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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Vegetables/Salads/Herbs

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Wilted Greens

If you’re looking for more ways to enjoy green vegetables, have you tried wilting?

Wilted vegetables are served at some of the finest restaurants in the country, often with a filet of fish or a boned chicken breast on top.
 
Wilting is a quick cooking technique that involves placing the greens in a hot butter or oil, until they’re barely cooked (i.e., wilted). We actually use a low-calorie technique, blanching the vegetables in simmering broth or stock.

The Wilting List: Simply add delicate, leafy vegetables—arugula, beet greens, bok choy, chard, collards, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens or turnip greens—to a pan of simmering liquid (broth or water) and they wilt in a minute. barely cook or just “wilt.” As you can see, wilting is also a great way to discover the joys of greens you never eat.

You can also wilt a medley of three different greens, such as chard, mustard greens and spinach. See the recipe below.

 

crispy-salmon-wilted-greens-2-SLT-230

Crispy salmon atop wilted greens. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

 
Dark leafy greens are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and wilting preserves nutrients and flavor. So why isn’t everybody wilting greens?

To begin your journey here’s a recipe developed in the Sur La Table test kitchen; more wilting techniques follow.

RECIPE: CRISPY SALMON ON LEMON-CAPER WILTED GREENS

You can substitute another vegetable for the spinach and halibut or other firm-fleshed filet for the salmon.

Ingredients For 4 Sservings

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets with skin
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound spinach, washed and patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Kosher salt or sea salt, plus and freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    mustard-tendergreens-beauty-goodeggs-230

    Wilt me! Have you had these greens before? They’re mustard greens. Photo courtesy GoodEggs.com.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 400°F and position the oven rack in the middle.

    2. PLACE a large oven-proof skillet on the stove over a medium-high heat, and add olive oil. When the oil is just starting to shimmer, add the salmon, presentation side first. Sear to a light-golden brown color, about 2 minutes. Turn the salmon over to the skin-side and transfer to the oven. Bake until the salmon is flaky and slightly pink inside, about 5 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate; reserving the skillet and set aside.

    3. PLACE the skillet back on the stove over a medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter begins to foam, add the shallot and garlic and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, spinach, capers, lemon zest, parsley and cream. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

    4. SERVE: Spoon the wilted greens mixture onto warmed dinner plates, and place the salmon on top. Serve immediately.

     
     
    BASIC WILTED GREENS

    Don’t worry if it seems like you have too many greens. Big bunches of leafy greens wilt down to flatness.

    Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches chard, kale, mustard greens or others (see list at top), rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. TEAR the greens into pieces; discard stems. (Note: We actually enjoy the stems, and keep them on. We also like to keep the leaves whole—we don’t mind cutting them on our plate with a knife and fork. Try it to see which you prefer.)

    2. HEAT the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes. Add the greens and toss to coat. Cover and cook, stirring once, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and serve.

    3. SEASON as you like with balsamic vinegar, chiles, honey, garlic, nutmeg or other favorites. As an option, garnish with toasted pecans or walnuts.
     
    Variations
     
    For breakfast, brunch or lunch, top with poached eggs.

    You can also add ham or bacon, Southern-style, as in this recipe.
     
    STOVE TOP WILTING

    This recipe uses a medley of greens, although you can use only one type or a different combination.

    Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 large bunch chard, stems removed*, leaves torn
  • 1 large bunch mustard greens, stems trimmed, leaves torn
  • 1 10-ounce bag spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MELT butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add all greens and stock.

    2. COVER and cook until greens wilt, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Uncover; cook until juices thicken slightly, about 4 minutes.

    3. SEASON with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like (balsamic vinegar, chiles, garlic, nutmeg, etc.).
     

