Veggie of the Month

Here are some Recipes that Erin, Grace and Sarah found, invented and adapted! Please read and enjoy!

April - Mushrooms

Overview
Mushrooms are not technically a vegetable— they’re really a fungus! But we’ll let them in anyway because they’re delicious, packed with nutrients, and in season. They’re also full of mystery because it takes so much skill to hunt down edible wild mushrooms. In ancient Egypt, mushrooms were declared food for royalty. Commoners were forbidden from eating them and they were thought to bestow super human strength. King Louis XIV of France is credited with popularizing the cultivation of mushrooms, which quickly spread to England where florists realized they could grow mushrooms under benches and flower beds, doubling the use of their space.  Today, wild mushroom hunting is regrowing in popularity, but the cultivated varieties available at the grocery store and farmers markets are also delicious and have a lot less risk involved.

how to choose
Choose firm mushrooms without much bruising. Raw mushrooms should not be slimy,

how to store
Mushrooms are pretty perishable and can only last fresh in the refrigerator for five to six days. Store them in a paper bag and don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat or cook them. Mushrooms can also be dried for longer storage and stored in a sealed container in a cool dry place.

recipe
Mushroom and Egg Wrap
Yield: 1
Serving size: 1 wrap
Preparation Time: 3 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 minutes
Ingredients

  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Pinch of Black Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground (to taste)
  • 1 8-inch flour tortilla
  • 2 tablespoons prepared salsa (optional)

Directions:
Place salt and mushrooms in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for one minute, stirring at the 30-second mark (optional, add other chopped veggies like onions or peppers.)

Drain off excess liquid before stirring in the egg, then cover.
Place tortilla in the microwave too and heat both on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir in cheese and pepper.
Spoon egg and mushroom mixture into tortilla and, if using, add the salsa on top.
Fold the bottom of the wrap up over the eggs, and then roll the remaining sides around.
You can eat it right away, or wrap it in waxed paper and refrigerate for up to three days. When ready to serve, place wrap in microwave for 45-60 seconds, just until heated.

Got Leftovers?
-If you have leftovers of both eggs and mushrooms (because you were overzealous with the above recipe), and some leftover rice, put it all together with a dash of soy sauce in a frying pan for some delicious fried rice. Check out this recipe for inspiration http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/recipes/show/41-egg-stir-fried-rice
- Or, if you’re tired of eating your mushrooms with egg, pour a jar of tomato sauce into a saucepan, chop up your mushrooms, and add them to the sauce. Heat the mixture until your mushrooms are cooked (10-15 minutes) and cook some spaghetti at the same time. Suddenly you have a heartier, dressed up version of the classic pasta with red sauce. Add other leftover veggies (like broccoli, onion, or peppers) to spice it up even more.

March- Lettuce
Overview:
Lettuce is a fast growing leaf vegetable that grows all over the U.S. (and the world) in cool (45F-75F) advironments. There are so many awesome varieties of lettuce, including: Boston, Bibb, Buttercrunch, Chinese, Crisphead, Frisee, Iceberg, Loose leaf, Red Leaf, Radicchio, Summer Crisp, Tom Thumb…(and so many more!). You can grow your own lettuce in window boxes, indoors near a sunny spot, or directly seed them in the garden after the ground has thawed (in early Spring). Lettuce is super healthy, diverse and yummy!
Recipe:
Frisee Salad with Warm Vinegrette:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large head frisee lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

Directions

Fill a large skillet with water, bring it to a boil, and add the vinegar and a large pinch of salt. Reduce the heat until the water is just barely bubbling. Crack each egg into a small bowl and carefully slide the egg into the water. Cook until the eggs are set, about 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and dab the bottom with paper towels to dry them off; set aside and keep warm.

Put the bacon and shallots into a cold skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil and cook over medium heat until the bacon is browned and crisp; be careful not to let it burn. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and set aside. Meanwhile, get a jar with a tight fitting lid. Add the mustard, remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Shake well to combine the ingredients, add the chives, taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Put the frisee into a large bowl and toss it with the dressing the cooked bacon and shallots. To serve, place a large mound of salad onto a plate and top with a poached egg. Garnish with some chives and adrizzle of olive oil.

Recipe # 2:

Lettuce Wraps!

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons Peanut Or Olive Oil
  • 1 package (about 12-14 Oz. Size) Firm Tofu
  • 2 ears Corn (or 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Corn Kernels)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder (more To Taste)
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  •  Romaine Lettuce Hearts
  • 2 whole Avocados, Sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the tofu, then break it up into very small pieces. Cook tofu for several minutes, until much of the liquid cooks off and tofu starts to turn golden.

Cut kernels off the cobs of corn and throw it in with the tofu. Cook for a few minutes (corn can remain crunchy.)

Add chili powder and soy sauce, then cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in balsamic if using.

Pile mixture into romaine hearts, then add sliced of avocado. Fold up and chow down!

