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Volume II
March 31, 2006

Cook and Enjoy
by Amy Hunt

Jenny, my college roommate, was shocked to find out that you could do more with vegetables than just steam them. I pulled out a pan of oven-roasted veggies, and she was just beside herself. She had no idea that peppers and onions were so versatile. Throughout the next year Jenny was continually asking me to cook vegetables for her.

We all may have a little bit of Jenny in us--- bored with vegetables. Here is some vegetable cooking advice from Health Recipes. Try out a new technique and fall in love with broccoli all over again.

Steaming is fast, preserves nutrients, and it works best for fresh and frozen vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, spinach and roots like beets, parsnips, peas and beans. If you don't have a steaming basket, you can fill a pot with mixed vegetables and add about 1 1/2 inches of unsalted water and cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Check often to make sure that the water doesn't evaporate. If it gets too low, just add a little more water. Don't forget to keep the remaining broth for soup or do what I do, pour it in a nice mug and enjoy the warm flavorful broth.

Roasting is quick, simple, and is an excellent way for cooking vegetables as it preserves the vitamins, flavors and minerals . In a large bowl, cover sliced vegetables with olive oil. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Place them on a cookie sheet and roast them at 350 degrees until tender.

Stir-frying is another very good flavor and color preserving cooking method. Sliced vegetables are put in frying pan covered at bottom with any liquid for cooking such as chicken broth or a broth made from stir-fry seasonings. Constantly stir the vegetables until they are crispy and glossy.

Most of the methods I described are based on waterless cooking since it reduces cooking time, makes cooking easy, makes clean-up of cookware easy, reduces nutrient loss of vegetables, and best of all, gives more flavor to food.

squashVegetables can also be cooked by the steam produced by their own vegetable juices. In a fry pan, add a little olive oil, sliced vegetables and your favorite seasonings. Cover the pan, put it on medium heat, and within 5-8 minutes you’ll have spicy and crispy vegetables. Stir often. Panning works best for carrots, beans, summer squash and shredded cabbage.

Microwaving is a good way to cook vegetables. It has a short cooking time, few nutrients are lost, and colors and flavors are preserved. Always cut, slice or chop vegetables uniformly, so they will cook evenly. It's best to use round, microwave-safe dishes.

It is important to remember that food cooks faster around the edge of the dish, so arrange the food accordingly. If you're cooking vegetables whole and un-peeled pierce them with a fork to allow steam to escape from inside. It is best to add a few tablespoons of water to the covered dish to create steam.

Approximately halfway through the cooking time, stir, rearrange or turn over the vegetables. It is better to season vegetables after cooking.

Always allow the vegetables to stand for at least one minute after the allotted time as the vegetables will continue to cook. Caution: Steam can cause severe burns. Always open a microwave dish away from you and let the steam escape away from you.

         * DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *

Hooray for Vegetables!
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