Napa cabbage makes a great slaw; it's both more tender and less juicy than regular cabbage, so it softens easily without making a puddle at the bottom of the bowl. We like to pair it with carrots for color and crunch. You can change the flavor of the slaw, of course, by mixing up the seasonings. Basically you want salt and acid and a little bit of fat, plus whatever herbs or spices strike your fancy. Here are three ideas:
This is a tasty and visually striking combination of tangy, spicy, and sweet. You can substitute a bit here (tangerines and cranberries come to mind...) but be sure to taste and make sure the flavors balance.
A perfect fall dish - warm, filling, and so delicious. The sweetness of the squash is offset by the richness of the sausage and ricotta, the slight crunch of carrots and celery, and little bursts of tart cranberries. Make it with acorn or other smallish squash and give each person a half for a whole meal, or use a big butternut and serve alongside roast chicken and Brussels sprouts or a kale salad. The filling also makes an excellent gluten-free substitute for stuffing, come Thanksgiving!
This is a delicious, simple use for fennel and a great dish for a potluck! Add pasta and leftover diced chicken to make it a meal, or serve as a side along with a burger or pork chop. Like leeks, fennel tends to get dirt in between its layers. We usually slice it in half, then peel off the first few leaves and rinse, then slice them thinly. You can also quarter it and run under water to clean, then slice. Larger bulbs will have a slightly woody core that you may want to remove and either slice separately or discard.
Makes about 4 cups
1 medium fennel bulb (reserve a few fronds for garnish)
2-3 tomatoes (a mixture of colors looks nice)
1 small handful basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the fennel as thinly as you can. Chop the tomato into small, bite-sized pieces. Stack the leaves of basil and cut into strips. Toss together with a few good pinches of salt and a dash or two of lemon juice and olive oil. Let stand for 10 minutes or so to draw the juices out of the tomatoes, then toss again. Add cooked pasta, diced cooked meat, white beans or chickpeas, if desired. Garnish with fennel fronds, and enjoy!
This is Jeremy's favorite way to do broccoli. It's adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe, which called for sugar and salt - we like our version better.
I was the kind of kid who loved sour candies (and still do), so I like rhubarb straight up, raw - especially early in the season and fresh off the plant. But if you aren't so into sour, or if you've got older, more intense, stringier stalks - or if you just want a crazy-delicious dessert to share with friends - cooking it with a bit of maple does the trick.
(Don't forget that the leaves of rhubarb are poisonous - only use the stalks!)
These are grain-free, have no added sugar, mix up quick, and keep both big and little bellies full for a nice long time. We often have them for breakfast with butter and maple syrup or blueberry jam, but with a pinch more salt and some garlic they make a nice side to a roast chicken (we always roast a squash and a head of garlic alongside our chicken, so that makes it pretty easy). Mashed sweet potatoes can be subbed here with good results.
I threw this together this week when the fridge was nearly bare and bellies were growling. I think it would work with various leftover meats, though Brussels sprouts do pair particularly well with strongly-flavored cured pork products - pepperoni in this case, though a kielbasa or other sausage would probably do well, as would some bacon. You could probably incorporate other leftovers into the mix - roasted potatoes, for instance. As is, it's a quick and tasty lunch or side dish. Slicing the sprouts into thirds or fourths across the equator (parallel to the stem end, rather than through it) lets some of the leaves fall apart and makes them cook quickly (and also helps them not look like Brussels sprouts, if you have any skeptics in your household). This recipe is also great for the larger, looser Brussels sprouts tops.
This is our favorite way to cook full-grown and storage potatoes. (Smashed Oven Potatoes is the best recipe for new potatoes in the spring.) The technique comes from Cook's Illustrated, and it produces a potato with a crispy, crunchy outside skin and a creamy, steamy interior. It's worth the extra step of parboiling the potatoes.
This versatile slaw is a nice side dish for roasted chicken or grilled cheese sandwiches. The specific vegetables can be swapped based on what looks good at the market or in your root cellar, but it's good to shoot for a balance of sweet and spicy (and a mix of colors never hurts).
Shredded or julliened root vegetables:
2 cups sweet - carrot, parsnip, celeriac, beet, sweet potato
2 cups spicy - turnip, radish, daikon, kohlrabi, rutabaga
Mix to taste with:
Mayonnaise mixed with Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt
A vinaigrette made with 1 tsp each Dijon mustard & salt, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2/3 cup olive oil, and a handful of fresh parsley (you may not need all of it)
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. If you have time, let sit in the fridge for 20 minutes or so. Yum!
Other Good Places to Find Recipes
WTF is this vegetable?
Eating What We Grow (PDF)
Cookbooks We Like
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Chez Panisse Vegetables
Flatbreads and Flavors
The Art of Simple Food
Feeding the Whole Family
Storage Guidelines for Fruits & Vegetables (PDF)
The Zen of Food Preservation (PDF)
101 Jam Recipes