I grew up in Georgia, land of biscuits 'n' gravy, chicken 'n' waffles, mac 'n' cheese. Pretty much anything you can stick an over-abbreviated and in the middle of, we make it (after slathering it in butter). My grandpa has his own garden, which by Boston standards would be considered a full-fledged farm. As far as I can remember, he's grown corn, watermelon, green beans, butter beans, cabbage, tomatoes (oh, the tomatoes), even sweet potatoes. So it's not that I didn't grow up eating my vegetables, it's just that they were usually alongside a steak or a meatloaf and topped with a buttery cheese sauce.
I am not complaining, but I am trying to strip down my understanding of how to prepare a vegetable. For a while now, Mike and I have been making portobello burgers as a staple in our weekly meals. They're cheap, less harmful to the environment than ground beef, and just generally less gross to handle. He marinates them in soy sauce and ginger (and really whatever sauces or dressings we have available) then grills them on the George Foreman. A couple weeks ago, after deciding to start replacing all of the bread we usually eat with other, more nutritious fillers, we tried these as just steaks. And what a welcome change! Without the bread and toppings, the flavors of the mushroom and the marinade shine through. I can't recommend this enough.
We're also trying to cut back on how many white potatoes we eat, which has pushed me to try new things and new ways of cooking old things. Take radishes. I've been adding them to salad for a while now, but the other night I chopped them up, seasoned them like they were potatoes (seasoned salt, pepper, garlic salt), tossed them in olive oil, and roasted them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they were golden brown. Roasting them softens the radish-y crunch, but brings out all of the flavors hidden in there.
Next up we wanted to try out some new greens. We're always sauteeing kale or bok choy, but we thought we'd give dandelion greens a try. It's one of those ingredients you see on the menus of upper scale restaurants, but it costs about $1.99 for a bunch at the grocery store.
I washed them well, threw in some of the greens from our radishes, and sauteed them with already-browned onions and garlic.
Mike took care of the important part.
Let me tell you: this meal was no less satisfying than the steak and potato meals of yore. If you're not too keen on replacing everything you hold dear with vegetables, start small. Replace the potatoes with roasted radishes or mashed cauliflower (recipe coming soon!). Summer is the best time to start experimenting with new veggies, as you can find all kinds of things at farmer's markets.