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Nov 13, 2010 04:38 PM

The forgotten Veg

What vegetable do you love that never seems to get any hype anymore? What veg would you like to see in fun new recipes?

Mine is zucchini? In cakes, baked, stuffed, bbq and even deep fried. Now it seems that in the search for creative concoctions we left this one behind in favor of the sexier cousins, Kuri Squash and Butternut Squash.

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      1. re: mamachef

        ditto on the celery.

        i love the flavor and crunch it adds to so many things.

        1. re: mamachef

          Like the taste, hate the texture.

          I think celery is an essential ingredient in a lot of things - stocks, anything requiring a mirepoix or trinity - but unless it's very, very finely minced I don't like it. I've been using lovage as a substitute, although I find it sweeter.

          1. re: tardigrade

            Tardigrade, you might like celeriac (root celery), a cultivar with a big round root and little stems on top. It is the type used in the European celery salad in jars (from France, Poland and elsewhere). I have fragile teeth and can't bite into a celery stick except from the heart, and the flavour of the outer stems is much more pronounced, better in my opinion. I also use celery in stocks and in a variety of "fonds de cuisine".

        2. Asparagus. I must have 20+ recipes, but I always go back to roasted in the oven with OO, garlic and lemon zest.

          13 Replies
          1. re: gaffk

            gaffk, I have a recipe for an asparagus done with pancetta, garlic, hoisin and oyster sauce. If you'd like to have it, it's fabulous tasting - and a really nice last-minute saute.

            1. re: mamachef

              mmm . . . asparagus and pancetta. Please share.

              1. re: gaffk

                Whichever one reaches you first:
                for four
                1 lb. slender asparagus, trimmed 6"
                1/2 c. small-diced pancetta
                1 tb. minced garlic
                1 tb. hoisin
                1 tb. oyster sauce
                1-2 tb. water
                Brown the pancetta; when it's starting to carmelize, add the garlic and swish it around a few times (or give the pan a few tosses...) add asparagus to pan and up the heat a little bit. Keep the pan and the food in it moving over med-high heat for about 3, maybe 4 minutes until crisp-tender. Add remaining sauces and water and continue swirling and tossing until sauce has blended. Turn out onto long oval, and make sure you use a spatula to get all the sauce and pancetta and garlic out of that pan and onto the vegie where it belongs!

                1. re: mamachef

                  Thanks mama. I'm going to serve this at Thanksgiving. Nothing says bountiful harvest like asparagus & pancetta.

                  1. re: gaffk

                    roasted asparagus (your method) and then wrapped in serrano or prosciutto is pretty good too, and usually a tad leaner than pancetta. but that's more cocktail food than a big meal item.

                    1. re: hill food

                      Asparagus wrapped in prosciutta is one of my favorite apps at a local Italian restaurant. Somehow, never transitioned that to pancetta.

                      But honestly, roasted asparagus wrapped in pork . . . how can you go wrong?

                  2. re: mamachef

                    mamachef: what interested me in your recipe is the hoisin and oyster sauce. I will give it a try. Thanks for a new idea.

                  3. re: gaffk

                    I make a speck, asparagus, egg and parmesan w/farfale pasta dish. Sometimes add chopped sun-dried tomatoes. It's really good.

                  4. re: mamachef

                    mamachef, your post reminded me of this Tyler Florence recipe...


                    instead of doing skewers, i actually do it in a pan as more of a medley...chop & crisp the bacon first & set aside, then sauté the asparagus plus sliced shiitakes and scallions in the sauce/marinade with a little rice wine vinegar & tamari added to it. garnish with the bacon. it's fantastic.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Oh goodness does that sound like a remarkable variation. Mr. and I frequently figure out something to do with a lb. of asparagus and make that our entire meal, with some good bread - this would be fabulous for one of our all-asparagus extravaganzas!!

                      1. re: mamachef

                        wow, an asparagus feast sounds terrific! here's a simple one that would be perfect with that good bread...


                        feel free to use a different cheese - asiago, fontina, or even gruyere. mmmm...

                    2. re: mamachef

                      I sent you an e-mail--any recipe that combines my favorite veggie (asparagus) and pancetta? Can't wait to try for Thanksgiving.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I don't have to remember it, I've never forgotten it, especially homegrown in your own garden.

