Saturday, August 14, 2010

Week 4: Don't Forget your Veg!

The week started with A LOT of prep to do. But when don't we have a lot of prep to do? Chef always says that the most difficult thing to prepare are vegetables. People don't realize the amount of labor that goes into them - the cleaning, the cutting, the preparation. The protein on the plate looks sexy to people; the veg is the workhorse.

Insert usual bitching about the delicious pork belly dish here. As an illustration of this concept, I present my favorite (read sarcasm) dish to plate at LudoBites. Pictures can be found at this foodie blog. Oooh, pork belly. Such glistening goodness. Sexaaay. But what compliments all this fat and savory? Why an artfully and generously placed tumble of vegetables dressed with a tasty vinaigrette! Quick! Brush aside all that healthy stuff and get back to the money shot. Ooooh. Fatty belly yeah...

Take note, man, of the number of veg you just pushed aside to get to that pork belly:
  • fingerling potato
  • green papaya
  • jicama
  • savoy cabbage
  • pickled red onion
  • thai basil leaves
  • fried shallots
  • fried lotus root

How many ingredients is that? Count it. EIGHT. Eight veg! most of which are julienned in a mandoline at the risk of bodily injury. And four of those ingredients are processed by boiling, frying, or pickling - an extra step!

I went to a shabu shabu place the other day for lunch. As my raw beef was sitting there all bright and red and beautiful, the waitress brought out my plate of vegetables and I felt myself overwhelmed with appreciation and sympathy for the man behind the curtain. I turned to my friend and said, "Some poor schmuck had to do all this!"

I am that poor schmuck. Please think of me the next time you forget to eat your vegetables.


Daniel B. said...

I thought that the food blogger appreciated the veg on the pork belly.

"The choucroute’s acidity provided a nice balance to the fattiness of the pork."

I just had pork belly tonight, and the accompaniment, some misguided daikon kimchee was just disgusting.

Needed the bubbles of a beer to clear that unctuous fattiness off my palate.

BTW, and I think this goes without saying, you my lady are a badass.

gracefullee said...

You're absolutely right about the food blogger. My comment was directed more generally. Since Chef doesn't let me take pictures of the food we plate (though he does want us to take a mental picture and commit it to memory), I had to rely on the bloggers for photos to illustrate.

I had a taste (or two, or three) of the pork belly confit the other day during prep (sans searing on the plancha and finishing in the oven). The first taste made me hungry for the second. The second wasn't enough and the third just made me sick with its seductive fattiness congealed from the cold. It took me a good ten minutes to shake the heaviness I was feeling while trying to process some jicama on the mandoline. I'm surprised I didn't cut off a thumb.