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Myth Busters

September 2nd, 2011 - By Lari Robling

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Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein return to bust a couple more kitchen myths and get you on the road to roasting a perfect platter of vegetables.


Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough are back for another round of myth-busting from their book, Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them. In the interest of getting more vegetables on our plates we tackle a few of those old adages that are just plain wrong. Such as “Never Wash Mushrooms.” Weinstein says think again. A quick rinse is a good idea. “If you are going to slice them up and put in skillet or a sauté or a stew anyway, you’ll going to be getting rid of any extra moisture they might absorb so that’s not an issue. Now, if you are going to eat raw, yeah there may be a little extra moisture so wash them quickly, blot them dry with paper towels, get that dirt off it because you don’t know where it’s been and who’s touched it,” he says.

Bruce Weinstein(left) and Mark Scarbrough

And as for vegetables? Farmer’s Market first, Weinstein advises, and after that, frozen has more vitamins than produce traveling long distances, and is less expensive. Weinstein continues, “especially if you go when things are on sale frozen edamame, carrots, and frozen peas are not necessarily expensive items and when they are not fresh in the winter those are really good alternatives.” With cooler weather on the horizon, it’s time to start thinking about roasting, especially as the root vegetables start coming into the Market. So, Mark Scarbrough says creating a perfectly roasted veggie platter is much like stir frying, longer cooking items go in first. “Vegetables cook and soften, as it were, in the oven based on moisture content and fiber content. To use an extreme example, celery root will cook a lot more slowly than celery simply because of the denser structure with less moisture and higher fiber content,” Scarbrough says.

So, how to manage a platter with both beets and asparagus perfectly cooked? “Add your potatoes, and your rutabagas, and your parsnips first those will take about an hour and a half. Then, add the squash, and the acorn squash, and the hard squashs, and then onions, and then the broccoli, and cauliflower. You could start the roadmap at any point, you could start with the onions that take 45 minutes instead of starting way back with the hour and a half items. That roasting allows those external sugars to caramelize and makes those vegetables even more irresistible.” Scarbrough says plan ¾ pound of raw vegetables per serving. And a dash of balsamic vinegar at the end will brighten the flavors.

Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them

Check out Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough’s book Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them And 100 Other Myths About Food And Cooking.

Slideshow feature photo by Flicker user Jeremy Brooks / CC BY-NC 2.0
Photo by Flicker user sassyradish / CC BY-NC 2.0

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