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          How do you cook your orka? It looks like such a unique vegetable but I have zero idea how to cook it.

                          1. re: abiaandrews

                            I think the best way to cook okra for a newbie is just whole pod, cap sliced off about 1/4 inch below, and in cast iron with good olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot. No goo to deal with, no breading or coating, just delicious crunchy caramelized okra goodness. Of course, it helps to have uber fresh okra pods.

                            1. re: amyzan

                              also good cooked this way sprinkled with a little curry powder

                              1. re: amyzan

                                "Of course, it helps to have uber fresh okra pods."
                                in that case, eat them raw!

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Never eaten raw okra, ghg. Hmmm, wouldn't they have an odd, perhaps bitter flavor from all the saponins? I grow it, and highly recommend the red varieties, as they are less spiny and more tender. But, I've never eaten it raw.

                                  1. re: amyzan

                                    not bitter at all! in fact, i think the flavor of fresh, young raw okra is almost a little sweet...and "green" at the same time. it reminds me of green peas, asparagus & eggplant all in one.

                              2. re: abiaandrews

                                abia: cut it into rounds and toss it in a sauce pan with some diced tomatoes, corn kernels, a bit of salt and a dash of hot sauce, a little water as needed and just stew it for a while.

                                or toss it in cornmeal and fry it in vegetable oil (or veg oil and pork fat) but that's best accompanied by catfish done the same way.

                                or look up a gumbo recipe

                                1. re: hill food

                                  That's what I do, fried okra and okra with corn ant tomatoes. For my stewed okra, I sautee yellow onions, garlic, green peppers, jalapenos, and some green onions plus tomatoes. Then I add tomato sauce, hot sauce fresh corn, and finally the okra and simmer until the okra is done. Not slimy at all. The fried okra is done exactly as you do.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    I cut okra into rounds, marinate in buttermilk, and coat in a mixture of cornflake crumbs and cornmeal. I bake them until crisp, but you could fry if you wanted to.

                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                      both of those sound good, may have to try these variations next time(s)

                                2. re: ipsedixit

                                  Try pickled okra in potato salad instead of kosher dills.

                                    1. re: deet13

                                      Pickled is my favorite way with okra.
                                      Second favorite is sauteed in butter with cut up chicken thigh meat and some onion. So simple, and so good...

                                    2. re: rohirette

                                      A spear of pickled okra in lieu of olives turns a Martini into a Marthibedeaux in our house!

                                      1. re: tim irvine

                                        whoa I don't drink martinis anymore, but may need to reconsider that stand.

                                        1. re: tim irvine

                                          this is how Chow seeps into my brain:

                                          I"m at the grocery store, cruising through the condiment aisle, and I see jars of pickled green beans, asparagus and hot pickled okra,

                                          I was inexplicably drawn to the jar of okra and put it in the cart

                                          got it home and my husband asked "what's this for?"
                                          I had no idea!

                                          I'm so glad I came back to this thread!

                                          1. re: cgarner

                                            no need to wait for cocktail hour. eating the okra straight from the jar with my fingers while standing in front of the refrigerator with the door open works just fine for me ;)

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              IMO there's nothing better than eating a food which simultaneously combines a chilled, crunchy, slimy, tart, and spicy flavor and texture all in a single bite.

                                              On the other hand, my son thinks that eating pickled okra is like biting into frozen, furry catapillers.

                                              1. re: deet13

                                                sliver the pickled okra and toss it into a sandwich (I suggest ham and swiss)

                                                1. re: deet13

                                                  my husband has "texture issues" (hahahaha, poor fella) so he can't (translation won't) eat okra, and won't eat deluxe beef pho, because of the beef tendon... (slimy and gelatinous, two textures he won't do)
                                                  more okra for me!

                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                    for all of us!

                                                    but fried okra really isn't gummy and in a soup it works like agar or nopales. ehh his loss, our gain.

                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                          okra, seems to me, has always been forgotten.
                                          i especially love curried okra,
                                          the chef at Bawarchi won't buy/prepare/serve it until it's price declines to some special level. . . . .
                                          sadly the Bombay grocery in lomita is no longer in business. THAT chef would prepare okra, mustard greens, ANYTHING that you wanted.

