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.
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?