Heidi Billotto’s Shares Fun Produce Tips
on WCNC’s Charlotte Today
Jan 15 , 2014
Save the Scraps and Repurpose Your Produce…
If you have just made a salad or prepared a fresh veggie or two for dinner, think twice before you toss the scraps in the garbage. This morning on WCNC’s Charlotte Today I did a fun “cooking” segment with my friends, show hosts Colleen Odegaard and Ramona Holloway. How to repurpose your produce “scraps”. This cooking “tip and tricks” topic was producer Allison Andrews’ idea but I was up to the challenge and came up with five or six tasty solutions to avoid wasting the good stuff.
Click here for the Jan 15 video of Heidi Billotto on WCNC’s Charlotte Today
And here is what we chatted about during the segment….
Celery – First of all, purchase whole celery heads, not just celery hearts – you’ll get tons more flavor and then when you need celery – slice across the whole head for more flavor than you can get simply slicing up one stalk. Then when you are done and down to the root, put the root end of the celery in a pot of dirt and believe it or not you can regrow it! use the new celery leaves as you would any flavorful herb.
Broccoli - You can buy crowns of broccoli as easily as you can purchase whole stalks, but the stalks are every bit as good as the flowers. So just cut the whole stalks so that your blossom ends have a stalk and then peel the stalk with a vegetable peeler so that it will be more tender as your steam or boil it. You may also cut the stems for the blossom end, peel and then cut into sticks to serve on a raw veggie tray, or the stalks may be peeled and shredded for broccoli slaw. Or steam or boil the blossoms and then cut the stalks into slices – they will resemble little clouds and you can use them in stirfries or instead of or in addition or in place of the peas in pot pies
Orange, grapefruit, lemon or lime peel – Its so easy to repurpose any citrus peel - just cut it into thin strips and then candy it in a simply syrup made with one cup of sugar and one cup of water .
The candied peel can be used to garnish desserts and the leftover syrup is delicious mixed with you favorite pour in cocktails or used over ice with a splash of sparkling soda for the family to enjoy instead of a soft drink.
Carrot tops – I have been enjoying the fabulous harvest of local carrots Charlotte has had this year and always opt to take my carrot purchase home from farmers markets with the greens attached. As I had the greens on hand, I have been doing a bit of research and while I
knew that the carrot tops are as healthy as the carrots – I didn’t know just how healthy.
Carrots themselves are high in beta carotene, Calcium and Potassium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and E.
The carrot greens contain 6 times the vitamin C in the carrot and are a great source of potassium. They are also an excellent source of magnesium, which promotes healthy blood pressure as well as strong bones and muscles.
So buy the carrots with the greens still attached. Cut of the greens and cook, juice or use them first – carrots have a longer refrigerator shelf life than do the greens – carrot greens are delicious as the herb in homemade vinaigrettes ( see my favorite vinaigrette recipe in the Jan issue of Charlotte Parent Magazine (http://www.charlotteparent.com/articlemain.php?10-Healthy-Ways-to-Use-Vinaigrette-4890) and simply add in 2-3 Tbsp. of carrot tops with the dried herbs. You can use minced carrot tops in pestos or to flavor vegetable, potato or carrot soup as well.
More scraps and peels? Any other veggie peels and stems, stalks etc. can go into a homemade veggie broth – the recipe is super simple – just put all of your scraps in a big pot, add 1-2 cans of organic whole or diced tomatoes and one chopped onion; cover with water and bring it to a boil. After the volume of the water reduces by one half, strain the broth from the veggies parts and pieces, discard the veggies and season the broth to taste with salt and pepper or you favorite herbs or spices. Homemade veggie broth will freeze well for up to a year.
If all else fails – compost – Honestly, this has been a hard concept for me to wrap my head around, but it really does make sense… and so 2014 may be my year to stop tossing scraps I really don’t use and instead compost them Remember when you first started to recycling and it seems a pain to rinse out cans and jars? Then we got used to it and now it just seems like second nature – plus its so much better of our environment and our landfills. Well, just think of composting as recycling for veggies - smart to do for your garden and for the environment!
You may start small with tabletop and indoor composters and then move to a bigger outdoor composter when you are ready.
Leek and potato Carrot top soup
Recipe by Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto
1 ½ lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes or slices
2 white rainbow carrots or 1 parsnip, cut into slices
4 medium leeks, chopped
1 cup minced carrot greens
4 cups water
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
sea salt and pepper to taste
minced carrot greens to serve on top
Bring the potatoes, carrots or parsnips, leeks, carrot greens and water to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes,
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return to the pot and stir in the heavy cream or half and half. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold garnished with additional minced carrot greens
BEEF AND BROCCOLI CLOUDS
Recipe by Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto
3/4 pound lean beef – London Broil or flank steak – thin sliced
1 1/4 cups oil, or as needed
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. organic sugar
1 tsp. Mushroom flavored soy sauce
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. mushroom soy sauce
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. water
1 pound fresh broccoli stalks cut into “clouds”
4 carrots, sliced or cut into tulips
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices. Add the marinade ingredients, adding the cornstarch last (use your fingers to rub it in). Marinate the beef for 30 minutes.
While the beef is marinating, prepare the sauce and vegetables: for the sauce, mix together the hoisin sauce, light soy, dark soy, and water in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water thickener and set aside.
Wash and drain the broccoli. Cut the stalk diagonally into thin slices. Cut the flowerets into 3 or 4 pieces. Combine with the carrots and boil or steam quickly in ½ cup As soon as the broccoli turns a spring green color, drain it form the cooking water and rinse quickly with cold water. Reserve.
Heat the wok and add 1 cup oil. When the oil is medium-hot (use the wooden spoon test, add the beef. Sear quickly and remove the beef from the wok when it changes color and is nearly cooked (about 1 – 2 minutes).
Drain beef on several thicknesses of paper towels.
Pour the majority of the oil out of the wok leaving only 2 Tablespoons.
Heat wok again, when the oil is hot, add the beef with the garlic and quickly toss to combine. Add in broccoli, sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt and ½ tsp sugar over, and stir fry briefly, turning down the heat if necessary to make sure it doesn’t burn. Toss well to combine with beef.
Add the sauce and cornstarch mixture in the middle of the wok and stir quickly to thicken. Mix everything together and serve hot over steamed rice.