New Castle News

October 12, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Fall is upon us, so eat your vegetables

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — At some point or other, we’ve all heard or said these words, “Eat your vegetables.”

Fall vegetables are plentiful — both in grocery stores and roadside stands.

The cabbage family appears to have several children including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and of course, cabbage itself.

Each one of those has its own special healthful benefits.

Brussels sprouts are known for possessing fiber and providing cardiovascular benefits. Broccoli is very multi-faceted. It’s said to have excellent anti-cancer properties and is also an excellent source of calcium.

As for cabbage — if steamed, it offers cholesterol-heavy, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant attributes and is high in vitamins A, K and C.

Cauliflower also has anti-inflammatory powers. Its fiber content aids in digestion.

If there is a fussy eater in your household, you can always be creative and disguise those veggies in such dishes as a broccoli oven omelet or other casseroles.

Adding fresh vegetables to pasta dishes is a great idea. We like to combine sautéed broccoli with fusilli, and asparagus or peas, and sliced mushrooms with risotto. It can be a meal in itself instead of a side dish.

I can testify that the roasted Brussels sprouts and mashed cauliflower are delicious. Today’s selections also include a zucchini casserole, a baked spinach dish and stuffed potatoes.

In other words, there’s something for everyone.

We would love to hear how creative you get when cooking with vegetables. Sharing is a big part of Culinary Conversation — a tasteful place to be.

Broccoli Oven Omelet

Beat eggs with hand beater in 21⁄2-quart bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in broccoli, onion, 1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk, salt, basil and garlic powder. Pour into ungreased 11x7x2-inch rectangular baking dish. Arrange tomato slices on top; sprinkle with 1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese. Cook uncovered in 325 oven until set, 25 to 3 minutes. Serves 6.

Zucchini Casserole

Melt butter and toss with stuffing mix. Mix remaining ingredients, and one half of the butter and stuffing mix together. Pour mixture into lightly greased 12x9-inch pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining dressing over all.

Baked Spinach Dish

Heat spinach with water only until thawed. Remove from heat (do not drain) and mix in the bread cubes, 1⁄3 cup butter, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic and seasoned salt. Bring to boiling, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Turn mixture into an 8-inch square pan.

Toss 3 tablespoons butter into crumbs and cheese; sprinkle over top.

Heat in a 400 oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown.

Mashed Cauliflower

Chop cauliflower into smaller chunks — about bite-size pieces.

Peel garlic cloves and cut in half, lengthwise.

Steam cauliflower and garlic for 15 minutes or until cauliflower and garlic are tender enough for a fork to easily pass through.

Combine steamed cauliflower, garlic, fresh herbs, and sea salt in a food processor or a strong blender and blend until everything comes together into a mashed potato-like consistency. It can be made smooth or slightly chunky. You can also mash everything together by hand with a potato masher or a fork.

Roasted Brussels sprouts

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them onto a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt, if desired, and serve immediately.

Stuffed Potatoes

While potatoes are baking, cook onion and green pepper in 3 tablespoons hot butter in a skillet. Add tomato and cook one minute.

Cut a thin lengthwise slice from each baked potato. With a spoon, scoop out potato without breaking skin. Thoroughly mash or rice scooped-out potato. Whip in milk with remaining ingredients until potatoes are fluffy. Blend in vegetable mixture.

Pile mixture lightly into potato shells. Arrange on baking sheets. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned.

(*Some recipes have not been tested.)