Vegetables - I always wanted to be a gastronomer Blog at - 264194

I always wanted to be a gastronomer

Jan. 15, 2012 11:03 am 
Updated: Jan. 25, 2012 7:30 am
Recently, Chef jon asked if any of us had a personal signature that we could identify with our cooking. I gave this some thought and the only thing I could really think of was that I almost always serve a vegetable with every single meal I prepare with the exception of breakfast which I only get a vegetable into when I'm serving fat.

This thought coincided with a recent observation that I seemed to be cooking up a lot of carrots. Once considered, I realized that I use an awful lot of them. I bought a 5 lb. bag just before Christmas and have purchased and just recently used up another 5 lb.bag. Admittedly I've been on something of a carrot cake kick the last week but thats not eating up (har!) all the carrots. I stir fry them, roast them, steam them, cut em up into soups, sacrifice them in broths, slice them for dips and salads, pickle them and I don't do it but I know lots of people juice them. Did you know that carrots are
available in a wide variety of colours? Purple, white, etc...

If you asked me what vegetable I used the absolute most, my most honest answer would be onions! I use onions in everything! But when I consider carrots, oh man, I think I could argue a while with myself and carrots might win. I suppose the outcome might be that I use more individual onions but by volume, more carrots. The funny thing about either of those vegetables is that neither of them are my favorite thing when it comes to vegetables

My favorite veggy right now, is leeks. Dang those add a tang to almost anything. I remember the first time I ever made a recipe that required leeks, as I was eating it, my curiousity gene was firing on all cylinders as I kept experiencing this ummmm ummmm taste, searching for the source. Leeks are wow! (lets get oyster mushrooms in there too!)

But let's not forget the ubiquitous ( at least in my house while in season) peas and corn. I seldom see fresh peas so it's usually frozen and very occasionally dried for peas in my house. My mother used to keep a garden and that simple sentence is just so much less than what she did. Just as an example, my mother grew enough peas that every one of us 3 kids could roam though the pea patch at will and eat our fill (along with my father) and my mom would still be able to harvest enough to serve many meals and can a bunch too. She made a side dish for meals in the early summer every year that she called creamed vegetables. In hindsight, my mom was a natural in the kitchen but she didn't have a clue as to why some of her food was so awesome. Her creamed vegetables were baby carrots, peas and potatoes, fresh from the garden, lightly braised in a sauce made from milk with cream intact from the neighbour. You can't get that in a fancy restaurant and unless I'm prepared to buy an acreage, I may likely never get to experience that particular culinary delight again.

Corn on the other hand, my mom grew corn and I recall it being just ok. I liked frozen corn better as a kid, it was easier to eat and sweeter. Then of course the evolution of agriculture has long since begun to produce fat sweet ears of corn that I can now buy fresh for about 3 months of every year and do I! I'd post a picture of me eating fresh sweet corn but man, that aint pretty and no one needs to see that while they eat their wheaties. I need a towel. The odd thing about corn of course is that when you conside how much corn you consume, whatever number you come up with must be doubled if you are a regular consumer of pre-made foods because corn byproducts factor heavily into an amazing variety of foodstuffs. More often than not, people are consuming corn without knowing it.

Potatoes gotta figure into my basic vegetable consumption but spuds are almost their own food group. You might be thinking, hey yeah, potatoes. Why those ought to outdo carrots in volume for consumption but honestly, no. When we eat potatoes, it's generally a lot of them but the frequency is less overall than carrots.We may be a little odd in that. I know the Irish out there are are scratchin their wee thin heads and sayin, are ya mad man? To them I say rice and pasta!

So thats the basic veggys with carrots wearing the crown for the moment. Never fear, onions will once again regain their rightful place in the vegetable cooking echelon. I'd be remiss if I didn't pay heed to the host of other vegetables that make periodic appearances on our plates. Those include asparagus, broccoli (by the ton), beets, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce (again, by the ton), zucchini, do herbs count?, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes (another food group), avacoda, squash, pumpkin, yams, peppers (one more time, by the ton). I'm sure I've forgotten a few but it's veggys, they'll turn up.

So thats my homage to vegetables and for the moment, more specifically carrots. If I was doing a cheese and veggy blog, I'd call it "Fromage to vegetables"!

