Serious Eats: Recipes

The Crisper Whisperer: How to Use Up Your Misfit Vegetables

You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays with ideas on preparing the abundance of fruits and vegetables you might get from your CSA or the market. —The Mgmt.

[Photograph: Carolyn Cope]

There's a lot of talk around here about what to do when your crisper is overflowing with leafy greens and when perfectly soft, ripe peaches are threatening to overrun every inch of your counter top. That kind of talk is all well and good when you need it, but it's a little like those personal advice columns about how to multitask your way to a successful overfull life. It speaks only to the fortunate. It pretends not to hear the rising din of the less-well endowed—those with poorly managed CSAs and reproductively challenged patio gardens.

There are plenty of you out there, so don't be bashful, please. Come on out of the shadows and talk about it. Bring your two radishes, your lone Japanese eggplant, your brown cilantro plant that bolted at the beginning of June. (Actually, I've got that one covered.) Get to chatting. Maybe think about forming a union at some point down the road.

And while you're ironing out the details, pool your resources and make a grain salad. What follows is more of a flexible formula than a recipe. All it requires is your dribs and drabs and about half an hour to produce a wide variety of nutritious complete meals or side dishes for your summer table.

Dribs and Drabs Grain Salad

About the author: Carolyn Cope writes Umami Girl and manages a CSA in New Jersey.

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