It seems a difficult undertaking to show viewers how to cook vegetables within a half hour. It's such a broad category. The volume of vegetable types -- the sheer variety -- is a little overwhelming. But as Martha Stewart successfully demonstrates in this week's Martha Stewart's Cooking School episode, vegetables, if they're fresh, usually need very little done to them in order to make them great-tasting. A quick boil and a toss in butter or spices is often all they require, though if you're feeling ambitious, there are always ways to fancy them up (such as when she turns plain boiled corn into Mexican elotes).
After the jump, see Martha's lessons on the best ways to prepare peas, carrots, corn, broccoli rabe, squash and kale, then check out how our attempt at one of her recipes fared.
Sugar snap peas
Spring onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp mint
Salt and pepper
1. Saute onions in butter and olive oil until tender.
2. Meanwhile, boil shell peas in generously salted water for three minutes.
3. Move shell peas to strainer within an ice water bath to stop cooking process.
4. Into the same boiling water, add sugar snap peas and cook for an (unspecified) "few" minutes.
5. Move sugar snap peas to ice water bath bath.
6. Drain peas.
7. Add peas to saute pan and combine.
8. Serve garnished with mint, salt and pepper.
Brown-Sugared Carrots (Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 pounds carrots with tops, all similar size and thickness, peeled and halved
lengthwise, 1/3 cup tops coarsely chopped and reserved
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and season with salt and pepper; stir to coat with oil. Let cook for 3 minutes, then add brown sugar and molasses; stir to coat. Cook until carrots are tender and sauce is thick, 5 to 8 minutes, adding 1/2 to 1 cup water as necessary to prevent sugar from burning.
2. Meanwhile, heat grapeseed oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add reserved carrot tops and cook until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
3. Add butter and rosemary to skillet; cook until butter is melted. Remove rosemary and discard. Transfer carrots to a serving dish and sprinkle with reserved fried tops.
4 ears of corn
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1. Boil corn in salted water for 5 minutes, or 6 to 7 minutes for larger kernels.
2. Drain corn on a cotton towel.
3. Coat with mayonnaise.
4. Roll in queso fresco, coating corn.
5. Garnish with a squeeze of lime.
4. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
1 1/2 lbs. of broccoli rabe
3 tbsp pignoli nuts
1 tbsp oilve oil
Zest of one lemon
1. Cut off stem tips and discard.
2. Cut full stems from the tops of the broccoli rabe, separating them from the leaves.
3. In salted boiling water, blanch stems for 40 to 60 seconds.
4. Meanwhile, toast pignoli nuts in a dry skillet.
5. Add leaves to boiling water and allow to cook down. (This appears to take another minute or so.)
6. Move broccoli rabe to a strainer within an ice water bath to stop cooking process and set color.
7. Remove toasted pignoli nuts from the skillet and add olive oil.
8. Add broccoli rabe to skillet and toss to reheat.
9. Garnish with pignoli nuts and lemon zest, and serve.
Roasted Spiced Acorn Squash
(Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia)
1 acorn squash, halved, seeded, and cut into 1-inch wedges
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, toss squash with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper.
3. Arrange squash, cut side down, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender, 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
1/2 lb. kale leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and blanched
Parmesan cheese, shredded
1. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
2. Add kale and hazelnuts, and toss.
3. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.
After the jump, see what we learned the hard way making acorn squash.