So how do vegetables figure in your house? Are you ratatouille queens or Irish?
Jan. 15, 2012 11:16 am
Hey, Randman! You took your blog offline. I've really got to do that, I lost a whole blog entry this morning, as I was putting the final edit on it. Too weary to re-create it now. Anyway, back to your query - I'm a ratatouille princess all the way. I go through carrots by the bagful, because they're in almost almost everything, and same goes for onions. I use so many onions I refuse to buy any but sweet ones now, because the others cause so many tears, it makes cooking a pain. I'm part rabbit, too, and carrots go into every tossed salad, plus I love them sautéed, roasted and grilled. "Fromage to vegetables"? Love it!
Jan. 15, 2012 11:31 am
Hey Duff, I didn't take it offline, I just created an account elsewhere to handle pictures. AR's picture processing is a little less than desireable yet the blogs seem to handle outside picture code fairly well, so I post pics in my other blog, then cut and paste them here. More often then not, if I'm going to do along blog here, I'll write it in Word and then build it here. It's still pretty much early days for me and blogging and it's only recently that I have begun to mess with the mechanics.
Jan. 15, 2012 11:57 am
My favorite vegetable is onions. Cooked or raw, hot or sweey, bulb ors grren, leeks or shallots. I often say, "The only reason God put me on this eart is to prevent an over population of onions"! After onions comes celery and carrots.
Jan. 15, 2012 12:38 pm
I hear ya on the onions Mike. I use onions by the busload. Have you ever heard of onions being used in any dessert fashion? I ask because carrots, you know, cake, pie. Onions, I can't think of a single sweet dessert dish that utilizes onions. That would be a good dessert mystery ingredient on that show where the contestants have to make a dish on the fly.
Jan. 15, 2012 12:51 pm
Raedwulf-we love salads and salsas with onions, peppers, etc. I can't always find leeks here, so it is green onions we use. My son eats carrots everyday. I love cucumbers.
Jan. 15, 2012 1:11 pm
Oh RIGHT, cukes, completely forgot cukes and garlic too, sheesh. I don't always have leeks but green onions are a staple here.
Jan. 15, 2012 1:38 pm
I guess I must be Irish because I eat WAY more potatoes than I should (love them in every form) and less of the actually good for me veggies than I should. I am still trying to figure out how to buy veggies that are enough for the week but not so much they're all going to rot before I get to them. I think I like broccoli the best. That's the one I've been buying most consistently, anyway. I don't use carrot much in cooking but I've been buying baby carrots for snacking as I've found they last quite awhile and they're one of the only veggies I prefer raw, so they're easy to bring to work in my lunch. Mostly they're a vehicle for dip or dressing though :)
Jan. 15, 2012 1:39 pm
Oh and cucumbers - I ate a lot of cucumber before I moved out on my own. My mom always kept a few on hand and she peeled and sliced them for me as a snack. I guess I must just be lazy because I haven't been doing that on my own! I should though... healthy snack that I really like
Jan. 15, 2012 2:39 pm
I still don't know what my signature is, except I try to continue to learn how to cook better each meal. My question is why do my homegrown carrots taste so much more carroty than store bought? Tried to grow leeks several times and have failed. IMO anything fresh is best no matter how you cook it :) Funny you mention peas cause my then child saw me eating them fresh in the garden. Told him he wouldn't like them so he had to try them and even now as a young adult that is how he prefers them :)(:
Jan. 15, 2012 2:42 pm
Oh Raedwulf! Loved the blog... I buy carrots every time I go to the grocery.... I don't know why. It seems that they are always on sale or they just look so pretty? I've been using them alot in baking... and when it comes to onions.... I buys 2 times what I think I need and allways run out! What is up with that?
Jan. 15, 2012 3:11 pm
Alex, when I was younger, single, my cooking was fledgling too. I made a lot of soups using a product called Soupstarter which is likely where I got most of my veggies then. I'd have to admit that the bulk of my meals came in the form of a hamburger and fries, so kudos to you for getting what you can into your meals now. A hint though, from a well meaning elder (EEEEK) ok, get the veggies into your diet. Buy em frozen if they aren't routine and get a few on your plate at every opportunity. Your old self will look back and thank you. Not that I'm old, but I plan to be.
Jan. 15, 2012 3:14 pm
Cat those ones from your backyard taste better becasue they were grown honestly and with love. Can you imagine how good KFC would taste if they could make you up a bucket made from Peteys chickens? Funny you should mention Leek failures. I tried them last year and even though I had a pretty bad growing year, the leeks were particularly abysmal. I think they like 'pepper' weather.
