Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Vegetable Preparation Methods

Vegetable Preparation Methods

Vegetable Preparation Methods

Most vegetables can be prepared in several ways. The method you choose will impact the flavor and consistency of the vegetable you are cooking. You may find that you enjoy eating a vegetable only cooked one or two ways, or you may enjoy a vegetable any way it is prepared.

Cooking times for the various methods differ for each vegetable. In general, the "heavier" the vegetable the longer the cooking time. To reduce cooking time, slice or chop the vegetable into smaller pieces.

Blanching: To soften vegetables, drop them into a large pot of boiling water and cook just until wilted.

Braising: To make vegetables more tender, after sautéing, add a little broth, cover the pan, and continue cooking the greens, then uncover the pan and cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates.

Broiling: Cooking the vegetables in the oven under the broiler heat source.

Cold-Tossing: tossing together (or mixing) of ingredients away from a heat source. Most common with salads.

Grilling: Marinate vegetables or coat with spay oil. Place on a hot grill until tender.

Microwaving: Place vegetables in just enough water to cover and heat. Be careful not to overcook.

Roasting: Place vegetables in a shallow baking pan and heat until tender, stirring occasionally.

Sautéing: Using a low-sided pan on the stove, heat a very small amount of fat (like olive oil). When hot, add dry, chopped vegetables and cook. For variation, beef or chicken broth can be used instead of oil.

Simmering: Cover the vegetable in seasoned broth, heat until tender.

Steaming: Cooking the vegetables in a steaming “basket” over boiling water. This can be a stainless steel or bamboo basket over a pan on the stove or an electric steamer. Vegetables can be steamed in a microwave in a special bowl or in a small amount of water.

Stir-Frying: This is sautéing with the addition of stirring the vegetables while they cook.

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