Design by Desire Catering has some uses for the Forgotten Vegetables

Way back when I can remember we always grew up with a garden. My parents were always introducing  new vegetables then the norm whenever my Mom decided to try out new seeds. We’ve been conditioned over the years to always buy what is the normal, beans, corn, potatoes, peas carrots I could go on…. but now a days you walk through a grocery or a market and we are surrounded by the forgotten vegetables or what Design by Desire Catering would like to think are heirloom vegetable plants. I think they have become neglected or fallen out of favor for most people. I think some people when they see them don’t even know what to do with them, because of there improbable forms and colorful appearance or strange names.

I’m hoping that if I write about a few of these that they might start to regain their popularity and that you might be adventurous the next time you’re at the grocery or local farmers market to be encouraged to pick them up and try them.

The Rutabaga

Some say this is the alternate to the standard potato. It was used a great deal in World War One. I think it mostly compares to the turnip, its round shape and yellowish shades are reminiscent of the turnip. I can find it quite readily in the grocery stores. I peel this one and roast it with Olive Oil, S&P and do it with other root vegetable that you love, and you will taste the sweetness that comes out with the roasting. This is also good by adding it to mashed potatoes. The leaves can be used in salads and soups. Sometimes I julienne cut this vegetable and add it to my winter salads.



The Leek

Ok this one is maybe not so forgotten but come on, you walk by it and it looks like big green onions and you don’t know what to do with it. The edible part of the plant is the bundle of leaf sheaths that is sometimes called the stem or stalk, its related to the onion family but they are so much milder in flavor. I use this when I roast a chicken. I lay a bed of the tender stalks in a roasting pan and place my chicken on top. The leeks end up roasting down to this sweet caramelized mild flavor onion that taste so delicious with the chicken. As well as the drippings that go into your gravy add so much more as well. I’ve also chopped this up finely and put into my salads or soups.



The Parsnip

This one my Mom would grow all the time in her garden and I did not have the appreciation for it that I do now. My poor kids I am doing the same thing to them as my Mom…it’s a white carrot I tell them. This is another root vegetable related to the carrot and parsley. Have you ever noticed the leaves on the parsnip are just like the parsley leaf? Its tuberous root has a cream color skin and as it matures and if left in the ground until the winter frost it becomes sweeter. I roast this one as well with carrots and the contrast between the white and orange make this a nice fall side dish. After you toss them in olive oil and a sprinkle of cumin roast these off and then add fresh pomegranate jewel fruits to the finished dish. Or boil them and mash them with cream, butter and S&P.



This one was introduced to me by Marcel. Made by Design by Desire Catering in a sauce that is drizzled over a grilled piece of salmon in the summer. Its one of the ones Marcel uses It was so good. The sorrel is often used like parsley and it became popular during the time of Louis XIV in France. The long-rounded leaves are very similar to spinach. Its grows just like lettuce and its leaves are 5 to 6 inch on average. This can be used in salads and soups, or used to make pesto or put it in any sauce that asked for parsley or spinach and substitute it.



Jerusalem Artichoke

This one I haven’t experimented a lot with. It’s a tuber plant tasting like an artichoke, cultivated like potatoes and believe it or not it’s a sister to the sunflower. In Canada the Aboriginal first nations people grew it they called it sun-root or sun-choke. It was a staple food in Europe during World War one. It resembles the ginger root in appearance with a crisp texture when raw. The color can vary from pale brown to white, red or purple. Jerusalem artichokes have an underlying sweet taste, so these are great baked like a sweet potato or they can be cooked much the same way as a potato either roast it, sauteed or fry them.