Amanda Stone: Keep your base layers of food real

·4 min read

May 25—What could you talk for 30 minutes about with absolutely no preparation?

A friend posed this question on social media, and after a few seconds of good, solid pondering I had my answer: food. Duh (although I do think I could go on for at least 20 minutes on the merits of pets, parenthood or Patrick Swayze).

I could easily wax on about the importance of knowing where food comes from. By "knowing," I really mean experiencing. To have a healthy relationship with food as an adult, I feel like it's so important to foster that food relationship as a kid.

The act of planting a seed that will grow into food is like magic. Show the children. And take them to farmers markets.

Farmers do what they do because they like it. That's huge. Income fluctuates, hours are long, the work is hard and weather makes the rules. It's not a job, it's a lifestyle. Let's support them as much as possible, and let's teach the next generation how valuable they are.

The food we grow is what brings us together. It's what draws everyone into the kitchen at family gatherings. It's what starts conversations among strangers. It connects us all as humans. It's one of our only common bonds. We've all got to eat.

So yes, I could prattle on about the intricacies of food for 30 minutes, no problem. At its core, food is fuel, but it's so much more than that. Let's keep it as close to where it came from as possible; keep the processed, packaged stuff to a minimum, and let the real food be the base layer.

Try these recipes with these in-season veggies.

Parmesan crusted crushed turnips

* 12 small to medium turnips, peeled

* Salt

* 2 tablespoons olive oil

* 3 cloves garlic, minced

* Freshly ground black pepper

* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

* Chopped fresh chives

Place peeled turnips in a pot of salted water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cook 20 to 30 minutes or until turnips can be pierced easily with a paring knife. Drain. Let cool slightly.

Place the turnips on a clean kitchen towel or double layer of paper towels. Gently press each one down until it's approximately 1/2 inch high. Let them drain for 15 minutes then carefully flip them over onto a dry section of the towel or onto fresh paper towels so the other side drains and dries a bit.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine garlic, olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste in a small bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil.

Place the flattened turnips on the lined baking sheet. Brush each turnip with a little of the olive oil and garlic combination. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each turnip, gently pressing it down.

Carefully and quickly flip each turnip over. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and garlic combination and cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Flip each turnip and bake an additional 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh chives and serve.

Recipe source:

Easy grilled broccoli

* 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, (about 3 large heads)

* 2 tablespoons olive oil

* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

* 1/2 lemon

* Optional: 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees).

Wash the broccoli and pat it dry with a towel. Chop it into large florets with long stems so they are easy to turn on the grill.

In a bowl, mix the broccoli with the olive oil, kosher salt, garlic powder and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Place the broccoli directly on the grill grates and grill for about 6 to 8 minutes until charred and tender, turning once.

Remove from the grill and spritz with lemon juice from wedges from 1/2 of the lemon. Taste and add a few more pinches of kosher salt, if needed. If desired, top with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Recipe source:

Amanda Stone is a food and gardening columnist for The Joplin Globe. Email questions to or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

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