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simple local vegetables

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Saturday, 10 September 2011

 Vegetables...Yes - it's nourishment as well!
Meat eaters often (and I'm as guilty as anyone) overlook the merits of these little things that come in a multitude of shapes - tastes and textures.
From the humble potato - and did you know that there are around 39,600,00 recipes for potatoes shown on a simple Google search? Even allowing that many are simple "adaptations" of traditional dishes, that still leaves at least 3-4,000 different ways of producing them through to luxurious asparagus and others ! How many do you know?
For many years, I have tried to make use of the vegetable course, basically called "légumes" on Classical French menus, as something worthy of its name -  and it is amazing just what delicious things can be produced by using those ingredients that are normally mentioned as something in "meat and 2 veg" other words, nobody is really sure what the devil it is!
From broths and soups to complicated gratinées in complicated sauces, or with luxurious ingredients, if a vegetable course is signalled as such, then we tend to take more care what we do with it, how we prepare it, how we present it and serve it, and in general, we enjoy it more, occasionally to the extent that it actually becomes the main course, and meat just doesn't appear, which isn't such a bad thing now and then! Good for the purse strings as well, and particularly for the health.
Of course, a reasonable diat is simply made up of a reasonable mixture of reasonable amounts of everything, including oils and fats, so it's quite reasonable!
Attention has to be paid with "mayonnaise" or "egg yolk based" sauces such as hollandaise or béarnaise, because these are intended really to turn whatever they accompany or cover, into a major part of any meal, if not the main course itself indeed.
In general, if we take care to cook and serve ANY of our dishes that make up a meal, from "ante-pasta" to "entremets" then any one of these courses can suddenly take over the whole meal, and that is not a crime - so long as a balance is kept, and nothing is wasted!
The other advantage of vegetables, apart from their diversity and health factor, is that almost without exception, they can ALL be used hot or cold, in some manner or other, and so wastage is exceptionally limited. Even quite a number of those "peelings" can be used in other preparations - carrot peelings and onion peelings to make stocks for broths and soups and sauces - the dark green pieces of leek, too bitter for normal use, can be used for the same purposes, those pieces of other vegetables that one tends not to eat, can all be used in what you should always have on the bubble - the stock pan!
I know, nobody does it nowadays, and it is true that it takes a lot of space, a lot of thinking about and planning the use of, but if you do have one, then you can happily forget those over salted little cubes of "something or other"......and everything - or almost - goes in, tomato skins, celery tops, you name it - so long as it isn't bad or dirty (like potato peelings) in it can go...
Another economical use of those useful things called vegetables!
I'll even go as far as to accept conserved and frozen vegetables, as convenience and time savers. In fact progress has been made to such an extent that some of the "processed" vegetables are actually better than the fresh ones - and infinitely simpler, with much less waste...I think in particular of the simple garden pea, already shelled, cooked tender and served maybe with a bechamel sauce, or simply "Lyonnaise" (with lots of fried crispy onions) - what a pleasure!
So - off to your veggies...if today happens to be your anniversary of marriage, birthdays or whatever, that's not really an excuse, but I suppose we could make exceptions......

Bonne Appétit....

iwmpop(mrlemarquis)  -    Vauvert,France   -    Sept 2011

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******* iwmpop (mr le marquis)- Vauvert, France - Janvier 2011