Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hot Topic: Vegging Out!

To veg or not to veg, that is the question. Or at least that was the question that Dan from Casual Kitchen posed to a few of us fellow food bloggers last month. And a timely question it is indeed. After reviewing the wonderful new cookbook, Almost Meatless by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond, Dan hit upon the idea for a blogging round table discussion on the topic of vegetarianism.

Dan emailed five bloggers, myself included, and asked a simple question:

Have you been a vegetarian or ever seriously considered going veggie? What to you were the key pros and cons, and what made you choose against it?

I was honored to be included in such a discussion and you can read my response, along with the others, here on Casual Kitchen today.

The other featured bloggers are: Pam - author of For the Love of Cooking, Kris - author of Cheap Healthy Good, Joy - author of the "Almost Meatless" cookbook and the blog What I Weigh Today, and Jules - author of stonesoup. I found the answers fascinating, well-considered and provocative. I hope you'll join our discussion by visiting Casual Kitchen and offering your own thoughts on the topic as well.

I picked up a copy of "Almost Meatless" on Dan's recommendation and its amazing. The recipes look scrumptious and the text is a wealth of information. I can't wait to start cooking from it. Stay tuned.

In keeping with our veggie theme for the day, I'd like to offer a quick and easy recipe for sauteed green beans. This is a 5 minute side-dish that pairs beautifully with any meal.

Green Beans with Shallots:
  • some haricot vert, or regular green beans
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and minced
  • butter or olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Trim off the stem ends of the beans and bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a pinch of Kosher salt to the water and add the green beans. Boil for approximately 3 to 4 minutes - or until done to your desired liking - I prefer mine crisp, but your mileage may vary. Test after 3 minutes and continue as necessary. Once cooked, drain the beans into a strainer and shock them under some cold running water to retain their color.

To the now empty pot, add a small pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil and the shallots, saute over medium high heat for one minute, then return the drained beans to the pan, stir well to coat and saute until hot throughout. Add a bit of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Serve and enjoy!

So, have you ever considered going vegetarian? Why or why not? And don't forget to stop by Casual Kitchen and lend your voice to our round table discussion. Curious Diva wants to know!

Bon appetit!


words...words...words... said...

Ah, green beans and shallots are wonderful together. I like to add a little garlic, too.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Here is my well considered thoughts about vegetarianism: I like animals because they taste good! Green beans are good too though, I like mine similar to yours, but with sliced almonds.

Christie's Corner said...

I was vegetarian for 15 years, but as my husband jokes, I got better.

I was a very bad vegetarian. I didn't get enough protein and my blood sugar swung like Tarzan through the trees. I eat meat now, but not huge amounts. Since I added animal protein back into my diet, I am not longer starving all the time and my blood sugar is perfect.

I believe this is a very personal decision. Every body has different requirements and some people thrive on vegetarian diets. I'm not disciplined enough for that.

However, I love vegetables, green beans especially. These look lovely.

The Blonde Duck said...

That looks great, but I could never go meatless!

stephchows said...

Part of me feels bad about eating meat... but then the carnivore in me comes out and chows it all :) I just can't justify leaving out an entire food group, no matter what the group is. Everything in moderation I say :)

doggybloggy said...

I was vegetarian in college only because my girlfriend was and she was hot so......

Anonymous said...

Vegetarianism is really not too hard...once your stop eating the meat, your body doesn't crave it as much. But once you break that and take one bite, you may be hooked again. :) It's different for everybody, but we do like our meat.

Anonymous said...

Although we do eat one or two vegetarian meals a week, we do like our meats. This is a delicious green bean dish!

~Dana said...

Cooked this way, my kiddos may just eat them!

pixelgal said...

I added my opinion to the discussion on whether or not to go vegan. As I said on that blog, the major reason I'm not is, in a word, TOFU!!! All those folks who said it takes on the flavor of whatever else is cooking spoke with forked tongue. Chewy, tasteless rubber is what I get. Anyway our local market just opened for the season with a few local veggies and some wonderful goat's milk soap so I bought asparagus and potatoes and will use them in the Divalicious omelet I'm making tonight. Alas, no shallots.

The Diva on a Diet said...

words words words - so true, you can never go wrong with a little garlic.

Heavenly Housewife - LOL!

Charmian - I would worry about not getting enough protein as well. Its not that I don't know how to get the protein, more that I might be lazy about it. I agree that its a very personal decision and one that requires discipline.

Blonde Duck - I truly love vegetables and often have meatless meals ... but I do like my chicken!

Steph - me too! I feel badly sometimes as well ... yet here I am looking forward to my spaghetti and meatball dinner tonight. Yum! ;)

doggybloggy - I have a feeling you're not the only one out there who's gone veggie for a hot date!

Duo - also very true about the cravings going away, its the same thing with sugary stuff.

5 Star - thanks! This is one of my favorite ways to have beans. I adore haricot vert.

~Dana - welcome! And thanks! I'll look forward to checking out your blog. Drop by anytime!

pixelgal - I know we'll never convert to tofu acceptance ... but that's cool. You have a very sensible diet and approach to eating. Everything in moderation. So glad to hear that Hindy's is back open and I hope the omelets are yummy tonight!

Pam said...

The green beans look really delicious...simple recipes are usually the best.

Daniel said...

I love the sense of humor of your readers! "I was a vegetarian but I got better" is a particularly good one. :)

Sounds like the issue is really one of people eating what they want to eat and not being absolutist about it. I can definitely understand that thinking.

Casual Kitchen

The Wino said...

Ah! Hericot Vert, my favorite culinary french word. I love me some green beans, with shallots...good stuff. Last time I did this I sauteed pearl onions and diced bacon and a little white wine...oh yeah this is why I am not a vegitarian.

Jescel said...

i love haricot verts done this way... I am not a big meat eatear, but I appreciate meat once in a while. I do go vegeterian for once or twice a year for a certain period of time for spiritual reasons (fasting and that sort of thing).. it's not too bad. Nowadays, there are so many good vegetarian recipes out there.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Thanks so much to all for these excellent comments. I really enjoyed this discussion. It does seem like we're all on the same page ... everything in moderation and, as Daniel said, no need for absolutes.

I also agree with Jescel, there *are* so many great vegetarian recipes out there ... makes going meatless a couple times a week a pleasure. :)

Tangled Noodle said...

Simple is delicious! I can say without hesitation that I've never considered going vegetarian. I have, however, been leaning toward making more meatless meals during the week. I suppose I consider myself 'flexitarian' instead. Can't give up my moo, cluck, or oink!

sangeeta said...

these are my fav green beans ..mine have garlic too........i prefer vegetarian food most of the times but don't mind having meats once in a while.....