Sunday, February 11, 2007

Vegetable Love: Green Beans and Flageolets over Sweet Potato-Parsnip Puree

Valentine's Day is about love.

All kinds of love.

Earth love. This is a pile of compost in the making. Compost is an amazing gift you can give to the environment; it takes lots of trash out of the wastestream, and puts nutrients back into the scarred New York City soil I live in. I keep two bins in the backyard, one an old broken plastic box with worms in it, and another a supposed-to-be-a-compost bin without worms. Start composting already: LES Ecology Center.

Stock love. I love making scrap stock. It makes me feel like thrifty; it makes me fell like a pioneer woman, out somewhere in the Oklahoma territory, living by my bootstraps; and it's fun. I save the tops of leeks and scallions, carrot and parsnip peels, and celery that's about to go off in the freezer, balance them out with fresh veggies, and cook to death with salt, garlic, dried herbs, and peppercorns. You're seeing last night's leek tops, and tonight's parsnip peels.

Without-a-net love. Susan at Fat-Free Vegan set the terms for the experiment, so I had to do something I don't ever do: leave out the butter, cream, and oil. I love butter, cream, and oil. But I did this, to try it. And I think it worked.

Wife Love. She's got a very limited range of veggies, my wife does. So I've learned how to cook with the ones she likes, so she eats it. It's not what I would do if I were queen of her. But I'm not queen of her. I'm her wife. So here, in one place, are nearly all of the vegetables she eats: parnsips, sweet potatoes, and green beans. If I'd served a salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers, we'd have been pretty close to 100%. (She says she likes potatoes, from the other side of the couch.)

And so:

Recipe Love.

Green Beans and Flageolets over Sweet Potato-Parsnip Puree

Cut up sweet potato and parsnips: I used 3 cups sweet potato and 1.5 cups parsnips, but these are flexible. In large-ish sauce pan, bring an inch of water to a boil, with one dried chile (mine come from Hepworth Farms on Long Island), a sprinkle of salt, and two smallish cloves of garlic. Once it comes to a boil, add the root veggies and cover. Steam for ten minutes. Top and tail about a cup of green beans, and fetch about a cup of pre-cooked flageolet beans from the fridge. When the veggies are steamed, pull them out of the water. Mash lightly with a large spoon, or whatever you've got. I drained the water from the pan and added about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, but I'm guessing you could skip this step and use part of the steaming water to cook the green beans. Add back the garlic and chili, and sautee the green beans and flageolets over medium-high heat until the green beans change to bright green and the flageolets start to get crispy. Fill bowls with puree, and top with beans and beans. The chili is just for garnish there.

Love. It's in season.


Blogger bazu said...

I've always wanted to start composting- but it's always seemed mysterious and exotic to me. I have to just get over it and do it already!

Ok, you post about love and I comment about compost- where are my priorities?? Your vegetable dish looks awesome- I'm glad the veggies your wife likes are interesting flavorful ones!

11:56 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

i love compost!

worm composting is really easy, especially if you have (like me) a backlog of garden scraps. fall 05, i had put all of my leaves into this big plastic box with cracks in the bottom and hoped that magically it would be compost by spring. when that didn't happen, i bought a pound of worms and added them. i'm pretty sure they're dead by now, but they'd worked through most of last year's leaves and all the food waste I put in there by november or so. so--as long as you have outdoor space and don't have to hyperregulate your bin (like indoor bins have to be), worm bins are totally easy. :)

the wife grew up in a very meat-and-potatoes household: seriously, once at her parents' house i was served steak, canned new potatoes, and canned peas. whereas i grew up in a tofu-eating household (though not a veggie one). so it's been about respectful exchange between culinary cultures! parsnips are new to the list, actually...but she really loves them. and who wouldn't?

11:23 AM  
Blogger SusanV said...

Thanks so much for contributing to the Vegetable Love challenge--and for encouraging people to compost. It's so easy and so good for the soil!

Your recipe looks great and has me thinking that I need to try parsnips, which I don't think I've ever tried.

1:57 PM  
Blogger mary said...

I am so excited about finding your blog. I love the use it all up philosophy. Worms rule!

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Anonymous gaile said...

HOly moly, that looks and sounds fabulous! I'm gonna have to try that. If your wife likes parsnips and potatoes, she might like the celery root, parsnip, and potato puree I posted in back in mid december. And hurray for composting! How do you keep your worms alive through the cold winter?

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