A Family of Quality Publications Celebrating the Place We Call Home
Q. What are some more modern takes on traditional veggie preparations?
A. Since the dawn of time (I presume), folks have been trying to come up with new and inventive ways to incorporate vegetables in their diets. While many people probably still consider vegetables a colorful adornment to the featured item of the meal, most people need to add substantially more vegetable consumption to their diets. Some of the more trendy preparations (modern, if you will) include the following:
Sautés: Many vegetables lend themselves extremely well to this colorful preparation, which when done properly, should add very little fat to the cooking process. Almost any vegetable can be sautéed as long as they are cut to a size appropriate to their cooking time (the firmer the vegetable, the longer it will take to cook, like carrot versus zucchini). Sautés can be enhanced at the conclusion of the cooking process with a little flavored oil or balsamic vinegar, fresh cut herbs, fresh squeezed citrus or a little grated hard cheese.
Roasted Medleys: Especially suited for root vegetables, prepare them by cleaning and cutting them to the desired size, rubbing or spraying them with a little oil and roasting them in a relatively hot oven. Challenge yourself to roast different veggies together including carrots, turnips, parsnips, squashes, peppers, onions and potatoes. Variety will provide optimum color, flavor and texture variations.
Purees: While some readers may consider this “baby food,” there is something special about the flavor that can be established with purees of parsnips, carrots, peas, butternut squash, cauliflower and all sorts of potatoes.
Incorporations: Dishes like pastas and rices are perfect for the incorporation of vegetables. You can choose to prepare the vegetables in large distinguishable pieces or diced small or minced to be less distinguishable.
Chef Jeff’s Pasta Prima Vera
Olive Oil 3 Tablespoons
Onions, medium shards 1 Cup
Carrots, medium slice 2 Cups
Garlic, fresh, minced 3 Tablespoons
Mushrooms, fresh, sliced thick 2 Cups
Cauliflower buds, medium 2 Cups
Broccoli Flowerettes, medium 3 Cups
Whole Wheat Pasta 1 Pound
Basil, dried, leaf 1 Tablespoon
Seasoned Salt 1 teaspoon
White Wine 1 Cup
Butter, very cold, cut into pats 4 ounces (1 stick)
Parmesan Cheese, shredded 1 Cup
Precook the whole wheat past to al dente. Shock and reserve for later.
In a large pan or kettle, sauté the onions and carrots in the olive oil.
Add the garlic, mushrooms and cauliflower. Cook until almost done. Add the broccoli and pasta. Sauté lightly.
Add the basil and seasoned salt. Deglaze (steam) with the white wine to heat the pasta. All of the wine will absorb and/or evaporate quickly.
Remove from the heat and toss in the cold butter chips. Toss until all of the butter has melted and coated the pasta and veggies with a shine of butter.
Serve either on a serving platter or as plated individual servings, garnished with shredded Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Q. My wife says you aren’t supposed to wash mushrooms with water, but wipe off the dirt with a brush or towel. I don’t think they get clean without a good rinse. Who is right? — Javier, Appleton
A. It’s really uncomfortable for me to get in the middle of a debate between a husband and wife. I’d feel terrible to be responsible for a divorce! So, when it comes to washing or not washing mushrooms, let’s say you’re both right!
Mushrooms are a very wet vegetable, with some sources listing them as high as 93 percent moisture. So if you think about it, they really can’t absorb much more moisture than they already contain. Most professional cooks wash their mushrooms, but they also observe a few cautionary rules in the process. One rule is that they rinse or wash them very quickly with cold water. By rinsing or washing them quickly, they are exposed to water for a very short time and thus will absorb a minimal amount of water, if any at all. Another rule is to only rinse or wash your mushrooms right before you plan to use them. This will help the mushrooms to maintain their freshness as long as possible. Once they are rinsed or washed with water, they will begin to deteriorate rapidly.
The use of a brush or a towel is an acceptable way of cleaning mushrooms, as long as you can remove all the soil that is attached to them. Mushrooms are grown in soil that usually contains a high concentration of manure, so you’ll want to get them cleaned thoroughly. I can’t imagine wanting to have manure as a “secret ingredient!”
Javier, I hope you and your spouse can accept that in this case, you are both right!
© Fox Cities Magazine - all rights reserved
site by: Green Bay Net