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25 Ways to Use Cauliflower

For many, cauliflower is a solid standby vegetable — something to pick up in the grocery store when you’re not in the mood for anything else and can’t make a decision. It’s time to learn how multifaceted cauliflower really is and to incorporate this member of the cabbage family into more meals. Blitzed in a food processor, cauliflower becomes a rice substitute, boiled and mashed it’s a stand-in for mashed potatoes, while thickly sliced and grilled cauliflower steaks are a summertime Meatless Monday dream. Best of all? It’s packed with vitamins C and K and is a good source of fiber and potassium.

Check out a quick video tutorial on how to buy, store and prepare cauliflower before digging into these 25 ways to use it.

  1. Raid your pantry for black olives and sun-dried tomatoes in Laura Calder’s Cauliflower Salad.
  2. Step up your pickle game with Bal Arneson’s Cauliflower Pickles (pictured above). Use these on sandwiches or as a side dish in place of hot giardiniera.
  3. Michael Symon takes Roasted Cauliflower to a new level by adding honey, orange zest, anchovies and capers to strike a sweet-savory balance. This side dish will blow your mind.
  4. Prepare vegetarian-friendly Cauliflower and Potato Samosas the night before you want to serve them. A quick trip to the deep fryer will have these dough pockets of veggies ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.
  5. Nutritional yeast brings the cheesy flavor without the dairy in Cheesy Cauliflower “Popcorn.”

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25 Ways to Use Quinoa

Quinoa sparkles and shines all year long, but I love it most in the summer when I cook up a huge batch and mix in tons of fresh veggies for barbecues, or I use it throughout the week in my lunch salads. Quinoa can take the place of almost any grain or starch, cooked risotto style, featured in a pilaf or even tossed in with curries.

Although it’s often associated with grains, quinoa is really an ancient seed, first used about 5,000 years ago by the Incas in South America. There are thousands of varieties of quinoa, but most often you’ll find white, red and black. Keeping in mind that the darker varieties are more firm and don’t absorb water as well as the white, they can all be used interchangeably. Most quinoa is pre-rinsed, but check the package. Its natural coating, saponin, leaves a bitter taste when not rinsed off.

This week marks the unofficial start to summer, and with that comes endless uses for quinoa.

  1. Holiday weekends mean more time for breakfast; try Quinoa Hash Browns and Turkish Eggs (pictured above).
  2. Bobby Deen’s veggie-heavy Quinoa, Salmon and Broccoli Bowl is the perfect meal for bikini season.
  3. Tabbouleh is a traditional Middle Eastern salad, heavy on healthy herbs like mint and cilantro. Mix in our favorite superfood for Quinoa Tabbouleh.
  4. Serve Kelsey Nixon’s Pomegranate Quinoa Pilaf (less than 250 calories per serving) hot or cold all year long.
  5. Ingrid Hoffmann’s Yellow Quinoa is seasoned with adobo seasoning, a traditional Mexican spice blend of garlic, paprika, oregano and salt.

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25 Ways to Use Coffee for Mother’s Day

Moms are the toughest cookies out there. They manage to do everything and still have time to hang with the kids. How does she do it? No one really knows, but it starts with a cup of coffee. In honor of all the superhero moms running on coffee and love alone, I bring you coffee-filled recipes that are sure to please.

A few of these recipes call of instant espresso powder, which is a type of quick-dissolving coffee crystals. Check your grocery store; they’re often in the coffee section in little glass jars. Instant espresso is richer and darker than instant coffee, but you can use the coffee in a pinch — just add 1 1/2 times the amount of espresso called for.

This Mother’s Day treat your mom to something special, but first make sure she’s caffeinated.

  1. Turn your kitchen into a French bistro with Laura Calder’s Coffee Eclairs (filled with vanilla pastry cream and topped with a coffee glaze.) Get crazy with your eclairs and fill them with Coffee Pastry Cream instead.
  2. The dieting mom’s delight: Coffee Angel Food Cake (pictured above) with sweet coffee glaze.
  3. It’s a dessert and a cocktail at the same time, Giada’s Mexican Coffee is a drink your multitasking mom would be proud of.
  4. Take the ultimate combo of Coffee and Doughnuts to the next level. This doughnut dough proofs twice for ultra light texture, just be sure to start this project a few hours before you want to eat.
  5. So your mom’s more into savory? Singaporean Coffee Ribs are the way to go. Marinated and then fried, these ribs are tossed in a coffee-oyster sauce glaze and finished with some ground cinnamon. Nom.

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25 Ways to Use Avocados

Cinco de Mayo means margaritas and guac (yes, I believe there’s a real holiday in there somewhere), but the recent surge in lime prices has been stealing the show. Let’s bring the celebrations back to the important things: avocados.