Jan. 15, 2012 3:16 pm
hey Thanks Terry. I'm decorating my blogs with random stolen pictures now, whatcha think? hehe I think that will be on eof my efforts this year, to learn how to make blindingly beautiful and compelling blogs. Ok, maybe I'll just eat more onions.
Jan. 15, 2012 3:47 pm
Ah, I've always been kind of "Hope I die before I get old" kinda person! lol. No you're right though, I need to figure out the veggie thing. shouldn't be much of a problem because I actually do like veggies a lot (some of them, anyway), just need to get organized with planning, buying and preparing them.
Jan. 15, 2012 3:55 pm
Raedwulf - Sweet Onion & Apple Upside Down Cake
Jan. 15, 2012 4:06 pm
How weird is this, Sparta I just went and had a look at that recipe. The only review read that it was kinda like eating dinner and dessert all at once but there ya go lol. I stand corrected! And now your response with the Sweet Onion & Apple Upside Down Cake is gone!
Jan. 15, 2012 4:07 pm
Ok, it's back
Jan. 15, 2012 4:20 pm
Great blog, RW! Fresh veggie platters are best received here, including carrots, celery, red, yellow, orange peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes,...with dip, of course. Fresh fruits; oranges, grapefruit, grapes, apples, (strawberries in winter benefit from a touch of sugar) are eaten well. I try to serve a protein, a starch (potato, pasta, rice) and at least 1 hot and/or cold colorful veggie for evening meals. This includes effort to set out a platter of fresh veggies and/or fruits. We all need to eat healthier! Spinach makes it onto sandwiches and salads. Corn on the cob from the garden, frozen or canned corn off the cob, green beans, (fresh or canned), broccoli, cauliflower, (esp. w/cheese, carrots, are usual hot veggies. I also include fruit for breakfast, including juices, OJ smoothies, parfaits with strawberries and blueberries, a dish of lightly sugared strawberries, etc. Everybody loves raw carrots - unanimous!
Jan. 15, 2012 4:26 pm
Mamaw, it sound slike you serve healthy and nutricious in the best ways possible. You rock! Parfaits for breakfast, oh man, you make my heart sing.
Jan. 15, 2012 6:38 pm
We don't eat NEARLY enough veggies, especially since we had a major crop failure last year, with the cold wet spring. My personal signature in the kitchen is probably...smoke. Randyman bought me an apron that says "Dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off". I also am only allowed to use cast iron so I don't kill us all with deadly fumes when I overheat teflon LOL
Jan. 15, 2012 8:50 pm
Petey, as usual, you brought a smile to my face, you are Rocketwoman!
Jan. 16, 2012 5:07 am
We eat all sorts of veggies in this house, and coming from someone who ate nothing but corn or carrots until I was about 30, that's sayin' something! Most recently I have learned to love brussels sprouts. I wish my hubby liked carrots - he always picks them out of everything I make. When I'm mad at him I make carrots as the only side to go with dinner. :)
Jan. 16, 2012 6:03 am
A few years back I did have a lovely lady I could buy fresh eggs, milk and chicken from. It was a sad when she moved to Iowa! Maybe, I'll try the leeks again. I understand they are great to cook with. I'm on my 3rd season trying to get my fennel to produce bulbs big enough for 2 recipes I want to try. It's always something in the garden :)
Jan. 16, 2012 6:04 am
there is supposed to a "day" after sad. Not enough coffee yet!
Jan. 16, 2012 10:44 am
Funny you should post this as I just realized yesterday that my diet has consisted of mostly veggies (and fruit) over the last few weeks. It wasn't intentional. I think after all of the heavy food of the holidays I just started craving produce. Usually frozen though since that's what's in my budget (except for onions and potatoes) and the small apt balcony plus very brave squirrels makes growing anything difficult. The photos are beautiful and making me hungry again! LOL :)
Jan. 16, 2012 10:47 am
Anne, thats just cruel lolol. Kinda odd too but then, you like brussel sprouts! I still keep trying them, still kinda don't like em lol.
Jan. 16, 2012 10:49 am
Cat, the thing with leeks is they add a super savory note, very tangible flavour. Unlike most vegetables it is very possible to put too many leeks in a dish. It also doesn't do all that well raw. A learned usage.
Jan. 16, 2012 10:51 am
Lol Amanda, cant take credit for the pics, swiped em off Google but I picked tres' good ones huh?
Jan. 16, 2012 7:01 pm
I do love my vegetables. Onions, carrots and celery are the holy trinity in my house. Spinach is a favorite, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and green beans oh my! I am blessed to have a local Farmers Market that is still keeping us fed. Chard is a new favorite along with bok choy and, of course mushrooms and garlic. I'm Irish, but I must admit potatoes are not a staple. We have them now and then, but not every night like when I was a child.
