Saturday, November 12, 2016

Join our "Eat Your Rainbow Challenge"!

By Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane and Victoria Maffini

Read to the end to find out about our challenge and GIVEAWAY!  It's easy and worth it!

I don’t know about you, but it’s once again time for me to face the music and improve my health. The secret for that challenge will be veggies. If I want to be healthy and energetic, I have to eat lots of  veggies at every meal.  Let me be clear: the rest of the plate shouldn’t be triple chocolate cake.

I love vegetables, but, face it, they take a bit of planning and prep. And it’s very easy to fall into a boring selection of ‘same old, same old’.  The secret of keeping it fresh, interesting and balanced is to eat all the colors of veggies.

I'm looking to party!  I wonder if Miss Carrot is free to join me?

All to say, my next few posts will be on how to inject variety and ramp up flavor to eat vegetables at their most delicious, without adding a cup of sugar, a handful of flour or a deep-fryer. Of course, that all might be tasty too, but I won’t be doing it.

So over the next four months, I’ll be working toward a better weight and improved blood sugar with my posts here on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, and I hope you’ll be part of my solution. But I don’t intend to give up flavor or enjoyment.  For every recipe, I’ll ask you to come by and offer your own tips and preferences, or just a comment.  At the end, everyone who has commented will have their names in a hat and will be eligible for the ‘grand veggie prize. Every post, I’ll put your names in if you comment. The more often you come by, the more chances you have. Don’t forget your email addies!  

You’ll see the prize after the recipe, although that’s a prize in itself. 

Kicking off the challenge we have two old friends to help us:  Cauliflower and Carrots. Kind of plain folks, but you can dress them up.  And when they team up with brown butter sauce, hang on to your hat:  they are happening in a whole new way.  Talk about Cinderella veggies.

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite chefs: the brilliant but accessible Ina Garten.  I have all her books and I use them.  I adapted this one from Make It Ahead and used some of our own favorite techniques and I assume you’d be putting your own stamp on it too.  

 So here’s: 


Carrot & Cauliflower Purée

1 medium head cauliflower, core removed and cut into florets
1 ½ pounds carrots, scraped and chopped into ‘coins’.
4 ounces butter
Juice of one small lemon
¼ fresh parsley chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste

We used our pasta cooker to boil the cauliflower, because the strainer insert made it easy to reuse the water for the carrots. If you were in a hurry, you could have two pots boiling, but then you’d have to wash them.

Bring water to a boil, add cauliflower and cook for 18 - 20 minutes, until tender.  Remove from water and then add carrots to same water.  Cook for about 20 minutes.  Return cauliflower to the water to for one or two minutes to reheat, if you are serving this right away.  Otherwise, just strain the carrots. 

Return drained veggies to pot.
Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over medium low heat until it turns golden brown.  

  Don’t let it burn! Add parsley and lemon and heat through.  

Use an immersion blender to purée the veggies.  

 Then add the brown butter and lemon sauce.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  This was so good that we couldn’t stop eating it.  And yet, it was full of vitamins.

Transfer to a heatproof serving bowl or dish. 

It makes quite a bit so you will have veggies for a couple of meals or for a good-sized group. It reheats beautifully.  Really, the butter is spread over quite a few servings, so I decided to relax about it because  still met my goals for the week. 

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did at our house.
Here’s the grand prize: a beautiful leaf serving dish, for your own veggies. Any color of the rainbow will look beautiful served on it!  Can you just imagine how they will pop?

Hope to hear from you. Bring your tips.

The veggie loving duo known as Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between Mary Jane Maffini and her artist daughter, Victoria Maffini.

 They've had a lot of fun with the five book collector mysteries.

The latest one, The Hammett Hex, is now available.

 Come and visit us on Facebook!  CLICK HERE

If you don't have The Hammett Hex yet,  here's your chance:

 CLICK HERE or ask your favorite booksellter




  1. Glad to hear you will be concentrating on veggies and good health over the next few months. I have to say that when I saw the amount of butter used in your recipe, I almost scrolled on by!!!! But since the recipe makes so many servings, I will give it a try.
    Last night I roasted 5-6 different veggies on a large pan and my husband (the veggie hater) actually loved it. There is hope!!!