    SIMPLE MICROWAVE WILTING

    1. WASH the greens in cool water and place in a microwave-safe bowl.

    2. COVER with plastic wrap and punch several holes in the wrap to vent. Microwave on High until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

    3. SQUEEZE out any excess moisture from the greens before seasoning and serving, or adding to a recipe.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Vegetable Medley With Color

    asparagus-carrots-lecreuset-SLT-230

    Asparagus and carrots in a Le Creuset dutch
    oven. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.

     

    The English word “asparagus” derives from the Latin sparagus, derived from the Greek asparagos, which itself derived from the Persian asparag, meaning sprout or shoot. The stalks shoot up from the crown of the plant and, if not harvested, the precious tips grow into fern-like leaves.

    That little tidbit is an introduction to asparagus season. If you’re an asparagus lover, it’s a great time: prices are lower and the flavor is better, since domestic asparagus get to market faster (Peruvian imports, for example, travel weeks by ship).

    Whether you’re looking for different ways to serve asparagus, or a way to cut down on the cost per portion, serve a medley—asparagus with one or two other vegetables.

    We were especially attracted to this handsome combination of asparagus and carrots from Sur La Table, with the carrots cut in lengths to match the shape of asparagus.

    But a memorable spring medley is the “big four” of spring: asparagus, garlic scapes, morel mushrooms and ramps (wild leeks).

    Otherwise, take a look at our list of vegetables by color, and pick your own medley.

    WHAT’S A MEDLEY?

    A medley is a mixture of different things: music, sports, vegetables, whatever. The word comes from the French medler to mix, which entered Middle English.

    A vegetable medley provides the opportunity to create more interest through blending flavors, colors and textures.

    You can grill, roast, sauté or steam your veggies—or enjoy them raw, as crudités with a dip.

    Most people believe that the finest texture and the taste come from the asparagus tips. They are called points d’amour (“love tips”) in French.

    But we enjoy the whole asparagus, including the texture of the stems. Just trim the white stem ends, which are tough.
     
    Asparagus Recipes

  • Asparagus Crostini With Pancetta & A Parmesan Crisp (recipe)
  • Asparagus & Grapefruit Salad (recipe)
  • Asparagus With Linguine & Parma Ham (recipe)
  • 12 More Easy Asparagus Recipes—including frittata, grilled, risotto, sautéed, scramble, sides and spring rolls
  •  

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF ASPARAGUS

    Asparagus has been enjoyed as a vegetable since ancient times. The earliest image is as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 B.C.E. It was also enjoyed in ancient Greece, Rome, Spain and Syria.

    Greeks and Romans ate asparagus fresh in season and dried in winter. The Romans would even freeze it high in the Alps: Emperor Augustus created the “Asparagus Fleet” for transporting the vegetable, and coined the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” to indicate a quick action. [Source: Wikipedia]

    There’s a recipe for cooking asparagus is in the world’s oldest surviving cookbook, Apicius’s “De Re Coquinaria” (“On Cookery”), Book III. It is attributed to a first-century Roman epicurian named Marcus Gavius Apicius, but compiled sometime between the third and fifth centuries.

     

    3-colors-dark-bkgd-australianasparagusgrowners-230b

    The three colors of asparagus. Photo courtesy Australian Asparagus Growers.

     

    And it’s still in print—in the original Latin! There’s an English translation for $10.95, and a translated Kindle edition is free!

    After the fall of the Roman Empire, asparagus seems to have fallen out of favor, reappearing in France in the 15th century and in England and in Germany in the 16th century. It arrived in the U.S. around 1850, and has resumed its position as a sought-after vegetable.

    So don’t let the season escape you: Pick up asparagus on your next trip to the market. It has just three calories per spear, so you don’t need to worry about portion control.

      

    Comments

    BOOK: Brassicas, Cooking The World’s Healthiest Vegetables

    brassicas-230

    Eat your vegetables—make that, eat your
    Brassicas. Photo courtesy Ten Speed Press.

     

    Frequent readers of THE NIBBLE know of our devotion to cruciferous vegetables, also known as brassicas, from their Latin name in taxonomy*.

