My new favorite cookbook

I’ve seen How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman on friends’ shelves for years, but I only recently checked it out for myself. It’s definitely my new favorite. So far, everything Casey and I have tried has been delicious, and Bittman offers many great simple new serving ideas along with great general food and cooking information. I thought I’d share a few recipes adapted from Bittman for you to try with this week’s vegetables:

Crisp-cooked sunchokes

Scrub one share’s worth of sunchokes well, then trim off any hard or discolored spots. Slice about 1/8 inch thick. Put 3-4 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the sunchokes a few slices at a time, spreading them out around the pan: season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and turning occasionally and adjusting the heat so they sizzle without burning, until tender and just about brown, about 20 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and continue to cook until nicely browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish with parsley (if on hand) and serve with lemon wedges (if on hand).

Quinoa with leeks

Quinoa is one of our favorite grains to eat when we’re rushed — it cooks up quickly, but it’s so tasty and healthy! Adding leeks makes a nice variation on a basic grain.

Trim one leek until just a little green remains, rinse carefully and slice thinly. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet with a lid over medium-high heat.

When hot, add leeks and cook over medium heat until soft, about 7 minutes. Add ¾ cup quinoa and stir; when the grains start popping and toasting, a couple minutes later, add 1 ½ cups stock or water and bring to a boil. Stir one last time, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.

Uncover and test the quinoa for doneness. If the kernels are still sort of hard, make sure there’s enough liquid to keep the bottom of the pan moist, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.

When ready, taste, adjust the seasoning, and garnish with chopped fresh herbs (chives, chervil, parsley, or cilantro if on hand) adding a few extra grinds of pepper. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature.

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