Friday, December 20, 2013

Hobbit Test Kitchen: Asparagus + Carrotses = Pretteh!

One of the problems with hosting a hobbity meal is that it's supposed to be pretty simple, description is often spare, and in some categories there are no recipes (who writes a recipe for "boil peas; add butter"?). But, I found one important clue in the hobbit food study I read; it quotes Tolkien himself stating that "growing food and eating it occupied most of their time." You know what this means: veggies. And fruit!

Filling in some of the gaps left in the books requires some speculation. That's as it should be - most of us wouldn't want to read a book that stopped and described every detail about what each type of character ate; we want storyline! But it does leave us guessing. And personally, when making those guesses, I want to make sure that I'm not filling the space with the conspicuously-modern, say California blend frozen vegetables or some nonsense.

So, in serving veggies, I'm trying to come up with simple dishes that contain likely ingredients, for which I can use presentation that's just a little bit different from my norm, as a modern person. It needs to feel old school, while still suiting the modern palate. And it gives me an opportunity to put something together for the vegetarians fairly seamlessly. I can't really break out the veggie burgers and Tofurkey here.

I've jotted down a few ideas for myself - creamed potatoes with peas in? Asparagus with carrots? Carrots with leeks and mushrooms? Peas and mushrooms? Parsnips and carrots? And just the other day I began the taste-testing process.

I'll want to have myself a trial run of most everything I'll be serving that day. I mean, the day of the big party is no time to find out that a casserole takes longer than you thought, or that peas + mushrooms = herk. And I'm exited to get my test kitchen running! But it's also almost Christmas right now. I want to whip up Lancashire hotpot and steamed puddings, but I'm broke and I already have a lot to juggle. So I started small.

Asparagus + Carrotses, Precious
2 parts asparagus, cut on a diagonal for pretteh
1 part carrots, cut into thin sticks for faster cooking +pretteh
salt to taste

Place asparagus, minus tips, into steamer basket with carrots. Steam two minutes before adding tips, then cook for 5-6 more minutes until tender.

Put in serving dish and add salt and butter. LOTS of butter. Hobbits love butter; it's a known fact.

Enjoy beautiful veggies!

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