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Vegetables that aren't used enough in American kitchens

Fennel, Brussel Sprouts, Leeks. etc.,

I never saw these in our kitchen growing up. When i did experience them there were never done right.

Last night we roasted Brussels sprouts and some leeks with a little broth and the taste was AMAZING: Nutty and sweet —not rank. I never knew.

What are some veggies that get a bad rap but can be amazing when done right?

by Anonymousreply 6402/06/2013

Do you eat parsnips over here very often? I think they are lovely but they are difficult to find in a regular supermarket.

by Anonymousreply 102/05/2013

Brussels sprouts taste like they've already been eaten once and vomited back up.

by Anonymousreply 202/05/2013

OP I had fresh pan-sauteed brussel sprouts just the other night cooked by a friend- they were stupendously good I couldn't believe it. Very nice surprise. I'd only had the frozen bagged kind in the past which were yuck at best.

by Anonymousreply 302/05/2013

bitter melons in a soup are delicious!

by Anonymousreply 402/05/2013

R2, anything of low quality prepared badly tastes bad, and vegetables in the cabbage family are notorious in that regard. But all you're doing is announcing your ignorance, the poor meals you had from your family, your bias, and your desire to try to turn a phrase that is inept and misplaced.

But I do want to know, please, OP, whatever you meant by inserting an "etc." where you did. It makes no sense. And your assumption that American kitchens don't use fennel, Brussels sprouts or leeks, as with R2, says more about the limitations of your experience than your knowledge of American family cookery. My own family, a combination of backwoods Appalachian/Ozark hillbillies and German coal miners, used these items, as well as parsnips, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichokes, shallots, artichokes, rutabaga, and every type of squash (plus blossoms) and berry I can think of except loganberries. I'm trying to understand what kinds of things you could be referring to. Are these among them?

by Anonymousreply 502/05/2013

Just have vietnamese food! Tons of crispy veggies there

by Anonymousreply 602/05/2013

Does creme brulee count as a vegetable?

by Anonymousreply 702/05/2013

I love Brussel Sprouts, but my partner abhors them - and has adopted a "Not in MY house" hardline arrogation. Darn, 'cuz I really love them.

by Anonymousreply 802/05/2013

r8, I simply don't understand people who rule out an entire category of food.

by Anonymousreply 902/05/2013

It's how you cook the vegetables that's most important. Maybe we should stop having chili cook-offs and have veggie cook-offs instead.

by Anonymousreply 1002/05/2013

What ARE Leeks anyway?

by Anonymousreply 1102/05/2013

Steamed or sauteed brussel sprouts are delicious, with some Hollandaise sauce. And they are SO DAMN CUTE, TOO! Just like having a plate of little people to eat!

by Anonymousreply 1202/05/2013

Sometimes Brussels sprouts are great - and sometimes bitter and I can't tell in the store which I'm getting. Is there some secret?

And I'd describe leeks as big very mild onions. I like them, but then, I like any kind of onions.

by Anonymousreply 1302/05/2013

Morels - fresh steamed drizzled with hot butter, and pinch of salt.

Also, French style green beans, a/k/a haricots vert.

Oh, and beans and legumes generally.

by Anonymousreply 1402/05/2013

R11 they are like very mild onions.

by Anonymousreply 1502/05/2013

I am in love with R12 *muah*

by Anonymousreply 1602/05/2013

Artichokes are delicious when diced and sauted in garlic and oil - that old-fashioned way of dipping the leaves in butter and scraping them against your teeth is vile.

And wonderful things can be done with eggplants, squash and other nightshade gourd plants.

by Anonymousreply 1702/05/2013

R12 gives the exact reason why I do not like most vegtables. You have to smother them in some kind of sauce with outweighs the benefit in the first place.


2 Sticks unsalted butter 4 egg yolks 1 tsp. lemon juice

Creamed Spinach 1 bunch of fresh spinach 2 cup of Heavy Cream

by Anonymousreply 1802/05/2013

My favorite recipe for preparing Brussel Sprouts, recipe courtesy of a datalounge favorite, goop. Try them, they're great.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts ingredients 2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed 1/3 cup olive oil a few generous pinches of coarse sea salt a healthy drizzle of your best, best extra virgin olive oil (I covet the bottles I get from Armando Manni in Tuscany) 1 lemon, halved preparation Steam the sprouts for 7 minutes or until just tender. Let them cool a bit and then cut each in half, lengthwise. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the Brussels sprouts in a single layer, cut-side down (in batches if necessary). Leave them for 4-5 minutes, allowing them to brown thoroughly and evenly – don’t give into the temptation to stir and toss them! Keep an eye on them though – the key is to have the flame high enough to brown them but low enough not to burn them. When they’ve browned, flip each one and let the other side get color, an additional three minutes or so. Remove to a serving platter, sprinkle with the salt, drizzle with your fine extra virgin olive oil and squeeze the lemon over, trying to get a bit of juice on each one. Delish.

