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Vegetables

VEGETABLES

  • All vegetables that grow above the ground start cooking in boiling water. Those that grow beneath the ground start in cool water.
  • Any number of vegetables can be grilled with no preparatory cooking. Brush slices of onion, sections of bell pepper, mushrooms, or eggplant, with Oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill until soft. The time required depends on the vegetable.
  • When cooking fresh asparagus, break the stems. They will snap at the point at which the stems become woody. If the asparagus is thick, peel the remainder of the stem to almost the base of the tip.
  • You can stir-fry asparagus in a few tablespoons of  Oil. Stir-fry on high heat for 1 minute, then add 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan. Cover the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
  • When steaming broccoli, remove the steamer lid for 15 to 30 seconds in the middle of the cooking time. Releasing some of the steam brightens the colour of the broccoli.
  • To dress up broccoli, sauté some seasoned bread crumbs in Oil and sprinkle over the broccoli.
  • For a change of pace, include some shredded red cabbage in your salad for colour.
  • If you want to buy just the amount of celery you need for a recipe at the salad bar, 1 stalk is about 1/2 cup sliced or diced.
  • Personalize cole slaw purchased from the deli by adding other vegetables. Try some grated carrot, thinly sliced green bell pepper, or thinly sliced onion.
  • An easy trick for removing corn silks is to add an inexpensive toothbrush to your kitchen tools. Rub it on the corncobs from the stem up and any lingering corn silks will disappear.
  • Add a little sugar as well as salt to the water when boiling fresh corn. It makes it taste even sweeter.
  • For sweeter, crisper cucumbers and salad onions, soak onion slices and cucumber slices in ice water for 30 minutes. Drain well and pat dry.
  • Salted eggplant will absorb less fat when it is fried or sautéed: Wash eggplant and cut into slices. Sprinkle liberally with coarse salt and place in a colander in the sink. Let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse in cool water and pat dry with Bounty paper towels. It's now ready to cook.
  • To wash iceberg lettuce, hit the stem end soundly on the countertop to loosen. Twist out the stem and discard. Hold the lettuce with the open end under a steady stream of lukewarm water. Use your thumbs to gently pull open the leaves, allowing water to run inside. Invert in a strainer to drain thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator, stem side down, in a plastic bag lined with 2 Bounty paper towels.
  • To remove grit from leeks, cut away the tough green ends and root ends. Slice 3/4 of the way through. Soak for a few minutes in lukewarm water. Hold, cut side up, under a steady stream of lukewarm water, pulling apart the leaves, and rinse thoroughly.
  • Don't wash mushrooms until just before you use them, and then wash under a steady stream of lukewarm water. Avoid long soaking time, and trim or cut away the stem after washing to prevent extra absorption of water.
  • When selecting mushrooms, turn them over and look at the underside of the cap. The gills should be tightly closed.
  • Once the stems of mushrooms are trimmed off, the kids can carefully slice them by using an egg slicer.
  • When a recipe calls for only part of an onion, only peel the amount that will be used. Wrap the remainder in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The onion will remain fresher with the peel on.
  • To dice an onion: Peel and cut onion in half or quarters. Place the onion cut side down, and slice lengthwise at intervals from 1/4 to 1/2 inch, depending on the size pieces needed. Slice to, but do not slice through, the root end. Next hold the knife horizontally, and slice at the same intervals from bottom to top. The third step is to slice down vertically, and the onion will be diced.
  • An easy way to peel onions is to cut off both ends and make a slit down one side through the brown skin. The remainder of the skin will peel right off.
  • If you're cutting up potatoes in advance, always cover them with cold water to prevent browning. Pat them dry with Bounty paper towels before cooking.
  • Peeled sweet potatoes can be substituted for white potatoes in recipes. The cooking times are the same.
  • Wash all root vegetables before peeling. Rinse again after peeling.
  • Store tomatoes unwashed. For best flavour, store at room temperature and use when fully ripened, but still firm.
  • Try this delicious Asian dressing for your tomatoes: combine 3 tablespoons cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Add 1/2 cup Oil. Shake well again.