I love vegetables. Even as a little kid I never had any problem eating them (provided my parents didn’t get wacky and try to serve me brussels sprouts or asparagus), and as an adult I am more than happy to eat large helpings of vegetables, including asparagus and brussels sprouts. However, while I was looking through my recipe bookmarks** for Thanksgiving options, I was startled to realize that I have very few vegetable recipes saved. This baffled me, so I started going backwards through the thirty food blogs in my RSS reader to see if I could discern a pattern re: this neglect of vegetable dishes. (Yes, you read that right. Yes, I have a problem, and yes, I need to update my blog roll.) I looked through the most recent hundred or so entries, and in fact a pattern quickly presented itself to me. That pattern can best be described as, “Why would you do that to those vegetables?!”
I grew up eating vegetables steamed. Sometimes we’d get really wacky and saute them in garlic and oil. As a result, I don’t really go in for fancy vegetable preparations most of the time, since – in my view – it both detracts from the healthfulness of the veggie and its individual flavor. Even Andy’s super-simple carrot recipe contains more flourishes than I’m used to. Or take Joy’s lovely salad, here. Looks tasty, but I’d rather just eat a brussell sprout without julienning it first.
That said, going back through my RSS reader has pointed out to me a second trend: the blogs I follow don’t actually post many vegetable recipes (at least as sides – there’s a decent amount of vegetable mains and vegetable-based soups). The ones they do post tend to involve a lot of cauliflower and mushrooms – neither of which I can stand – or, in the case of this Kevin-created disaster, the unholy melding of both. (Guys, I’d like to take a minute to give big ups to Kevin who, by the look of things, has recently put serious effort into monetizing his blog. Now that I know what to look for, it brings me genuine joy to see bloggers I love finding success. That said, Kevin – bro, seriously, those auto-play ads in the upper left-hand corner are out of control. Rein it in.) This leads me to believe that the bloggers I read and love are generally in agreement with me vis-a-vis vegetables. Either that, or they get most of their vegetables through one-pot meals incorporating all the food groups. Personally, my stance on veggies remains firm: steam ‘em, saute ‘em, grill ‘em, just don’t adulterate ‘em too much. They don’t need it.
As you know, we had brussels sprouts, green beans, and two kinds of sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving this year. My dad likes standard orange sweet potatoes, which we had mashed, but I prefer white sweet potatoes, or batata blanca. Batata blanca have red skins and white flesh and cook up less gooey than orange sweet potatoes while still having a lovely sweetness. Caramelization still happens. It is still a delicious, wonderful process. (To roast potatoes, throw them in the oven at about 400 until a knife slides in without any impediment.) Sprouts get sauteed in garlic and oil (throw in some water if you fear burnination is imminent) until they feel soft enough for your preferences. Green beans are also sauteed in garlic and oil, but you add a fuckton of sliced almonds to make them almondine.
And that’s it, guys. That’s the veggies. Tomorrow we talk about pie.
**Ugh, I’m sorry, I should have a link for you to my recipe bookmarks, but I don’t. I’m in the midst of transitioning bookmark services after transitioning bookmark services in a huff two months ago, and it’s currently in the “shit show” stage of the process.