Eat Your Vegetables!

In my endeavor to eat healthy and lose weight I am trying to put more vegetables in our meals. I find it difficult to eat the daily recommendations of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. That is unless I eat a salad which is 2-3 in one. In winter I find it harder to find salads appealing. I don’t hold to the idea of restricting vegetables in my quest. I will eat peas, potatoes, and carrots and not consider them too starchy, even though they might be. Beans are a vegetable and I am talking the canned variety of kidney, pinto, garbanzo, and the like. Even corn.

To this end I have been renting books from the library searching for interesting and easy ways to add fresh and frozen vegetables to our meals. We usually add frozen mixed vegetable to noodles, leftovers, chili, and casseroles. We dry roast them in a skillet with onion and seasoning too. But now I am looking for variety.

Jacques Pepin and Julia Child are two of my favorite chefs for reading about them and their recipes. My neighbor gave me her extra produce from one of those produce delivery services that touts themselves as reducing food waste. I hope it is true. There were two misshapen but perfectly good butternut squash. And there was a recipe for Butternut Squash Sauté in More Fast Food My Way by Jacques Pepin (page 136). So I made that. Hubby had the task of peeling and cutting the squash and almost cut his finger off doing so! The dish was tasty. I did not take a picture of it; we ate it. And then I put the leftovers in a recipe for Lentils and Sweet Potatoes using the squash as substitute for the sweet potatoes. I did not take a photo of that one either.

Here is a photo of a vegetable dish: French Style Peas

This recipe is from One Pot Vegetarian by Sabrina Faude-Role. I modified the recipe a bit using baby broccoli instead of spring onions and used homemade vegetable broth instead of a vegetable stock cube. And it was tasty! Who knew one could cook lettuce!

  • Frozen peas, I had half a bag so about 1 ½ cups
  • One bunch baby broccoli, stems and all, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 8 ounces vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A grind or two of pepper
  • 6 lettuce leaves

Put everything in a sauce pot, bring to boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Voila!

Now I have many many cookbooks and many have vegetable recipes. The glory of renting books from the library is trying them out to determine if any are worth getting for one’s own kitchen library. That one pot book is for me. It is not Vegan but all vegetables; and grains and pasta and a few more things like plant based proteins. There are even some desserts.

Supper

There’s some pork loin chops languishing in our freezer down in the basement. I recently bought a bag of plums that were a tad over ripe. My basil plant is growing by leaps and bounds!

So what’s for supper? Grilled pork with plum sauce served with peas with garlic, lemon, and basil. The latter was inspired by a recipe I read or saw but can’t remember where. The flavors sounded interesting.

To make plum sauce the plums must be cooked down until thick and saucy. Hubby says to leave the skins on for the color to be rich and dark and plummy.

I took 8-10 overripe plums and quartered them and removed the pit. I put these in my sauce pan (copper bottomed with the properly curved handle) and put this over medium heat. I added a splash of cranberry juice, about 3-4 tablespoons. This came to a boil and then I let it simmer until thick. I forgot to time it. To the thickened sauce I added zest from 1/2 lime (about 1/2 teaspoon) and the juice from that same half lime. And then a 6 inch sprig of rosemary. Continue to simmer, stirring until you smell the rosemary. This does not take very long.

Oh yeah, I forgot the messy part. When the plums are thick, I removed them from the pan and put them through a sieve to remove the skins. Very messy! I was thinking at the time that an old-fashioned ricer would be the perfect gadget for this job and that it was a shame I had given mine away in efforts to simplify my kitchen. So I am pounding on these plums with a wooden spoon and look up and what do I see? My ricer adorning the kitchen wall for a nostalgic decoration. Too late now, I think, and continue with the messy task. It gets done. I was surprised at how little of the skins were actually left to remove before finishing the sauce!

Leave the finished sauce in the pot to stay warmish until ready to serve.

Now for the peas. I used 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas. I cooked these in a small pot with a small amount of water to which I added one minced clove of garlic and the zest of 1/2 lemon. Cook for brief period of time, maybe 5 minutes on medium heat, and then add the juice of 1/4 lemon and a handful of basil, sliced into strips. I put a lid on the pot and let that simmer for about one minute.

This last minute may be eliminated in the future. The basil strips turned dark and I feared for the taste of the side dish. Turned out just fine!

Hubby grilled the pork and I plated our suppers. Take a look.

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Basically cook down the fruit. Add herbs and zest. Cook the peas. Add herbs and zest.

The plum sauce was very good. The leftovers can be served over a wedge of brie cheese with crackers. Good eating!