Monday, February 21, 2011

How to Make Plain Vegetables More Interesting

I have admitted before that I am struggling to eat as many vegetables as I know that I should. So I went back to Christian's Danish Recipes and clicked on “vegetables,” hoping for something I had already in my kitchen as my freezer is half full of frozen veggie bags. Surprisingly, it was the contents of my cupboard that came to the rescue: a can of peas and carrots. Now, this recipe does call for fresh peas and carrots, but the object here is to empty my larder, not add to it, so canned it was!

Honestly, like the rum soup before it, the idea of creamed peas and carrots was not that appealing to me, but I had the ingredients on hand, and the whole point of this blog is to be adventurous, so I went ahead and fixed it anyway.

After emptying the contents of the can into a pot and setting it to boil, I melted the butter in the saucepan, added flour, a few pinches of sugar and a sprinkle of salt, stirred, then added about half of the water from the thoroughly heated peas and carrots (the rest of the water got drained into the sink). After stirring that until formed into a nice cream, I poured it over the pot of peas and carrots and let it cook a bit longer on low. Then I spooned some into a bowl, sprinkled on some dried parsley, and took my first tentative bite.

It was delicious! And reminded me a little of the chicken and dumplings I learned to make from my mother. If I have learned anything from the Scandinavians, it is a devout respect for milk products mixed with flour and sugar. (Rommegrøt anyone?) Seriously, I had intended to have enough peas and carrots leftover to bring with me as part of my dinner at work, but I can't stop eating the stuff! Why is this so good? I foresee myself creaming a lot of vegetables in this manner in the future.

Curious about other recipes, I did a Google search for “creamed peas and carrots” and received a number of hits. One recipe on suggests sprinkling on paprika rather than parsley before serving. Another on Group Recipes lists nutmeg. Most use milk or cream rather than the water from the boiled vegetables, but I prefer Christian's method which should be healthier without all that milk fat, and I feel tastes just as good.

I had wanted to serve this with a nice open-faced sandwich, but I currently lack bread. I could have grilled a quesadilla, but that somehow didn't sound right, so I cooked up a pot of standby starch, organic whole wheat pasta. The creamed peas and carrots went pretty well with the pasta, but I do mourn the sandwich that might have been, especially since reading about paninis in the waiting room at the dentist office this morning.

I actually can't wait to see what other vegetable recipes I can find out there! Mama's got a lot of frozen corn (which is technically a grain, not a vegetable) and other mixed veggie bags that need to get eaten up. Bring it, Scandinavia!

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