In the summer vegetables are plentiful, but I find that it’s not always obvious how to get the most out of them. Two summers ago, when I had a community-supported agriculture share and more vegetables than I knew what to do with, I found myself making some pretty inedible vegetable soups and longing for more substance. In previous years, I’ve been enamored with the same corn, tomatoes and salad every night. This summer, I’m in a small town in Guatemala for a medical Spanish program: vegetables are fresh and abundant, meat is scarce, and staples such as rice, beans and flour are cheap and easily available.
I think I’ve figured out what to do to: buy whatever looks good; cook most vegetables separately with onion or garlic plus one other spice; and supplement with a simple starch or protein. Cooking separately keeps flavors fresher and makes for a more varied and interesting meal.
Last Saturday night, I shared a vegetarian feast with some friends. Many people to chop and to share in the variety of dishes, all freshly made from scratch with a bit of local flavor.
- smoky eggplant dip
- guacamole (recipe below)
- sweet potato chips (recipe below)
- white bread
- cheese and butter for my German friends
- salad consisting of chopped tomatoes, carrots and zucchini (the latter sautéed first with onion in a bit of butter and oil before tossing with the other raw veggies)
Mash together avocados, lime juice, one clove or less of chopped garlic and salt and pepper to test. Fewer ingredients brings out the flavor of the each.
Sweet potato chips:
Peel sweet (or regular) potatoes and slice 1/2 cm thin. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, and an herb (such as rosemary or thyme) then spread out on a baking dish so that pieces are not overlapping. Bake at high heat until pieces are crispy, turning each piece over to cook on both sides. Recipe courtesy of Nick Haas.
And check out my blog for more about medical Spanish immersion in Guatemala!
The Med School Cookbook offers a weekly account of the challenges and wonders of med school as seen through the eyes of a student. Each post includes a healthy and easy recipe designed for busy people on a budget. Read the daily blog here.