Friday, August 24, 2012

Vegetables!

I’ve only been in Mexico City for abit over two months, but I’ve already discovered how fantastic it is that thevegetables are inexpensive (particularly at the open-air markets), plentifuland delicious.  I love opening myrefrigerator and having a plethora of vegetables from which to choose and createmy family’s evening meal.  But what to dowith all of them?!?  There’s nothingworse than a “vegetable rut”, particularly when that means the kids refuse toeat them, you are not getting the nutrition you need, and veggies are rottingaway in your fridge!

Here are a few tips to help you getout of that rut and get the delicious veggies back on the plate!

What’s my go-to method forpractically any vegetable? ROASTING!  If you’ve already triedit, you know what I’m talking about.  Andif you haven’t, well jump on this wagon because you’ll never turn back:

Any vegetable (or a medley!) + Olive Oil + Pepper + Salt(preferably Kosher or sea salt),
roasted in a 450°F/230°C oven for about 20 minutes (or lessfor thinner/less durable veggies)
= delicious, caramelized perfection that everyone (even my3-year-old) LOVES

Keep in mind:
·        As always, cut your vegetables asuniformly as possible so they cook evenly.
·        If you’re using a medley ofvegetables, either cut the sturdier vegetables into slightly smaller piecesthan the delicate vegetables or start cooking those sturdier vegetables earlyand add the more delicate vegetables later.
·        Don’t use too much salt…a littlegoes a long way, particularly when you’re using the coarser salts.

Some other great ideas for using upvegetables:
·        Meatloaf: For every 2 lbs/1kg ofmeat (mix types if possible!), sauté 1 Cup total of your choice of vegetablesalong with a chopped onion and garlic. Mix cooked vegetables with meat and your choice of complimentaryspices/herbs/liquid, eggs and breadcrumbs (or panade) and bake.
·        Macaroni and Cheese: Add up to threeCups of cooked vegetables to your favorite cheese sauce and a pound of cookedpasta.
·        Fried Rice: First cook small amountsof ginger/garlic/scallions in vegetable oil. If using meat, add to the aromatics, cook until done then remove and setaside.  Add your choice of vegetables (asmuch as you want, cut into bite-sized pieces) to the pan, cook untiltender.  Add cold, cooked rice (hot,fresh rice doesn’t work…this is a great way to use leftovers!) and toss with cookedvegetables. Make a hole in the center of your mixture, add a little morevegetable oil and scramble 1-2 eggs. Once scrambled, mix egg into rice and vegetables.  Add meat back in and stir until hot again,season with soy sauce and salt/pepper.
·        Spaghetti Sauce: Cook your choice ofvegetables slowly in olive oil (or in the rendered fat of your choice of meat)along with onions until very sweet and completely tender.  Add desired dried herbs, cook a littlelonger, then add tomato paste and cook until sweet-smelling.  Add canned or fresh chopped tomatoes andallow to simmer until desired consistency achieved.  Add fresh herbs at the end.