Step 1, Get a Pot of Water Boiling; Step 2, Um Use Your Imagination

July 11, 2013 at 10:02 am

If its Not on Instagram Did it Really Happen




If I’d could borrow Terra’s team of gifted graphic artists, I’d enlist them to do a pie chart detailing the reasons I cook. The proportions would be roughly equal between 3 large slices. First, there’s my latent, post-depression need to prepare everything we have–waste-not/want not, right. Second, there’s the pleasure of cooking for family. I especially like that the Condiment Queen can pack up my various vegetable dishes for meals on the go when she works. Third, obviously, is the need to get likes on various social media platforms. Me eating and enjoying would also be a slice but a slice much smaller than the rest (so, Terra, got all that).

This means that snapping pics of my tamaring matters almost as much to me as the dishes produced. And I was so caught up in my work last Saturday, I never captured anything after that first batch of broccoli out of the boiling pot. I got nothing else to show you but my sincere words.

It all looked good!

Get a Pot of Water Boiling, Add a Generous Amount of Salt
After the broc, went asparagus, beet greens and tiny beets. The asparagus would be stir fried later in the week. I made a mustard-soy dressing for the greens and an herbed vinaigrette for the beets.

Roast an Assortment of Vegetables
In her chapter, “Striding Ahead”, Tamar Adler lays out a process for roasting an array of seasonal vegetables.

After lighting your oven, do your preparations in an order from longest to shortest cooking, thinking of them as taking the shape of brightly colored Russian nesting dolls, with each bout of trimming and oiling taking place within the time frame of another vegetable’s cooking.

I sorted used that advise to make first kale chips and second, chunks of eggplant that would later be coated with a mix of pomegranate molasses (a great ingredient) and Tunisian spices, a dish inspired from when my wife worked at Mado.

Cook Your Greens
Tamar says, “If your kitchen is running like a finely tuned engine, you will get to washing greens before the roasting is done.” I never run a finely tuned kitchen. To make up, my wife and I have taken to prepping greens on Friday night while watching TV. Besides having kale to roast, I had other kale to braise with dried vegetables, using the flavored water from the boiling pot. I then had to scramble to get some chard ready to saute with garlic and peppers.

Flame Grill
Tamar forgot to cover this technique, but it’s vital for summer ingredients. First, I used my gas burners to roast a brace of Hungarian wax peppers. I am forever grateful for a meal years ago at Milwaukee’s Old Town Serbian restaurant, because it is there I learned how delicious it is to roast and marinate HOT peppers. Later, outside, I used live coals to blacken eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and an onion for another batch of grilled vegetable salad.

We had a big meal Saturday night, sampling the whole array of prepared dishes. Then we had enough to supply food for the week. It all looked delicious, believe me.