Photo by Dinner Series
So, following on from last week’s installment here are some preparation tips for all those fresh veggies you’ve been out buying.
Number One for me is to make sure you have good equipment, and this can be as simple as having a sharp knife. Chopping vegetables can be a lot more labour intensive when one has to hack away at an onion or potato due to having a dull knife!
A good cost saving and environmentally friendly tip is to save all scraps and peels for your compost heap. I know a lot of people do this already but it really is great if you have the outdoor space, old family friends of mine used to keep the scraps in sealed ice-cream tubs under the sink in order to avoid the odour. It is also easy to pop it out when you’re doing your prep, throw all your scraps in there and tidy away after. Put them on your heap when full and let nature do the rest.
If you have extra chopped veggies that you haven’t used for one dish, chuck them in a pan with some olive oil, garlic, herbs like oregano or rosemary and thyme, and saute gently to create a new side dish for another meal. You could also add a tin of chopped tomatoes for an easy Ratatouille.
When cooking vegetables always put your denser veg in the pan first as they will take the longest to cook. Start off with your aromatics like onions, celery and carrots. Then add broccoli, cauliflower, following those add your peppers, zuchini and mushrooms and end off with spinach and chard. Garlic can burn very easily so add this towards the end or if you want the flavour from the beginning add it first to your olive oil and then remove it before adding your other ingredients in order that your oil is flavoured.
If you are doing your prep early then for things like avocado, apples and aubergines, make sure you squeeze a drizzle of lemon juice over them in order to prevent enzymatic browning.
Best Replacement Ingredient Tip:
Keeping with the asian theme, if you can’t manage to find Kaffir Lime Leaves anywhere use strips of lime zest for a similar flavour.
Best Healthy Food Alternative:
If you have a craving for pizza but want a healthier alternative try make one using a flour tortilla for a base (which only has about 100 calories) and use reduced fat white cheese with smoked turkey and slices of fresh tomato or cherry tomatoes. This will have approximately half the calorie count (about 300 calories) of a normal thin-crust 6-inch pizza, which has approx 600 calories.
Best Kid’s Food Tip:
If you are having trouble with your little ones eating their veggies try cutting fresh veg into chunks or strips and letting them dip into humus or plain yoghurt with a swirl of 1000 Island salad dressing.
Best Cost Saving Tip:
To help your cucumbers last longer and not have to throw them out after a few days, keep them stalk down in a small container with a little bit of water in the bottom.