Sunday, November 02, 2008

Steaming Vegetables And Why There are Better Ways

A conversation today at the farmer's market brought home something interesting that I know but don't often discuss -- steaming is a fine way to cook but it really doesn't add any flavor to vegetables. We were talking over some Christmas lima beans -- the fresh shelling kind. Robin Butler, the farmer, said that she steams them. I recommended that the young woman braise them by sauteing them with some onions and garlic and then adding some broth, and cooking them for about 10 minutes or until they are done. I bought some but haven't yet cooked them but will report more here.

But back to steaming --- it is a fast and good way to cook but that's all it does unlike pressure cooking where you can actually infuse flavor easily into your vegetables. Even just a squirt of Bragg's liquid amino acids, or a sprig of herbs in the pot, or even better a little saute of onions and garlic makes a huge difference in how vegetables taste. They taste great without the use of fat for flavor.

So, now you know that I don't often steam my veggies. I used to before the pressure cooker came into my life but now I have a better, faster and more delicious way.


Sharon said...

Thanks to your lead, I am now the owner of a pressure cooker. The first thing I tried was butternut squash soup and I was amazed. Not only is pressure cooking fast, the flavor is as complex as it would be from cooking in many separate steps. Steaming seems to make vegetables watery compared with pressure cooking which makes them delicious. I have made the soup twice now.The first time I took a few minutes and made a stock with the squash peelings and seeds and onion skin. The second time I used canned broth. There was a distinct difference between the two with the stock I made adding a fresher, sweeter taste to the soup. Definitely worth the effort.

Patty said...

I find it a different cooking world using the pressure cooker bought from Jill the V.Q. I eat too much! What flavors! What speed! I routinely save and freeze veggie clippings until I want to make more veggie broth - it is so simple. No more buying can after can of vegetable broth. I save money as well as create a more flavorful product. It's a joyous world with a pressure cooker! Thanks to Jill for her guidance and uplift.

The Veggie Queen said...

Wow, you have both made my day. The more pressure cooker converts we have the better -- health, environment and great tasting food. I am going to have to link to this blog post in my upcoming email newsletter.

Sharon, your simple squash broth sounds so good. I'd likely throw in a bay leaf or some sprigs of thyme just because.

Keep on pressure cooking, and commenting.