Saturday, June 6, 2009

Playing like a vegetarian

Recently, in a seminar, someone asked, "Is anyone a vegetarian?" My immediate response was, "I'll play one." To which another grad student replied, "I want to know what the means because my girlfriend plays one too."

So, what did I mean when I said I would play a vegetarian? I have nothing against meat; I find it delicious. But, lately, all I want to do is buy, cook, and eat vegetables. I have eaten salads and other raw vegetables most of my life. But, I must confess, I had no idea how wonderful it would be to cook, roast, and puree vegetables. And, now that I have started, I can't stop. All I want to do is play vegetarian.

Emmanuelle will have to forgive my wonder in the face of this new delicious world, as she has been dedicated to vegetables for as long as I have known her. Hopefully she can extend some of her experience my way.

One way I have decided to play vegetarian is by cooking most of the vegetable recipes out of my Barefoot in Paris cookbook. Tonight: Haricots Verts

French String Beans-- Haricots Verts
Serves 6

1 pound French string beans, both ends removed
Kosher salt
1 red onion, large diced*
1/2 red pepper, large diced (I used a whole red pepper because I had it on hand)
1/2 yellow pepper, large diced (I used a whole yellow pepper because I had it on hand)
Good olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Herbs de Provence (my addition)
1 garlic clove (my addition)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Blanch the haricots verts in a large pot of boiling salted water for 3 minutes (Ina calls for 4, but I like my haricots verts crunchy-er). Drain immediately and immerse in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When they are cool, drain and set aside.**

Meanwhile, in a large bowl toss the onion and bell peppers together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing with a spatula from time to time to be sure the vegetables roast evenly.

Just before serving, reheat the haricots verts in a large saute pan drizzled with a little olive oil and a minced garlic clove. It will take about 5 minutes for the haricots verts to reheat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spoon the roasted vegetables over the haricots verts. Serve hot or at room temperature.

And, voila! I thought the colors were absolutely fabulous.

And the taste, oh my, the roasted vegetables compliment the haricots verts ever so well.

*If Emmanuelle has any tips on how you large dice a red onion, I would love to know, as I butchered it.
**I find that blanching vegetables and then sauteeing them is a great way to keep the crunch and give them a lot of flavor.

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