Thursday, November 01, 2007

in honor of world vegan day...

I bring you PRODUCE!

There is a lot of good to being vegan, and real gains for everyone involved, but one of the funnest aspects of it is all the close encounters of the produce kind that we get to experience. The more I get to know about fruits and veggies, the more fascinated I become with the intricacies and infinite variety that they represent. So without further ado, I bring you just some of the produce that I have played with in the last month or so. I know my posts tend to be picture-heavy- I can't help it, it's the art history teacher in me! To get the full effect, turn down the lights, grab a cup of something warm and soothing, and enjoy the show!

While visiting my mom in Virginia last month, we went to an Asian supermarket that I love because I always see tons of out-of-the-ordinary produce there. Here's some bitter melon. I'm ashamed to say that I don't know much about these- does anyone have a recipe for me?

Here's some tindora. What is tindora? They look kind of like little cucumber-shaped melons, but I have no idea what they would taste like. Anyone? Ferris? Ferris?

Here's a cutie little Thai green eggplant- beautiful pattern, isn't it?

Later, back home, Daiku returned from the farmers market one day with a huge bag of these tiny baby eggplants. After oohing and aahing over them for a couple of days, we put them to good use in stir-fries, sandwiches, and stews.

Another impressive bit of produce from Daiku's trip to the market, this huge bunch of habañero peppers. Considering these are the hottest peppers known to human-kind, and that we usually use, say, 1/2 of 1 for a whole batch of chili, what would we do with these...? Daiku has been busy making and preserving habañero sauces and relishes, but we still have quite a few to go through!

Even at a normal old supermarket, it is fun to come across beautiful produce. Case in point, this multi-colored bunch of organic radishes- white, pink, purple and red. I loved their sweet taste, and made sure to eat up every last bit, including the radish greens, which make a wonderful, slightly spicy addition to sandwiches and salads.

Pretty, eh?

The first day of November means our summer garden is definitively done. This funny little orb-shaped cucumber was the last one produced.

We brought this little bundle of greenness in a couple of nights ago, since there was a frost warning. Peppers, a few different types of tomatoes, and a garlic bulb. Last year, we had tons of fun with green tomatoes, and we probably will this year as well.

Does it seem to you that there are always new varieties of squash to discover? My love of yellow and orange veggies knows no bounds, and so I love collecting as many squash as possible. Look at this flamboyant little guy. It was called a Turban Squash...

... you can kind of see why in this shot! I have had it around for 2 weeks, and I just don't know how I'm going to bring myself to cut into this beautiful vegetable and cook it. So for now, it sits proudly on our table, adding a fall glow to our living room. Sigh.

I saw these huge pink tubers sitting at last Friday's market. When I asked the woman selling them what they were, she said "winter radish," promising that they were sweet and you could cook and mash them like potatoes. She even gave me a sheet full of recipes for them! Well, of course, I couldn't resist, since I love radish in all its forms.

Including its gnarly forms. When I cut into it raw, it was tremendously hot and spicy, almost hard to eat. So, as advised, we steamed a part of it...

...and made these maki that you might remember from our Halloween party. Next time you make maki, try steaming some radish or turnip, and dying it pink using the juice from your jar of beet/horseradish, for that beautiful pink color. (You do have a jar of Polish beet/horseradish in your fridge at all times, right? I don't want to hear about it if you don't!) The radish/beet/horseradish combo is surprisingly appropriate for sushi, and the appearance and texture remind me very much of tuna.

Finally, we have this pod-like creature. The owner of a Middle-Eastern grocery store gave us this piece of carob to try last time we visited his store! I'd never seen carob other than wannabe chocolate chips and cocoa powder, so seeing it in its natural form is very intriguing for me. We haven't done much with it- it's only one pod, after all, but sucking on it is really fun, because it's sweet! I want to come up with ways to eat and cook with carob that have nothing to do with chocolate, rescue it from its fate as a poseur, as it were. Anyone have any recipes to share? Something savory, perhaps?

So, that's my little tour of the wild and wacky world of produce. I will bring you recipes for all these, and more soon. Meanwhile, have you hugged a vegan today?



Mihl said...

Happy world vegan day! Wow, you've collected lots of interesting produce, especially the bitter melon and the turban squash.
By the way, now I am going to camp in front of your house until you throw one of those bloody fingers into your garden. I couldn't stop staring at them and although we don't celebrate Halloween I have to find an opportunity to make these.

Chrissie said...


I've found lots of interesting recipes for veggies I find in Asian grocery stores through Indian food blogs. Here's one of my favorites: Bitter melon is great in curry!


Village Mama said...

You've inspired me to take my little guy to the supermarket - I was simply going to dash out for a couple things, but I want him to have the pleasure of picking them out.

Saw your comment on Urban Vegan -- I know what you mean about Paula Deen, but I gotta tell you, I adore her enthusiasm, even if she is just eating ice cream. I find her so cute, like someone I'd love to have in our family, kind of like an adorable plush puppy.

