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Thumb_754730818_ab0fce54deRoot Source: Rosemary

Thumb_754730818_ab0fce54deRoot Source: Rosemary

what you should know Rosemary's stiff needles and powerful smell make it an herb to be reckoned with. Used with care, it imbues food with what Harold McGee describes as a scent "made up of woody, pine, floral, eucalyptus, and clove notes." We also call it resinous. concentrate Rosemary is most at home with equally powerful dishes like grilled meat (especially rich, gamey lamb with garlic). contain Best to add it early in cooking, finely chopped so that its strength mellows and its texture doesn't take over. (Another option: just bruise it.) herbs fully loaded Rosemary has been shown to ease and calm our immune and digestive systems. Combined with thyme, bay leaf and other herbs, rosemary is an integral part of the French Herbes de Provence. in a name Rosemary's botanical name, rosmarinus comes from the Latin, meaning "dew of the sea" -- inspired by the sandy soil of the Mediterranean coasts where it flourishes. what you need Jill Norman's thorough book will tell you just about everything you ever wanted to know about rosemary (and every other herb and spice). Like many herbs, rosemary can be grown from clippings, but it's said to come on stronger if grown from seed. Rosemary is perfect on any grilled meat. Cook it up on skewers, or just thread the meat directly on to tough sprigs of rosemary. Hearing the word "rosemary" makes us start humming Simon & Garfunkel. what you do Woodsy rosemary plays off peppery parsnips in this roasted vegetable dish. Roasted rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes work better if you blanch the potatoes first. Roasted chicken with rosemary is a clean, simple classic. So is grilled lamb with orange zest, honey and the piney essence of rosemary. Vegetarians will appreciate rosemary with toasted barley or roasted zucchini. Rosemary's bright flavor becomes doubly refreshing when mixed with lemonade. Featured: Rosemary does double duty as a spice and a skewer with these lamb kebabs. Congratulations to Madeline, of Madeline's Adaptations, who submitted the featured recipe for this week's Root Source Challenge.

Thumb_395938860_087b8f5bb1Root Source: Carrot

Thumb_395938860_087b8f5bb1Root Source: Carrot

what you should know The carrot is the Emmylou Harris of vegetables, best known for backing harmonies but really deserving of more attention for the solo work. To wit, look up carrot in the index of most cookbooks and you'll find plenty of dishes that have carrot in them. What you won't find a lot of are carrot recipes -- recipes with "carrot" in the title.    Which is a shame: this orange root's sweet, earthy flavor and year-round availability should elevate it well beyond its role as a staple base vegetable. (For what it's worth, the carrot is Britain's third favorite vegetable.) stick with sticks Unless you're into watery, processed nubs, avoid so-called baby carrots. Get fresh and slender carrots when you can, as they tend to be the tastiest. If you buy larger, older carrots, peel them and cut out their musty, woody core. Got a bunch of carrots that have gone soft? Revive them in an ice bath before using them.  what's up, doc? Carrots are rich in beta carotene, an orange pigment that gives the carrot its color. The body converts carotene to Vitamin A, a nutrient important for vision and bone growth. On the advice of the family doctor, Chip's father-in-law used to eat one carrot a day. After work. Reading the paper. With a martini.   roots Seventy years ago, Dorothea Lange spent time in and around Holtville, California, the "Carrot Capital of the World". Her photos from the area are worth looking at every now and then when you're feeling insufficiently thankful. what you need Do you Y peel or swivel? Do you dump chopped vegetables right from the cutting board into the pan (and, like Chip, end up spilling them all over the stove)? Why not use a pastry scraper to transport them? Or you could use these cool melamine bowls to store the prepped veggies in until you're ready use them. We're in prime carrot-planting season. If you've got a small patch of earth somewhere -- even a bare spot of the flower garden will do -- pick out some seeds and grow your own. If you're new to gardening, consult either Louise Rotte's Carrots Love Tomatoes or Sally Jean Cunningham's Great Gardening Companions. Greatest carrot moment in the history of movies? In Gone with the Wind, when Scarlett rips a carrot from the earth and says, "...As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!" what you do Glazed carrots shine in contrast alongside a good steak. They shine as bright on their own. Even as dessert. Let's say you've got only 20 minutes to prepare something filling for a vegetarian dropping by for an impromptu dinner: consider this citrus-thyme couscous with peas and carrots. Same situation but it's a carnivore? Try this linguine with andouille, carrot and tarragon.   Carrots add sweetness and texture to black bean burritos with cilantro. With so many variations, carrot salad never gets old: a basic carrot-mint salad, a grated carrot and celeriac salad, a Thai carrot-cucumber salad. Could you use a muffin?

