Food & Travel

PROPER WAY TO COOK VEGGIES

properwaytocookveggiesWe don’t know how accurate this theory is, but this is how it goes: If an animal’s jaw is limited to an up-and-down movement, that animal is a carnivore as it needs to rip and tear the meat. On the other hand, if an animal can move its jaw both vertically and laterally, it’s a herbivore as it can grind the seeds with that side-to-side motion. Now, acknowledging that we humans can move our jaws according to the second category described above, it seems that we were biologically evolved to be vegetarians.

With that being said, it doesn’t really matter whether you think meat is murder or love it; what does is the inclusion of vegetables in your diet. But first, what are vegetables?

Veggies for short, are a certain part of a plant that are consumed as food. Be it as part of a savory meal or a dessert, it is a crucial part of everyday meal which can be eaten raw or cooked. And speaking of cooking, did you know that you could be cooking your greens wrong? See, vegetables are low in fats and carbohydrates, but high in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber; and if you were to improperly cook it, you won’t be able to render these goodies fully.

But don’t worry, we got you covered, we’ll cover the things we have almost everyday.

ASPARAGUS

Get them with heads that are tight and stems that snap when you bend them. When you want to cook them, trim away the stem ends and shave anything that looks woody. The easiest way to cook them would be to braise them; chunk them in a skillet with half a cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes until they’re soft. You can even throw in a slice of lemon if you want to feel fancy.

BEETS

Beets are best when they’re small, firm, and dark ruby in color with bright orange skins. And when you do cook them, peel them, and when you’re doing that, heat a splash of oil on a pan. Dice or grate the beets, throw them in, add the mince of one clove of garlic, and cook for 1 minute while stirring. Then, add 1/3 of a cup of water and bring to simmer, cover, and let it reduce for about 8 minutes until tender.

BROCCOLI

The ideal Broccoli should be dark-green spears with tight buds. Before cooking, cut stalks in half lengthwise and then into 1-inch-thick half-moons. Roasting is a great way to eat these so preheat your oven to 500°F. Spread on a baking sheet or in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Coat with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Roast, turning once halfway through cooking, until tender and browned in places, for about 10 minutes.

CARROTS

Carrots are great if they are the right shade of orange with firm spears without any gray, white or other desiccated residue on the skin. The greens should preferably still be attached. To sauté carrots, first cut them into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add carrots; stir and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon sugar; stir until glazed.

CORN

Look for pale to dark green husks with moist silks when you get your corn; each ear should feel heavy to the hand, the cob filling the husk well. Sauté is best with corns, remove kernels from the cobs then melt 2 teaspoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn kernels; cook, stirring constantly, until tender, for about 3 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon white-wine vinegar before serving.

CAULIFLOWER

While choosing cauliflowers they must be white without brown or yellow spots; the green leaves at the stem should still be attached firmly to the head, not limp or withered. Instead of the usual curry, you could braise the cauliflower if you’re feeling adventurous. First, place the florets in a large skillet with 1/2 cup dry white wine and 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.

GREEN BEANS

It’s hard to mess up green beans and the ideal way to cook them can be to sauté them. Heat 2 teaspoons of sunflower oil in a large skillet, add the beans; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes and voila, you’re done.

PEAS

Vibrant green pods without blotches and with the stem end still attached is what you need to be on the lookout for; when you spot them, grab them. Steaming peas can be a good way to eat them. To steam them, place you peas in a steamer basket over 1 inch of water in a large pot set over high heat. Cover and steam for 2 minutes.

POTATOES

Potatoes are omnipresent in everyone’s diet and there is no wrong way to cook it. However, roasting them can rejuvenate your love for potatoes. First of all, preheat your oven to 500°F. Halve the potatoes then cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Spread on a baking sheet or in a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Coat with 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil. Roast, stirring once halfway through cooking, until crispy and browned on the outside and tender on the inside, for 20 to 25 minutes.

TURNIPS

You may hate turnips, but not anymore if you grill them. Ideally look for smaller turnips with firm, white skins; they should feel heavy to the hand. First of all, slice them and then steam for 5 minutes; meanwhile, preheat your grill. Place the slices over direct, medium-high heat and grill, turning once, until lightly browned and tender, for about 8 minutes.

Compiled by: Ankita Rajbhandari

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