In Season

 

I was back at the Seaport Market today to take in that lively energy that only the Saturday market brings. Now that fall is in full swing, there is a lot less fruit, apart from apples and pears, and a lot more squash, winter kale, potatoes and if you’re interested in knowing what else then head to the market and discover it for yourself. Unfortunately I think a lot of us do our grocery shopping with a list in hand. We go for what we know rather than what is in season. For the most part this works wonders when you find yourself in the super store that has 15 or so isles and it doesn’t really matter which season it is because there will always be lemons and strawberries and asparagus. At the market on the other hand it’s nice to just wander, see whatever looks good that week and pick it up, which is exactly what I did today. I went for a veggie that isn’t usually on anyone’s list of favourites – the Brussels Sprout. Indeed, most of us think of this petite cabbage as an overcooked side dish served on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I think it deserves a little more attention. Some ways I’ve heard of serving them are: steamed and coated in a rich mustard glaze, another is sautéed in olive oil with honey and fennel seed, or as I did this evening steamed with sliced carrot, lightly tossed in a pan with olive oil, a little salt and pepper and toasted pecans (I substituted almonds because that was all I had in the house), and once removed from the heat drizzled in a healthy amount of maple syrup.

In addition to the sprouts I picked up some of my favourites: sweet potatoes and broccoli. Interestingly broccoli is in season all year long. These are two veggies that you’ll often find at my place. A few years ago in an introduction to nutrition course that I attended at  UBC  the professor stressed the importance of  dark green leafy and orange vegetables. Eating by colour I call it. Ordinarily I would put the sweet potato in a curry, or bake it with other autumn vegetables like squash. Broccoli often ends up in an Asian inspired soup, or stir fry and a lot of the time I just steam it and eat it with Tamari or lemon juice. However, since I had plans to spend the evening at home I thought I would try something new in the kitchen. It’s been forever since I picked up a recipe book.However I have an unusual number of them lying around my house at the moment as I make the transition from being vegetarian to vegan. To my delight I found a great recipe for broccoli and sweet potato in Carol Raymond’s “Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook.” Personally I would have never thought of combining the two. Lessons learned: throw away the grocery list and buy what’s in season, eat by colour and most importantly don’t be afraid to try something new especially when it comes to food.

Here’s Raymond’s recipe for Twice-Baked Potato Stuffed with Broccoli!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time 60 minutes

Makes 1 serving

1 Russet or sweet potato

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large garlic clove, minced

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 bunch broccoli, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup water

Salt

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Wash the potato and pierce the skin in one or two places with a knife to allow steam to escape. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the inside is soft.Remove the potatoes from the oven, and lower the oven temperature to 350F.

To a medium saucepan, add the oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1 minute on medium heat. Add the broccoli and stir for 30 seconds. Add the water, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.

When the potato is cool enough to handle, cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inner part, leaving 1/4 inch of the potato on the skin to strengthen the shell. Add the pulp to the broccoli, blending with a fork until combined. Salt to taste. Refill the potato shells with the mixture. Place the stuffed potato halves on a baking sheet and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

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