Thumb_2806584460_8a6cafc5e2Root Source: Sweet Corn

Thumb_2806584460_8a6cafc5e2Root Source: Sweet Corn

what you should know The most widely grown crop in North America, corn is used in the manufacturing of everything from aspirin to batteries to latex paint. Nevermind all that. When corn is straight off the stalk and at the peak of its perfect sweetness, some consider it to be even better than sex. best by Corn doesn't stay fresh long and should be eaten within 2-3 days after being picked. Look for green husks and juicy kernels. Unlike tomatoes, corn's sugar-to-starch conversion is slowed by refrigeration, so you can keep it in the fridge. call us corny When did corny become an insult? If you ask us for corny recipes, you aren't likely to get something "trite, dated, unimaginative." siblings In pre-Columbian North America, corn was grown alongside squash and beans. The trio was known as the Three Sisters. toppings Corn is one of the most popular pizza toppings in Japan. Spot the cob and other unique toppings dancing in this ad. what you need For a detailed history of corn on our continent, read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. These corn holders will save you from scorched fingertips. These corn holders will spare your fingertips and make you laugh. Want to save time in the kitchen? Get a corn stripper. This informative book gives kids a peek at how corn is grown. (Despite its name, Children of the Corn is not kid-appropriate.) what you do Corn salsa is incredibly versatile. You can pile it on top of meat, mix it into green salad -- or just eat it by itself. For a seafoody twist on the classic corn chowder, add crab. Combine three seasonal vegetables to make this fresh summer salad. Grilled steak with pepper and corn relish over crostini is a killer combination of crunchy, crisp, and tender. Creamed corn is kid-friendly (even for kids who have braces). Cilantro's soapy flavor makes the corn in this ragout taste even sweeter. Why bother boiling? Grill your corn with thyme butter. Featured: You can't go wrong with these colorful corn and broccoli calzones. Congratulations to reader Elizabeth Skipper who submitted the featured recipe for this week's Root Source Challenge!

Thumb_3182258759_46593a7675Root Source: Pomegranate

Thumb_3182258759_46593a7675Root Source: Pomegranate

  what you should know  During winter's long store ofdark and earthy flavors, thepomegranate delivers little bright bursts of light. To open a pomegranate, find a hexagonal rib and split open the fruit through its tough outer skin. You're met with scores of edible red seeds, each enclosed in a sac of sweet-tart juice. underwater Teasing out the good parts of a pomegranate takes some doing (and the juice inside stains bad), but once you know the bowl-full-of-water trick, you'll be fine. it's old An ancient fruit, the pomegranate gets its name from the Greek pomum ("apple") and granatus ("seeded"). Through the ages, it's been festooned with meaning: there'sPersephone, of course. The fruit pops up frequently in the Old Testament and the Koran, and it's one of the three blessed fruits in Buddhism. Shakespeare made good use of it, and painters from Botticelli to Cezanne have realized its metaphorical value. pom pom Because of the widely reported health benefits of the fruit, the pomegranate is surging in popularity. Most of this country's pomegranates are grown by Lynda Resnick, the billionaire "pomegranate princess".  what you need Pomegranates originated in Persia and stretched out in all directions from there. In her beautiful and expansive cookbookArabesque, Claudia Roden explores the cuisines of three pomegranate-laden lands: Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon. Buy this book! In the northern hemisphere, the pomegranate season runs from September until January. (We're at the tail end now.) In March, the southern hemisphere starts harvesting its pomegranates, which are available generally until May. If you're craving pomegranate but the fruit's not in season, get your fix with pomegranate molasses or pomegranate jelly. If you strike out at the grocery chains, try your local Middle Eastern market.  what you do With its intensely sweet and tart tastes, pomegranate is a natural fruit to use for chutneys. Try this pomegranate- ginger version. The twin flavors of pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses infuse this eggplant with tahini yogurt. Offset bitter dandelion greens with a richpomegranate vinaigrette. Flavored with a fruity and aromatic marinade, thesepomegranate-glazed pork ribs come out of the oven tender but with a bright, complex crust. Named for a famous ballerina, the pavlova is a dessert best known Down Under. Ours is made with pomegranate and a handful of winter fruits. Featured recipe: Spatchcock much? (Don't worry -- it's easy.) Once you get the hang of it, try this pomegranate-glazed spatchcocked chicken.

