real food right now
Real Food Right Now and How to Cook it (#realfoodrightnow) is our series on the ABCs and 123s of seasonal food.
Arguably the most iconic of the spring vegetables, asparagus is grown around the world and has been celebrated for millennia. Any asparagus enthusiast will tell you that despite its year-round appearance in modern American grocery stores, it is far tastier grown locally and enjoyed in the spring.
Get to know rhubarb, the fascinating, delicious spring vegetable -- er, fruit. (Which is it? Depends where you are!) Tangy and beautiful, these late spring/early summer stalks will lend a lot of zip to your seasonal eating!
What does knobby, weird-looking kohlrabi taste like? What can you do with it? No worries -- get to know this Brassica cousin of kale, broccoli and cabbage now! That's right, kohlrabi's not actually a root vegetable. It does make a mighty fine pancake, though, as you'll see here.
That first glimpse of strawberries at the market means that summer is finally here. By "strawberries," we mean those nuggets of red, delicious juiciness found at the farmers' market or a local farm stand -- not the giant (flavorless) ones you can find year round at the supermarket.
With a tangle of garlic scapes' green curlicued shoots in your midst, you aren't just eating seasonally; you're eating in the moment. Scapes represent a specific stage of growth of hard-necked varieties of garlic. As the bulbs grow and harden, green shoots poke their heads through the ground and curl, pigtail-like, before straightening.
You may have heard that there are two things no one wants to see made: laws and sausages. While jokes about the nastiness of hot dog production date back to the 1800s, nothing stops Americans from gobbling down 20 billion of them per year, topping them with everything from cream cheese to jalapenos!
If you're lucky to have access to a garden with verdant clumps of basil growing in it, there's nothing like its heady smell hovering in the summer heat. Bonus: according to folklore, basil is a cure for scorpion stings. Intrigued? Read on.
Tomatoes are a fruit many of us just can't live without. Yes, fruit - although culinarily used as a vegetable, botanically, tomatoes are actually fruit. They have charmed their way into the cuisines of so many cultures and whether headed for your table fresh or sauced, this is their moment!
In this week's Real Food installment, from the illustrious Kim O'Donnel, learn the difference between snap beans and shell beans, how incredibly nutritious they are, what to look for at the market and why it's important to buy this summer staple organic.
Prickly brambleberry bushes are everywhere in the Pacific Northwest (and other places), producing inky sweet-tart drupelets in jeweled shades of indigo, deep purple and Snow White's lips. We're talking about raspberries, blackberries and their many mirthfully-sounding cultivars like Olallieberries and Marionberries. Welcome to high summer fruit!
This nightshade has been unfairly blamed for maladies from pimples to leprosy to "melancholy." Also, should you salt and rinse it, and why? Megan Saynisch leads us on a path winding through eggplant's exotic history and straight back to the kitchen.
If there's one crop that epitomizes the sultry essence of summer, it's the watermelon. As apples and winter squash make their pre-autumn debut, Mother Nature stops the rush hour traffic and allows the last bit of sun-kissed, lycopene-rich hunks of burning love to pass Go and keep on keeping on.
From Adam and Eve's use of their leaves to cover up to the Newtons of your childhood, figs have a long cultural history. The sticky harbinger of late summer pairs well with a slice of prosciutto and a glass of wine â€" a grown up alternative to the cookies of youth.
Among the late-summer season goodies are zucchini and other members of the summer squash family. Procrastinators, this is your last call for the real thing, despite what megamart produce aisles say.
Grapes are a special fruit. From inspiring myth (think Dionysus and Bacchus) to sustaining WWII troops in the form of raisins, grapes have been involved in so much of human history. Although I grew up eating lots of raisins and grapes, as I imagine so many American kids in the 70s and 80s did, I didn't really value the fruit until I was old enough to appreciate wine.
Fresh fennel, its seeds and fronds impart subtle anise-like flavor to many dishes, from cakes to side dishes to Sambuca. This cool-weather crop even makes it through to spring. While famed in Italian cuisine, the seeds show up in Indian and Chinese cooking, too, making this a worldwide delicacy.