How to Make the Most of Your Veggies

Tip one: Let your ingredients do the talking.

With the warm weather, nature’s bounty will again reward us with sweet, succulent and nutritious vegetables. To get the most out of them, you don’t need to do much more; just let your ingredients do the talking.

Roasting 

The easiest and most versatile way to cook vegetables, roasting is every restaurant’s go-to technique. The trick is cutting them to the same size and thickness and putting veggies with the same textures together so they cook in the same time. Put vegetables in a bowl, add enough oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast at 425° for 10–20 minutes. The high heat will give the vegetables some good color, and the short baking time will ensure a crisp outside and a soft inside. Serve with a roast chicken.

Favorites: Cauliflower and broccoli.

Grilling

This technique requires a little more skill and attention since grills can be temperamental. The vegetables need to be cut longer so they do not fall between the grates. Follow the above roasting technique of adding oil, salt and pepper. On a hot grill, place your veggies perpendicular to the grates. They take about two minutes on each side on medium-high heat. Serve immediately or save for lunchtime salads.

Favorites: Zucchini, pepper and eggplant.

Stir-frying 

This is my go-to technique for a quick meal. The secret is a very hot pan and vegetables cut in small, uniform pieces. Since the process takes fewer than five minutes, prep all your ingredients before starting. With a very hot pan, add a tablespoon of oil on high heat. Add the vegetables and move around with a spatula. Don’t overfill your pan or your vegetables will end up steaming. (Your pan will sizzle when the water from the vegetables hits the hot oil.) Season with pepper and a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos and cook for 3–5 minutes.    

Favorites: Asparagus, red pepper and red onion.

Doreen Chatfield (doreenchatfield71@gmail.com) is a classically educated chef who received her training at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. She is a personal chef and caterer and is currently the dietary director at Valley Hospital.

DTLV

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