by Buck Reed
The Eight Vegetables You Are Not Cooking With
Vegetables are and always have been an important part of our daily dietary needs. They also get a bad rap as being “icky.” Unless they are your favorite, most of the time we don’t give them a second thought. Yet, most of the time, it is a matter of not knowing how to properly prepare them that turns people away from cooking with them.
Eggplant: This member of the nightshade family of vegetables is usually stuck in the Parmesan group, which is a shame. Roasted eggplant can be served as is or can be stuffed. Grilled, it makes a great appetizer, caponata, that can be eaten with salad greens or added to any Italian sandwich.
Brussels Sprouts: There are many ways to prepare these guys, but the best is probably sliced and roasted. Just drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; roast until well browned and tender.
Turnips: Most people can’t even tell you how a turnip tastes or what they even look like. This root vegetable has a pleasant, bitter flavor, as well as an underlying sweetness, that works great with roasted meats. I suggest roasting them with your beef or chicken.
Greens: Collard greens are an art form unto themselves but are well worth the effort to learn how to properly prepare them, one healthy way is simply steaming them for five minutes.
Green Tomatoes: Naturally, fried green tomatoes are a part of everyone’s favorite list, but few people actually make them. The secret is to soak the slices in buttermilk and bread them with any good southern-style breading flour. Then, just pan-fry slowly in plenty of oil. The goal is to get the tomatoes cooked through and properly browned on both sides. I would suggest using them in a BLT.
Beets: Roasted beets are an exquisite and unique addition to any meal. Served as a salad, soup, or side dish can brighten and enhance any plate. I also like leftover beets in Red Flannel Hash.
Parsnips: Parsnips look like yellow carrots but pack a punch of flavor. Cooked until tender, they can be smashed and added to mashed potatoes—delicious silky mash. They can also be shredded and added to soups or salads, or you can add them to a potato pancake mix.
Lima Beans: To prepare fresh lima beans, first examine them and discard any with blemishes. Then, soak them overnight in cold water, discarding any beans that float. Discard the water and rinse well. Cover with fresh water and simmer until they are cooked. Use as needed for soups, stews, or as a side dish. I hear good things about succotash!
Let’s face it, vegetables are good for you. They pack an arsenal of vitamins and minerals, and consuming a wide variety of them will only benefit you. Learning to prepare vegetables properly will make them taste better.