When Vegetables Take Center Stage

Last night I prepared a multi-course vegetarian tasting menu to celebrate someone’s 60th birthday.  While I remain enthusiastic about cooking with meat, I feel strongly that any cook should know how to work with vegetables first and foremost.  When called upon to make a delicious meat-free meal, it should shine on it’s own.  Over reliance on pasta, bread and dairy means you’re not using your imagination and more importantly not bringing out the natural greatness of the vegetables themselves that mother nature made possible.  I’ve been going full-veg often lately – for clients, but also for myself and friends when cooking at home.  While meatiness will always be near and dear to my heart, I see a shift towards more plant forward cooking ahead of me.  It’s healthier, better for the planet, and more cost effective.  And as I’m discovering – just as exciting as putting bacon all up in everything!  Here are some highlights from last night’s menu:

       

Lightly pickled vegetables, white bean puree & toasted seeds; whole fava beans; poached rhubarb, roasted peppers, purslane & amaranth; beets, carrots & turnips in their own pesto with creme fraiche & lemon ash; spring onion, wheat berries, kale and chamomile; Chickpea, walnut & lambs quarter ragout; whipped chocolate, cherries & greek yogurt with meringue.

Over heard while plating up one of these dishes: “If I could eat like this everyday, I could be a vegetarian!”

Let’s not give up on meat so easily folks!  But I’ll take that complement and stick it like a feather in my cap…