Summer Cooking: It's All About The Veg

Aug 18, 2015

All winter, we long for some of summer's fresh vegetables. We start to tire of root veggies and the items we canned the previous year. Then August hits and we are buried in veg from our CSA, our own gardens or the wonderful bounty we buy at the farmers' markets.

But what do you do with all those tomatoes, corn, kale, chard and summer squash that is now sitting on your kitchen counters and in your refrigerator?

Writer and cookbook author Marialisa Calta and Liz Ehrenberg, owner of The Gleanery restaurant in Putney, provide great ideas and tips on how to make the most of the vegetables you have.

Also on the program, we're joined by Blas Guigni. He formerly ran an acute care clinic in Tikrit, Iraq, and is now applying some of his experience and expertise to study the muscle atrophy caused by cancer as a graduate student at UVM.

Broadcast live on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.
 

PICKLED BEETS WITH STAR ANISE

If you don’t want to go through all the fuss of canning, make a small amount of these beets and reduce the canning liquid until it is slightly thickened to make a delicious sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 6 pounds small beets
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

Instructions:

Cut off the beet leaves, leaving about 3/4-inch stem at the crown. Trim the root. Wash the beets under cold running water.  Put them in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring the water to a boil. Cook until beets are fork-tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.  Drain the beets, allow them to cool, and peel them, trimming off the top crown.     In a large, non-reactive saucepan, bring  vinegar,  water, sugar  and spices to a boil in a heavy pot. Add the beets, reduce the heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Pack the beets into hot, sterilized jars. Fill with cooking liquid, leaving about 1/4-inch of head space. Remove any air bubbles by running a non-metal spatula around the edge of the jar. Seal the jars and process in a water bath for 20 minutes, according to USDA canning guidelines. Allow to cool and store in a cool, dry place.

Yield: 7 pints

Recipe adapted from "Preserving For All Seasons," by Anne Gardon Firefly Books, 1999) Note: double the pickling liquid. It does make 7 pints.

GRILLED POTATO SALAD

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate until needed, or up to 2 days.   

For the salad:

  • 4 pounds small (3-inch) red potatoes
  • Coarse salt, such as kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced 
  • ½ cup chopped parsley leaves 

Instructions:

Scrub the potatoes, put them in a large pot, and add water to cover them by about 2 inches. Salt the water generously. Cover the pot and set it over high heat. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a brisk simmer and cook until the potatoes can just be pierced by a fork. The time will vary with the size of your potatoes, but they may take up to 25 minutes.

Drain the potatoes, place them in a shallow pan, and drizzle with the oil. Roll the potatoes in the oil to coat, and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Allow them to cool. Cut the potatoes in half. Toss to coat cut sides in oil. You can do this several hours ahead of time; let the potatoes sit at room temperature. 

Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for direct cooking over high heat. 

While the grill is heating, warm a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, turning as needed, until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. When cool, chop roughly and set aside.

Grill the potatoes, turning them frequently, until they are attractively browned, and beginning to char in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Put them in a bowl, and add the bacon, onion and parsley.

Drizzle the dressing over the potatoes, toss gently, and serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

FAVA BEAN PUREE

This is not really a recipe, but an IDEA of a recipe I got from Alan LePage, who sells fava beans at the Farmers’ Market in Montpelier.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 pounds fresh fava beans (DO NOT USED CANNED)
  • olive oil
  • fresh rosemary (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the garlic to expose some of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until soft, about 45 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. While the water is hearing, shuck the fava beans by snapping off the stem end of the pod and peeling away the “thread” down one of the seams. Run your thumb along the seam and snap open.  Shovel the beans out of the pod with your thumb. Then put the beans in the boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge the beans into the ice water to stop the cooking.

Remove from the ice water with a slotted spoon and peel the beans by pinching off a piece of the skin near the thick end of the bean, then squeezing the other end so that the bean pops out. You should have 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups of shelled, peeled beans.

Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat it over medium-low heat. Add the beans and the rosemary (if using) and cook for a few minutes until the beans are soft.

Scrape the beans, oil and rosemary into the bowl of a food processor. Squeeze the roast garlic into the bowl, leaving behind the papery shell. Puree, adding olive oil as needed to form a thick spread.  Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with sliced baguettes.

Yield: 2 and 1/2 cups