    For a long time, brassicas have had a mixed reputation. People who know how to cook them adore them. Beyond the deliciousness, brassicas are superfoods—nutritional powerhouses packed with potent, cancer-fighting phytonutrients (antioxidants).

    But anyone who has been served overcooked brassicas—when the sulfur compounds top the mushy texture with an unpleasant aroma—might just concur with George H.W. Bush, whose mom, we’re betting, didn’t cook the broccoli al dente.

    Brassicas get the respect they deserve in a new book, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More by Laura B. Russell, published this week in hardcover and Kindle editions.

    One word is missing from that title: delicious. “Healthy vegetables” sounds too much like an admonition from mom or grandma. “Healthy and delicious” is a win-win.

     

    And that’s what you’ll get in this cookbook. It showcases 80 recipes for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and leafy greens such as arugula and watercress. Recipes are easily tailored to accommodate special diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan.

    The recipes prove that brassicas can taste delicious when properly prepared in ways that let the flavors shine through (no blanket of cheese sauce is required—or desired). When roasted, for example, Brussels sprouts, a food avoided by many, reveal their inherent sweetness that other preparation techniques take away. Caramelizing cauliflower in the sauté pan makes it so lovely that each individual will want to consumer the entire caramelized head.

    This is a book for people who love their brassicas, and for people who don’t love them yet. Give copies as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts, and to anybody who should eat more veggies.

    The handsome hardcover volume is $17.04 on Amazon.com. The Kindle version is $10.99.

     
    *Kingdom Plantae, Order Brassicales, Family Brassicaceae, Genus Brassica.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A Tagine

    A tagine (tah-ZHEEN) is a Moroccan stew of vegetables with meat, poultry, fish or seafood. More specifically, it’s a Berber dish from North Africa that is named after the type of earthenware pot in which it is cooked, originally over coals. (A similar dish, tavvas, is made in Cyprus.)

    There are traditional clay tagines, some so beautifully hand-painted as to double as decorative ceramics; modern tagines, such as Le Creuset enamelware; and even electric tagines for people who don’t have stoves or ovens.

    You can buy a tagine, but you can make the stew in whatever pot you have.

     
    HOW A TAGINE WORKS

    The traditional tajine pot is made of clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a round, flat base pot with low sides and a large cone- or dome-shaped cover that covers it during cooking.

    The cover is designed to promote the return of all the liquid condensation back to the pot, allowing for a long simmer and moist chunks of meat. The stew is traditionally cooked over large bricks of charcoal that have the ability to stay hot for hours.

     

    chicken-tagine-lecreuset-230

    A modern enamelware tagine. Photo courtesy Le Creuset.

     
    Tajines can also be cooked in a conventional oven or on a stove top. For the stove top, a diffuser—a circular piece of aluminum placed between the tajine and burner—is used to evenly distribute the stove heat to permits the browning of meat and vegetables before cooking. Modern tajines made with heavy cast-iron bottoms replace them.

     

    black-white-tagine-230

    A traditional hand-painted tagine. You can
    buy this one online.

     

    MAKE A TAGINE

    This vegetarian tagine recipe is from FAGE Total Yogurt. You can serve it as a side or as a main dish with sliced grilled chicken, lamb or salmon.

    Prep time is 30 minutes, cook time is 1 hour, 10 minutes. Serve with couscous and a crisp salad.
     
    RECIPE: MOROCCAN CHICKPEA & VEGETABLE
    TAGINE WITH YOGURT DRESSING

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin, cinnamon and turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1-3/4 cup chickpeas
  • 1-3/4 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup baby corn
  • 1/4 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1/4 cup baby carrots
  •  
    For The Dressing

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley and coriander
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT half of the oil in a tagine or other pan. Add onion, garlic, and spices. Fry over a low to medium heat for 5 minutes until golden.