Thumb_2746563217_683c3163cbRoot Source: Tortilla Chip

Thumb_2746563217_683c3163cbRoot Source: Tortilla Chip

what you should know In 1950, tortilla chips originated in Los Angeles as a tasty solution to an imperfect tortilla problem. Rebecca Webb Carranza took misshapen corn tortillas from her family's new automated tortilla factory, cut them up and fried them to a crisp for a party. Soon, the chips were the company's best selling product. changeable crunch While tortilla chips are most common as an envoy for salsa and other dips, they can easily make their way into eggs, soups, and muffins. (They also figure prominently into a well-known hangover remedy.) not your cheese Top your chips with melted cheese or place them around a pile of chile-braised pork shoulder, and you have nachos. If you're a true enthusiast, consider attending the International Nacho Festival in Mexico. sweet treats Tortilla chips don't have to be confined to salty snacks. For something sweet, try a homemade cinnamon tortilla chip, or pick up a bag of Chocolate Tortilla Chips from Food Should Taste Good. what you need Making homemade chips? Start with corn or flour tortillas -- some are bound to be misshapen -- and then pick up one of these. Have tortilla chips everyday by cooking Mexican Everyday. The best way to serve chips and salsa? Keep it nice and simple with this dish. Want to combine chip topping ideas with some Spanish lessons? Try a bilingual cookbook. Salad tastes better in an edible bowl. Make your own with this tortilla mold. what you should do Chips out of the bag are easy, but deep-frying them at home is also easy and so much better. Use your tortilla chips to make cornbread for skillet spoonbread cobbler. For a gluten-free alternative to tortilla chips, try this brown rice version. As an appetizer for many or a lunch for a few, scoop up some bites of layered chicken-avocado bowl. Layer tortilla chips with cheese and veggies and you'll get Karina's nachos fabuloso. Featured: With a creative spin on matzo brie, soaked tortilla chips and eggs make a savory breakfast dish. Congratulations to Olga of Mango & Tomato, who submitted this week's Root Source Challenge featured recipe.

Thumb_2964940232_82b0673e5cRoot Source: Pumpkin

Thumb_2964940232_82b0673e5cRoot Source: Pumpkin

what you should know Whether carved into jack-o'-lanterns, baked into pies or covered in proverbial frost, pumpkins symbolize our annual descent into winter. Giant pumpkins are best for carving; the flesh has little taste. For cooking, look for the smaller specimens known as sugar pumpkins (or "pie pumpkins").    family matters Thin-skinned summer squash are gathered before maturity; thick-skinned pumpkins aren't picked until after the first frost. A grooved woody stem and deep orange color set the pumpkin apart from other winter squash. when in rome In Italy, pumpkin is a common pasta filling. Pumpkin is fried and served with yogurt sauce in Afghanistan. In Mexico, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are made into a tasty sauce. in the can Many holiday recipes call for canned supermarket pumpkin -- but pumpkin purée is easily made from scratch. world's greatest If the fact that 80 percent of the world's canned pumpkin is processed in Morton, Illinois doesn't make you want to visit, maybe its annual pumpkin-chucking contest will. what you need If you're cutting pumpkin, you're going to need a nice, sharp knife. Ready yourself for holiday pie-baking with a pie plate and the pie bible. If you're craving pumpkin in music form, how about Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness? If you're more inclined to believe in the Great Pumpkin than in Santa Claus, get yourself a copy of the Charlie Brown classic. what you do Part of the beauty of pumpkin is that it can go sweet or savory. Satisfy your sugar cravings with a classic pumpkin pie or a bowl of pumpkin-cardamom rice pudding. Nut brittle gets a sophisticated twist with spicy pumpkin seed brittle. Sweet-hot pumpkin enchiladas make a quick and meatless weeknight meal. Fish, squash and legume bisque is a hearty soup traditionally served during Holy Week and delicious anytime.  If your Thanksgiving plans don't include turkey, pumpkin gnocchi would be a great way to celebrate instead. Featured: The winner of this week's Root Source Challenge is a recipe for a savory pumpkin custard from Noob Cook. Congratulations, Wiffy! Find more pumpkin recipes at Cookthink.com. And if you haven't yet signed up for a free account at Cookthink, do it now!