Avocados are native to Mexico and are, thankfully, available year-round. They shine on holidays like Cinco de Mayo when we see them in dips, but usually avocados are totally underutilized in the kitchen. Not that we don’t all love guac or avocado toast, but sometimes you need to take a step back and think about how to really use a fruit. Avocados are high in good-for-you (mono-unsaturated) fats and just taste darn great.

Learn more about avocados here and master the art of avocado pit removal here. Once you’ve learned all there is to know about avocados, hit the kitchen. Get the most out of your Cinco de Mayo with these awesomely avocado-filled recipes.

  1. Avocado Melts swap out the tuna and add avocados and pesto for a vegetarian twist on a classic.
  2. The Effen Avocado cocktail is a mix of avocado puree, cucumber vodka, agave and a splash of lemon juice — the perfect drink for Cinco de Mayo during the lime crisis of 2014.
  3. Chocolate Avocado Pudding (pictured above) admittedly sounds awful. Who wants veggies in their dessert? But really, it’s delicious, rich and creamy — and you’ll be able to trick the family into thinking it’s plain ol’ chocolate pudding. FYI, jungle peanuts are a type of heirloom legume grown in the Amazon.
  4. Sunny Anderson’s Mango and Avocado Salad is like a very chunky salsa that you can eat without chips.
  5. Keep it simple with five-ingredient Avocado Salsa or garlicky Avocado Salsa.

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25 Ways to Use Ramps

Farmers’ markets, grocery stores and restaurants are flooded for a few weeks every year with ramps, the wild-grown, subtly-flavored cousin of leeks, onions and garlic. Ramps are the official marker of spring in the culinary community and are found in forests up and down the east coast.

But what can you do with them? Substitute for onions, leeks or garlic, or put ramps in the spotlight of your meals by blanching, grilling, sauteing or eating raw. Get some extra info on ramps here or just dive into these 25 ways to ramp up your spring menu.

  1. Simply grilling or sauteing ramps (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper) are some of the best ways to get the ramps from the backyard into your belly in record time. Take it one step further and top them on crostini for apps.
  2. Ramp season is only a few weeks long, so extend the shelf life of these babies with a quick Pickled Ramps recipe.
  3. You can put those pickled ramps from the previous recipe on just about anything, but why not go all the way and shoot for Pan Roasted Skirt Steak with Fingerlings and Ramp Leaves with a Pickle Sauce (pictured above)?
  4. Or toss those pickled ramps into Egg-Fried Rice with Pickled Vegetables.
  5. Even better, add the pickled ramps to Sauteed Skate with Indian Lime Pickle. If you’re filleting the skate yourself, be sure to use an old rag to hold it steady — not only is skate super slippery, but it also has prickers that can hurt your hands!

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25 Ways to Use Plantains

Plantains are bananas’ starchier older cousin and, unlike bananas, thrive in savory applications. These guys are high in fiber and potassium, and chock full of vitamins A, B and C. Plantain chips are a delicious and nutritious alternative to potato chips (but generally still fried, so stay mindful when snacking).

Green plantains are super starchy — almost like a potato — and can be fried or boiled and then mashed. Grill or bake yellow plantains, which are slightly sweeter. Almost black plantains are the sweetest and are best in dessert applications. For more info on some Caribbean pantry staples check out Pantry: Caribbean Essentials. Plantains always need to be cooked before consuming, giving you the perfect excuse to peruse these 25 ways.

  1. Roger Mooking’s Plantain Gratin is topped with quick pickled shallots and jalapenos.
  2. Kelis utilizes leftover cooking liquid from her Plantain Mash to thin out the sauce from her Jumbo Shrimp with Tomato Fricasse and Strawberries (pictured above).
  3. Alton Brown’s Fried Plantains are fried, soaked in water and then fried again, while Emeril sticks to the simple single-fry method in his Fried Plantains.
  4. Sunny Anderson uses a combo of butter and canola oil for her Sauteed Plantains, the perfect side dish for Oxtail Stew.
  5. Lita Oliver’s Plantains a la Gloria is a simple dessert with a depth of flavor from cinnamon nutmeg, vanilla extract and just a bit of lemon juice.

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25 Ways to Use Matzo

Have you already run out of Passover-friendly meals and never want to see another piece of brisket again? (Okay, maybe just one more slice). To help you avoid the Passover food rut and the twice-a-day matzo pizza, we’ve gathered recipes to fill your 8 days of unleavened bread. Because you can really only eat so much matzo ball soup before becoming an actual matzo ball.

