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Us v. the vegetables

We do not have a home garden, but we have a serious love of our farmers' markets. Thus, we come home every Saturday morning with more veg than anyone should have to deal with outside a veg packing plant. We've been handling it pretty well through the summer, but the fall produce is so wonderful that we are...ahem...overbuying.

We dealt with the problem fairly well making a veg curry stew tonight. Very good, and used up a tremendous amount of purchases, but still...

How do all you market junkies deal with the bounty? And as an aside, I cannot ( will not, as I did it all my growing up) can - although I will and do freeze. I'm looking for inspiration for all the green and red and orange and purple and yellow things sitting on my counter. I know who I'm talking to...you have the same problem.

We're very adventurous. We love veg. We're just overwhelmed right now, and needing ideas.

P.S. Don't tell me to buy less. I know I should. But I know I won't. Just give me your ideas.

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  1. You could do as a friend of mine does. She buys veggies just to look at. Instead of flowers she puts vegetables in bowls around the house. She loves the look and the aroma. She also has bowls of fresh herbs. It really is lovely. She rarely cooks, but loves fresh food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Janet

      I store mine that way - but I do cook them - not the most artistic arrangement - but colorful:


      1. re: MMRuth

        Oooh! I see ratatouille there. Or a luscious caponata. Both keep a long time in the fridge.

    2. korean bibimbap is perfect for using tons of vegetables, no limitations, except how much energy you want to exert chopping them up.

      4 Replies
      1. re: alex8alot

        alex, I love Korean food and have no qualms about spending loads of time at the chopping block. So...veg as the garnishes, or do you have some secret stock recipe? Tell me what you do?

        Thanks, Cay

        1. re: cayjohan

          Well to be frank, the vegetables are merely a vehicle for the gochujang sauce and the rich, runny yolk of the crowning fried egg. Basically I julienne any and all veg separately. I don't know why, I suppose because my grandmother does it that way and it looks so much better on the platter, but they are all seasoned the same! and then mixed together in the bowl... madness. anyway, satl, pepper, minced garlic, maybe a pinch of sugar if using a particularly bitter veg. I never have the super traditional korean veg on hand (fiddlehead fern, burdock, etc.) For myself, spinach and shitake are a must. If you don't have a gochujang sauce you like, I can tell you mine, it isn't traditional, but I haven't had any complaints!

          1. re: alex8alot

            I'd love to know your non-traditional sauce...and the inspiration you've given me is great, with all the greens we have. And, oh, the runny egg yolk. One of my favorite culinary delights!

            Got my pencil ready... (and thank you.)

          2. re: cayjohan

            hi cay, sorry, didn't notice this earlier! I hope you aren't now confronted with a dearth of vegetables! So my sauce isn't radically different, but I stipulated that it isn't traditional because I ddidn't want people (like my grandma) saying "that doesn't go in there!"

            I start with about 4 tbsp of gochujang
            1 tbsp brown sugar
            carbonated lemon drink or ginger ale to loosen up the sauce
            2 cloves of minced garlic
            1 tsp soy sauce
            dashes of fish sauce to taste

            or I add more sugar and use chicken or beef stock to loosen the sauce

            and I never use sesame oil or seeds, which are usually standard. I find the sesame oil way too overpowering, in ANYTHING!!! I hate the stuff.

            and I prefer the gochujang made without added wheat, and that uses rice flour as the starch. I find it tastes much cleaner and spicier.

            ahve a great weekend!

        2. Grill up a whole bunch and use them for the next two days in every course (with eggs in the morning, with goat cheese at lunch, pureed in to a dip as a snack, over pasta or diced up with some quinoa with dinner). I find they'll get used much more quickly if they're already cooked and just need to be thrown into or onto things.

          1. Roasting almost any vegetable is wonderful. And of course a soup would keep in the freezer if you're overwhelmed with food.

            1. Soup! Lots of varieties available and you can then freeze in individual servings. I also like to make: curries, tians, stir fry when I'm lazy, salads, salsas. You could also pickle if you're into that.

                1. i have exactly the same problem. exactly. i wrote a post on my blog earlier this summer called "the asparagus is stressing me out", because i go overboard at the farmer's market, i only have my husband and myself to feed, and i have a more-than-full time job which means i don't often get home in time to cook during the week.

                  i've been baking, both savory and sweet, muffins and breads the overabundance of gorgeous zucchini. i've also been making tomato risotto and tomato salads like crazy, since i can't resist those fat, juicy heirlooms and buy them by the boatload. i suppose you can make soup and stews, which are freezable, but i love the season's bounty fresh fresh fresh. i recently made a fantastic eggplant salad, it was almost like an indian version of babaghanoush, from Suvir Saran's "Indian Home Cooking." my suggestion is to have an impromptu dinner party!

                  good luck!


                  1. Try pickling whatever you've got surplus that is taking over your counter space. There are tons of recipes out there, and you can experiment a lot. I like to do it Japanese style... cut into bite-sized pieces and then sprinkle liberally with salt, then put in a tub or crock, and press with a weight. Works for cucumbers, zukes, eggplant, all sorts of greens, you name it. For variety, toss some garlic and/or red pepper flakes in, too.

                    1. I do indeed have this same problem! I've been turning to Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian and Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone a lot this summer for help (though I'm not a vegetarian, these are great resources). Things that I've been making a lot of: panzenella, with lots of tomatoes, peppers of all colors, cucumbers and corn; fatoush salad, relatively similar; peperonata (do you see that I have a pepper problem?), which is basically thinly sliced onions and garlic, cooked for a few minutes in olive oil, then sliced or chopped peppers, cooked for about ten minutes, and then a few tomatoes tossed in, and cooked for about 15 or so minutes more, until everything is softened. I also made an incredible eggplant dish out of World Veg (which has GREAT eggplant recipes) where you cooked down some tomatoes and then cubed and fried eggplant and stirred it all together. For the peppers, it's also great to just roast and peel them and put them in a jar of olive oil in the fridge, or freeze them in bags, they keep well. My natural inclination with vegetables is to add them to all sorts of pastas, which works well (almost anything is great sauteed in some olive oil or roasted, with some liquid and goat cheese or parmesean added in with the pasta) but I've been trying to be more adventurous with vegetables so far this summer, and it's been fun.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Along with the pasta idea, veggie lasagna... I used to work at a mostly veg restaurant and they had THE BEST vegetable lasagna. Of course, I never got the recipe, but it had 8 different layers of vegetables. One layer was ground up mushrooms, one layer was grated carrots, one layer was diced zucchini... you get the idea. It was fabulous!

                      2. I don't know if you've checked out the cookbook of the month for this month - Vegetable Harvest - but there are some links to recipes from the book here:


                        Not vegetarian, but a focus on vegetables and some creative ideas - like beet tartare. Wasn't sure if you were looking for ways to use up the produce to eat now, or to save it for later in some fashion.

                        1. Thank you all so much (YAY!) for shaking me out of my - sorry for the pun, but it must be done - vegetative state! As all of you know, it's just so hard to come up with a fab veg entree every day of the week! Keep the ideas coming, as I'm off again this weekend and will try to report on what we do with the upcoming bounty. I've got so many good ideas from this post so far. Looking forward to all the fall harvest.

                          1. Take out an extra large plate for each diner and arrange each vegetable simply cooked around the perimiter, eg. sliced boiled beets here, their steamed greens beside that, few new potatoes over there, tomatoes in fresh garlic there. Go all the way around the plate with simply prepared veg, put a dish of dip in the middle or a wedge of blue cheese. Basket of bread. Glass of wine. We eat this every saturday, i.e. apres farmer's market.