Here come the rest of the veggies, O-Z! We've looked at different veggies you may not be buying not understanding what those veggies are. But now that you know differently, you can do differently and purchase something exciting and new on your next grocery trip.
• O is for okra. Well known in the South but obscure elsewhere in the world, okra is a deliciously mild veggie, used in gumbos, soups and stews. Generally, the younger the okra (as in, the smaller the okra), the less glutinous it will be. The nutritional value of okra? Well, it's high in fiber, vitamins A and C and a smattering of B vitamins as well.
• P is for parsnip. It looks like a white carrot, but the taste isn't as sweet, and there is more of an earthiness to it. Used in stews and soups, parsnips can also shine on their own as a side dish. Simply steam them up, toss in a little butter, thyme and salt and pepper for a deliciously different side dish.
• Q is for quinoa, a grain you aren't going to find in the produce department, but I thought I'd throw it at you anyway. After all, it's something worth seeking out! Quinoa is an ancient grain high in amino acids, creamy in flavor, nutty, slightly crunchy and a great side dish diversion from the usual rice and potatoes. Check it out and give it a try!
• R is for radish. Not the common red radishes we all grew up with, but black radishes. They're much bigger than the red ones (about the size of a turnip), and the flavor is just as pungent as a red radish, but the flesh is a little drier. Great grated into your salad!
• Shallots are one of my favorite veggies. I like to think of these cute little onionlike tubers as the love child of garlic and onion. Shallots have a sweet flavor, and their complexity and deep flavor are favored by chefs all over the globe. Chop some up, saute them in a little olive oil and then do your skillet chicken. You'll be surprised at the punch these little gems can deliver to your food!
• The lovely tomatillo looks like a green tomato in its own brown paper packaging. Tomatillos are prized by Hispanic cooks for their tart, distinctive flavor. Green enchiladas and chile verde are both made with tomatillos.
• Upland cress is also known as watercress. Watercress is prized in Europe more so than in the United States. The delicate, peppery taste makes for a wonderful soup, a nice addition to salads and a lovely garnish. Watercress is a good source of B vitamins, beta carotene and calcium.
• Vidalia onions are sweet onions grown primarily in the South. These lovely onions earn high marks in flavor and are best used in dishes where they are raw and they can shine. Nothing like a Vidalia onion in your potato salad!
• Wasabi is Japanese horseradish. More commonly seen in a powdered form, this root is grated to make a paste that accompanies sushi and sashimi. It is also delicious made into sauces and used on grilled meats, poultry and fish. Yum!
• X, Y, and Z well, there is zucchini, right? You know about that. Why not try a different type of zucchini this week? The round yellow zucchini have often been called scallopini zucchini. They are dense, seedless (just about, anyway) and layer beautifully with your pounded chicken breasts, drizzled with butter and capers. You'll love this!That's it folks, that's all I've got in the veggie department. Stay tuned I'll be giving you some new items in the fruit section!
Leanne Ely, aka Dinner Diva, is the author of the best-selling "Saving Dinner" and "Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way" (Ballantine). What's for dinner? Go to www.savingdinner.com and find the solution!