by Anonymousreply 1902/05/2013

R18---OMG! It has all THAT in it? I was told that it was squeezed from a Hollandaise.

by Anonymousreply 2002/05/2013

R18 Who hurt you?


1 egg 1 tablespoon vinegar 1 stick of butter

I don't make creamed spinach so I can't help you there.

by Anonymousreply 2102/05/2013

As R5 explained, I had a horrible mother who never learned to cook, fed me boiled Brussels sprouts seven days a week, three meals a day, thus my dislike of one specific kind of vegetable. When I complained, she sent me to an orphanage.

OTOH, as R5 explains, vegetables in the cabbage family are notoriously bad if not prepared properly. I'd rather have vegetables that simply taste good without having to give them careful preparation so they don't taste like vomit (Brussels sprouts).

Sauerkraut is one of my favorite vegetables, but the kind served in the U.S. is awful, unless you can find a good German restaurant. I spent some time working in Germany and Austria and loved the sauerkraut soup.

When I lived in South America, they had some wonderful ways of preparing fresh vegetables that were quite different from the U.S. In the Gambia, (Africa) they had some interesting vegetables that we don't even have in the States. After returning to the U.S., I realized I should have brought some seeds to grow some at home.

In Istanbul, the vegetables were not much different from ours, however they had fantastic melons, unlike any we have here. Again, I should have saved a few seeds. They have some melons that are almost psychedelic shades of pink, bright green, and electric blue. The flavors were fantastic. Strange how they only seemed to be in that area and not other nearby countries. Turkey also has wonderful spices that we don't have. The spice vendor stalls in the Covered Bazaar in Istanbul were a real treat.

by Anonymousreply 2202/05/2013

R12, You can make "cream" sauce from non-fat evaporated milk, a teaspoon of butter, and a little cornstarch to thicken. Or just add low-fat cheese to the above milk. Make sure you add plenty of seasonings (choose nutmeg, garlic, or oregano) and consider onions or mushrooms. The problem is so many Americans don't know how to make vegetable really tasty.

by Anonymousreply 2302/05/2013

Nice try R21. Your Skinny Girl version is not accurate. I love Hollandaise, but it can't be good for you on a regular basis.

Try 4 Egg Yolks 1 Stick of Butter

Link to 5 Star recipe below reviewed by 120 people.

by Anonymousreply 2402/05/2013

R24 Nice try my recipe is adapted from Escoffier. Though I do use a whole egg rather than 2 egg yolks.

by Anonymousreply 2502/05/2013

My neighbor and I started subscribing to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program last year. Every week we split a box of organic fruits and vegetables that are delivered to my doorstep.

As a result, I've been forced to try some items that I would not normally have bought, including leeks, fennel, kabocha squash, kale, chard, etc. It's fun trying to find ways to use the stuff we get every week. I'm in California, so we get stuff all year round, but of course the items vary by season.

by Anonymousreply 2602/05/2013

What is wrong with you people? A proper Hollandaise should contain mustard, lemon juice, butter, egg yolks, and a little salt... (and sometimes a bit of paprika, if you like it that way. )

I can't find my recipe right now, but do it in a blender.. that's how a French chef taught me... saves so much more time than whisking by hand and ends up perfect... you blend the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice, salt together first and then slowly blend in the melted butter... always turns out perfect.

by Anonymousreply 2702/05/2013

We can debate the amount of eggs to butter but Mustard is not part of Hollandaise R27. Lemon and salt are OK.

by Anonymousreply 2802/05/2013

OP, I find myself the only guy I know who ADORES Brussel sprouts. I simply buy them loose, cut the ends, and then rinse them before I boil them. I could eat them nightly.

by Anonymousreply 2902/05/2013

R28 I think there was an ep on food channel or Anthony Bourdain where Daniel Boulud recommended the mustard thing. I have bought mayonnaise in Paris with mustard in it too. Go figure.

by Anonymousreply 3002/05/2013

I like R29, Just ADORE a Penthouse View!

by Anonymousreply 3102/05/2013

Anthony Bourdain Sucks though. He is a food critic not a chef.

by Anonymousreply 3202/05/2013

R29 ===> Mrs. Ziffel channelling Lisa.

by Anonymousreply 3302/05/2013

I head that Brussels sprouts contain a bitter-tasting compound that only a small percentage can detect. I love Brussels sprouts and can't taste the bitterness. But cilantro tastes like soap to me.

by Anonymousreply 3402/05/2013

Never mind brussel sprouts, carrots are the underserved vegetable. Throw them in a stew, sure. Put them raw into salads, fine.