Jan. 17, 2012 4:55 am
We love all vegetables in our house! My oldest daughter LOVES raw fennel, but we recently discovered that my husband is allergic to it. He had a bad reaction after eating it roasted, so I won't be using it anytime soon. We don't eat many potatoes, but do have them occasionally. Our staples are mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper, and eggplant.
Jan. 17, 2012 6:40 am
Great blog and timely too. I love vegetables and I grew up eating lots and lots of them. No Baking Papa grew up not eating many vegetables and to this day is still learning to like them. In his family, if it couldn't be fried it wasn't food. :( The best way for me to incorporate a lot of veggies into his diet is in soup or Asian flavored stir fry.
Jan. 17, 2012 7:49 am
Great blog. My parents had a huge garden when I was growing up, so eating vegetqables comes naturally to me. In my house, the meals get planned around what veggies I plan to cook! LOL. I love so many of them...onions, greens of all kinds, all the cruciferous ones, carrots (as long as they are locally grown and sweet that way...I dont' like the ones in the bag from the grocery store), beans, squash, turnips, rutabagas, radishes, cucumbers, peas. The list goes on and on...oh and absolute favorite. Anything but celery...can't stand the stuff. I even like the beets if they are roasted and drizzled with a good balsamic. Time to plan dinner now! : )
Jan. 17, 2012 9:18 am
My grandchildren do not like most cooked veggies, but they like carrots raw or cooked. Many veggies they will only eat if raw. And of course, there must be ranch dip. I bought some little dishes call chip and dip dishes, they are oval and have a small well in one end for the dip. I fill them up with carrots, cucs, pepper strips, raw broccoli, snow peas,cauliflower, etc. They pick through and leave some they don't want or are suspicious of, but I have seen them try some new ones too.
Jan. 17, 2012 12:03 pm
Man those carrots look wonderful. I always put onions in everything too, I freak out when I get down to the last one and run to the store for more. I have to say I have never tried leeks and lately have seen them more and more at the grocery store. I love your description of I'm really intrigued...and need to try them.
Jan. 18, 2012 8:16 am
Food for thought: A senior citizen friend, experiencing multiple health problems, stated; "If I'd known I would have lived this long, I'd taken better care of myself when I was younger!" 'nough said??! Bring on the veggies!
Jan. 19, 2012 9:15 am
We love our vegtables in our house and I would say 20% of our diet is raw vegtables. Rather it is onions, carrots (we proably buy just as many as yourself!) Love a good beet and carrot salad. Brocc. sweet pots, or reg pots. green beans, brussel sprouts and spinach, lettuce and raddishes, cucumbers and tomatoes (I know tomatoes are really a fruit), oh we are welcoming of any vegtable really! Not crazy about corn though since we found out 99% of all corn is genically modified. But we eat lima beans, and peas, collards greens too. Kale, and califlower, carrots in red, organe and yellow. Cherry tomatoes, squash, zuchinni as well. Honestly I can't think of a vegtable we won't eat! We have vegtables at every meal nearly. Even breakfast if we have eggs we've diced up onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and spinach, with tomatoes and a maybe even a hot pepper to accomdante it to the table. The only time we aren't having vegtables is if we are having french toast. :) Vegtables are US!
Jan. 19, 2012 6:50 pm
You go RBC!
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About Me
Let's see, in keeping it to a subject, at age 22 I had a filet doused in Bernaise sauce aboard a train. That was it, I was hooked on fine food. Living in a small town necessitates learning to cook well to maintain that stellar menu.
My favorite things to cook
Oh man, only a thousand characters? My favorite things to cook are items that make YOU happy. I'll try anything and thus far it would be far easier to list those things I don't like than those I do. So far, I hate Cilantro and I'm allergic to green chiles. It's a short list.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas. I like everything about that meal and every single year I aim to improve.
My cooking triumphs
Every smile, every gasp of delight, every accolade, such sweet victory!
My cooking tragedies
A Cioppino recipe I found here. I served it as part of one of those Christmas dinners and the cod was a poor choice. It was terrible, ghastly fishy taste. I've since learned a thing or two about freshness in fish. Prior to that, hmm perhaps when I was 10, I made a spice cake that called for whole cloves....hey, that's what it said on the outside of the bottle, whole cloves....
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