Today in the World-Herald, I wrote a story about eating the whole vegetable — the skins, the tops, everything. I first heard about this trend during a segment on The Splendid Table, one of my favorite NPR shows. Here’s a link to the episode featuring Gilt Taste’s Francis Lam talking about the subject. The site’s column called Eat Shoots and Leaves has a bunch of great ideas, and I share a few of those below.
My story features a lot of tips from local farmers at Rhizosphere Farm and One Farm on how you can eat things like beet tops and carrot tops. It also talks about how local shoppers are becoming more adventurous when it comes to buying veggies at the farmer’s market, opting for more than just tomatoes and moving toward things like kohlrabi and black radishes.
I figured I’d share a few bonus recipes and ideas today on the blog.
Over on Twitter, I’ve been talking about how to use those rough stems from kale. Join the conversation.
And tell me in the comments: What’s your favorite way to eat the scraps?
What to do with broccoli stalks, via Gilt Taste:
– Broccoli Chips: Just dip thin slices of peeled stalk in corn starch, then fry them in about 4 cups of 325⁰ F vegetable oil like potato chips until they’re light brown. Drain them on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt.
– Broccoli carpaccio: thin slices of stalk layered between rich, creamy rectangles of avocado and sprinkled with fresh herbs and chiles. Peel the tough, fibrous outside and slice broccoli stalks thinly, about 1/8 of an inch thick. (We like to do this with a mandoline, but knife or even a good vegetable peeler will do in a pinch.) Toss with salt and lime juice to taste. Arrange the slices across your plate, alternating them with thin slices of ripe avocado, drizzle with nice extra virgin olive oil, and top to taste with a rough puree of 3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon minced Thai bird’s eye chiles. thin slices of stalk layered between rich, creamy rectangles of avocado and sprinkled with fresh herbs and chiles. Peel the tough, fibrous outside and slice broccoli stalks thinly, about 1/8 of an inch thick. (We like to do this with a mandoline, but knife or even a good vegetable peeler will do in a pinch.) Toss with salt and lime juice to taste. Arrange the slices across your plate, alternating them with thin slices of ripe avocado, drizzle with nice extra virgin olive oil, and top to taste with a rough puree of 3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil, 1 teaspoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon minced Thai bird’s eye chiles.
More ideas for celery leaves, via Gilt Taste:
– Celery leaves make for a deliciously assertive pesto that is unexpectedly reminiscent of licorice and citrus (and is stunning with grilled fish, lobster, and seared shrimp). Just use celery leaves in lieu of basil, toasted almonds instead of pine nuts and buzz in the customary Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil (a few fresh mint leaves are a nice addition, too). If you’re not in the mood for fish, toss the pesto with pasta and crumbled ricotta salata or slather it onto garlic-rubbed slices of grilled bread.
– pulverize them into the most gorgeous green-tinged celery salt, much fresher and brighter than the stuff you buy in jars. Line a microwave-safe plate with a paper towel and arrange leaves in a single layer. Cover with another paper towel and zap in the microwave in 30-second increments until the leaves look more brittle than wilted (usually 1½ to 2 minutes total). Let the leaves cool, rub them through a fine-mesh sieve set over a dish of salt and combine. (Or grind them with the salt in a spice grinder.) The stuff is killer sprinkled over eggs, used to rim a shot of icy-cold vodka, or, of course, on a hot dog. (Be sure to snip the leaves buried inside the celery, too—one head of celery can yield two loose cups of leaves!)
My personal favorite ideas, what to do with ginger peels, via Gilt Taste.
– Make gari (pink-pickled ginger): For those who frequent sushi bars, gari (literally “crunchy”) should be a familiar item. The thin slices of sweet-but-fiery pickled ginger will turn pale pink naturally if you prepare them properly.
Make a sweet-and-sour brine: 1 part salt, 4 parts sugar, 16 parts vinegar. Heat in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Transfer to a glass jar. Fill a saucepan with fresh water and set aside. Don’t peel ginger (clean if there’s dirt), and using a mandoline or sharp knife, shave tissue-thin slices with the grain.
Bring the water in your pot to a rolling boil, add the ginger slices all at once and stir. Wait until the water returns to a boil and drain immediately. Do NOT shock in cold water! Instead, transfer immediately to the jar holding your sweet and sour brine. When steam no longer rises, close the jar tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 months. The pink color will gradually deepen.
– Make shōga yu (ginger “tea”): Recipes often call for ginger to be grated, but protecting your fingers and knuckles leaves you holding a fair-sized chunk afterwards. Other recipes call for ginger juice, leaving you with fibrous pulp. Either way, you’ve got the makings of ginger tea.
Make a tea bag for your trim: Take a double-thickness of cheesecloth (or even sterile gauze pads!) and place your ginger pulp and trim in the center. Add lemon and/or orange peels if you want a fruity brew. Bring up the edges to make a pouch and tie up with kitchen twine. To extract maximum flavor, place your tea bag in a small saucepan with several cups of cold water. Slowly bring the water to a boil over low heat; simmer for 10 minutes. Enjoy the soothing tea hot, or let it cool and then chill it to as a refreshing drink over ice.
Image by Kiley Cruse/OWH.Tweet