                                        3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          I adore okra and love it any which way it's made. This year when everything in my garden died because of the heat, okra was the only thing to survive and until last week, I was still getting a handful every couple of days.

                                          I also love greens: collards, kale, turnip, mixed. When most people think of greens, they think of lettuce greens but I like the kind you can cook

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Okra is my all-time favorite veggie. It's also my secret hangover cure (the fried version).

                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                              The first time I had okra was in the south, boiled, and it was slimier than a can of worms with no dirt. I like the breaded and fried version.

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                So you're suggesting not washing the dirt off the okra to lessen the slime factor ;)

                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                    That's why it is so forgotten, and never seems to get any hype anymore.

                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                  Oh, yes, fried okra with coarse cornmeal, fried in bacon fat, with lots of coarse ground pepper. The food of the gods!

                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                      The amount of bacon fat compared to the amount of vegetable is fairly minimal. Plus, this is something I will eat about three times a year. So I am really not worried about heart attacks.

                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                        I am with you there. Nothing like bacon fat fried potatoes and onions. Toss in breaded liver too!

                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  How did I miss this reference to spaghetti squash? Love the stuff, love it with fresh tomato sauce, love it tossed with garlic and parmesan and black pepper, love it with sage and chicken stock. Just love love love it. Anybody do anything else with it?

                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                    I like it mixed with roasted eggplant, zucchini, and onions and mixed with tomato sauce and baked. I bake it for maybe an hour till the top is crispy.

                                                    Speaking of squash.. my new favorite is butternut squash. I cut up a small one last night into french fry shapes, and roasted it with salt and pepper on a preheated baking sheet. It was delicious- finished the whole tray!

                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                      I do a similar recipe to yours with the zukes.
                                                      "Italian Zucchini with onions"
                                                      3 zucchini's washed sliced in thin rounds
                                                      1 medium onion sliced in rounds
                                                      2 garlic cloves minced
                                                      2 T butter 2 T olive oil
                                                      salt and pepper to taste
                                                      smallest pinch of red pepper flakes
                                                      1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
                                                      1/2 cup " cheddar "

                                                      Preheat oven to 350*
                                                      In skillet melt the butter with the oil, add in the onion and garlic, wilt gently then add the zucchini and salt and pepper to taste plus pepper flakes. Cook on low until the zucchii is softened and wilted, stir well, then add 1 [29oz] can diced tomatoes in juice, mix and cover and cook on low/medium 15 minutes.
                                                      Transfer to buttered baking dish. Put the mixture in and top randomly with both cheeses. Bake uncovered for about 15 minutes as the cheese will form crust and brown up.

                                                3. Okra
                                                  Brussels Sprouts
                                                  Artichoke Hearts

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                    it's funny, i don't consider brussels sprouts to be forgotten at all. in fact, i feel like they've been enjoying a renaissance for the past year or two...which makes me very happy because i *adore* them :)

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      Somebody posted a recipe for brussels sprouts in the "Thanksgiving Sides" thread that included bacon and sugar, and I thought, this is a recipe for people who don't like Brussels Sprouts!

                                                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                        ha! well, the brussels & bacon combo is a popular one, and maple syrup seems to make regular appearances as well.

                                                        there are so many "vegetable" recipes out there that don't even taste like vegetables. broccoli smothered in cheese sauce, asparagus drowned in hollandaise, cloyingly sweet glazed carrots....why?why?why?

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          My go-to for brussels sprouts is to shred them finely and saute them in a little olive oil, then finish with a dash of lemon and another of cream. Bright and delicious.

                                                      2. re: Tripeler

                                                        My wife made an artichoke heart and shrimp cassarole last week that was pretty good. I can't remember the last time I had artichoke, but this recipe was definitely on the keeper list.
                                                        And I agree with GraydonCarter and mamachef that shredded sauted brusprouts can be delicious.

                                                        1. re: DonShirer

                                                          Yes, aren't artichoke hearts fabulous? They taste like they should have far more calories than they really do. Such great rich flavor from a vegetable.

                                                          What did your wife use to season the artichoke heart and shrimp casserole?