobora or Butternut Squash Compote. She says it’s a traditional dessert there, and it sounds like the kind of simple but delicious concoction that would become a favorite no matter where you lived.

At Kalyn’s Kitchen I was in a bit of a cabbage mood this week, and Asian Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds and Peanuts seemed like a great way to have a crunchy salad with cabbage that’s pretty nutritious and tasty too. I love sesame seeds, and was surprised to realize I’d never written about them before for Weekend Herb Blogging.

Dried Beans

Lucy from Nourish Me has got a thing going for spices, pulses, and grains. Sounds like a good obsession to me, especially when you can combine them creatively and come up with a dish like her Mung Dal with Cashews and Carrots.

I’m a huge fan of white bean chili, and Pam at Sidewalk Shoes has created a Slow-Cooker White Chili that sounds just wonderful. The dish has dried beans, garlic, onions, jalapenos, and oregano, but I think Pam would agree with me that even though I’m filing it under beans, it wouldn’t be the same without the cilantro.

Terry at Blue Kitchen is also making white chili, but his version is White Chile with More Spice than Fire. The chili is seasoned with garlic, ginger, bay leaves, cumin, and oregano, and then garnished with tomatoes, green onions, and lots of chopped cilantro for a finish that makes me smile.

I always love to see what Burcu is cooking at Almost Turkish Recipes, and usually it’s something that looks great to me. This week she has used some Sujuk, a type of middle eastern beef sausage, and made Black-Eyed Peas with Sujuk. There’s parsley and tomatoes in there, but I’ve made an executive decision and filed this one with the beans!

File (Sassafras leaves)
She may kill me for this, but before I tell you about what she’s been cooking I want to say Happy Birthday (today!) to Sher from What Did You Eat! (And not only do Sher and I have our birthdays just six days apart, but we are the same age, so we’ve agreed that we really should be celebrating together!) Ok, got distracted there, but wait until you see Sher’s fabulous contribution of Shrimp and Crab File Seafood Gumbo. File leaves are used to flavor and thicken the gumbo, and this is a Cajun dish which never contains okra. This is a dish that Sher grew up making, and when you read her post it will be easy to see why this is her very favorite meal.


Ginger has so many healing properties that Tigerfish from Teczcape thinks we should all be eating more ginger. It certainly won’t be hard to gobble it up when you see her amazing looking Deep Fried Ginger Fries, truly an innovative way to cook it.

Strata of My Bay Area Garden always has something interesting growing in her garden. Today my own garden is buried deep under the snow, while Strata is growing greens hydroponically, things like Tsa Tsoi and Forenschluss Speckled Lettuce. Check it out, you will be impressed and possibly a bit envious if your garden is also under the snow.

Jerusalem Artichoke
A delightful sounding soup made from topinambour or Jerusalem artichoke was sent by Ronell from My French Kitchen. I was so happy to see a photo of Jerusalem artichokes, which I haven’t had before, and the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with shallots, sweet potatoes, boquet garnic, and just a touch of cream and lemon sounds wonderful.

I love experimenting with recipes and so does Helen of News from My Kitchen. Recently she tried an interesting combination of ingredients to make Kiwi Beetroot Chocolate Cheese Coins, a type of little cookie which sounds quite intriguing.


If you’re not familiar with the plant called kohlrabi you must visit Delectable Victuals where Sheela will give you some good information about this tasty vegetable. Sheela has used it to make Kohlrabi Dal, a dish that sounds like it’s full of interesting flavors.

What are the odds that two bloggers would write about Kohlrabi the same week; it must be a trend, don’t you think? At Farmgirl Fare Susan is answering her own question, What to Do with Purple Kohlrabi: Puree It! Be sure to check out the purple kohlrabi, especially if you haven’t seen this interesting plant.

Puy lentils are such a wonderfully versatile food, and at Vanielje Kitchen, she is using them as the main ingredient for a wonderful sounding salad. I love the sound of Autumn Puy Lentil salad with Feta and Sundried Tomatoes, so many of my favorite flavors!

Gay from A Scientist in the Kitchen is lucky to live in a place where there are lots of mangoes! She’s giving us some interesting mango facts this week, and a recipe for Green, Red, and Yellow Veggies with Mango-Mayo Dressing. I love the sound of a slightly spicy dressing with mango!

If you have mint in your freezer you can make mojitos all winter long, so says Gwen of Intoxicated Zodiac. The Hibiscus Water Mojito she’s making is especially for Taurus, but even if you’re not a Taurus, it sounds very tasty.

The discovery of a container of duck stock in the freezer has inspired Jeanne of Cook Sister to combine it with mushrooms and make Cream of Mushroom Soup with Truffle Oil. Although the duck stock made this soup special for sentimental reasons, Jeanne assures us you can make it with chicken stock if you don’t have any sentimental duck stock on hand.

Apparently I am not the only one who wants something fast for breakfast, because Sophie from Mostly Eating has been experimenting with ways to make porridge more quickly and also variations to add some interest. Wait until you see her latest one, Fig and Plum Porridge, definitely a winner. She has lots of other great ideas too, if you’re a lover of porridge (that’s oatmeal in the U.S.) don’t miss this post.

