Most of us should be eating more vegetables. But too often, we don’t know how to cook them, or we overcook them. Cookbook authors are here to help, putting out a proliferation of books devoted to vegetables. The newest, “Vegetables Illustrated,” from America’s Test Kitchen, uses more than 70 vegetables in 700-plus recipes, a wonderful opportunity for home cooks to turn veggies into superstars.
America’s Test Kitchen is 15,000 square feet of kitchen space in Boston’s Seaport District. Inside, there are more than 60 cooks, writers and cookware specialists buzzing about testing recipes.
The book’s recipes – both sides and mains – include raw, grilled, baked, braised, sautéed and brined vegetables, as well as veggie sauces and salsas. There is plenty to entice new and old plant eaters.
VEGGIES WE HATE Pity the poor Brussels sprout! For years, they’ve been No. 1 on the most-hated veggie list. When overcooked, they can smell like cabbage. But Test Kitchen cooks treat Brussels sprouts like culinary superstars, with tempting recipes, including an easy maple syrup-glazed sweet and sour sprout dish.
STRANGE VEGGIES When’s the last time you prepared kohlrabi or rutabagas? Surprise your family with a Kohlrabi, Radicchio and Apple Slaw that uses kohlrabi for cabbage. Rutabagas are root vegetables, sort of a cross between cabbages and turnips. They can be cooked like potatoes, or mixed with other veggies in meat pies, gratins and soups.
UGLY VEGGIES Celery root, also called celeriac, deserves the ugly veggie award. Ugly skin on the outside hides the goodness inside – crisp, white flesh that tastes like celery mixed with herbs. Test Kitchen writers recommend roasting to bring out its creamy texture and herbal flavors. Try their Roasted Celery Root with Yogurt and Sesame Seeds.
WHAT'S A RHIZOME? They’re plants like ginger and Jerusalem artichokes that grow underground but are not root vegetables. Their Pickled Ginger recipe can be made in 30 minutes, followed by four days in the fridge for brining. Make paper thin slices of ginger using a mandoline slicer. Or bake a spicy Gingerbread Bundt Cake made with fresh grated ginger.
WHO COOKS RADISHES? Test Kitchens introduced me to braised and roasted radishes. Served cold, they make a delicious addition to salads, or eat them as a warm veggie with roast chicken and meats. Check out my version of their recipe for Braised Radishes on the facing page.
COOl TOOLS While testing some of the book’s recipes, I used the Ayesha Curry 5-in-1 Mandoline & Spiralizer Set, an all-purpose tool with blades for spirals, ribbons and slices, and even fresh-squeezed juice. About $20 on amazon.com
VEGGIE CHIPS For Test Kitchen’s veggie chip recipes, I used the Mastrad Silicone Chip Tray, and accompanying mini-mandoline, for great beet and other veggie chips made in the microwave without oil. About $10 on amazon.com
Ruth Taber is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.