Squid Ink is going back to basics with Martha Stewart's Cooking School, airing every weekend through the end of the year on PBS. Join us.

See also: Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 1, Eggs

See also: Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 2, Sauces

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

Shell 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; Credit: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Brown-Sugared Carrots; Credit: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Brown-Sugared Carrots (Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia)

Serves 4

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.

Corn (Elote)

4 ears of corn

4 tbsp mayonnaise

Cayenne pepper

Queso fresco

Lime wedge

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.

Broccoli Rabe

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)

Serves 4

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.

Kale Salad

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.

squash; Credit: Ali Trachta

squash; Credit: Ali Trachta

So first and foremost, we realized we weren't quite sure how to pick a squash. This dawned on us at the grocery store, trying to pick a squash. Whether we picked a ripe one or not we're not sure, but we think not, as we had immense trouble cutting it. This may also have been due to un-sharp knives — that's a likely cause, in fact, considering we were making this acorn squash in our visiting parents rented beach house. “The kitchen knives in our Malibu vacation home were too dull!” #firstworldproblems, anyone? Regardless, this quickly turned into a feast of half an acorn squash due to pure slicing frustration.

Also there was no cayenne pepper in the house. Get it together, Malibu!

The cooking process went as well as it could have, we suppose, considering our inconsistent slices. The caramelization on the squash was actually quite good, but we're pretty sure it could have been enhanced with the right spices.

more squash; Credit: Ali Trachta

more squash; Credit: Ali Trachta

See also: Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 1, Eggs

See also: Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Episode 2, Sauces

Follow Ali Trachta on Twitter @MySo_CalLife. Follow Squid Ink at @LAWeeklyFood and check out our Facebook page.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.