Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Gardening, Greens, and Grilling with Virginia Willis

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Yesterday, "Cooking Today" welcomed culinary authority and acclaimed cookbook author, Virginia Willis, to the host's seat. Joining Virginia on the air was vegetarian and vegan food expert, Nava Atlas, and BBQ Queen and author Judith Fertig.

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Vegan and vegetarian food expert, Nava Atlas, with Virginia Willis on

1 Vegan and vegetarian food expert, Nava Atlas, with Virginia Willis on "Cooking Today."

Culinary authority and cookbook author, Virginia Willis, hosting

2 Culinary authority and cookbook author, Virginia Willis, hosting "Cooking Today."

Virginia Willis hosting

3 Virginia Willis hosting "Cooking Today."

Nava is currently on Virginia's radar because of her new book, "Wild About Greens." Nava spoke about being a vegan, explaining that being vegan provides for a healthier lifestyle and a more holistic way of living. She said that vegans don't wear leather shoes, use honey, or even wear wool! Nava's recipes are not just meant for vegans or vegetarians though, because everyone needs vegetables in their diets. Nava discussed the rising popularity of kale and explained that it is one of the most versatile greens. It can be made into juices, dips, and even chips! If you would like to grill greens however, Nava recommends using broccoli rabe and baby bok choy.

Judith Fertig, co-author of "The Gardener and the Grill: The Bounty of the Garden Meets the Sizzle of the Grill," discussed great ways to pair food from your garden with food you're grilling. Continuing on the theme of cooking with vegetables and greens, Judith explained that kale and Swiss chard are the best greens to use when grilling and shared that her "go-to" vinaigrette when grilling any greens from your garden is a chipotle vinaigrette.  When grilling produce like Japanese eggplant and baby bok choy, a fresh ginger vinaigrette works better. Judith revealed that her garden is full of things she loves to grill.  She pointed out that you can fill your garden with any of the foods you like to eat, giving the example of making a "pizza garden" by growing tomatoes and basil and other ingredients!

Virginia shared that one of her favorite things to cook with is tomatoes. Not only are there plenty of varieties of tomatoes, but they can be used in so many ways other than just a tomato sauce. Virginia recommended adding in some fresh chopped tomatoes when making macaroni and cheese or even rice pilaf! However, she really loves to stuff tomatoes with cornbread. To eliminate waste, Virginia suggested that even if you don't use all of your tomatoes at once, you can make them into a sauce or freeze them to use them in a vegetable soup later on in the year.

If you missed yesterday's show, you have another chance to catch it today at 6 and 10 p.m. ET and be sure to check out some of the highlights below.

"Cooking Today" is live each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT, on Sirius XM 110. Tune in Wednesday, July 25th as cookbook author Sherri Brooks Vinton and award-winning writer Mark Kurlansky join Virginia in the studio!

Nava Atlas explains how to get rid of sand in your greens.

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Nava Atlas shares how she cooks collard greens.

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Judith Fertig shares how to prepare your pantry for grilling.

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Judith Fertig shares techniques for cooking with small quantities of food.

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Virginia Willis shares a different use for tomatoes.

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