Megan Saynisch is cook, gardener, culinary anthropologist and writer living in Brooklyn with her husband and young son. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, she is the creator of the blog Brooklynfarmhouse.com.
Whether you're an enthusiastic beginner or homemade candy pro, beware: we're betting once your loved ones or colleagues get a taste of these gorgeous, delectable treats - awesome gifts, all - you may be fielding requests for years to come. Happy Holidays!
Shallots are delicious roasted, sautéed, fried and braised, but where they really shine is as an integral component of sauces, vinaigrettes and other dishes (even desserts!), that can benefit from their allium punch. Although they can be pricy, shallots add a little je ne sais quoi to so many dishes.
With over 4,000 varieties, the potato is a staple in cuisines around the world. It was also among the first vegetables to be intensively monocropped and served as a model for other crops. The common tuber is more exotic than you think!
Carrots are equally at home in sweet and savory dishes; they can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, fried and stir-fried, made into puddings, cakes and sweet treats and grated, puréed and grantinéed. So of course they are ubiquitous in so many cuisines: what's better than a sweet, crunchy and colorful food?
Nothing says autumn like pumpkins, but if your experience is limited to Jack-O-Lanterns and lattes, you're missing out on a whole world of squashy goodness. Read all about it!
Although its nutty, delicious seeds can be found year-round in health food and some larger grocery stores, amaranth is only in season in the summer through mid-fall. The Today Show has called amaranth greens the next kale, and there are numerous recipes pairing the striking plant's seeds with more common ingredients.
In the US, quince trees were once common in colonial home gardens and on farms. These days, you may have to hunt around for quince - they are not a common fruit, after all - but certainly the hunt is worth it simply for their fragrance. Oh, and they taste pretty good too!
This week's Real Food is also known as "fever grass," and in addition to its assertive, lemony flavor, it is used to synthesize Vitamin A and is a world-class insect repellant! Lemongrass, demystified.
Originally used medicinally to treat symptoms ranging from insomnia to venereal disease, sage has since made its way - over hundreds of years - into a range of savory dishes. And scientific studies support the old-timey idea that sage is linked to wisdom (or at least, memory and cognitive function).
Edamame are crazy versatile - cook them up and eat them as-is, with a little salt, or toss them into just about any savory dish. Sub them for any recipe that calls for lima beans; the nutty, sweet flavor of edamame is far more complex (and they are far more nutritious) and delicious.
Herbal, tangy, citrus-y, and a little bit sweet, tomatillos are like no other fruit. While green tomatillo sauce can be spooned onto just about everything (tacos, enchiladas, fish, meat, veggies), this week's Real Food profile includes some ways to bust out of the salsa verde rut.
Okra is the quintessential Southern ingredient, representing so much of the gastronomy of the South, from Creole cuisine to lowcountry cooking. Even for those of us up North, okra is seasonal eating at its best, the epitome of Real Food Right Now. And yes, you can absolutely eat all of this "nose-to-tail" veggie.
July is National Blueberry Month, and for good reason - they are delicious in dishes ranging from savory to sweet and they are super good for you! Find out where they were first cultivated, the difference between high- and low-bush blueberries and as always, how best to enjoy this week's Real Food.
You know nasturtiums, pansies, roses, hibiscus... but do you know chervil, day lilies, crocuses, lilacs, geraniums? In this week's installation of Real Food Right Now, what to look for, what to look out for, and as always, recipes.
Whether or not you consider ice cream a real food (we say it depends on the ingredients) its season, without question, has arrived. Here, we serve up the history and dietary implications of this sweet summer treat, along with the most drool-worthy recipe links we could find. Do you scream for ice cream?
Mustard greens suffer from an inferiority complex - they haven't enjoyed a culinary renaissance like kale; they don't have the romantic Italian provenance of broccoli raab, nor the Southern panache of collard greens. But their peppery bite is perfect in summer salads, awesome when tossed in with legumes like lentils and delicious when sautéed like spinach.