A ran­dom sur­plus of sea­sonal veg­eta­bles may pose a prob­lem worth solv­ing.

Com­ing out of a flush hol­i­day pantry or work­ing through a fat CSA box, par­tic­u­larly with seem­ingly incom­pat­i­ble or unusual fresh ingre­di­ents, may trip us up at first.

Take a sec­ond look at what there is to work with in the kitchen. Fen­nel, cele­riac and but­ter­cup squash…then what?

After a bit of head scratch­ing, turn to an inter­net search for a blog post spout­ing the ben­e­fits of that pecu­liar ingre­di­ent. A recipe pos­si­bil­ity is cer­tain to fol­low.

A wide spec­trum of menu options will be pre­sented. Decide first on which meal solu­tion to tackle. Break­fast, lunch or din­ner? Snack or appe­tizer? That answer will clear a path to the next hur­dle.

Cooked or served raw will be the next line to cross. Var­i­ous cook­ing meth­ods will pro­duce com­pletely dif­fer­ent tastes and tex­tures. Com­pare a crisp, crunchy car­rot to that of one, moist and soft, roasted in a hot oven.

Roast­ing ver­sus grilling pro­duces dif­fer­ent results. Sautéing ver­sus pan fried yields takes it in yet another direc­tion.

The pop­u­lar­ity of fresh pick­les lends itself to con­vert­ing some of these more obscure veg­gies.

Thinly shaved, juli­enned and whole items brined or soaked with sweet and sour spices make for good snack­ing and gift giving.

Col­ored car­rots or parsnips, can be peeled and gen­tly steamed, leav­ing some bite to them. Gen­er­ously douse with olive oil and lemon juice. Add sev­eral cloves of minced gar­lic, then sea­son to taste with black pep­per and kosher salt.

One tac­tic in intro­duc­ing that “some­thing new” wild card into the weekly menu is to team it up with a known and liked part­ner. Apples, cit­rus and pears are all log­i­cal first go to mates.

Mush­rooms and onions pro­vide some body and struc­ture to most veg­etable dishes. They impart a famil­iar back­drop to the main ingre­di­ent.

Root veg­eta­bles in par­tic­u­lar ben­e­fit from a com­pli­men­tary com­pan­ion. Done right, color, tex­ture, sweet­ness or earth­i­ness all get ele­vated.

Fresh herbs, when dis­tinctly selected, cre­ate iden­tity for indi­vid­ual veg­eta­bles. Tar­ragon, oregano and baby dill will make an impres­sion when respect­fully mar­ried with aspara­gus, egg­plant and chicory.

A new food adven­ture awaits with a mixed bag of win­ter veg­eta­bles com­ing into mar­ket. Carve out some time for prepa­ra­tion. Explore kohlrabi, car­doni and other cold weather crops. The food cel­lar is a mixed bag of goodies.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.
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