Peas and Carrots; Do you play with your vegetables?

Mangetout (Snow Peas) and CarrotsPeas_carrots

Warning:  Gross overstatements and insults to most nationalities follow.  Read at your own risk.

Spring has sprung.

There’s a new look to the produce stands.  All of the lovely spring vegetables are slowly nudging the stodgy winter crucifers out of the way.

Naturally, when I see this bounty I immediately start to think of new and interesting ways to prepare it.

Which, naturally, leads me to ponder how other people prepare vegetables.

I have come to the (possibly, totally erroneous) conclusion that vegetables are more unique to a culture than, say, chicken or fish.

The French tend to like their veggies in a purée, like baby food, or a gratin, topped with crumbs and/or cheese.
It’s a bit of: yes, we’ll eat them but we don’t have to acknowledge it.

Americans either like them just briefly introduced to a heat source, to ‘retain their color and crunch’, (and make them impossible to eat with a fork) served naked or cooked beyond recognition, (and impossible to eat with a fork) smothered in cheese.
It’s a bit of: yes, we’ll eat them, if we really have to… But we won’t like it.

Germans like to add vinegar and bacon (yum!)
It’s a bit of: yes, we can add salt and vinegar to anything  and it will taste good… Identical, but good.

The British just steam them.  Doesn’t matter what they are, they get steamed and eaten naked. No other adornment, such as butter, allowed.
Everything. Steamed.
It’s a bit of: Yes, we’ll eat them, as they are, and we’ll like it… Stiff upper lip and all that.

My mother put browned butter on all vegetables.  She claimed that it’s a ‘Swiss’ thing.  She even put browned butter on baked beans!  (Yeah, okay, butter is good, browned butter better…)

Amazing how a few big nobs of butter, nicely browned, with a bit of salt and pepper added, could dress up a tin of Peas and Carrots… Almost make them edible.

After that meander down a mindless lane, here’s my version of Peas and Carrots:

Snow Peas ( Mangetout ) and Carrots

Stir-Fried Carrots and Mangetout
Remember canned Peas and Carrots? This isn’t it…. Stir-frying is a method of cooking, not a cuisine. Nothing says we can’t use maple syrup rather than soy sauce as our flavoring.

2 carrots
4oz (125gr) snow peas, mangetout, pea pods
1/2 onion
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs chicken stock
2 tsp maple syrup

Cut carrots into matchsticks. Slice onion. Trim pea pods, cutting off the stem end. Slice diagonally into wide strips if large.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrot and onion; stir-fry about 5 minutes. Add pea pods and stir-fry another 3 minutes. Add maple syrup and chicken stock, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 3 minutes. Uncover and cook off any liquid. Carrots should be just tender. Serve.

And you can eat this with a fork!

I went really crazy the other night, tossed in some chicken, a bit of minced ginger, garlic and a sprinkle of soy sauce…

If we are what we eat… I wonder… What am I?

What are you?

15 thoughts on “Peas and Carrots; Do you play with your vegetables?”

  1. I’ll take mine in any of the above fashions. Nothing beats a crunchy, sweet, raw carrot, tho!

  2. I would definitely go with brown butter on veg! Sounds yummy!
    It depends on the veg I suppose, but over here I can never go wrong with a lot of garlic 🙂

  3. Oh, thanks for a lovely idea. I’m having company tomorrow, plan to do a risotto and rotisseried leg of lamb, and this sounds like a perfect companion.
    My mother always cut carrots into pennies and overcooked them, and I think I don’t care for cooked carrots much because of it. And I never knew what to do with snow peas. This sounds like a lot of fun to eat!
    You have such nice ideas.

  4. What am I? With grits and a little butter for breakfast, I’m thinking I should have browned the butter but I’m not sure Benecol will brown.
    You are bright and bold! with these peas and carrots.

  5. We Indians camouflage our veggies in many disguises so once in a while, it’s nice to go to a restaurant and have some bland, Western, minimalistic preparation of veggies.

  6. Cindy, my son will only eat them raw; won’t touch them cooked.
    Joey, garlic chips…. you’re right, garlic is always a plus!
    Azurienne, my mother did the same – carrots and green beans were the only non-canned veg she made (and sweet corn in summer)
    Zoomie, fresh is always good – all those canned veg from my childhood… do they still sell them?
    Sam… OK
    Tanna, grits and butter… Could I add bacon and cheese? I like a savory breakfast….
    Sra, minimalistic… such a nice turn of phrase ;-))

  7. Bacon makes everything better. However, if I a am picking from the garden half the time they don’t even make it out of the garden before they have been consumed. Stupid lack of self-control.

  8. If I am what I eat… I am starchy and savoury…
    Could be worse, I suppose.
    Your snow peas are so crisp and vibrant looking, I am longing for them now.

  9. i quite like veges cooked just enough to be able to hold them onto a fork – and drizzled with olive oil!

  10. Jeff, bacon… garden… tough choice but I’ll take the garden,
    Natashya, I’m definitely savory… and salty!
    Maria, sounds perfect!
    Val, sounds perfect, also!

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