    2. ADD the chickpeas, tomatoes and stock. Cook for 20 minutes.

    3. STIR FRY the vegetables in a separate frying pan or wok with remaining oil, and then add to the chickpea mixture.

    4. BRING to a boil, cover and simmer for a further 20 minutes.

    5. MAKE the herb yogurt dressing: Mix the yogurt, chopped parsley and coriander together. To finish, add half the yogurt, adjust seasoning to taste and serve with the rest of the yogurt on the side. NOTE: Don’t boil the stew after adding the yogurt or it may separate.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Blue & Purple Potatoes

    The All Blue variety of blue potatoes.
    Potatoes can be blue or purple, depending on
    the soil in which they are grown. Photo
    courtesy Burpee.com.

     

    Naturally blue and purple foods are relatively rare.

    Blue Foods. In the blue group are blackberries, blueberries, blue cheese, blue corn, Concord grapes, pale blue oyster mushrooms and edible flowers like bachelor’s buttons. And there are exotica like decaisnea, an Asian plant known as dead man’s fingers, with a blue pod and edible blue pulp.

    Purple Foods. In the purple group: black currants; black rice; eggplant; elderberries; figs; red cabbage; purple artichokes, asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, grapes “green” beams, and kohlrabi; plums; prunes; raisins; and some microgreens.

    But our favorite in the blue and purple group are blue and purple potatoes and yams, which have both blue/purple flesh and skin. More flavorful than many starchy white potatoes, they tend to have a slight earthy and nutty flavor. Look for them in specialty produce markets or better supermarkets.

    The blue or purple color comes from anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that create red, blue and purple colors, depending on the pH of the soil and other growing factors.

     

    There are numerous varieties with commercial names such as All Blue, Congo, Lion’s Paw, Purple Peruvian, Purple Viking, Purple Majesty and Vitilette. Specialty Produce magazine notes that there are 700 purple varieties in Peru, the birthplace of the potato.

    They are generally harvested young, which is why they tend to be smaller and rounder. Leave them in the ground and they’ll grow larger and oblong.

    According to Web MD, they’re a heart healthy vegetable, helping to lower blood pressure. What better reason to go out and buy some!

     

    A Versatile Potato

    Blue and purple potatoes have a medium-starchy texture. They keep their shape when baked but also mash and blend easily—for example, into potato soup, shown in the photo at right.

    The pop of color is a delight in potato salads and a surprise in dishes like blue/purple potato soup.

    Make fun dishes like purple potato chips or potato latkes. Mix purple potatoes with orange-fleshed squash. Try a purple potato pizza with smoked salmon and salmon roe, or with caramelized onions and rosemary.

    For Easter, how about this purple potato soup from Family Spice? Here’s the recipe.

    Purple mashed potatoes are also stunning on the table. If your tradition is roast lamb with rosemary potatoes, make those potatoes purple—or a mix of purple and white.

     

    purple-potato-soup-familyspice-230

    Purple potato soup: a treat for Easter dinner—or anytime. Photo © Family Spice.

     

    Think of how you’d use blue or purple potatoes and let us know.

    One suggestion you shouldn’t pass up: red, white and blue potato salad for Independence Day!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Frisée Salad With Lardons (Salade Frisée Aux Lardons)

    One of our favorite salad greens, not served often enough in the U.S., is frisée (free-ZAY), curly endive that’s a member of the chicory family. In France, it is formally known as chicorée frisée. (See the different types of endive.)

    There are many ways to serve a salade frisée, but a universal favorite is frisée aux lardons, Lyonnaise-style frisée salad.

    This salad tops the frisée with a poached egg and lardons—crisp, browned chunks of pork belly—and a sherry vinaigrette. When you cut into it, the runny egg yolk gives the salad a wonderful, silky coat.

    Another favorite variation includes crumbled Roquefort cheese or goat cheese with a fan-sliced pear and a few toasted walnut halves. It’s a great flavor layering of bitter from the frisée, salty and smoky from the lardons, sweet from the fruit and tangy vinaigrette.

