Let’s face it: Even though we know that veggies are nutrition superstars, many people either shy away from cooking with vegetables too often or serve the same ole steam-in-the-bag broccoli or boring salad. To make veggies seem more appealing and fun for the whole family to eat, Natascha Warden, Resident Chef at Sur La Table Kierland in Scottsdale, has provided eight must-try tips.
1. If possible buy veggies when you are ready to use them at their peak of freshness. It’s better to get them when you want to use them as opposed to having them sit in your refrigerator. This ensures a fresher product.
2. Buy in season – even if the recipes says something different. If your recipes calls for a specific veggie, do some research and make sure it’s in season. If not, Google a substitution. Veggies are always better when in season and, also, they are usually less expensive.
3. Wash and store your vegetable properly. Some veggies need to be refrigerated as others do not. Washing them properly will not only ensure they are clean but that they hold their integrity. Mushrooms need to be brushed (try the Bürstenhaus Redecker Mushroom Brush) but not submerged in water or they will become mushy. Greens (like kale) and lettuce need to be washed and dried (I recommend the OXO Good Grip Salad Spinner). Potatoes need to be scrubbed using a potato brush (try Chef’n Potato Scrub Brush).
4. Seasoning. Salt and pepper of course – but you can add fresh herbs and toasted spices to take your vegetables to the next level.
5. Discover new ways to cook your food. Try the Sansaire Sous Vide or a Himalayan Salt block.
6. Grill it! Grilling is a great way to cook you veggies. The sky is the limit when it comes to grilling. Grill your romaine, your tomatoes, and your favorite fruits and vegetables for a delicious and flavorful meal. If grilling in the 108 degree heat is not for you, trying using a Le Cruset Skinny Grill Pan on your stove to achieve the same result.
7. Don’t overcook. Vegetables should be bright and fresh– it’s what makes them delicious. Overcooking will not only make them soft, but you lose a lot of valuable nutrients. Al dente should always be the goal (in my opinion under done is better than overdone).
8. Be fearless. Recipes are guidelines and they should be regarded as so. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? So grill that rosemary and kale, toss it with some pomegranates, and your favorite vinaigrette. Yum!
For more info on the products mentioned, visit www.surlatable.com.