If you’re looking for an interesting idea for a homemade gift, consider the delightful sounding Vin d’ Oranges that Jennifer has made at Like to Cook. The combination of oranges, white wine, orange zest, sugar, and vodka hang out together to produce a delightful fruity liqueur.

I’m feeling rather jealous of Erin from The Skinny Gourmet who’s living for a while in Ghana, doesn’t that sound exciting. Erin is making the most of the local produce while she’s there and this time she’s prepared Papaya Faux-Custard with Pistachio, Honey, and Pomegranate, yum!

Pattypan Squash
At Jugalbandai, Jai and Bee have some adorable little pattypan squash to play with in their kitchen. Of course, being such a creative team, they’ve come up with Pattypan Squash Pizza, a very innovative use of one of my favorite garden veggies!

A recent visit to Italy took Simona from Briciole to her hometown of Orvieto where there is a saying “Don’t let the peasants know how good cheese is with pears.” Simona says it’s a bit of a paradox, since it seems that everyone in Italy knows that Cheese and Pears or Formaggio con le Pere is a marriage made in heaven.


There are two kinds of persimmons, and Susan of Food Blogga has been cooking with both types, but for her WHB entry she has used the rotund little Fuyu Persimmon. Not only is it just gorgeous, but the Persimmon and Pomegranate Salsa she made to go with her boneless pork chops sounds just delicious.

In Greece apparently vegetables that are cooked in tomato sauce until tender are called Yiachni, and Laurie from Tastes Like Home – Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska has made a tasty dish of Potatoes Yiachni in Tomato Onion Sauce. What caught my eye is that the potatoes are spiced up with Aleppo pepper, one of my very favorite ingredients!

Anna from Anna’s Cool Finds is always focused on healthy eating, so when she decided to use canned Campbell’s soup for a dish of Yukon Gold Potatoes with Cheesy Sauce, she wanted to see just what she was eating. Don’t miss Anna’s deconstructing the Campbell’s soup label, and see if the canned soup is more or less healthy than you would imagine.

Gretchen from Canela & Comino sends a very interesting recipe for Radicchio Salad, plus some amusing observations about a famous U.S. cooking icon. Turns out Gretchen’s own cooking skills aren’t too shabby, her version is better than the inspiring recipe.

Y at Lemonpi is remembering Adrienne Shelly, the writer and director of the movie Waitress who was murdered before knowing her movie had been successful. In the spirit of the movie and in memory of a talented woman, Y has created I’ll Miss You Adrienne Shelly Pie, a delicious sounding pie with strawberries. (Lovely movie if you have not seen it.)


Nice to know that I’m not the only person who brings in my fresh tarragon and freezes it when winter takes over the garden! Katie at Thyme for Cooking has used frozen tarragon to season a dish of Scallops Provencal with Tarragon that has so many delightful flavors with scallops, shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, tarragon, and thyme. She’s serving it with Pumpkin Gnocchi, which also sounds wonderful, and possibly a piece of chocolate on the side.

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    19 Comments on “Lots of Things Happening in December, and We’re Also Cooking with Herbs!”

  1. Sher, I agree, next year let’s celebrate big time.

  2. I won’t kill you!! :):) Thanks for the birthday wishes–and the great round-up. Next year we should have a big blowout!

  3. Thank you Kalyn, for doing such a wonderful job in hosting this event.The categorizing made the whole post a delight to read! What an exciting variety of vegetables and herbs..it is going to be fun to browse through them all!

  4. These are all delicious sounding recipes. Thanks so much for all your effort in producing this round up!

  5. Wow! A lot is happening! And I love this WHB line. As usual, everything sounds delicious.


  6. Exceptional line-up as always Kalyn!! I will have to get it together and cook something up soon.I love this event!!!

  7. I love how you’ve separated the ingredients – it really shows off the ‘worldwide’ and ‘cuisine-wide’ and creative uses of the WHB ingredients! Perfect!!

  8. Thanks for all the comments everyone. I was also astonished at what a variety of ingredients people came up with!

  9. What a wonderful round up, Kalyn!
    I’m glad to be a part of it.

  10. I know what you mean about time…I could swear I just planted my garden…
    Great round-up! I think the recipes get more innovative each week.

  11. I think more and more people are now involving much more around herbs and vegetables. Perhaps, it is really the ‘return to the basic’ time. It’s good of you to organize such event too, Kalyn.

  12. A wonderful round-up Kalyn. It’s amazing that there is so little overlap in ingredients despite there being so many entries!

  13. There are so many new bogs to check out – WHB is such a wonderful way to ‘meet’ new flavours and new cooks.

  14. Hey Kalyn,
    Thank you for the kind words. You did a fabulous job — I really enjoyed reading your write-ups. So many more great bloggers I have yet to know.

  15. what a great effort. thank you, kalyn.

  16. Thank you for hosting this event, we can learn so many things from other blogs

  17. Kalyn, I really love the way you organize your round-ups — it makes finding recipes so much easier. Thank you for all the effort you put into this ever-entertaining and useful event.

  18. I really do think you get the cream of the crop, the best of the best. The ones I’ve looked at are really wonderful. Herbs seem to just keep us going.

  19. Kalyn this is such a fantastic event and it certainly hasn’t lost any of it’s zest because it has been going for so long. I am so inspired by many of these entries and will have great fun searching thru them. Thanks for all your hard work