Vegetables are the greatest gifts of the botanical world and each of them has a personality and more importantly, a nutritional profile. They are powerhouses of nutrients.
The most common mistake people make is in boiling veggies or microwaving them.
The nutrients go out into the water when you boil. The microwave does nothing for the flavor. You are stuck with a tasteless product.
Instead, the Essential Puree method of cooking vegetables is either steamed or grilled, with a sauce to impart flavor. Stir-fried veggies are a perfect example of sauce and vegetable complimenting one another.
(For puree, I let the stir fry go a bit longer to produce a tender vegetable, but one that still has flavor.)
I vary my cooking methods by seasons. Not only does this produce variety in the food, but the cook does not get stuck in a routine and bored. Keep it new. Keep it fresh. Keep it delicious. That is the secret to great puree.
In summer, grilled vegetables, painted with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, make a really tasty puree. I use an indoor grill that is easy to clean and store. It goes right on the island in the middle of the kitchen. It is a no-fuss kitchen appliance and very useful in the puree kitchen, as it flips to become a griddle.
Steamed vegetables get a little sauce, a little garlic sautéed with lemon juice. A little parmesan cheese and lemon. A little dash of pesto. A little tomato and onion. Some sautéed shallots. Or even a dash of the Onion Jam. (See the recipe on the Recipe page.)
One favorite trick of mine is to puree the steamed vegetable with mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes or even a whole grain.
When the patient can handle it, raw vegetables, such as those in salads, or pickled vegetables, are created as side dishes or added to a main dish for a flavor component.
I add a little pickle when I make a pulled pork slider, for that great American summer taste. It is amazing how a small amount of pickle will brighten up a dish and wake up the taste buds.
One has to check with one’s health care provider to make sure of the patient’s ability to digest. My mom loved pickled beets and ranch dressing as a salad, and I used a little of the pickling juice for puree.
For summer deserts, you can even grill fruits. Peaches, sliced in half, pit removed, and painted with a little olive oil and perhaps a dash of cinnamon or ginger, makes a great dessert, especially when pureed with ice cream.
In my book, I celebrate the veggie. It’s all the rage. More fruits and veggies in the diet.
For details on the best kitchen appliances to use in the puree kitchen, the kitchen appliances that make the job simple and easy to clean up, please see the Shopping Guide in the Guidebook.