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October 8, 2007
Ever since an article on how to blanch foods came out in the September 2007 issue of VT, I’ve been a vegetable-boiling fiend. See, I used to think it was too much trouble to put on a big pot of salted water and blanch vegetables for one person. But once I was reminded that blanching is really, truly as easy as boiling water, I started thinking…hmmm. Maybe I’ll blanch those carrots to keep them from going bad. Or, why don’t I blanch the cauliflower so it roasts in less time. Then the real payoff dawned on me: having ready-to-eat cooked vegetables on hand in the fridge. That way, when I don’t have the time to, say, trim green beans and cook them start to finish, I can still have a meal that isn’t a tossed salad.
To make sure all the water and energy required to blanch foods correctly don’t go to waste, I’ve been preparing several batches of vegetables at a time (this week: green beans, zucchini, and broccoli), and scooping them out with a strainer. By the end, I’ve got a light vegetable broth if I need it and … an all-natural weed killer! Or so I hope. One of the town gardeners told me the best way to kill weeds was to burn them with boiling water so I’ve been pouring blanching liquid on the front sidewalk. Stay tuned for results…
And here’s my latest lunch craze: Green Beans Almondine served on a bed of couscous:
Green Beans Almondine
Serves 1 Vegan 30 minutes or fewer
2 cups green beans, trimmed
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
3 Tbs. sliced almonds
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1. Blanch green beans in boiling salted water 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Dunk beans in bowl of cold water, then drain when cool.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and sauté 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add green beans and almonds, and sauté 2 minutes, or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with lemon juice.
—Mary Margaret Chappell, food editor