Summer in the Appalachian Mountains is starting out beautifully! I’m here doing the community rotation for my dietetic internship (that unpaid, 9 month long, intensive nutrition training you have to do to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Officially 1.5 years till I’m McKenzie Caldwell, MPH, RDN!). I’m stationed at Appalachian District Health Department, where I get to hop around between a few counties doing all sorts of amazing things like working with moms and kids at WIC (I’m learning so much about breastfeeding and young child feeding!), doing nutrition education at farmer’s markets and a senior center, and shadowing the amazing RDNs that work with Nutrition Services.
Exploring the food scene here in Boone is of course my go-to pastime. Restaurants, bars and coffee shops abound, and this town is all about local food. PUMPED. YES. I ❤ LOCAL FOOD.
Excuse my excitement… anyways, I've been here for less than a week and already went to the farmer's market twice. There's even a small market right in front of the Watauga County Health Department every Tuesday. How freaking cool is that? What a wonderful way to end a workday.
This past Saturday, my co-intern/roommate/best-friend-4-ever (that's overzealous but she she's pretty cool) went to the Watauga Farmer's in Boone. So beautiful! We both picked up some raw honey and veggies. I thought I’d give y’all an insight into one of my favorite ways to cook summer vegetables: an easy peasy sauté.
I picked up what’s in season right now for June: spring onions (kinda like scallions), carrots, and summer squash (looks like a yellow zuchinni).
I took these babies home, washed them, and got cooking.
The way I do my sautés is: 1) attempt to cut all of the vegetables in roughly the same size and shape, and 2) first start cooking the veggie that takes the longest. So, I cut the tops off the carrots and sliced them ~1/4 inch thick into medallions. No need to peel your carrots! Just make sure they are washed well.
I heated about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan (would have used a cast iron skillet if I had one up here) and start cooking the carrots.
While that was cooking, I cut up the spring onions. Once you cut off the root strings, you can use the whole thing, bulb to greens. I sliced it up thinner than the carrots but also in a similar shape and stirred it in. It looks like a lot of onion, but these guys are very mild in flavor.
Next I minced the garlic and sliced the summer squash into the same size medallions as the carrots. That all got mixed right into the pot.
I seasoned the pot of veggies with a pinch of salt and a few shakes of pepper, then let it sweat! I think this may be an actual technical term, but I also might have made it up. Regardless, when I say “sweat,” I mean that I cover the pot and let the veggies cook in their own moisture. Adding the salt helps draw out some of that water. I stirred the pot a few times to keep anything from burning on the bottom of the pan. Everything will be done when the carrots are tender but not mushy, and the squash becomes a little transparent but is also not entirely mush.
So. Good. This can be a side dish or mixed into something else. I ate it with some goat cheese as a side dish to my roasted chickpeas and brown rice.
Summer Veggie Sauté
The perfect addition to a complete meal. Make with any fresh, local, and seasonal veggies.
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 5-6 small whole carrots, washed well
- 3 spring onions, washed well
- 3 small summer squashes, washed well
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan.
- Slice heads off of carrots, conserving as much orange flesh as possible. slice into ~1/4 inch thick medallions.
- Place sliced carrots into the hot oil and stir. While those are cooking, slice the spring onions. Take off the stringy roots and slice up the rest, bulb to stem, in 1/8 inch thick slices. Stir into carrots.
- Slice the summer squashes into 1/4 inch medallions, and mince the garlic. Mix into the carrots and onions.
- Add salt and pepper and stir the veggie mixture well. Then, cover with a lid and lower the heat a tad to let the veggies sweat. Check every so often to stir the vegetables and check how done they are. The dish will be done when the carrots are tender but not mushy, and the squash is a little transparent but also not mushy.