But cook these lovely vegetables, a little dill and pepper, or perhaps some thyme and you have a wonderful, colorful vegetable.

by Anonymousreply 3502/05/2013

R35, one time? When I was in summer camp? I put a carrot in my pussy.

by Anonymousreply 3602/05/2013

We always had carrots with meals. Cooked with a little butter and white wine, or roasted with olive-oil and unions, or any of a dozen other preparations. They're a favorite vegetable with our family, right up there with broccoli and asparagus.

Summer squash (yellow 'crook-neck') can be done really well, or can be horrible. Preparation is key. I prefer it very lightly sautéed in butter, sliced thin, really young squash (small size, sliced discs no more big around than a couple inches)... squash gets tough if it gets too old.

I also love baked acorn squash, sliced in half, the seeds scooped out, and butter & brown-sugar baked in the middle. Just eat it out of the skin with a spoon, it's delicious.

And fresh wax (yellow) beans out of the garden in the summer were always looked forward to. Lightly steamed is all they need, but also buttered, or just some salt and pepper.

by Anonymousreply 3702/05/2013

[quote] or roasted with olive-oil and unions,

You MUST be republican!

by Anonymousreply 3802/05/2013

Brussels Sprouts: Here's the way to prepare them to preserve nutrients, not have so much gas, and so they smell nicer, too.

by Anonymousreply 3902/05/2013

I try to eat legumes and cruciferous vegetables every day. Beans, greens, and cornbread is a great meal. And a little handful of frozen spinach and a couple of chopped green onions goes in my scrambled eggs every morning. As a Southerner I like everything slowly simmered in pot liquor, which for me is usually ham broth with lots of onion. I eat carrots often, but I don't eat them everyday like I should. I think I may be falling short on nutrition in the area of squash. I don't like them much, and I only eat the yellow squash and zucchini during the summer when friends who grow them are giving them away. I really only like them battered and fried, and the harm of the fat outweighs the nutrients. Being Southern I do eat watermelon during about half of the year, and that is nutritious.

by Anonymousreply 4002/05/2013

[quote]Just ADORE a Penthouse View!

Darling, I love you but give me Park Avenue!

by Anonymousreply 4102/05/2013

I grew up on a farm and we raised a large garden and preserved most of our food. There is no vegetable I don't like. I love parsnips but it is hard to justify spending 2 dollars a pound for them when you can buy carrots for 50 cents. I also love brussel sprouts but once again cannot justify the 2.75 a pound so opt for the broccoli at a dollar a pound. I grow chard both in the ground and in pots on the patio. I have always grown chard, handy to have, easy to prepare. Chard in the store is expensive and seldom very nice. You can grow a pot on your apt. patio if you get good son. A few leaves for a stew or stir fry are always handy. If you keep it cut it produces big leaves very fast. Don't forget to eat the stem which is the best part, takes longer to cook than the leaf. In Victorian times it was a popular vegetable in Europe/ Chard was served as a stalk, the leaves removed and used elsewhere. The stalks were served with melted butter.

by Anonymousreply 4202/05/2013

I cut brussels sprouts in half, sprinkle with olive oil and coarse salt and roast them. Delicious!

I've been roasting most of my vegetables now that I've caught on to how great they taste when they are prepared this way. Beets, parsnips, asparagus, carrots, potatoes, leeks, onions, broccoli and many others are much better than ever.

The only vegetable I won't eat is bell peppers, especially green bell peppers. It's not my fault; they started it by treating me badly.

by Anonymousreply 4302/05/2013

I don't think people eat artichokes and eggplant enough, but then I'm Italian. BTW I think Brussell sprouts, turnips and parsnips are a bit underrated.