-http://yardener.com/YardenersPlantHelper/FoodGardening/VegetableFiles/Lettuce/PlantingLettuce
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February- Onion
 
Overview
Mentioned in Indian Vedic, Chinese, Egyptian, and even Sumeric writings, onions are one of the oldest human foods. Romans thought they could cure vision, dog bites, dysentery and more. And the Pilgrims brought them on the Mayflower but then found wild varieties of onions already growing in the New World. Because they can be stored for months, dried, and grown in many climates, onions have historically been and still are a very versatile crop. They can last five to eight months in storage, allowing even New Englanders to eat locally grown produce into the winter. They are also said to collect bacteria when cut open and left exposed to the air, so some people chop an onion in half and leave it out in a bowl to draw bacteria in their homes and prevent it from reaching their own bodies and making them sick. But if you do that, don’t eat the onion! Just compost it or throw it away. Onions come in many colors and sizes, all of which have different rich flavors. The sweeter varieties tend to grow in warmer climates.  
 
How to choose  
Whole onions can be planted and sprouted into new plants, so when choosing an onion make sure it hasn’t already started this process on its own because it will have lost some of its flavor. Onions that are round and firm with tight skin are the way to go, but watch out for moldy blemishes or smells other than that classic biting onion scent.
 
How to store 
Whole onions can be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place for five to eight months. Hanging them in a mesh or other breathable bag works well, and leaves valuable fridge space for foods that need it more. Once you’ve cut open your onion, put it in the fridge in an airtight container to protect other food from its powerful odor.
 
Recipe
Winter Onion Soup
3 or 4 large onions, depending on size, thinly sliced
About 3 cups of beef stock or vegetable stock, home made, or made from cubes
dash of salt and pepper
2 oz of low fat Cheddar or Colby cheese, grated
 
Directions 
Place the stock and sliced onions in a saucepan, and sprinkle in a dash of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, and then gently simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the soup into 4 individual soup bowls. Top each bowl with a sprinkling of low fat grated cheese. Anyone needing a heartier meal could add a slice of toasted bread cut into croutons.
 
Got leftovers?
- Use them as the base for almost any soup, especially winter chile in the crock pot, or butternut squash soup using this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/butternut-squash-soup-recipe/index.html 
- Or, chop them up and saute them for a few minutes, then beat a few eggs and scramble them on top.
 
Citations:
http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=41375 
http://chge.med.harvard.edu/programs/food/onions.html 
http://onions-usa.org/all-about-onions/history-of-onions 
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Rutabaga

January:  Rutabaga
This root vegetable may not be easy on the eyes, but what it lacks in beauty it makes up for in taste and versatility. The rutabaga is thought to have originated from a cross between a turnip and a wild cabbage, which explains its unique flavor. The easy-to-store root contains significant amounts of vitamin C. The rutabaga’s leaves are rich in Vitamin A, C, and K, as well as calcium.
The rutabaga also has an interesting history as a holiday decoration. During the Celtic holiday Samhain, a precursor to Halloween, ancient Celts used to build bonfires to ward off evil spirits. The practice evolved over the years until hollowed out rutabagas and turnips replaced the bonfires. Children also carved rutabagas into frightening masks and wore them in the streets, a practice that is echoed both in trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lantern faces.
 
Choosing Your Rutabaga:
Look for roots that are free of blemishes and bruises. Look for leaves that are firm, with undamaged stems.
 
Storing Your Rutabaga
Rutabagas will keep in the refrigerator for at least a month, making them an ideal local choice during the cold Northeast winters when not much else is available. If you buy them with the greens still attached, removed them quickly before the root becomes rubbery. Store the greens in a plastic bag in the fridge, removing as much air from the bag as possible, and keep them for up to 4 days.
 
Recipes:
 
Scalloped root medley
This recipe pairs rutabaga with many of its root vegetable cousins, but you could easily create a rutabaga-only casserole.
serves 6
 
2 medium rutabagas peeled and thinly sliced 
2 medium potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion sliced very thin and rings separated
2 parsnips peeled and thinly sliced 
2 carrots peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cupchicken or vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika for color

Directions:
In a well greased 2 quart casserole dish layer rutabaga, onion, carrots, onion, parsnips, onion, and potato, lightly salting and peppering between each layer. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and stir in flour until well blended. Whisk in stock and stir constantly until the mixture is boiling and thickens. Pour the mixture over casserole and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 90 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the top is golden brown.

Hearty Rutabaga Greens
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 bunch rutabaga greens
Olive oil
Garlic
Crushed red pepper
2-3 spoonfuls tomato sauce
Salt
Crusty bread

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Wash the greens and remove the thick parts of the stems. When the water boils, toss a handful of coarse salt into the pot, and add the greens. Boil until tender, approximately 8-10 minutes, and drain. Sauté 2 tablespoons olive oil, two cloves of garlic diced into small pieces, and a bit of crushed red pepper in a skillet for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is golden brown. Add the greens and 2-3 spoonfuls of tomato sauce. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature with good bread.


Got Leftovers?
Leftover rutabagas can be used raw or cooked. If using raw, first peel them, then dice or grate into salads or cole slaw. Or, boil/steam/roast leftover rutabaga and mix with potatoes prepared the same way. You can also dice them and add to soups.

Sources:

http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch4.html

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/rutabaga.html
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=rNAXt9jLXWwC&pg=PA44&dq=guising+SAMHAIN#v=onepage&q=guising%20SAMHAIN&f=false
http://food52.com/recipes/14550_scalloped_root_medley
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