Chili-spiked carrots. Skillet-charred Brussels sprouts. Mashed potatoes brightened with harissa and pistachios. These are just three ways to put vegetables in the center of your plate. Here in the U.S., meat is cheap and has been in the center of the plate for centuries. The rest of the world, however, knows how to approach vegetables, grains and beans not only with respect but with a fresh, lively approach, one that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary. To get a vegetable education, we travelled to Athens to learn how winter vegetable stews could taste light and bright, not hearty and heavy. In Cairo, we tasted eggplant and potatoes that punched up flavour with bold pops of texture from whole spices. And in Puglia, Italy, we had a revelatory bite of zucchini enriched by ricotta cheese and lemon. This is a world of high-heat roasts, unctuous braises, drizzles of honey, and stir-fries aromatic with ginger and garlic. And with 250 recipes, the possibilities are nearly endless: A simple head of cauliflower can become Cauliflower Shawarma, Sichuan Dry-Fried Cauliflower, or Curried Cauliflower Rice with Peas and Cashews - Humble cabbage travels the world to become Butter-Roasted Cabbage with Citrus, Hazelnuts and Mustard; Hot and Sour Stir-Fried Cabbage and Thai-Style Coleslaw with Mint and Cilantro - Mushrooms are transformed into Stir-Fried Mushrooms with Asparagus and Lemon Grass or Miso Soup with Mixed Vegetables and Tofu - and greens get the Milk Street treatment in dishes like Pozole with Collard Greens; Hot Oil-Flashed Chard with Ginger, Scallions and Chili; and Persian-Style Swiss Chard and Herb Omelet. It's never too late to get your vegetable PhD.
Christopher Kimball's Milk Street is located in downtown Boston-at 177 Milk Street-and is home to a cooking school, a bimonthly magazine, and public television and radio shows. Their team has created The Milk Street Cookbook, Milk Street: The New Rules, Milk Street: Fast and Slow, Milk Street: Tuesday Nights and Tuesday Nights: Mediterranean, and COOKish. Their books have won James Beard and IACP awards.