  1. Matzo Brei is a mix between French toast and scrambled eggs in the best sort of way. You can go sweet and add some cinnamon and sugar while you scramble, or go savory with Matzo Brei with Creamed Spinach and Crispy Onions.
  2. Up the ante in the search for the afikomen, a game played during the Passover Seder, by hiding Chocolate Coconut Matzo Bark (pictured above) instead of a plain piece of matzo.
  3. Matzo meal, finely crushed pieces of matzo, is a game-changer during Passover. Although pretty bland on its own, matzo meal is the base for delicious dishes like Matzo Apple Tea Cakes.
  4. Matzo farfel is a Passover-friendly egg pasta dough (often sold pre-made) that is mainly used in kugel, soups and side dishes, but it can also be used to make Chocolate Matzo Farfel Haystacks, an easy sweet treat.
  5. These ain’t your grandmas’ matzo ball soup recipes: Bobby Flay adds flair to Throwdown’s Matzo Ball Soup with the addition of jalapenos. You can also go the mushroom route with Truffled, Shiitake Matzo Ball Soup and gribenes, the kosher version of pork rinds. Alternatively, Sephardic Chicken Soup with Sofrito and Herbed Matzo Balls give matzo balls a saffron makeover.

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25 Ways to Use Beets

Beets somehow perfectly manage to transition from winter to spring, seeming just as appealing roasted in cold weather as alongside fresh greens when the sun is out. Though many may remember sad salad bar beets with disgust, we promise that freshly roasted beets are so much better than that: sweet, slightly earthy and vividly bright — what else could you want from a root vegetable?

Cook beets any which way — steam, roast or fry — just be wary that they have a tendency to dye anything they touch bright pink, so take care to peel them using an old towel or rubber gloves. It may sound silly and extreme but beets have been used as a natural dye for good reason.

If you can get them with the leafy greens still attached, they’re like a two-for-one deal. Don’t know what to do with those beet greens? Prepare as you would Swiss chard or any other type of leafy green. Once you’ve mastered the saute, up the ante with Beet Green Gratin and Beet Green, Prosciutto and Feta Quiche.

Whether the start of spring has brought extreme cold, heat, rain or snow, beets have got you covered.

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25 Ways to Use Oranges

Oranges are available year-round, but during winter (when citrus is in season) they give us the little burst of tropical elements and vitamin C that we need to stave off cabin fever and colds alike. So while you’re sifting through these recipes and deciding which ones you need to make immediately, put on the Beach Boys and channel your inner tropical paradise.

  1. Crepes Suzette with Vanilla Ice Cream and Orange Butter Sauce is a classic combo. Crepes should be paper thin, so just use a small ladle of the batter in a smoking-hot pan — it may take a few tries to get them looking perfect, but even mess-ups will taste good with some ice cream.
  2. Quick-cooking Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava and Orange-Habanero Mojo (pictured above) will be a winner with the whole family. Habaneros normally hit around 200,000 on the Scoville scale, which means they’re super-hot — don’t touch your face or eyes after chopping!
  3. A quick blender ice cream cools down Tyler Florence’s Orange Cream Mimosa. Substitute the Champagne with sparkling cider or ginger ale for an under-21-friendly libation.
  4. Orange zest can be just as important as the fruit itself, as it gives off a strong fruity-floral flavor without the sweetness from the juice. Experiment with orange zest in everything from marinades to salad dressing to desserts like Toasted Coconut and Orange Icebox Cookies.
  5. Nothing chases away the winter blues like fiery San Diego-Style Blue Corn Salmon Tacos with Orange-Habanero Hot Sauce.

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25 Ways to Use Parsnips

Several months into one of the worst winters we’ve seen in a while, I’ve been noticing a collective hostility growing around me. Yes, I live in NYC and people are supposed to be pushy and rude all the time, but we’re not. I swear. People on the subway who would normally hold a door for one another are pushing fellow riders out of the way. So what’s behind the bad attitudes? I’m no psychologist, but I think it’s the weather. We can really only handle so many layers of clothing, snowstorms and days in a row of temperatures hitting the midteens before we start to get a little cranky.

With Valentine’s Dayhere, the most we can do is spread a little love to ourselves and hope that other people start catching the love bug. The best way I know to do this is a homey and comforting winter meal to warm me up from the inside out. At the center of these meals you’ll often find a few parsnips, which are at their peak throughout the winter. Parsnips are cousins to carrots, with the same woody texture as and similar flavor to turnips, and are often used in a manner similar to potatoes.

Pull on your snow boots, pick up some parsnips and get some love cooking in your kitchen.

  1. Let parsnips shine on their own with simple Herbed Butter Parsnips.
  2. In a pickle for some pickles? Make quick Pickled Root Vegetable Salad (pictured above).
  3. Parsnip-flecked Egg “Barley” Farfel isn’t really barley; farfel is an egg-noodle dough grated to resemble barley in size and shape.
  4. Roasted root veggies are simple side dishes that pair with everything: Try Rosemary-Roasted Root Vegetables and Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts.
  5. Winter staples (parsnips, butternut squash and fennel) are present and accounted for in Rachael Ray’s Creamy Winter Vegetable Soup.

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