Thumb_2506014824_c3b31aa11cRoot Source: Rhubarb

Thumb_2506014824_c3b31aa11cRoot Source: Rhubarb

what you should know One of the first signs of spring, rhubarb's red stalks shoot up while the ground's still cold. Because of its bracing astringency, rhubarb needs an adult dose of sweetener to tame its acidity and let the delicate underlying flavor come through. stalking barb Look for firm, glossy stalks that are no more than one inch thick. (Most rhubarb varieties become fibrous as they grow larger.) pie plant While it's really a vegetable, rhubarb's treated more like a fruit. It's been called "the pie plant" because that dessert is its most common incarnation. On June 9, celebrate National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. Or head to Lanesboro, Minnesota for its Annual Rhubarb Festival. acid tip Do not eat rhubarb leaves. They contain high amounts of oxalic acid, which can do bad things to you if you consume enough of it. alumi-non As with most acidic foods, rhubarb should be not cooked in aluminum cookware. If you do, Elizabeth Schneider wrote in Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, "you'll have clean cookware and tarnished rhubarb." what you need We're always recommending Edward Bunyard's singular Anatomy of Dessert. For a more recent classic on fresh fruit and its just desserts, try Chez Panisse Fruit, by Alice Waters, or Tartine, by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. To hang with rhubarb, you'll need a solid glass pie plate and a nonstick tart pan. (Pie server and ice cream scoop are optional.) what you do Coconut & Lime's rhubarb soda is the perfect drink for barbecues and picnics. Not as plain as water. Not as sugary as soft drinks. (It also makes a good mixer with vodka and gin.) Cook & Eat's scrumptious apple and rhubarb shortcake is like a big, hot, sugary scone. We love this stewed rhubarb with ricotta alongside grilled fish and scallops, while this spicy rhubarb compote does wonders to grilled duck and chicken. Cook & Eat broke out the cloves, caster sugar and rare white port for her rhubarb syllabub. While the rhubarb has a natural affinity for strawberries, Coconut & Lime found that it loves raspberries, too. featured recipe Aran's coconut, strawberry, white chocolate and rhubarb mousse cake is an inspired mash-up of flavors and textures. It's the featured recipes for week's Root Source Challenge. Visit Aran at Cannelle et Vanille.