  2. Thanks, Sharon. We love roasted veggies. The taste is totally different! Don't forget to give us your email addy.

    1. oops....forgot!!!! sharonquiltsatyahoodotcom

  3. Thanks for the recipe, Mary Jane! Since I'm allergic to potatoes this looks like a nice substitute for Thanksgiving's mashed potatoes :) I like to add a handful of broccoli, carrots, and spinach to my fruit smoothie every morning (although the color takes a bit of getting used to), or make a pumpkin spice smoothie with frozen mango chunks for the sweetness instead of fruit juice. Your veggie platter is a gorgeous giveaway, thanks for the chance! kimdavishb (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Thanks, Kim! I love your smoothie ideas. I must start to do that. I hear you about the color. Hugs.

  4. I admit it. I don't eat at all healthy and I don't care for veggies, especially cooked. I really should at my age, but, there you go! Perhaps I can give this a try. I do like raw carrots, but don't like them cooked.

    I did just try a sweet potato item, and I don't like them-but this was amazing. A Sinister Spud cupcake from Sinful Sweets bakery...probably not what you had in mind for adding healthy veggies though!

    cozyupwithkathy @ gmail dot com

    1. Deat Katreader. Your cupcake sounds great. Veggies can add a lot to baked treats.

      I am not a fan of cooked carrots and I liked this recipe because it didn't taste like carrots. Thanks for coming by. Your name's in the hat.

  5. This recipe sound so good, only problem for me is that there are just two of us and hubby does not like either cooked cauliflower or carrots and that would be way too much for me unless it freezes.
    Nancy B

    1. I think it will freeze, Nancy B. We'll try it! The neat thing about it is that it doesn't taste like either veggie. But as a person who worked HARD to like veggies, I understand your hubby's challenge. Hugs. MJ

  6. I love all kinds of mushrooms, especially cooked in browned butter. Simple but delicious!

    1. Yum! We love mushrooms too, sauteed. Never thought of the browned butter. Will give it a try. Hugs. MJ

  7. I like to cut carrots into strips like shoe string fries, toss them with olive oil, a little sea salt, chopped fresh rosemary and just a sprinkle of brown sugar and roast them in the oven until they are tender.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

    1. Oh my,Sandy! That sounds wonderful. Thank you. Hugs. MJ

  8. MJ, this is a great series you're starting -- and of course, a beautiful prize. My tip? Spices. (Surprise!) Roast veggies with a little oil, salt, and a handful of herbs -- herbes de Provence, an Italian blend, a curry or garam masala (Indian cooking isn't all about heat -- there's a lot of flavor!) Or steam your veggies and dress with oil and spices in your serving bowl. I'll post about creating some of those spice blends soon!

    1. Thanks so much, Leslie! I think your spice blend post will be dynamite. Yum!

      XO MJ

  9. I love this contest! How very clever of you. As a matter of fact, if my plan works, I may be posting a veggie recipe myself. Can't wait to see your recipes. We need to eat more veggies here, too.

    1. I'm actually down FIVE pounds so far, so I love it too. I look forward to your veggie recipes too. You always have very tasty takes on ingredients. XO MJ

  10. I recently made this Ina Garten recipe for my MIL's birthday, and it was a hit but oh so much butter. In our house the amount of butter makes this a special occasion recipe. We eat a lot of salads, stir fries, and roasted veggies. Also, in our house potatoes, corn, winter squash, and other starchy veggies don't count as veggies when I'm meal planning. They get lumped in with the other carbs on the plate. I look forward to you upcoming posts.

    1. Thanks, Daniele! We will be making this again and will probably try it with different amounts of butter (and lemon and parsley). Look forward to seeing you again here. Don't forget email addy! You can leave out the @ and the . before com to disguise it from trolls. Hugs. MJ

  11. I am not much of a veggie person (I drink V-8's), but I know that's not the best option. I will give this a try!