Eat your veggies, they say. And we know we should but it’s not always easy. Vegetables can be a little, well, dull when you’re not a top chef with a mega budget and a creative bent. If you’re cooking for kids you can add another layer of difficulty when they invariably turn up their noses – possibly while saying “What is THIS? I can’t eat this!” Plus if you’re anything like most people you’re going to lose it if you see even one more recipe for kale chips that are supposedly just as tasty as potato chips.
Because we all know greens and their more colorful cousins are good for us , we might as well make friends. One of the best ways to do that is to take veggies and turn them into something almost everyone already likes. Namely, desserts.
First, though, let’s talk a little bit about bargains. On top of being totally trendy, the must-have backyard garden is also seriously budget-friendly. Most vegetables ripen in the summertime – hello mass quantities of zucchini – so you’re set for summer veg all season long without ever setting foot in the supermarket. Or if you do go the supermarket route you’re not going to be spending a lot on beets, spinach, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, corn and of course, zucchini thanks to seasonal deals.
Five summer veggie desserts you have to try
1. Eating your greens has never been more of a treat than when you’re eating them in the form of spinach and coconut yogurt cake. It’s moist, sweet, with the gorgeous flavor of coconut and not a hint of spinach. Yes, it’s green but don’t hold that against it.
2. For the sophisticated palettes, there’s eggplant tarte tatin with black pepper caramel – a dessert that capitalizes on the fact that eggplant cooks down just like apples or pears. Frozen puff pastry makes up for the fact that homemade caramel is a must. Use the best quality course ground pepper you can find.
3. Pumpkin cheesecake has become a fall favorite but in northern climes pumpkins may be ready long before anyone is thinking about Halloween. If you’ve never made your own cheesecake don’t be intimidated – it’s surprisingly easy. This recipe has just three steps, though keep in mind that cheesecake’s flavor deepens when allowed to rest overnight. Too simple? Up the ooh factor with pecan praline topping.
4. Hot summer nights demand something cool and all that kale isn’t going to eat itself. Kale, mint and dark chocolate chunk frozen yogurt is sweeter than you might imagine because the lovely tang of the yogurt and the flavor of the mint just plain take over. Need more kick? Add mint extract!
5. But how about something lighter? Golden beet sorbet – a dish created by chef Luciano Del Signore for Detroit’s Bacco Ristorante – is fresh, light and the perfect après dinner treat for grownups. It’s nothing more than juiced golden beets, sugar and water put through a sorbet maker but the results are amazing.
The summer of 2014 is set to be the season of veggies in desserts, according to pastry chef Dominique Ansel speaking to Today.com. So when the first harvest comes in, grab the sugar!