Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Vegetables are Us

Hello Chickens!  I hope the festive holiday season is treating you all well.  I promised myself that this year I would not inundate you with one more roundup of "stuff to buy" post, since every blog on the planet is giving you their top ten gift ideas and to be honest, I'm exhausted from reading them, let alone writing one.

Which doesn't mean that I don't have a product I think you should buy, its just that it isn't so much a gift for someone else as it is a gift for you, and something I'm finding particularly relevant for the holiday season.

As you all know, I am in a constant state of working on my health and watching my weight, and since I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, my diet and cooking have changed a lot.  With my darling carbs now severely limited, I've had to figure out how to bulk up my diet, and that means lots of veggies.  I try to keep cut up raw veggies around for easy snacking, and I'm making a lot more vegetable based soups and stews.  Even when I do make something like pasta, I'm cutting the pasta amount itself in half and filling in with vegetables.

And of course, it is the entertaining season, and that means veggie and dip trays.  Endless veggie and dip trays.  Which in the past didn't really affect me, but now that I need to survive my own parties without derailing my program, I've become really focused on the veggies, since they are my safe haven.

The short version?  I'm chopping a LOT.  And while you know I have no shortage of knives round here...

I can't help it.  And half of them were Charming Suitor's to begin with.

...that doesn't mean that there wasn't room for one more.  Wüsthof was kind enough to send me one of their 8" Gourmet Vegetable knives to test, and it is a gamechanger.

You see those holes?  I'm used to working with veggie knives that have the little divots to help food release, but this is the first time that I've worked with a knife that actually had holes in it.  And they totally work! Even the stickier stuff, like butternut squash or carrots that tend to hang onto the knife no matter what you do, they slide right off.  This is helped along by the little raised ridge that is parallel to the holes, which means even the most stubborn slice of the stickiest veggie slips right off the knife like butter.

Mmmm.  Butter.  

Sorry, distracted myself.

At any rate, in this house of a zillion knives?  This odd looking little workhorse has made quite a place for itself.  And the fact that it is from Wüsthof, one of the most trusted names in high quality blades, means that I will have it forever.

So, whatever else you are shopping for these days, if you have parties coming up that require some serious veggie work, or are looking at a long cold winter ahead that is going to need minestrone, and potato gratin, and glazed carrots, and roasted root veggies...you are going to want to pick one of these up.  http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1207109/Wusthof+Gourmet+Ridge+Chefs+Knife

To inspire you to vegetable greatness, here is my go-to recipe for roasted root veggies.  I make some variation of this all winter long.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the following and cut into one inch chunks:
4-6 carrots 
1 large celery root
4-6 parsnips
4 turnips
1 head of fennel, sliced with root intact into 8 wedges
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into eighths

Toss all of the above with 1/3 c olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1 T dried thyme and put on a large baking sheet in one layer.

Roast for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every fifteen minutes, until golden and crispy outside and soft inside.  Garnish with toasted chopped walnuts or almonds, and some crumbled goat cheese if you really want to get fancy!

Yours in good taste,
The Polymath

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