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CSA PSA: Decapitate those Adorable Baby Veggies, STAT!

As Spring whips itself into high gear, everything’s abloom (gesundheit!) and profligate baby veggies abound. Whether in the supermarket, farmers’ market, or your weekly CSA delivery, now is the time for adorable little carrots, beets, turnips and other such things. And, more often than not, they’ll come with some frilly, flouncy greens attached. Aren’t they pretty?

Well, yes. Yes they are. But cut the green tops off of your springy spoils the minute you get them home. If you leave them attached, the rooty bit will continue to feed moisture up into the greens, and you’ll end up with wan, flaccid baby carrots. And really, who wants that? No one. It’s sad.

This really holds true for any root vegetable, like the celery root at right. The longer the plant stays whole out of the ground, the worse off it’ll be by the time you get around to cooking it. And as the adorable baby seasonal veggies are so small, things can get dire pretty quickly.

Of course, if your greens are edible (celery, beet, and turnip top, for example), just rinse ‘em well and cook ‘em up after you’ve trimmed ‘em off. The tender little celery stalks are really wonderful–like super celery. I’ll be putting mine into a fava bean cassoulet for Easter lunch. Other greens are delicious too, whether sauteed on their own, or blanched and added to mashed potatoes. It’s like getting a bonus vegetable while preserving the freshness and resilience of the rooty bits you bought in the first place. Now, get out there and get your sassy baby vegetable on!

Dipped Into This One

If I am able to put something–anything– in a bowl and serve it to guests with a few vegetables or slices of bread for dipping while I finish cooking dinner…Well, it makes me a happy camper. Even if it’s a small bowl of fruity olive oil with some fresh herbs and a pulverized clove of garlic, the ordinary becomes something that guests greedily eat up.

The something last week was anything but ordinary yet inclusive of customary ingredients save for a fiery Tunisian paste known as harissa (peppers, coriander, cumin, garlic and olive oil); a spicy carrot puree.

As pointed out by Luke, this dip was overshadowed by my leek meze for our most recent FMC and for good reason; it’s delicious and unique. I had two pounds of beautiful baby carrots from the market and I was trying to think of the best use for them.

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