Q: I got about a dozen jalapeño peppers from my CSA box. I don't know what to do with them, other than to make salsa, which I don't want to do. I cook family meals that a 4-year-old has to be able to eat, so really spicy meals are out of the question. What can I do with these?
I was recently at a higher-end grocery store picking up some cheese to have around for the weekend. I grabbed fingerling potatoes to have for dinner that night, got up to the register only to learn that the small bag was $11. I had one of those moments of minor shock and uncertainty: I needed the potatoes for dinner but couldn't pay that for a small bag of fingerlings. I apologized and told the cashier I should put them back, strolled over to the produce aisle and found myself staring down what seemed like dozens of potato varieties: which to choose for roasting?
Surely root vegetables are among the most intimidating and mysterious. They come out of the ground hairy with roots and dirty with mud, looking more like something to adorn a haunted house than to eat. But lovers of potatoes to parsnips to jicama know there's something good inside, and Diane Morgan wants to help you discover the deliciousness in these and other, less familiar, root vegetables in her new book: Roots: The Definitive Compendium.
If you're much into canning, you've likely turned towards fall jams and apple butter at this point in the year. Maybe you're preserving the last of those early fall tomatoes. But wait just one minute! We've discovered a use for sweet peppers and tomatoes that's even easier than canning — and just as delicious. Freezer slaw.
Looking for an impressive vegetable dish or an interesting new way to prepare cauliflower? Check out this gorgeous recipe for a whole, roasted cauliflower head, rubbed with tandoori spices and served with a side of mint chutney.
Green beans are sometimes touted as the elemental food of the garden, meant to be picked and eaten with a bare toss in the frying pan. But I think that this does most green beans a disservice. Yes, those baby beans, whip-thin with a delicate skin, are very nice when eaten nearly raw. But most mature green beans are really more delicious after a long, slow braise — toothsome, but not mushy, with fibers broken down into savory flavors. These beans are my favorite way to enjoy fresh or frozen green beans, braised until tender with onion, garlic, white wine, and a touch of spicy pepper and lemon.
Dining rooms are a place to get dramatic. They're often used for entertaining and they're a room where we might take risks we would't dare elsewhere. That's where eggplant comes in. It might a a vegetable (a fruit, actually), but it's also a dark, rich, sexy color that would make a bold statement in the dining room:
Zucchini, squash, late season tomatoes, carrots. They're all filling up market stands right now and begging for a new kitchen experiment. While hearty fall pasta dishes may beckon in the cooler evenings, taking a break with veggie noodles is a nice way to mix up the typical pasta routine.
I've never been one for hiding vegetables in unlikely foods simply for the sake of getting more into your daily diet. But there's something to be said for thinking of creative ways to use up a small household glut of something good. Extra zucchini? How about folding it into chocolate waffles? Extra sweet potatoes? They bake into morning pancakes beautifully.
When you think of casseroles, do the words elegant and beautiful come to your mind? Probably not. Casseroles have many admirable qualities, but they are of the plainer, stodgier sort. Unless, that is, they are French.