Thumb_cherry bowlRoot Source: Bing Cherry

Thumb_cherry bowlRoot Source: Bing Cherry

what you should know In 1850, Seth Lewelling lit out for Oregon to grow fruit. His first success fruit was the Black Republican cherry, which he named in honor of the abolitionists trying to end slavery. (Back in Iowa, the Lewellings had been involved in the Underground Railroad.) Lewelling named his next cherry after Ah Bing, the foreman who oversaw his orchards. The large, dark red Bing cherry was sweet, plump and crisp. the pick When it was released in the mid-1870s, it became a sensation: one pound (roughly 35 cherries) sold for a dollar in East Coast markets. The Bing quickly became and still is the most widely grown of the sweet cherries. tis the Cherries should start arriving right about now from central California (and, with them, "unquestionable proof" that summer is coming). In a couple of weeks, you'll start seeing Bings from Oregon and Washington state, where almost half the sweet cherries in the U.S. are grown. low risk, high reward The Bing--like all sweet cherries--are low risk/high reward fruits. Look for cherries that are firm and shiny. Avoid soft or bruised fruit. Store cherries in the fridge, where they'll keep for a few days. (You can also freeze cherries.) pit stop To pit a cherry, treat it like an olive. (Or get out a nail or paper clip.) what you need If you go in for those super-specific kitchen tools like the cherry pitter, we recommend the one made by OXO. (It'll also work for most olives.) As with pitting olives, we get along just fine with a dough scraper. Chez Panisse Fruit is filled with simple and refined stone fruit desserts. what you do Convert someone to spinach with this Bing cherry and Brie salad. Cook & Eat explores the compatibility between sweet and savory in fruit and honey focaccia and a fennel and cherry salad. As you enter grilling season in earnest, keep this rustic cherry pie (also from Cook & Eat) in mind. One of the classic uses for Bings is in a cherry clafoutis, which is part of this week's installment of the Barbara Kafka Dessert Anthology. (Top image courtesy of the California Cherry Advisory Board.)

Thumb_2797956849_0b332891c6Root Source: Italian Sausage

Thumb_2797956849_0b332891c6Root Source: Italian Sausage

what you should know The general makeup of any fresh sausage is ground meat and fat plus seasonings ("not too much of this and just enough of that," as the Joy of Cooking prescribes.) The basic formula for what we Americans call "Italian sausage" is ground pork + salt/pepper + fennel or anise seed. hot or sweet From there, Italian sausage diverges into two camps -- hot and sweet. The sweet isn't really (though some do add sugar to the mix), but the hot can be plenty hot depending on how many red pepper flakes you use. comi ti chiami? Asking for "Italian sausage" in Italy will no doubt solicit this response: "Which one?" take 2 anise & call me in the AM The Romans used anise as a medicinal herb for digestion -- important if you're eating more than a couple sausages. play it loose The casing is an integral part of sausage. But you can also make or buy the mixture loose if you're cooking a casserole or sauce for which you have to break up the meat anyway. my hero Italian sausage is the foundation for many sandwiches, such as this Pittsburgh classic. (Go Steelers!) what you need Move beyond just Italian sausage with Home Sausage Making: How-To Techniques for Making and Enjoying 100 Sausages at Home. For home sausage making, pull out your stand mixer and the meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachments. While the weather's still cooperating, take your sausages on a picnic and fire them up on a portable grill. what you do For a classic sausage sandwich, top the meat with peppers onions, and a dollop of mustard dressing. Rich and hearty, this sausage, spinach and cheese lasagna is great for potlucks. Packing for a picnic? You can make a batch of sausage, portobello, and barley pilaf the night before. For a quick weeknight dinner, try whole wheat penne with Italian sausage, cauliflower and rosemary. A crispy pita pizza is strong enough to hold up to hefty toppings like sausage, peppers, and carrots. As the evenings start to cool off, dig in to a white bean soup with sausage and escarole. This week's Root Source Challenge featured recipe is a Soprano's-inspired dish of Roasted Sausages, Peppers, Potatoes and Onions. Congratulations to Nikki of Nik Snacks!