    You can serve salade frisée as a light lunch with crusty rustic bread, as a first course, or with soup for a light dinner.

     

    frisee-burrata-ilmulinoNY-FB-230

    An Italian touch: burrata cheese. Photo
    courtesy Il Mulino Restaurant | NYC.

     

    GETTING CREATIVE WITH FRISÉE

    You can create your own signature frisée salad by adding some of these mix-and-match ingredients:

    Fruits, Nuts, Vegetables

  • Apple or pear, red skinned, fan-sliced
  • Arugula or watercress
  • Avocado (pair it with grapefruit)
  • Citrus: grapefruit, orange, blood orange or mandarin
  • Dried fruit: cherries, cranberries, currants
  • Figs (combine with prosciutto)
  • Fresh herbs: chives, tarragon, thyme, parsley
  • Nuts, toasted: pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • Red accent: diced red pepper, tomato or watermelon; halved grape tomatoes; pomegrante arils
  •  

    frisee-salad-michaelminaFB-230

    Chef Michael Mina varies the frisée salad by
    substituting a Scotch egg for the traditional
    poached egg. Photo courtesy Michael Mina.

     

    Proteins

  • Bacon, pork belly lardons, pancetta, prosciutto, slab bacon lardons
  • Cheese: burrata, fried cheese (recipe), goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Roquefort or other blue cheese
  • Chicken or duck breast, sliced
  • Cracklings & sautéed liver: chicken or duck
  • Egg, poached (hen or quail)
  • Fish or seafood: crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp
  •  
    You can also add a touch of the sea with this side of white anchovy bruschetta.
     
    Dressings

    You can use a classic vinaigrette or a Dijon vinaigrette, but consider these special variations:

  • Bacon vinaigrette (recipe)
  • Sherry or red wine vinaigrette with olive oil
  • Truffle vinaigrette, with truffle oil
  • Walnut vinaigrette, with walnut oil
  •  

    For another special touch, warm the vinaigrette in the microwave right before dressing the salad.

    WHAT IS FRISÉE

    Frisée is a salad green with distinctive pale, very narrow, curly leaves that grow in a bush-like cluster and are feathery in appearance. The name means “curly.”

    Frisée is often included in mesclun and other salad mixes. It is extremely labor-intensive to grow, and therefore one of the costliest salad ingredients.

    For that reason, it isn’t a conventional supermarket item, but can be found at upscale markets and purveyors of fine produce.

    Frisée has a distinctive flavor and a delightful bitterness—less bitter than its cousins endive and radicchio. Its exotic feathery appearance has great eye appeal. Tips for using it:

  • As with many salad greens, tear it rather cut it with a knife, or the edges may brown. Tear it shortly before use.
  • The tough, external leaves are best used as a plate garnish or fed to the gerbil.
  • Dress the salad right before bringing it to the table, so that it doesn’t discolor or become waterlogged.
  •  
    The chicory genus is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamins A and K.
      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Rainbow Baby Carrots

    Baby carrots are hot sellers. But how much hotter can they get than these rainbow baby carrots?

    Carrots—standard size and baby—are available in six different colors: the familiar deep orange plus burgundy red, deep purple, tangerine (light orange), yellow and white.

    They’re a delicious way to add color and crunch to appetizers, salads and entrées. Kids and adults alike love them for their unusual colors—and for helping make family nutrition fun.
     
    CARROT HISTORY

    The original wild carrots were white, like parsnips. According to Colorful Harvest, marketer of these rainbow carrots, the cultivated purple and yellow carrots—mutations—were eaten more than 1,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan.

    Other colors are the product of generations of traditional plant breeding. Orange carrots were first successfully bred in Holland from an orange mutation by Dutch farmers. Here’s the history of carrots.

