Week 8 – Fruits and Vegetables Part 5

Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of our diets and dishes.  They add, color flavor and lots of nutrients to everything we cook.  This week we will talk about Cucumbers, Mushrooms and Eggplant.

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Eggplant is a great option for vegetarians or anyone trying to cut back on meat.  Eggplant can be breaded and pan fried, grilled, added to stews and sauces and even baked or boiled and then covered in sauce. It contains lots of iron and is a healthy item for those who are generally in need of more iron.

Mushrooms have a great taste, but almost no nutritional value.  They can be stuffed or sliced, added to sauces or as the main ingredient in a soup or a compliment to chicken, pork or beef. 

When it comes to cucumbers I suggest buying “English Cucumbers.”  You may have wondered what the difference is between the two.  Basically, regular cucumbers have a tough outside skin that is bitter and tough.  English cucumbers have a thin light skin and are much softer.  The interior of English cucumbers is even textured and does not have bigger tougher seeds like regular cucumbers do.  In the restaurants, we would take the interior of regular cucmbers out by cutting the cucmbers lengthwise and then scooping out the seeds with a spoon.

Cucumbers grow like crazy during the summer and are sometimes hard to use before they go bad.  But if you slice them up and submerge them in  vinegar with a little sugar and salt, you will have pickles throughout the winter! 

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Chef Shawn Bucher    801-675-8091    shawn@firsttimerscookbook.com    www.firsttimerscookbook.com