The last time I ate broccoli was five months ago. I am now stalking my broccoli plants looking for a hint of a head. Protecting it from insects and making sure it has the right amount of water as the weather cools. My planting schedule tells me that I should harvest it in the middle of November, but you never know with the natural world. My early lettuces bolted in the heat of September before they were big enough to make a salad for two people.
I haven’t eaten broccoli, not because I didn’t want it, but it doesn’t grow very well in the summer months where I live. …
I grow vegetables.
People eat snack food.
I teach people how to turn vegetables into snack food. People eat more vegetables and vegetable farmers take over the world.
I have a lot of work to do.
The first task is to let you know that you can’t make kale chips in 30 minutes or less.
And the good news is that you can use all the different hearty, dark green, leafy vegetables to make chips.
Making vegetable chips works with turnip greens, rutabaga greens, and all the varieties of kale.
My favorite is the thicker greens like collards. Currently, we are stripping the large side shoots from the Brussels sprouts plants. These shoots are like a paddle about 6–8 inches in diameter. …
Leeks are a vegetable in the allium family that includes onions, garlic, and scallions. These vegetables are native to all parts of the world and still have wild cousins, ramps.
Alliums contain many healthful nutrients, and at the same time, the sugar they store makes them sweet, with a subtle flavor that compliments soups and stews in the fall. Alliums have been part of cooking in all regions of the world for millennia as a building block to many recipes.
While working at the farmers market, two days before Thanksgiving an anxious woman came up and asked if any of the farmers were selling onions. …
Having healthy snacks available in the fridge makes eating healthy so much easier.
By preparing healthy snacks ahead of time and having them ready to go, your options in the fridge become easily accessible.
I love to turn vegetables into snack food and sweet potato hummus is my healthy snack food of the fall season.
Sweet potatoes are the root vegetables native to the Americas that are also known as yams in the United States.
The word yam came over from Africa. A true yam is a different root vegetable similar in appearance but in an unrelated biological family with a different texture and flavor. …
Masala Chai is one of my favorite beverages to drink in the winter.
It’s like a hug from my imaginary Indian grandmother.
It’s why pumpkin pie flavor is so popular. We don’t genuinely care about pumpkin. We love the spices, sugar, and cream that become masala chai.
At times I can see why the Europeans in the 15th century would embark on a months-long water journey.
Quick lesson: Masala = Spice, Chai = Tea, but going forward, I’ll use the word chai to refer to the aromatic sweet drink that Americans consume.
Chai seems like a mysterious blend of exotic ingredients, but nowadays, you can get most of the spices at any large grocery store. …
The heads of garlic are swollen.
The sprouts growing inside each clove push out through the tip.
The plant is coming out of dormancy.
It wants to live.
We separate the cloves and bury them in the ground.
The sugar in the clove will give it food until it is able to reach sunlight.
Photosynthesis captures the sun’s energy forming a new plant.
Sending new roots into the ground.
In the spring a flower emerges, wanting to form seeds.
We cut the flower off, but the plant survives.
It sends energy to the root, storing sugar.
The plant withers and we pull them from the ground. …
As a cook, I love Thanksgiving. As a chef, I love that people still cook on Thanksgiving so that chefs can be home with their families.
I love that the stores are packed with people that will go home and make their favorite dish for their family.
I got into the food business because I love cooking for my family, and I got out of the food business because I love cooking for my family.
Preparing a meal for your family can be a rewarding experience. …
During one of my first cooking experiences, I remember looking at the back of a taco seasoning packet and realizing that I already owned the spices it contained. And I didn’t know the purpose of the other ingredients. The packet only cost a dollar, but I understood right away that I didn’t need it.
I experimented the next couple of times I made tacos and came up with a simple “recipe” of chili powder, paprika, garlic, cumin, and oregano. I use the word “recipe” lightly. …
At the farm, we would host an open house each fall and make two vegetable soups straight from the farm. Served with salad and bread, it was the most effortless catering event I have ever seen. The members that visited the farm raved about the soup and always asked for the recipes.
I thought this was odd because the recipes were so simple. There were barely recipes to share. But I would walk them through the steps and write down the formula the best I could.
I wanted to convey the message that you can make a soup from any vegetable following a few basic techniques. …
The grocery store doesn’t allow us to appreciate this variation. Everything needs to be the same size and weight for consistency when pricing.
When you grow vegetables or buy them from a small farm, you inevitably end up with an assortment of items that don’t fit into the boundaries of a regular recipe.
Last week, I passed out one rutabaga for each member of our farm. Some of the rutabagas were close to harvest, and we needed to thin the planting. I knew I needed to supply a recipe assisting our members in using this solitary root.
The easiest way is to include it with other vegetables with similar textures and cook them together. So I suggested a mixed roasted vegetable recipe. …