August 5, 2013

Culinary Treasures from the Garden

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By Stacy Hoelting, Culinary Arts Student

During the summer months, gardeners and farmers alike have the pleasure of harvesting numerous brightly flavored vegetables, packed with nutrients that will enhance any summer meal. Personally, I have been doing this very often lately, considering that my garden has been producing mature vegetables in great amounts. Recently, I have harvested broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash of many varieties, and tomatoes. However, even though I have a great amount of vegetables to consume, I still feel responsible for the remaining plant that is left behind after vegetable harvest.

Therefore, with the knowledge that I received from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, I decided to find a way to consume the remainder of the plant if possible in any way. First, I started to think about kale. This beautiful vegetable can be simply eaten raw, or roasted into tasty crisp chips, and also wilted down like spinach. I wondered if I could use these same culinary methods using the leaves from the broccoli and cauliflower plants. So, I decided to try it out. I pulled the remainder of the plants out of the ground, as my broccoli plant had been harvested multiple times and the cauliflower only yields one harvest, and started cutting the leaves off. After washing thoroughly and drying the leaves, I practiced both cooking methods on each of the plant leaves.

I found that broccoli leaves are best wilted down like spinach with a little garlic, onions, and oil/butter, and the cauliflower leaves are best torn into small pieces and roasted like kale chips. I couldn’t believe that all this time, I had beautiful dishes in my garden that were being overlooked. The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts has really furthered not only my culinary knowledge, but my plant knowledge as well with the Farm to Table Experience®. I have more confidence to try new items from the garden, and my culinary education has allowed me to prepare these items deliciously.