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Escarole is green chicory with just a hint of bitter flavor. It forms a broad, open head that resembles leaf lettuce. Wash well, taking special care to go over the base of the inner leaves with your fingers where soil often clings. Use the tender inner leaves to enliven mixed salads. Prepare its outer leaves with sautéed onion and garlic, adding escarole to the pan once alliums are tender; cooking until leaves are just wilted and turn dark. Salt and pepper to taste.
Sugar Baby are summer. After several trials of personal or “ice-box” watermelons we have concluded that our Sugar Baby Watermelon carries the full flavor that only comes in a seeded melon. Few snacks more irresistible that chilled watermelon. Cut the end from a Sugar Baby Watermelon, set the melon on this flat surface for slicing. Cut off the rind, then cut the fruit into chunks that can be stored in a tightly covered glass dish (set at eye level in the refrigerator).
Another delicious addition to turkey sandwiches is Dill mayonnaise. Dill is a lively complement to roasted vegetables and adds flair to fish. Its flavor diminishes the longer it is cooked, so add at the last minute. Stir chopped dill into egg, pasta or potato salads. Make delicious, fresh dill and lemon mayonnaise by combining 1/4 cup chopped dill, 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, and lemon juice to taste in 1-cup mayonnaise.
Rutabagas belong to the cruciferous mustard family. Experts believe them to be the offspring of the wild cabbage and the turnip. Their dense, sweet, golden, firm flesh is protected by a thick and fibrous covering. Using a large knife, cut off the crown. You will see the thickness of the peel; use a paring knife, not a vegetable peeler, to remove. Loaded with complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and rich in flavor, add them to soups and stews or grated raw into a salad.
I find Rutabaga indispensable in beef or lamb stew or vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. But after tasting a slice of raw rutabaga, a Delaware North chef was recently heard to say “This is so delicious, I’ll never cook rutabaga again.” Rutabagas have more beta-carotene and vitamin C than turnips, are sweeter and contain less moisture. Try some grated into a salad or cole slaw.
Florence Fennel has a bulbous base, stalks similar to celery, and fine leaves. The entire vegetable is edible and can be eaten either raw or cooked: roasted, grilled, and sautéed. The bulb is crunchy and sweet, the stalks can be used in place of celery in salads and soups while the fronds can be used as an herb or as a pretty garnish.