    Deeply colored produce are rich in nutrients, including antioxidants. Different antioxidants produce the different colors or carrots:

     

    rainbow-carrots-230

    Rainbow carrots from Colorful Harvest. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    wheel-of-colored-carrots-localharvestorg-230

    A rainbow of carrots. Photo by Stephen
    Ausmus | Wikimedia.

     

    WHERE DO CARROTS GET THEIR COLOR?

  • Red carrots get their color from lycopene, an antioxidant that may promote healthy eyes and a healthy prostate.
  • Orange and tangerine carrots get their color comes from beta-carotene, an antioxidant and precursor of vitamin A.
  • Purple carrots get their color from anthocyanins, the same potent phytonutrients (antioxidants) that makes blueberries blue,. Anthocyanins are flavonoids that may help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood and may help maintain good brain function.
  • Yellow and white carrots get their color from lutein, which studies suggest may promote good eye health.
  •  

    Studies indicate that these phytonutrients are also more bio-available and easier to absorb from fresh fruits and vegetables than from other sources.

    So they’re not only cute, tasty and good for you: Rainbow carrots are extra-cute and extra-good for you.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: 4 Ways To Stretch Potatoes With Veggies

    roast-potatoes-vegetables-bettycrocker-230

    How to eat more veggies? Just add them to
    potato dishes. It couldn’t be easier. Photo
    courtesy Betty Crocker.

     

    Is there anyone who doesn’t love potatoes? Not merely like potatoes, but love them?

    They’re filling and affordable, but they’re a starch—they don’t count toward your daily servings of vegetables. Here are four easy ways to change that.

    1. ROAST VEGGIES WITH THE POTATOES

    Bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, onions, squash—all are delicious with potatoes. One of our favorite dishes is roasted fall vegetables: potatoes with beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots and turnips.

    The added colors and flavors from the veggies make the potatoes taste even better. Here’s a popular recipe from Betty Crocker.

    2. TOP MASHED POTATOES WITH COOKED VEGETABLES

    A hearty garnish of diced red and green bell peppers (or any two vegetables you like) has eye appeal, palate appeal and yes, sneaks in more veggies.

     

    3. MASH VEGGIES WITH POTATOES

    You may already know the trick of cauliflower mashed potatoes, which look just like mashed potatoes.

    You can also do a 50:50 mix of cauliflower and potato, or any proportion you like.

    Along the same lines, mix in another favorite vegetable. Zucchini mashed potatoes are an excellent choice; carrot mashed potatoes are especially fun.

    And don’t forget colcannon, the traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale. Here’s a recipe.

    4. MUST HAVE FRIES?

    Combine French fries with French fried zucchini, carrots, onions, portobellos, summer squash and more.

    Here’s how to make fries from almost any vegetable.

    Help everyone eat more veggies! Send us your suggestions and recipes!

     

    colcannon-elisebauer-simplyrecipes-230

    Colcannon, a mash of potatoes and kale. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Elise Bauer | Simply Recipes.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Spring Lamb

    “Spring lamb” is so called because before modern times, the sheep gave birth in the spring. If you wanted lamb in other seasons, it would be frozen.

    Today, animal breeders know how to enable birth year-round, so lovers of lamb need never be without it.

    We were inspired by this beautiful “edible art” from executive chef Shaun Hergatt of Juni restaurant in New York City. Use the ingredients of spring to create your own fantasy You don’t need the tecnique to wrap loin of lamb; a lamb shop or slice of leg of lamb is just fine.

    Ever wonder why leg of lamb with green peas is such a popular pairing? It’s because both are spring foods. In the days when everyone had to eat “locavore,” people could only eat what was in season.

    So today’s tip is: Celebrate this first day of spring by planning a lamb dinner. Beyond spring peas, we have a list of spring vegetables below.

    How about some fava beans with a nice Chianti?

     

    blu-lamb-chops-230

    A lamb lover’s delight. Who needs steak? Photo courtesy Blu Restaurant | NYC.

     

     

    Thinking outside the box: wrapped loin of
    lamb, spring peas and pea purée by Chef
    Shaun Hergatt of Resto | NYC.