Celine said...

I have to go take a shower after all that produce porn. boo-yah!

Ashasarala said...

I love looking at your pictures. They're so inspirational. Like I said before- I really gotta get to the farmer's market!

I love that squash, especially. I wouldn't be able to chop into it, either. But I'm still excited to see what you end up doing with it.

Happy Vegan Day! Luckily, I get to hug a vegan everyday. :)

maybepigscanfly said...

Oh my gosh this is my dream post! I just love trying out new produce- it's so much fun. Oh and never too many pictures- keep them coming.

I love all things hot so I would be very excited about those peppers. And that squash is so neat looking that I would have trouble chopping it up to cook. I'm just amazed by the many varieties of squash.

How cool to try an actual carob pod- I've never seen one before and I'd love to get my hands on one!

Happy Vegan Day!

meesh said...

Happy Vegan day! If you were around, bazu, I'd hug you. :)
That's quite the display of veggies. I've never head of/seen many of thsoe. Loved the turban squash and the pretty littel raddishes. They always make me think of Fraggle Rock and Doozer constructions. lol

Bobbie said...

If you ever come across Winter Melon in an Asian Market, grab one! It's not really a melon at all...more like a potato when cooked, but so healthy and tasty!

VeggieGirl said...

oooh what a fun post in honor of World Vegan Day!! My favorites HAVE to be the Thai green eggplant and of COURSE the carob pod (since you know that I'm addicted to carob) - let me know which recipes you decide to try out, with the carob!!

Again, Happy World Vegan Day!! :0)

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! I love discovering new produce too. Turban squash is great! I think you will like it...once you can bring yourself to cut into it!


SusanV said...

I'm not a big fan of bitter melon, but the one time I tried it I probably did it all wrong. When you get ready to use one, do a search of my blog for Pinakbet and read the comments. People posted a lot of good suggestions for how to use it so that the bitterness doesn't overwhelm the dish.

Great photos, as always!

Diana said...

Hmmm, from memory there are indeed some curry-style dishes that utilise carob... Anyone?

Oh, does hugging yourself count? What about your dairy-allergic vegetarian housemate?

Kittee said...

i didn't get to hug a vegan today, but i did get to hug my mom... i'm gonna hug myself before i get into bed just to make it right with the world.

nice piccies, bazoooooOOOoo.


Alec said...

Turban squash is one of my new favorite fall veggies. We made an awesome stew the other day with one. It was so easy and delicious! The only hard part is cutting the turban squash into pieces. They're tough suckers! After cutting up into manageable pieces, bake the pieces for a bit to soften up so you can scrape the squash innards out, drop in a pot, add some veggie stock and spices of your choosing, and you're basically ready to eat- (we originally an actual recipe fromWilson Farms ( but I can't seem to find it on their website now). Served with veggie brats and Oktoberfest beer (Spaten or Paulaner are my favorite), this is one delicious fall meal!

Kati said...

Happy {belated} World Vegan Day! All that produce is stunning - mother nature's handy work know no bounds. Fruits and vegetables never cease to amaze me.

Vegan_Noodle said...

I love vegetables. And World Vegan Day. And your posts!

Rachael said...

We got a big bag of habaneros at the market a couple of weeks ago too and, yeah, they are lasting a long time...I think they'll end up frozen to be used in winter soups and such.

Those pictures are beautiful! I keep telling myself I will try cooking bitter melon but it hasn't happened yet.

Veganista said...

I LOVE this post. All the produce is beautiful, but my favourite item has to be that squash...does it get any cuter in a vegetable?! Tee hee.

dreamy said...

Lucky you! All fresh from the market! We hardly have any fresh produce, it's mostly imported unfortunately.

vegetalion said...

there's this one kind of squash I like (for purely aesthetic reasons) - I think it's a variety of Hubbard squash? - and it's a gorgeous pale baby blue. You'd love it.

rani said...

ooh gorgeous pics!

bitter melon is very bitter, but you can pressure cook or boil and drain off the water, or else cut it into thin strips and deep fry like chips.

tindora is yummy sliced thin and sauteed in oil with a dash of curry powder and plenty of salt. when it gets soft and roasted it gets caramelized and tastes amazing.

Anonymous said...

Hi, You have pretty pictures...I got here via craftzine (featuring the whoopie pies).

Turban squash was yummy when we had it, but we found it nearly impossible to open up. Since then I read on Martha Stewart (regarding spaghetti squash) to immerse it whole into boiling water for 10 minutes to soften it up enough to cut & then bake. An idea I may try next time.

Mexican food has mole sauce, which is chocolate-based and used on enchiladas, quesadillas, etc. It is chocolatey yet spicy with a hint of bitter and is very yummy....I wonder if it could be adapted for use with carob.

Anonymous said...

great photos, i love so much to learn about this produce.