Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Quick thoughts

Shelling peas is a lot of work, but seems worth it. We had fresh peas and the remaining baby Yukon Gold potatoes in a Spanish omelet with saffron (recipe from A Year In A Vegetarian Kitchen) - so delicious. And the leftovers were perfect cold for lunch the next day.

I don't think I "get" plums. My mom has always been a serious plum advocate, but I don't think they do it for me. The Shiro plums I bought were ripe, but the flesh was only slightly sweet and a little perfumey, with super-tart skin that forced my face into a comical pucker. To varying degrees, most of my plum memories are the same. Maybe they're just not for me. I'd rather have peaches.

Tricolor snap beans were just as delicious as I imagined, but like so many other veggies, the purple beans turned a disappointing dark green when cooked. I blanched them, then roasted them in a 375-degree oven with a little olive oil and salt for about 7 minutes. They still had some crunch - which is what I wanted, in order to highlight their freshness and sweetness. Despite the color change, they impressed my dinner guests last night. I hope they're available again!

We've been eating lots of spinach lately, and that coupled with my love for fresh green salads (rather than the bagged kind), makes me want to suck it up and invest in a salad spinner. They seem really dumb to me, but I might just need it. We'll see.


Susan said...

My brother cooks green beans to death, never in water but just in a saute pan with olive oil and lots of garlic, until they turn half black. This was surprisingly good. I agree with you about plums. They are good when they are perfect, but they are seldom perfect. BTW, I linked you to my blog. This will get you absolutely no traffic, but I am proud of my technical prowess. I am blueridgebio at blogspot.

anna said...

Can you believe I've never read the comments on my own blog? Well, today is the first. Thanks for the tip on the basil plant - I noticed the mildness of my basil vs. other basil, and I like knowing why.

However, most important: I love oven-roasted green beans, cooked "to death"with olive oil and salt until they're half dark-brown and shrivelled, like you describe.

They're the best recipe my Cook's Illustrated subscription has brought into my life. CI recommends it for older supermarket green beans which aren't so sweet - something about the dry, high-heat cooking method turns them sweet - maybe their starch breaks down into sugar? They're so good that way - addictive like really, really healthy french fries.

The recipe, in short: toss a pound of trimmed green beans with 1 tbsp olive oil and some sea salt, and roast them in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 450-degree oven for about twenty minutes, turning beans with tongs at the halfway point. One pound will only feed two people because they're so yummy.