If you believe that cooking beets (sometimes called beetroots) at home is a messy and intimidating undertaking, you are not alone. But they are so wonderfully sweet and versatile, and have such a luxurious, silky texture that it’s worth giving them a second look. Plus, they’re actually easy to prepare. Read more
Leeks are a member of the Allium family, which is essentially the onion family, and can really be used in any way that you would use an onion, which is lots of ways. Their flavor is slightly milder than that of a typical onion. They look like oversized scallions or green onions, long and cylindrical, and they should be firm, with nice taut layers.
They are available in the fall and the spring, with the spring leeks being smaller and more mildly flavored. The dark green tops are very fibrous and tough, and can be used to flavor stocks, but it’s the light green and white parts that are best for eating. Leeks can be eaten raw or cooked, and featured as a vegetable in their own right (which is more common in European cooking) or as a supporting aromatic.
Celebrity chefs are everywhere these days, but I think I’ve just met my first celebrity farmer. Farmer Lee Jones supplies vegetables to top chefs all over the country, but he’s a star in his own right, always decked out in his signature bow tie-and-overalls ensemble. Check him out on Facebook—he’s got 4,832 friends!
If you caught Battle Cauliflower on Iron Chef America a couple of weeks ago, you may recognize Farmer Jones. He provided the secret ingredient straight from the farm, and also joined in on the judges’ panel. Chefs Michael Symon and John Fraser produced some incredible cauliflower creations, using not just the familiar white florets, but also Farmer Jones’s purple, orange and romanesco varieties. Notoriously finicky judge Jeffrey Steingarten called it “the most amazing battle ever.”
Most of us enter the supermarket with only the best of intentions. You have your list (If you don’t customarily bring a shopping list, do not take a cart or even step into the supermarket — return to the inaugural Food & Finance column immediately!). You have your cash. You’ve planned for a shopping expedition with the kids and have a backpack full of snacks, projects and distractions. And then you walk through the supermarket door and are confronted by the produce section. The beautiful gleaming grapes, strawberries and mangoes are beckoning. Peppers in a multitude of colors, lettuce, 10 varieties of mushrooms – fiscal prudence goes right out the window and you start filling those little plastic bags with everything in sight.
You’ve got to know the rules of the game in order to succeed. So here are my rules….
Welcome back readers!
I hope that you are still revved up about getting the most for your food dollars (and leaving more dollars in your bank account). A very special welcome to you if today marks your first encounter with “Food and Finance” – follow the rules and your bank account will thank you. I encourage you to refer back to my “inaugural” column for my basic shopping and budget guidelines.
Last week we talked about where to shop. This week — produce. Click ahead to save money with Roni’s produce secrets.