R32, I thought Bourdadain had been a chef at Brasierie Les Halles before becoming a celebrity.

by Anonymousreply 4402/05/2013

I love Brussel Sprouts quartered, sauteed in butter and then sprinkled with pine nuts. It's a meal in itself.

by Anonymousreply 4502/05/2013

[quote]You have to smother them in some kind of sauce

Really, r18? You "have" to? It's required? Baby tastes.

by Anonymousreply 4602/05/2013

Leeks are fabulous. I do a quick and easy prep called "Leeks Mozzarella":

Cut the green ends off the leeks, then boil them for about ten minutes or so, to soften them a bit. Turn on the broiler. Take the leeks out and cut lengthwise, but them in a dish safe for broiling, then lay some fresh basil over them. Sprinkle salt & pepper to taste. Lay generous slices of mozzarella over the leeks, and put under the broiler for a couple minutes, until the cheese browns. Take out and brush a mixture of olive oil and red wine vinegar over them. Delish! Yes, this came from the "French Women Don't Get Fat" book.

by Anonymousreply 4702/05/2013

R27, here's James Beard's recipe for hollandaise sauce made in a blender.

by Anonymousreply 4802/05/2013

[quote]What ARE Leeks anyway?

you might know them as 'ramps'. Stalks looking like enormous scallions, but much more mild flavor. I use in stuffings, roasting chickens....etc Great caramelized and with sauces.

Yes, r44, Bourdain was chef at Brasserie Les Halles, FiDi

by Anonymousreply 4902/05/2013

How did arugula (rocket) ever get a bad name? That stuff is great!

by Anonymousreply 5002/05/2013

[quote] I have bought mayonnaise in Paris with mustard in it too. Go figure

You can buy it at your supermarket. It's called dijonnaise.

by Anonymousreply 5102/05/2013

I love celery root but I never see it in the grocery store.

by Anonymousreply 5202/05/2013

The flavor of Brussels sprouts varies according to how they are grown. If they are grown to be harvested after nighttime temperatures fall below freezing, the plants start producing more sugars, which function as anti-freeze, and improves the flavor.

The best I've had were picked fresh out of my grandfather's garden in the late fall and early winter. With supermarket sprouts, it's a total crap-shoot.

by Anonymousreply 5302/05/2013

Armenian cucumbers

by Anonymousreply 5402/05/2013

I'm sure that's true, R53. That makes a lot of sense.

I like Brussels sprouts no matter how strong-tasting they are. The only time I don't like them is when they've been frozen.

by Anonymousreply 5502/05/2013

You can easily make a yummy leek and potato soup. Served cold, it's vichyssoise, but it's good hot as well.

by Anonymousreply 5602/05/2013

I love artichokes, the meat on the leaves is divine.

by Anonymousreply 5702/05/2013

R32 You are incorrect Bourdain is a trained chef.

"Bourdain graduated from Englewood School for Boys in 1973[8] and attended Vassar College before dropping out after two years; he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978."

by Anonymousreply 5802/05/2013

I agree with r43, roasting is the key to making any vegetable that much more delicious. ALthough I disagree about roasting leeks - those are yummy cooked in a bit of white wine and butter over low heat.

Roasted beets are fucking amazing.

by Anonymousreply 6002/05/2013

Growing up, there was always at least one vegetable at dinner. Not always well prepared because my mother never really learned how to cook. Her parents were both good cooks, but she was the youngest in a large family and no one really took time to show her how to cook well. There were always enough older siblings to help in the kitchen.

So I grew up eating a lot of vegetables that were merely boiled, then dressed with some olive oil, salt, and pepper (regardless of whether it was chard, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, etc.) And, honestly, I didn't really mind. They tasted O.K. to me at the time.

I do eat a pretty good variety of vegetables now (and no how to cook them properly). But one think I notice is the general unfamiliary of supermarket cashiers when it comes to identifying what sort of vegetable they're ringing up. Anything beyond tomatoes and iceberg lettuces confuses them. They definitely don't recognize bell peppers, eggplants, squash, or artichokes.

by Anonymousreply 6102/05/2013


I once had a cashier hold up one of my items and ask what it was. I said, "It is a cucumber."

She said: "I don't know much about vegetables".

By the way, she was wearing a button saying:

I am a proud Indian River High School Grad.

This was in Delaware!

by Anonymousreply 6202/06/2013

Kids don't help with dinner anymore. Mom now has a fabulous granite countered kitchen with stainless steel appliances and an open kitchen wall so she can watch the kids do their homework and monitor their Internet use while she fixes the meal.

by Anonymousreply 6302/06/2013

R63, that same mother has devoted her life to removing fingerprints from those granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

by Anonymousreply 6402/06/2013
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