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Thursday, March 27, 2008


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In case anyone hasn't already heard the news: vegan author and publisher, Erik Marcus has relaunched his great website and reformatted his podcast to a weekly 20-minute interview show. I’m a longtime fan of Erik and his work, so naturally I was thrilled to be invited as a guest to talk about one of my favorite topics – spring produce!

On the podast, we discuss was how roasting brings out the flavor of many vegetables and how asparagus and baby red potatoes are especially great roasted. (BTW, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are amazing cooked this way, too) If any of these are vegetables that you think you don’t like, I encourage you to try them roasted at least once.

We also talk about the wonderful tender young green beans beginning to show up this time of year and, of course, the terrific baby greens and lettuces that are so great in salads. I promised Erik that his listeners could link over here to my blog to get some of the recipes we talked about on the show, so I’ve posted them below. Congrats to Erik on the new and improved!

Roasted Asparagus
When roasted, asparagus is my absolute favorite vegetable. I like it that way so much, that I rarely prepare it any other way. If you haven’t tried roasting asparagus, you’re in for a treat. Irresistible in its own right, serve it with a squeeze of lemon for supreme dining pleasure.

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the trimmed asparagus spears on a lightly oiled baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast the asparagus until just tender, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. Serve hot.
Serves 4

Nicoise-Style Green Bean and New Potato Salad
This hearty and flavorful salad teams up spring produce favorites: tender green beans and new potatoes on a bed of mixed baby lettuces. Add black olives, tomatoes, and a zesty vinaigrette dressing for a delicious salad inspired by the country French classic. Chickpeas or white beans add substance and help to make it a meal. It’s great served with crusty grilled bread. I adapted this recipe from Vegan Planet.

1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes
8 ounces green beans, steamed
2 tablespoons minced scallions
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Niçoise olives (or other imported black olives), pitted
1 cup cooked chickpeas or white beans
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Baby salad greens, to serve

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan with enough salted cold water to cover, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, and cut in half or quarters. Transfer to a large bowl. Cut the green beans into 1-inch lengths and add to the bowl, along with the scallions, tomatoes, olives, and chickpeas, and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, parsley, basil, sugar, and salt and pepper. Whisk until blended and pour over the salad. Toss gently until thoroughly blended and serve on a bed of torn salad greens.
Serves 4 to 6

Note: you can also roast your potatoes for this recipes, instead of boiling or steaming them.

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These recipes sound delicious.

Lovely blog.

Roasting is quite possibly my favorite way of cooking vegetables too. The nicoise style salad sounds delicious!
mmm... asparagus. looks great!
Roasted asparagus is my favorite! I look forward to hearing the podcast.
Thanks for the roasting tip, good timing! Our asparagus is just popping up in the garden. I tried your roasting recipe last night, tossed the roasted asparagus, cut into 1" pieces, with some penne pasta and added some sun-dried tomato slices in oil, topped with vegan parm, yummy!
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