Chat Leftovers: Chew on this

April 17, 2013

The big news here in Food land is news I hope you’ve already heard: The very first Washington Post cookbook is on the newsstands. Compiled by Bonnie Benwick, it features favorite reader recipes from the past half-century. We’re proud! So read all about it.

Also in Food, Tim Carman introduces us to Danielle Vogel, a new grocer whose shelves are stocked with products sourced from the Chesapeake Bay watershed. And David Hagedorn writes about the Greek salad, a classic that never goes out of style — however it’s made.

And, of course, there’s Beer Madness! We’re down to the final two, and it’s a battle between David and Goliath. The winner is crowned next week. Meanwhile, the doughnut wars rage on, as we report on Week 4 of our quest to find the Washington area’s best doughnut.

It’s Wednesday, so you know what that means: time for the Free Range chat, our weekly sit-down with you, the readers, wherein we all try to make each other a little smarter. If you’re there at noon, you can chew the fat with today’s special guest chatters, who include the aforementioned David Hagedorn and Danielle Vogel, plus Sean Sullivan, the chef at Danielle’s market. Y’all come.

Meanwhile, chew on this leftover question from last week’s chat:

I love munching on raw carrots, crunching lightly steamed broccoli, biting into radishes, etc. But, sadly, I need to go soft for the next month or so because of dental problems. I’d be grateful for suggestions on adapting my beloved foods so I can go on eating them without cooking them into mush — if that’s possible.

The first thing I thought was: Maybe it’s not so bad to turn vegetables into mush, as long as you then turn them into soup. So many veggies, including the ones you mention — yes, even radishes — can be seasoned, cooked until tender and chopped or pureed into beautiful soups. Consider Garlic-Infused Broccoli Soup With Ditalini; the pasta is an ideal ingredient for someone on a soft-food diet, and if you don’t like a lot of garlic, you can cut way back on it. Carrot soup is a classic; try Carrot Soup With Herb Puree, Chilly Dilly Carrot Soup or Ginger-Packed Carrot Soup. This Parsnip Soup has a lovely flavor, as does Spicy Cauliflower Soup. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

I also think roasting is a perfect way to retain a little of a vegetable’s texture while still making it tender enough not to cause problems. Cut your favorite veggies into smaller chunks, coat lightly with a little olive oil, add salt and pepper and maybe some herbs (thyme is always good), and roast at 400 degrees or so until the vegetables are tender enough to suit you. I like to roast large amounts of vegetables at a time, then keep them in the fridge and use them in different dishes over a period of several days. (Grilling might work, too, though I don’t think the vegetables get quite as soft that way.)

Here are a few recipes to try. Check our Recipe Finder for more, and you should find enough ideas to keep you happy until your dental problems are over.

Roasted Radishes

Roasted Cauliflower With Brown Butter

Gratin of Roasted Peppers, Basil and Feta

Roasted Eggplant

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