     

    SPRING VEGETABLES

    Because of imports from the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are reversed, Americans have year-round access to traditional spring foods like artichokes, Belgian endive, spinach, radicchio, radishes and watercress.

    But spring brings specialties with short seasons, so eat them while you can!

  • Asparagus (look for purple asparagus)
  • Butter lettuce
  • Fava beans
  • Fennel
  • Fiddlehead ferns
  • Morel mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Ramps
  • Rhubarb
  • Spring (English) peas, snow peas, pea pods
  • Sorrel
  • Vidalia onions
  •  

    One of the most celestial restaurant dishes we recall, from several springs ago, was a simple sauté of asparagus, fiddleheads, morels and ramps, seasoned with a little garlic.

    It’s a lesson on how the season’s bounty needs little preparation to impress.

      

    Comments

    TIP: Glamorous Edamame

    We enjoy both the flavor and the nutritional benefits of edamame. We always order a bowl at Japanese restaurants, and have bags of frozen, shelled edamame in the freezer at home.

    The bright green color of the boiled soybeans adds perkiness to anything from scrambled eggs to salads to mashed potatoes. You can ready almost any savory dish for St. Patrick’s Day by mixing in, scattering or garnishing it with edamame.

    Hannah Kaminsky reports from a trip to Hawaii that the local restaurants serve a much more inspired dish of edamame than most of us know from Japanese restaurants on the mainland. She writes:

    “A popular pupu (appetizer) at dives and fine dining establishments alike, edamame seasonings start with the most basic sprinkle of sea salt. But these humble soy bean pods are rarely ordered in that plain state.

    “Garlic edamame, studded with plentiful chunks of coarsely minced garlic, guarantee you the most powerful but worthwhile dragon breath* you’ve ever experienced. (Editor’s Note: To counter the effects, sauté the garlic to take the edge off, and add fresh minced parsley.)

     

    edamame-sauce-hannahkaminsky-230

    Edamame and soybean poke. Photo courtesy Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     
    “Spicy edamame (or sweet-and-spicy, with added honey) adds either crushed red pepper flakes or a drizzle of sriracha into the mix. It’s a real treat when you can find edamame dressed up poke-style, in sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, and sliced sweet onions.

    “The beans pictured here are a specialty from the newly opened Izakaya Torae Torae in Honolulu: Teriyaki truffle edamame. Just toss the edamame in truffle oil before drizzling with teriyaki sauce.”

    And while you’re at it, you can make homemade teriyaki sauce.

     
    *What causes garlic breath: The sulphuric compounds that give garlic their desirable taste and health benefits and also create that unpleasant odor. Here’s more information, including how to fight garlic breath.

     

    Teriyaki-Sauce-olivethis.com-230

    Homemade teriyaki sauce. Photo courtesy OliveThis.com. Check out their recipe for Grilled Chicken with Honey
    Ginger Balsamic Teriyaki Sauce.

     

    WHAT IS TERIYAKI SAUCE

    Teriyaki is actually a Japanese cooking technique, in which foods are broiled or grilled with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin (rice wine) and sugar. According to Wikipedia, in Japan the cooking style is mainly used for a variety of fish, while in America, salmon teriyaki and chicken teriyaki are typically found on menus.

    The word derives from the noun teri, which refers to a shine or luster given by the sugar content of the tare, a term for dipping sauces used in grilling; and yaki, the cooking method of grilling or broiling.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE TERIYAKI SAUCE

    Ingredients For 1 Cup

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar
    or honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic†
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced ginger†
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Preparation

    1. MIX all but last two ingredients in a sauce pan and heat over a medium flame.

    2. MIX cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. Add to pan. Heat until sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick for you, you can thin it with water.
     
    †You can substitute garlic powder ground ginger, but fresh tastes better. Reduce the amounts of dried herbs, as they are more concentrated.

      

    Comments

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