As a proponent of seasonal cooking and local foods I often preach about eating vegetables and fruits, and even things like seafood, while in season. Depending on the vegetable the season could be weeks or months.
If you prepare the seasonal vegetable the same way, getting bored with it is likely. A great example of this is summer squash like zucchini and yellow squash. These are prolific producers and can give you a harvest for months on end. It’s always a challenge to find new ways to prepare it for those in the family that are not huge fans of squash.
So What Do I Do?
Lets start by thinking about texture. Be sure to pick these vegetables at no bigger then 6-7 inches, any bigger and they develop a big spongy seed pod which is honestly not very appetizing. When small, the flesh is much firmer.
Next try to imagine how the application of different types of heat will produce different textures. For example,grilling vegetables produces some char and soft pliable vegetables. Sautéing can produce some caramelization with a soft interior. Deep frying produces a nice crisp exterior and meaty interior.
Each of these texture styles can manifest itself differently in the mouth and make the eating experience very different. So the same vegetable can produce a different meal if the texture is considered before you start.
Another way to add variety to the same vegetable is to think about. If you cook squash using the Italian flavors of oregano, garlic and tomato with some Parmesan cheese you have an Italian style vegetable dish.
If you use cumin, coriander, ginger, green onion and coconut milk you have an Indian dish. If you use chili peppers, cilantro and lime you have a Latin or Mexican style dish. IF you use ginger, soy sauce and hoisin you have a chinese preparation.
You can see that with a little forethought as it relates to texture and Ethnicity you can make many different interpretations for the same or similar vegetables. I use these techniques all the time when creating new recipes for the same vegetables each year.
Another technique to consider is changing the meal for which the vegetable is to be eaten . so instead of ALWAYS cooking zucchini as a dinner side dish how about breakfast? What could we use it for in the morning? How about an omelet?
What about a dessert? Maybe we make zucchini walnut bread. If it’s lunch time how about shredding the zucchini finely then tossing it in a salad to add more vegetation?
The ways to use vegetables are endless…but it does take thought. These ideas are effective and the way I think when creating recipes.
Try it…it works!!