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The Return of Taste This! #food #cooking

It’s been quite a while since the last installment of Taste This! That’s not to imply that I haven’t been cooking; just that I haven’t been as diligent with regard to taking the step-by-step photographs that usually encompass a Taste This! feature.

Today’s recipe is the most versatile that I’ve presented so far. It’s by no means fancy or complicated. It can be eaten alone as-is, as a side dish, or used as a base for soups or stews. I’ve even served it over pasta. What is it?

Vegetable medley!

I enjoy veggies very much. While frozen varieties certainly have their merit, there are times that I just crave something fresh, vibrant, and plump to add to a meal. Vegetables are my opportunity to bring colors to my food (since we eat with our eyes first), and I love to mix and match based upon not only what tastes good but – let’s be real – what’s on sale that week.

For this recipe, I used the following: red cherub tomatoes, cabbage, jalapeño, carrots, onion, and a mix of red, yellow, orange, and green peppers.

Let’s begin!

I started the base of the dish by combining the peppers and jalapeño, cooking them together until they became slightly translucent. I didn’t want to cook them to death, because this is only the start of the process and I want them to retain that amazing vibrancy.

Just as a bit of a side note – I make sure to season each layer as I go. I tend to use a different seasoning for each layer so that when the entire dish comes together it’s not overpowering in any way. You instead get what I feel is a more comprehensive bite.

After the pepper hybrid has reached a level of translucency that I like, I added sliced onion (and, of course, the additional layer of seasoning). This mixture is left to mingle together as the onion sweats and adds its juices to the pot.

In another pot, I started blistering some beautiful cherub tomatoes. I began by adding the fresh tomatoes to a skillet containing a drizzle of oil, and gave them the occasional toss as they burst and caramelized.

At this point, if this was going to become part of a pasta dish, I would start preparing the pasta. But, as I planned for this to stand on its own, the only thing left to do is… ADD MORE VEGGIES!!

The lovely tomatoes are first added to the pot along with the other vegetables…

And once they’ve cooked together for a bit, carrot chips are added. At this point, I haven’t had to add any additional liquid or broth because the natural juices from the vegetables have combined to form just what’s needed.

If I planned to make a soup or stew, it would be here that I’d add some seasoned bits of chicken and just enough broth to cover it halfway before simmering on low heat. To make the stew, it would be simmered for a longer period of time to allow the resulting sauce to naturally cook down and thicken. But, since this is a base for neither soup nor stew…

Sliced cabbage is added along with the final layer of seasoning, before – finally! – the pot is left to simmer as the flavors mingle even more.

While this was going on, I did have a chicken roasting in the oven to serve as the main dish. What’s amazing about these vegetables, though, is that they can accompany anything: chicken, fish, beef, etc… Or, they can be eaten and enjoyed on their own delicious merit. As I mentioned before, I added no additional broth while preparing these vegetables, so my vegan friends can enjoy it while carnivores also ask for a second helping.

This is also something that gets better every day as the flavors mingle and settle. For those of you that may have concerns about the jalapeño, I find that while it might seem a bit spicy the first time, it actually mellows out and adds more depth to the flavor of the other vegetables as time passes. Then again, I do tend to leave out a majority of the seeds.

I hope that you enjoyed this segment of Taste This! As I’m putting this post together, I’m also making my dinner, which is a simple ramen dish topped with blackened chicken and a fried egg. I’ve been told that my “fancy ramen” is quite good. Perhaps I’ll look into a future Taste This! installment featuring my ramen recipes. In the meantime…

The finished dish.