How to Use Everything

A play on Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything,” I thought a “How to Use Everything” section might be useful on the site.  Thinking about my rice/corn/wheat flour pancakes late last night, I realized that you can probably find a recipe that utilizes almost anything you have in your pantry or fridge.  I know “nose-to-tail” eating has become popular in the foodie world, but what about whole vegetable eating?

Example: broccoli stems.  I once read that there are a lot of nutrients in the stems and kept trying to incorporate every bit of broccoli into stir fries and things, but since they’re tough, people would leave them on their plate.  Lo and behold, an excellent recipe in the NYT’s popped up that pickles the stems!  They sound delicious and I’m really excited to try them out.  Too bad I didn’t see this yesterday – I ended up throwing away the stems of the broccoli I bought in Chinatown.  Next time: Pickled Broccoli Stems

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14 Comments on “How to Use Everything”

  1. jen says:

    Yes, a great idea for a feature!

    Have you ever looked at the book “Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen”? It has some good ideas for using leftover veggies and seaweed to make pickles, relishes, etc. The author brings up frugal Japanese cooking in different parts of the book. Inspiring to read even if you don’t do lots of Japanese cooking. I need to check this out from the library again…

    • tinaspins says:

      Jen – that book sounds awesome. I LOVE Japanese pickles.
      Gabs – I really like the idea of thinly slicing them and roasting them – new creation: broccoli chips!
      David – I always use the stems of swiss chard. Phil’s just not into the stems of broccoli, but judging by all these comments, I’m going to change that! I need to find me a good veggie fish sauce recipe.
      Rorosto – I usually do peel them – I like just eating them raw!
      JKD and Freakin – I like the idea of using them for soup too

  2. Gabs says:

    The stems are a favorite in our household (frugal or not)! I take my broccoli, cut off the florets, then peel the stem and chop it into discs. I put all the broccoli in a bowl with some olive oil and s/p. Toss and throw onto a baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes in a 375 oven until they are all caramelized. So yummy! Just discovered your site – looking forward to reading more!

  3. david says:

    I love broccoli stems (thanks to Harvey)! I like to bias cut them and sautee with garlic and oil. The same can be done with swiss chard stems, which makes for a pretty dish especially if you use rainbow chard. Because stems cook more slowly than leaves (or florets), cook stems first. Harvey likes to add fish sauce to everything (sorry, Phil), but with broccoli it adds a nice Asian flavor.

    Long live stems!!

  4. Rorosto says:

    Yes, you have to peel them. Then they are delicious and crisp.

  5. Freakin says:

    I use them to make cream of broccoli soup. I just found your site recently and added it to my feeds. I’m liking it so far.

  6. jkd says:

    Similarly, the stems of any of the heartier greens – kale, turnip or mustard greens, and especially collards – make an absolutely great stock. Especially when it’s mid-winter and the greens have gotten a bit tough from the frost, throwing the whole thing in for a few minutes helps blanch out the bitter – then take ‘em out, separate leaves and stems, and cook the stems down until you’ve got a nice green-gold broth. Leaves can then either be sauteed or thrown in the soup at the very end.

  7. yolio says:

    vegetable puree’s are a pretty good all purpose technique for using the awkward parts of veggies. You can steam or roast them, puree them alone or with potatoes. They make a good base for cream of xxx soup or for a souffle.

  8. Jaime says:

    I definitely use my broccoli stems, and like a commenter above, kale stems, too. I just start them stir-frying or sauteing or whatever a few minutes before the more tender parts. Sometimes I peel the broccoli stems, but I’ve never noticed them being tough. They also do a great job of sucking up soy sauce. Tasty.

  9. Marcia says:

    The stems are my favorite part. They are so sweet! I peel and steam and toss with olive oil.

    Great idea to use kale stems and such for stock.

  10. Katherine says:

    If you peel the stems of broccoli, then slice into medalions, you have a soft edition to you stirfry! use a veggie peeler to take off the tough outer part, and cook with everything else. the inner part is yummy!

  11. shayna says:

    i stash all of my vegetable and herb odds and ends (and stems!) in a tupperware or ziplock in the freezer for when i make stock. don’t even defrost, just dump ‘em in…

  12. Ayngelina says:

    I also use the medallions for stir fry or I put it through the food processor to make broccoli slaw.

  13. Melissa says:

    I just found your blog and what a tasty idea. I’m one of the odd ones who prefer the stems to the florets. (It’s a texture thing.) I’ll eat the florets cooked but don’t really like them raw.


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