Thumb_302154091_8730938827Root Source: Brussels Sprouts

Thumb_302154091_8730938827Root Source: Brussels Sprouts

what you should know  No vegetable suffers from a greater public relations handicap than the Brussels sprout. A cousin to cauliflower, the Brussels sprout is basically a tiny head of cabbage, to which it's also kin. (How can you hate a tiny cabbage?) don't overcook As with broccoli (another cruciferous cousin), the main cause of the contempt towards Brussels sprouts is chronic overcooking, which releases a wicked, sulphurous smell. Quickly braised or blanched, Brussels sprouts hold onto their green earthiness but also take on a slight vanilla flavor. We also like to roast them on high heat to brown them to a nutty crispness. my little cabbage Brussels sprouts grow on stalks which are mechanically stripped right after harvest. (Occasionally, at a farm stand or in a Whole Foods, you'll find an unstripped stalk of sprouts.) To prep a sprout, treat it like cabbage and slice off the tough stem end and toss the dark green, outer leaves. it's thursday, these must be belgian Are Brussels sprouts from Brussels? Sort of. the little cabbage that could In 2002, the Brussels sprout was voted the most hated vegetable in the UK. In 2005, it was only the 5th most hated vegetable. Sounds like a movement. what you need Barbara Kafka's a strong proponent of roasting quickly on high heat. It's a technique that lends itself well to Brussels sprouts, which brown and sweeten without overcooking. We prefer the simple stability of a sheet pan when roasting vegetables like Brussels sprouts, which should be tossed to even the browning. Though we prefer the old-fashioned cloth oven mitt, we're suckers for silicone pot holders, which are perfect for a quick shake of the sheet pan. what you do The warm spiciness of Brussels sprouts makes them well-suited to stir-fries like this one with pork, peppers and ginger. Are we fools for even suggesting that you pair Brussels sprouts with their equally despised cousin cauliflower? Maybe. But roasted with some fennel seed, they turn lovely and sweet. Brussels sprouts' floral touches make them a great stock ingredient for curries. Try this simple dish of curried sprouts and sweet potatoes. Looking for a Brussels sprouts recipe that even a Brussels sprouts hater may eat? Try adding white beans and cheese. The clean crunch of the Brussels sprouts plays off the creamy richness of chanterelles, tarragon and cream.

Thumb_2122553731_b19f2b9ea5Root Source: Parsnip

Thumb_2122553731_b19f2b9ea5Root Source: Parsnip

what you should know Named for an ancient two-pronged dibble (a what?) the parsnip is the lowliest of the lowlies (lowlier even than the beet).   shire food Because of its longtime association with the traditional Sunday Roast, the parsnip has a reputation for stodginess. It looks like an anemic carrot. (One specimen was recently named the Ugliest Vegetable in the UK.) And while the two hardy root vegetables share a certain sweetness, the parsnip has a more complex tangle of flavors. It's almost minty, with a twinkling Christmas spice going on -- the smell of hobbitous comfort. the bridge root We love how the parsnip toes the line  between starch and salad vegetable. You can roast or mash a parsnip like you would a potato. Or you can grate or shave a raw parsnip into a salad. parbrewed The parsnip needs near-frost temperatures to convert its starches into sugar. Some take advantage of the vegetable's starchiness to make what's supposedly a pretty good country wine. what you need No one can elevate the lowly members of the plant world like Alice Waters does in her classic Chez Panisse Vegetables. Stocking stuffer: It takes a deft peeler to skin the long, curvy contours of a parsnip. We attack our parsnips with either a Good Grips swivel or Y from OXO. what you do This parsnip, parsley and lemon salad is a winter variation on the classic Italian salad of shaved raw fennel. The tart lemon brightens the earthy flavors of the thinly sliced parsnips, and the parsley brings out the spice. It sounds boring, but a roasted parsnip, turnip and potato salad will give you respect for humble roots. Before the potato came to Europe, the parsnip was the go-to starch for accompanying rich, braised meats. A little orange makes this parsnip purée a delicious partner to duck or pork. The subtle complexities of the parsnip make it a great base for a piece of fish. We played around with some Southeast Asian flavors to come up with tasty pan-roasted monkfish with coconut mashed parsnips.

Thumb_radishWhat is a radish?

Thumb_radishWhat is a radish?

Crisp, earthy radishes grow underground before being dug up by their (also edible) leaves. Raw, this root vegetable is pungent and peppery. To temper radishes, simply sauté, steam or braise them. Dainty fairweather radishes like the Cherry Belle or French Breakfast come in shades of pink, red, purple and white. (Some even come inside-out: white-skinned and pink-hearted.) Common is Eastern Europe, the black radish has rough, dark skin, bright, white flesh and a bite almost as sharp as horseradish. Another cool-weather radish, daikon, is carrot-shaped and parsnip-colored, but tastes like a summer radish.   Skip the O.J. and load up on radishes -- a great source of vitamin C.

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