Bare(ly) Homesteading: How to Make Anything Taste Delicious


I’ve seen plenty of those “What to do with your farmshare vegetables” posts. But as simple as they’d like it to sound, most recipes for rutabagas and kohlrabi just overwhelm me. It is a rare day when I am in the mood to deal with a variety of mixing bowls or anything that has more than five steps.

But thanks to a friend I have unearthed the simplest trick to make just about any vegetable taste delicious. From beets to turnips to a massive “watermelon radish,” this foolproof method never fails:

Roasted Vegetables (A Fancy Name for French Fries and Potato Chips)

1) Chop or dice into smallish pieces/strips/chunks/slices

2) Coat with a generous amount of olive oil and salt

3) Bake in a 400 degree oven until browned/crispish/not burnt.

Ta Da! Your husband will never know those french fries are really turnips!


Cast Iron + Oven = Awesome Meat

Now what about that meat share you signed up for, like I did through Philly Cow Share. How do you make a juicy steak when it’s way to cold to use the outdoor grill?

I am embarrassed to say that I learned this trick from watching an episode of “The Chew” where one of the hosts taught this to Jenny McCarthy. I hate daytime TV and I hate Jenny McCarthy. But this is awesome:

1. Take any kind of steak and season the hell out of it with salt.

2. Heat up some olive oil on a cast iron grill pan. (Cast iron pans are one of the safest ways to cook. They can be a bitch to clean, but you will learn to love them). Throw that steak on there and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.

3. Take the pan and slide it into a 350 degree oven. You would do well to add some chopped onion and mushrooms to the pan before putting it into the oven. You can also toss on some rosemary, thyme, what have you. Leave it in for about 10 minutes.

Voila! You just made a steak to rival anything served at those overpriced joints on Broad Street. In fact, try this with chicken and it works just as well!

“I Don’t Have Time To Make Soup” Soup

I’ve mastered an improvisation on a recipe that is now virtually unrecognizable from its original form. The basic premise is that you can saute any vegetables with onions, add chicken broth and a jar of tomatoes, and create really good soup.

Here is the basic drill:

1. Heat two TB olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.

2. Add a chopped onion along with your root vegetables of choice first starting with the hard stuff like diced carrots and later adding slightly softer things like diced squash. Cook, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften, about 6-8 minutes.

3. Add a pinch of garlic and about 1/4 tsp of whatever seasonings you like – I like to sweeten with cinnamon and nutmeg but you might prefer something spicier with allspice and cayenne. Don’t forget salt – but not too much – you can always add it later.

4. Add a quart of chicken broth and a can (or preferably jar) of diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. At this point you can add in some leafy green like that mountain of kale you have. Cook uncovered until the veggies are  tender and the greens have wilted, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with more salt.

There. You have made soup with one pot and it took you less than 30 minutes. Freeze the leftovers in portions for a snowy day.


When All Else Fails, Vitamix

When you really can’t bare the thought of another roasted beet, just throw any veggies in a Vitamix or juicer with plenty of apples. Just don’t use radishes. I made that mistake once and it was vile.


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