Among produce that’s in season or will soon be abundant at our farmers markets and in stores: beans, beets, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, herbs, kohlrabi, kale, lettuce, onions, peppers, summer squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, and zucchini. Notice a pattern? I’m not so systematic that I alphabetize all my lists but the Farm Fresh Atlas is, conveniently. Maximize flavor from your veggies and value for your dollar by using this handy chart, the Seasonal Availability of Wisconsin Produce to plan seasonal produce purchases.
Now what to do with all these veggies?
Versatile and always “good for you” most veggies can be eaten raw, minimally cooked, as entrees or side dishes, or combined in one-pot meals. Keep it simple by remembering a couple of my favorite “rules” about cooking:
- Cooking is always a learning opportunity. You can substitute, or experiment with ingredients to keep meals interesting and use what you have on hand. Even if the results are not perfect, you can still eat it, you always learn something, and then you try something different next time.
- Anyone who complains gets to make the next meal!
This summer our team of nutrition educators and I are thrilled with an amazing cookbook called “Good and Cheap” by Leanne Brown. You can download a free PDF online at https://www.leannebrown.com/cookbooks/#free. It’s loaded with well-balanced, flavorful, easy to follow, culturally diverse recipes that often use few ingredients and are quite inexpensive to prepare— indeed part of the title is “Eat Well on $4.00/Day”. Even more exciting, it contains several simple and amazing ideas with veggies! Brussel sprout hash with eggs—sign me up! It also gives a variety of frugal cooking tips like “how to cook dried beans” and has a whole page of great tips on what to do with leftovers. Here’s one recipe to whet your appetite:
Smoky and Spicy Roasted Cauliflower
(pg 58 of “Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4.00/Day” by Leanne Brown)
Roasted veggies are always delicious, but there’s something magical that happens to cauliflower in the oven. It gets so crispy and nutty, and that flavor is brought out even more with the spices here. I’m happy to just eat a bowl of this for dinner, maybe with an egg on top.
1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
Turn the oven to 400 °F.
In a medium-sized roasting pan, arrange the cauliflower pieces and the unpeeled cloves of garlic. Pour the butter over the cauliflower and then sprinkle the spices over top. Use your hands to thoroughly coat the cauliflower with butter and spices.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how crispy you like the florets. Squeeze the roasted garlic throughout and trash the skins.
An easy way to help yourself and our local farmers— enjoy the bounty of our fresh, seasonal produce!