veg­etable preparation

  • Rus­set Pota­toes


    Back to the basics: every­thing you need to know about Rus­set Potatoes.

  • Savory Pear Tart

    It could very well be a savory pear tart. Or a car­rot souf­flé or even a Brus­sels sprouts Cae­sar salad with pecans that starts a hol­i­day dis­pute.

    A seem­ingly nice sur­prise and uncon­ven­tional approach to fruits and veg­eta­bles this time of year might sound per­fectly ratio­nal.

    Thanks­giv­ing is a time to gather with friends and fam­ily around a table that holds mostly tra­di­tional favorite dishes.

    The mere thought or sug­ges­tion of sneak­ing in a new take on a famil­iar salad, side, appe­tizer or dessert may be grounds for a fam­ily fuss.

    Chances are good that if the group assem­bled at your Thanks­giv­ing table has been there year-​after-​year, the expec­ta­tion is to serve exactly those same “tried and true” dishes that have been plated before.
  • Shal­lot Woes

    Anthony Bour­dain cov­ered a lot of ground in his book Kitchen Con­fi­den­tial.

    One hot topic that res­onates with all line cooks is the Mise-​en-​place. The orga­nized work sta­tion, unique to each cook, keeps the kitchen ready for every order mov­ing smoothly through the line.

    It houses all of the essen­tials– sea salt, rough-​cracked pep­per, cook­ing oil, wine, but­ter, gar­lic, pars­ley, and so on.

    One item in par­tic­u­lar that Tony claimed as a Mise-​en-​Place essen­tial for all pro­fes­sional kitchens is shal­lots. His kitchen staff used about twenty pounds daily.

    A “take-​away” from Bour­dain to home cooks look­ing to ele­vate dishes, is to keep shal­lots on hand for turn­ing out tastier ver­sions of most any prepa­ra­tion.

    Shal­lots are one of those fresh ingre­di­ents that we notice parked next to fresh gar­lic and the onion sec­tions at the gro­cery store. We fre­quently see them, but bypass them for reg­u­lar onion vari­eties.

    Their del­i­cate, mild onion fla­vor (with a hint of sharp­ness) is pre­ferred for clas­sic dishes, vinai­grettes, sauces, soups and fry­ing when a hot­ter onion isn’t the right fit.
  • Spring Forth

    The fleshy green spears of aspara­gus are all at once suc­cu­lent and ten­der. They have long been con­sid­ered a true sea­sonal del­i­cacy.

    This highly prized veg­etable arrives with the com­ing of spring. When the shoots finally break through the soil and reach their peak har­vest length, we are ready to enjoy locally grown aspara­gus.

    In Cal­i­for­nia, the first crops may be picked as early as Feb­ru­ary. The sea­son gen­er­ally is con­sid­ered to run from April through May. Like most things in agri­cul­ture, Mother Nature is in charge.

    In the Mid­west and East, the sea­son may extend through June or July.

    Under ideal grow­ing con­di­tions, an aspara­gus spear can shoot up to be eight to ten inches tall in a 24-​hour period. Each crown will send spears up for about six to seven weeks dur­ing the spring and early summer.
  • Take It Slow

    Smart cook­ers like Instant Pots are enjoy­ing a moment. This cel­e­brated multi-​cooker is touted as capa­ble of replac­ing seven dif­fer­ent appli­ances.

    It brags of doing the work of a slow cooker, an elec­tric pres­sure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/​browning pan, and food-​warming pot.

    Cook­ing speed may be the sin­gle most advan­tage of going for the Instant Pot. This is par­tic­u­larly true if cook­ing some meats is high on the menu. Shav­ing time off of ribs, roasts and whole chicken mat­ters.

    Risotto and dried beans seem to cook in record time. Soups and stews from scratch develop depth of fla­vor with­out turn­ing on the stove or oven.

    Not every­one wants or needs sev­eral (or even one more) kitchen gad­get tak­ing up shelf space. Com­pe­ti­tion among food proces­sors, stand mix­ers, blenders, juicers and var­i­ous cof­fee mak­ers is fierce within most households.
  • The “Lini” Cousins

    Sweet­Stem Cau­li­flower is a bras­sica veg­etable, like broc­coli, cau­li­flower, and Broc­col­ini.

    “Caulilini”, as it is named by pro­duc­ers Mann Pack­ing, is visu­ally quite sim­i­lar to Broc­col­ini. It has an open flo­ret struc­ture and long edi­ble stem.

    There are still a few dis­tinc­tions worth not­ing. Unlike BROC­COL­INI® baby broc­coli, which is a hybrid of broc­coli and Chi­nese kale (gai lan), CAULILINI® baby cau­li­flower is 100 per­cent cau­li­flower.

    Another dif­fer­ence is that it also grows in heads, not sin­gle stalks. The result­ing flo­rets offer vari­a­tion in shape and size that also set it apart from Broc­col­ini.

    With its sweet, slightly nutty fla­vor and ombre col­or­ing (the stem turns bright green when cooked while the flo­rets stay light), CAULILINI® baby cau­li­flower brings a “wow” fac­tor to the plate.

    A favorite cook­ing method is grilling. It’s also deli­cious sautéed with plenty of gar­lic, roasted, or even raw as a unique addi­tion to a cru­dité platter.
  • The Cool Kid

    If Brus­sels sprouts, broc­coli and cau­li­flower are not part of the nor­mal veg­gie lineup, it could be dif­fi­cult to intro­duce kohlrabi into the kitchen rota­tion.

    Kohlrabi is the cool kid on the veg­gie play­ground that requires a bit of explain­ing and some under­stand­ing.

    Part bulb, part bun­dle of greens, kohlrabi may have an intim­i­da­tion fac­tor unlike its cru­cif­er­ous coun­ter­parts.

    This fall favorite offers a delight­ful com­bi­na­tion of famil­iar and sat­is­fy­ing tastes. Kohlrabi has the tex­ture of a radish and the sweet­ness of jicama, with a slight hint of broc­coli.

    The edi­ble leaves are like a milder ver­sion of col­lard greens. They are quite thick and gen­er­ally taste best when cooked or steamed. They can also be eaten raw, chopped and in salads.
  • Vidalia Onions; Cac­tus Leaves


    David John dis­cusses how Vidalia onions dif­fer from other onions; how to pre­pare and enjoy cac­tus leaves.


  • Zuc­chini Project

    Zuc­chini is deli­cious on its own. Sim­ply grill and serve as a side with a driz­zle of olive oil. Add a shake or two of salt and pep­per. Zuc­chini per­fec­tion.

    That’s one rea­son­able way to approach this pro­lific sum­mer veg­etable when we have only a cou­ple of these lit­tle green ras­cals to con­tem­plate.

    Since the beloved squash is so com­pat­i­ble with other fresh pro­duce items (toma­toes, egg­plant, mush­rooms, etc.) we’ve learned to marry it in dishes like rata­touille, frit­tatas and soups.

    The case for Ital­ian squash abun­dance needs con­sid­er­a­tion. Between home gar­dens, farm­ers mar­kets and local farm pro­duc­tion, the mar­ket gets sat­u­rated with late sum­mer zuc­chini.

    Good then that inven­tive­ness is hard at work on the zuc­chini project. A bumper squash crop inspires swap outs in dishes that typ­i­cally call for higher carb ingre­di­ents like pasta, rice, tor­tillas and breads.