Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cardoons

You're unlikely to find cardoons at your local grocery store, but check farmers' markets in late fall and you might get lucky. Like a cross between artichokes and celery, these spiky, silvery stalks can add delicious new flavor to old recipes, though you may want to wear gloves!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Celery

Celery is a ubiquitous ingredient in cooking, but tends to stay out of the spotlight. While you may recognize this fibrous snack from raw vegetable platters with dip, find out how celery has played many roles throughout history in cooking, medicine and even garnishing and starring in popular beverages.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cider

If there's a beverage demarking Fall, it's cider. Hard cider, sweet cider, warm cider in one hand with a fresh apple cider doughnut in the other, yum! Explore cider this season with the many recipes - and historical tidbits - the drink has to offer.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Wine

Are you ready to step up your wine game? In this Real Food overview, we'll touch on some familiar grapes and wines while providing references for further exploration. Most importantly, we'll look at the environmental impacts and sustainable potential of winemaking!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Shallots

Shallots are delicious roasted, sautéed, fried and braised, but where they really shine is as an integral component of sauces, vinaigrettes and other dishes (even desserts!), that can benefit from their allium punch. Although they can be pricy, shallots add a little je ne sais quoi to so many dishes.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Potatoes

With over 4,000 varieties, the potato is a staple in cuisines around the world. It was also among the first vegetables to be intensively monocropped and served as a model for other crops. The common tuber is more exotic than you think!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Broccoli

Broccoli is a virtuous superfood, packed with disease-fighting antioxidants; on the other hand, it's the culinary equivalent of icky, especially when boiled to death. Given its nutritional prowess, broccoli deserves better than a pity party. If its cousin kale can get a sexy makeover, why not the tiny trees of the produce aisle? Let the reinvention begin!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Carrots

Carrots are equally at home in sweet and savory dishes; they can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, fried and stir-fried, made into puddings, cakes and sweet treats and grated, puréed and grantinéed. So of course they are ubiquitous in so many cuisines: what's better than a sweet, crunchy and colorful food?

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Persimmons

The national fruit of Japan, the autumnal hued persimmon still elicits head scratches on our side of the world. (It looks like a tomato! How do I eat it?) Add in a sometimes astringent, even bitter flavor and you've got a recipe for confusion. Are we missing out on a tasty treat? In a word, yes.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Spinach

For a vegetable that has flourished for millennia in the Mediterranean, it's a funny thing to say that spinach has grown up. But here in Popeye land, our relatively newfound respect for spinach reflects a certain culinary maturity. Plain ole boiled spinach is bland, but when just harvested, can be sweet, and its blank-slate flavor profile is a terrific opportunity to pair it up with zestier playmates.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Sage

Originally used medicinally to treat symptoms ranging from insomnia to venereal disease, sage has since made its way - over hundreds of years - into a range of savory dishes. And scientific studies support the old-timey idea that sage is linked to wisdom (or at least, memory and cognitive function).

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cauliflower

Could it be that cauliflower is the Wonder Bread of the vegetable world? Or is it stealthily packed with nutrients and enough Vitamin C to rival an orange? Surprisingly, the latter is true. Not bad for something writer Mark Twain once described as "cabbage with a college education."

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Sweet Potatoes

Just in time for Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes reach their seasonal peak -- how fitting! And while we have plenty of delicious recipes and tasty trivia to offer, we know why some of you are really here: to find out about where the marshmallows fit in. (Or do they?)

Taste It, Don't Waste It! Potatoes

Here, Sherri Brooks Vinton dishes up recipes and tips on how to use up every bit of tasty food we buy and prepare. You too can turn leftover mashed potatoes into sexy samosas, and Sherri's recipe for potato peel chips will convince you to never throw out another nutritious skin.

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