Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Week in Winter Vegetables

My mother didn't teach me how to cook. Not because she couldn't, but because I wouldn't. When, at 10, I forgot the milk in Kraft Mac'n Cheese I declared myself hopeless and gave up. Until Tennessee where everything was fried and I knew I had two choices: eat KFC every night or learn to cook. Axon came to the rescue at just the right time with the Roasted Vegetable Cookbook. I didn't starve, I just became almost vegetarian. My interest in the kitchen (and vegetarianism) waned a little when I reunited with Oregon and its McMenamins Neon Burgers, Cafe Yumm's Curry Turkey Sandwich, and the Glenwood's Alder St. Sandwich. I ate out most every night for a few years, and appreciated friends and boyfriends who could cook and cook for me. Then hit Maryland. Where a sandwich lunch puts you out $15. Dinner starts at $30. So once again I turned to Mac'n Cheese (now Annie's). And found that if you add not only milk but also garlic and fresh rosemary it's a pretty delicious dinner for about a dollar apiece. In fact if you add garlic and rosemary to anything it tastes fantastic. Hmmm, what else could I do?
So I started cooking. The wedding set me up with gorgeous cookware and vivid cookbooks. My mother contributed to my cooking education a subscription to Bon Appetit. My first issue arrived a few weeks ago with a special on winter vegetables.To my surprise some things still grow and grow better in these cold months (now I can't blame the winter for all my plants dying). So we're eating seasonally and still eating fresh veggies. We've tried Sesame Bacon Wrapped Turnips. Easy as can be and deliciously rich. The recipe did originally called for pancetta not bacon which would have cut the richness and added more crispy saltness and probably made it better. Next time.
I must tell you DO NOT make the Fennel and Turnip Crudites with Fennel Salt. Even if you like the licorice family and raw veggies, just do not go there. You will gag. We did. See, I'm not even going to link the recipe because I want to protect you that much.
The hands down favorite was Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Pistachios and Lemon. It's beautiful, it's delicious, the ingredients are cheap, and cook time is about one minute. They said this was the recipe to convert all brussel sprout haters and it certainly was (Z previously being one of them reluctantly saying now 'I would eat that anytime you make it').
Tonight it's Roasted Broccoli with Raisin Vinaigrette. I'm telling you this magazine is rocking our kitchen. Thanks mom!


Valerie said...

Okay, you're making me hungry, and I'm officially signing up for lessons when I come visit you guys (extended or temporary).

Matti said...

I now want to try the brussel sprouts, I love them, and this sounds delicious!
To your question... Everything I post on my blog, I wrote, unless I quote it, but I always note that, I believe :) I'm glad you like it, thanks for the comments.
Also I love to you write as well, and I intend to read it all in depth, but tonight is the first tie I read your blog, having just realized that you write. and it's 2am, cause I was out late watching a movie with your brother... and now this comment is rambling. :P ha

Matti said...

to = that, oops

Melanie said...

Thanks for the insight on that Bon Appetit. We tried the roasted cauliflower; it was good, but I'd recommend cutting the pieces a little smaller than 1/8 a head.

Also good are the cinnamon rolls in the issue that just arrived in your mailbox.

Mm said...

The brussel sprouts: AMAZING
You now must embrace a new role in out relationship... that of Guide-to-Exotic-(or-at-least-previously-unknown)-Oils. I will refer to it as the GEO.
In addition to the grape oil now on my shelf I was lately given the gift of Olive Oil with Essence of Truffle (white to be specific). Now what? Sure don't want to waste it...

Sarah said...

ooh, mom, I have a recipe that needs truffle oil. Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon and Truffle Oil I'll email it to you!