Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Veggie Tales

I love veggies.  I was a vegetarian before I met my husband...Back in "those days", the only thing you could get at a restaurant that didn't have meat was Eggplant Parmesean.  I'm surprised I didn't turn purple!  He finally broke me down (or perhaps eating all that eggplant did) and I went back to eating meat.  It's not a mainstay though - when the family has burgers, I grill a portabello mushroom.  I'd much rather eat the baked potato that I serve along with meatloaf.  Oftentimes I will, or take a very small piece of meatloaf.

It used to be that you either served veggies from a can (oh UGH) or you'd plop a frozen block of ice and veggies into a pot and cook the youknowhat out of it until it didn't even resemble its original color.

I try to make all my veggies fresh, with the exception of edamame, which is otherwise known as...soybeans.  I think this has become the "chic" VOTD (Vegetable Of The Day).  Everywhere I look - edamame this, edamame that...Remember how soy products were so popular a few years back? Well soy is experiencing a comeback in their raw form.  If you haven't tried edamame, you should.  A word of caution though...Do NOT eat the pods.  They are tough, slightly hairy, and impossible to chew.  Don't ask how I know...

If you make the edamame in the pod, just boil them and crack some salt over them (or sprinkle some kosher salt) - It's a great snack for movies in lieu of popcorn.  Just pop the seeds out by either stripping the pod in your mouth, or open the pod and eat the seeds that way. (If you are a knife and fork sort of person, you won't like this...just sayin')

The other way to make edamame is to cook the shelled edamame in boiling water for about 3 minutes...Honestly, they're so good plain, I can't see putting anything on them except a little bit of salt.

Again I've digressed :-) This is about how to make yummy fresh veggies - EASILY - and that's in the oven.  In the style of Dr. Seuss "You don't make them in a pot, you don't season them with snot, you don't boil them til' they're pale, if you do, then epic FAIL"  Let's start with something simple - like asparagus.
I'm not even going to list the ingredients, because there's only asparagus, EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil for those of you that don't watch Rachel Ray), and Italian Seasoning. 

1.  Wash the asparagus.  Snap off the tough ends. (Yes, asparagus has tough ends - and each stalk gets tough in a different spot - just hold the stalk in your hand, and snap.  The stalk will break at the point it begins to get tough...Voila! tender asparagus every time with no tough ends!)

2.  Place the asparagus on a cookie sheet, in a single layer.  Drizzle (not drown) with EVOO.  Grind some Italian Seasoning on, and a bit of salt if you prefer.  Toss well with your hands, then rearrange back into a single layer.

3.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus is.  (Always aim for slender stalks when picking asparagus in the supermarket.)  Remove from oven, and enjoy!!! is where you can get creative...Try this with other veggies - Eggplant for example...or zucchini (cut slices a bit thicker), brussel sprouts(YUK) or ...edamame!  Sprinkle some parmesean cheese on top (or not)  You can even do this with frozen green beans right out of the freezer (fresh take a while to cook - you would have to parboil them) .  You may need to adjust the cooking time, but here is a simple way you can get your "kitchen legs" without really messing up.   You can even do this with fresh carrots, but you will have to raise the oven temp up to 425 degrees, and cook them longer - about 20 minutes, depending on how thick you cut them, and stir them once or twice.

The sky is the limit!  Vegetables are so versatile - don't be afraid to "step out on a limb" and try something new!  You may be pleasantly surprised...and after you make veggies this way, I think (hope) you'll be hooked!


  1. That asparagus looks good, the edamame sounds like it tastes like peas and I'm not eating peas.

  2. Hah...but it doesn't taste like peas. Hubby loves edamame, and hates peas (of course, one of his reasons is the name - he refuses to eat anything that sounds like a bodily function) The edamame tastes more like a bean? Not pasty like a lima bean (I don't like those) but picture sort of slightly green beanish taste with a kidney bean consistency?

  3. omg! i love that stuff. i almost ran when i saw the word vegetable but edamame is addictive.