real food right now

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook it (#realfoodrightnow) is our weekly series on the ABCs and 123s of seasonal food.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Asparagus

Arguably the most iconic of the spring vegetables, asparagus is grown around the world and has been celebrated for millennia. Any asparagus enthusiast will tell you that despite its year-round appearance in modern American grocery stores, it is far tastier grown locally and enjoyed in the spring.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Rhubarb

Get to know rhubarb, the fascinating, delicious spring vegetable -- er, fruit. (Which is it? Depends where you are!) Tangy and beautiful, these late spring/early summer stalks will lend a lot of zip to your seasonal eating!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Burgers

Estimates vary, but Americans put back at least several billion burgers each year. Veggie and other burger bases are out there, but the majority are still made from ground beef. After a bad couple of years in the press, will the ick factor kill Americans' burger fetish? Not likely.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Lettuce

Lettuce really represents the highs and the lows of urban gardening. Is anything more satisfying than seeing the bright neon green of Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce peeking up through the dirt? Or more soul-crushing than discovering that your perfect head of Speckled Bibb has been nibbled to the ground by a flock of rough-and-tumble Brooklyn sparrows?

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Kohlrabi

What does knobby, weird-looking kohlrabi taste like? What can you do with it? No worries -- get to know this Brassica cousin of kale, broccoli and cabbage now! That's right, kohlrabi's not actually a root vegetable. It does make a mighty fine pancake, though, as you'll see here.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Strawberries

That first glimpse of strawberries at the market means that summer is finally here. By "strawberries," we mean those nuggets of red, delicious juiciness found at the farmers' market or a local farm stand -- not the giant (flavorless) ones you can find year round at the supermarket.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Garlic Scapes

With a tangle of garlic scapes' green curlicued shoots in your midst, you aren't just eating seasonally; you're eating in the moment. Scapes represent a specific stage of growth of hard-necked varieties of garlic. As the bulbs grow and harden, green shoots poke their heads through the ground and curl, pigtail-like, before straightening.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Hot Dogs

You may have heard that there are two things no one wants to see made: laws and sausages. While jokes about the nastiness of hot dog production date back to the 1800s, nothing stops Americans from gobbling down 20 billion of them per year, topping them with everything from cream cheese to jalapenos!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Basil

If you're lucky to have access to a garden with verdant clumps of basil growing in it, there's nothing like its heady smell hovering in the summer heat. Bonus: according to folklore, basil is a cure for scorpion stings. Intrigued? Read on.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Cherries

What is it about the cherry that urges us not to take the business of life so seriously? Even in the kitchen, the cherry keeps the fun and games going, an affable companion to both savory and sweet ingredients -- almonds, chocolate, chile peppers, ham and stinky cheese are among its many willing playmates.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a fruit many of us just can't live without. Yes, fruit - although culinarily used as a vegetable, botanically, tomatoes are actually fruit. They have charmed their way into the cuisines of so many cultures and whether headed for your table fresh or sauced, this is their moment!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Snap Beans

In this week's Real Food installment, from the illustrious Kim O'Donnel, learn the difference between snap beans and shell beans, how incredibly nutritious they are, what to look for at the market and why it's important to buy this summer staple organic.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Corn

This week's Real Food gets a bad rap -- it's heavily subsidized and heavily monocropped, a whopping 88% of it is genetically engineered and most of it becomes animal feed, high fructose corn syrup or ethanol. But we've got a soft spot for sweet corn, and we bet you do, too.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Brambles (aka, Blackberries and Raspberries)

Prickly brambleberry bushes are everywhere in the Pacific Northwest (and other places), producing inky sweet-tart drupelets in jeweled shades of indigo, deep purple and Snow White's lips. We're talking about raspberries, blackberries and their many mirthfully-sounding cultivars like Olallieberries and Marionberries. Welcome to high summer fruit!

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Eggplant

This nightshade has been unfairly blamed for maladies from pimples to leprosy to "melancholy." Also, should you salt and rinse it, and why? Megan Saynisch leads us on a path winding through eggplant's exotic history and straight back to the kitchen.

Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Watermelon

If there's one crop that epitomizes the sultry essence of summer, it's the watermelon. As apples and winter squash make their pre-autumn debut, Mother Nature stops the rush hour traffic and allows the last bit of sun-kissed, lycopene-rich hunks of burning love to pass Go and keep on keeping on.

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