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Baby Vegetables?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am doing a side of baby veggies (zuc, summer, patty pan squashes) and wanted your opinions on the best way to cook them. I won't be grilling. Roasting? Steaming?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 11
if your doing pattypans and sunbursts just take the top and bottom off(tip/tail) quarter or half them and saute with butter, herbs, S&P, if your doing any baby vegtables that require peeling blanch them in boiling water, shock them in an ice bath then peel them its a lot easier IMHO.
Sweet Jesus
Sweet Jesus
post #3 of 11
Most of them you don't even have to cook. Just squeeze some fresh lemon on and sprinkle some salt. They'll have the most crunch and nutrition if left raw.
post #4 of 11
just be sure not to use a large amount of water you'll be throwing away (nutrients are sapped into the water when boiling, steaming, etc). Oh yeah, just a hint, if you can, don't use baby carrots, use atomic red carrots. They're sweeter and you don't have to cook them as long to make them tender.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
a friend suggested I blanch them the early in the day on the day of the function and then roast them quickly in a hot oven. A squirt of lemon at the end would finish them off.

Does this sound right?
post #6 of 11
yes-i'm partial to copious amounts of butter ;), or a compound butter.
post #7 of 11


When we are having guests, we like the blanch, shock, and then reheat with butter or flavored butters, either on the stovetop or in the oven. This allows us to separately cook each of the veggies to its own appropriate tenderness, yet not have scheduling conflicts during the main pre-dinner cooking period. Make sure the veggies have thoroughly dried off if they are of the kind that hold a lot of water (e.g. broccoli).

I'm also a big believer in a squirt of lemon juice after the butter to brighten veggies of almost any sort. You need only a small amount, such that your guests can't even identify it as lemon (unless that's the companion flavor your seeking). Depending on the veg, tossing it all with a handful of finely chopped parsley is nice, unless your flavored butter already bears the herb accent you desire.

It's funny, I've had guests ask about the flavor of our buttered veggies and then be surprised to find about the touch of lemon. One told me that she didn't even like lemon.

By the way, if you're serving veggies right from stove-top cooking (as opposed to the shock, reheat), I prefer to use steaming for those that can retain a lot of water (e.g., cauliflower, broccoli) and blanching for those that don't and are irregularly shaped or sized (e.g. green beans). A lot fall in between where it's your call.
post #8 of 11
Great idea, butter carries flavor.

I couldn't agree more. A touch of acid always helps. I work in a 2000 square foot public vegetable demonstration garden. A month ago there were 12 of us out there and 10 had never had kohlrabi. I sliced one, sprinkled a bit of salt and added a squirt from a freshly cut lemon and handed them out. There wasn't anyone who didn't like it and many asked where they could get seeds and if they could plant for a fall crop. How's that for complimenting a vegetable?

I prefer broccoli and cauliflower broken into medium sized pieces steamed at quite literally 2 minutes and not a second longer. It brings out the green, takes away any rubbery texture of even the freshest organically grown produce, and keeps the all so important "crunch".


Is there anything you leave raw? ie: carrots, celery, etc?
post #9 of 11

Veggies any way you make 'em

>Is there anything you leave raw? ie: carrots, celery, etc?

Oh, sure. There are lots of stuff I'll do raw or cooked, carrots, celery among them. I like both raw celery and braised celery. Carrots most anyway (but roasted, where the natural sugars start to carmelize may be my favoriye). Thinly sliced raw fennel (with thinly sliced red pepper, chopped kalamata olives, a bit of shaved parmesan and a light citrus vinagrette), braised fennel, oven-roasted fennel.

I must admit there are some vegetables that I just quickly blanch to get rid of the, well...vegetative or grassy notes, but keep them crisp enough that I lot of people don't think they were cooked at all. And I don't care for undercooked green beans served warm, which was fashionable at restaurants for a while.

Story: I grew up in the midwest and am old enough that I remember the days when most vegetables came from cans. (Fresh, except during my farm summers, were a rarity.) Also, cooking veggies often consisted of boiling them until they were limp and basically unrecognizeable by taste. I pretty much hated them (exception: corn--it was the midwest, remember). I began to tolerate veggies when frozen first appeared and a greater variety of fresh began to be available at stores.

Then when I got married we started growing our own as well as trekking off to the famer's market during winter or for what we didn't grow. Wow. Like St. Paul on the ride to Damascus. Now I practically stand over the plants, waiting for them to bear.
post #10 of 11
I love carrot course grated and dressed with OJ. The only veg I cannot eat is cucs, which is a great shame. And a dish of roasted vegs. with pan gravy.
post #11 of 11
Grated carrot with a lemon and olive oil dressing! Yum.
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