Friday, February 08, 2008

Round Robin: Veggie-Enhanced!

Hey, Robin-watchers! We've come 'round to that time again. This week's Round Robin Photo Challenge, Eat Your Vegetables!, was suggested by Jill of "Letting Crazy Take A Spin." The timing is excellent. After three days of veggie-deficient free lunch at work, I'm definitely ready to eat some vegetables!

Before dinner takes place at the Museum of the Weird, however, there is a certain ritual that must be observed. Those of you who are married, and who hate cooking as much as I do, are probably very familiar with it. It goes something like this:

She: What do you want for dinner?

He: I don't know, but I want it soon.

She: How about Subway?

He: No, I had a salad for lunch.

She: Chicken?

He: Too greasy.

She: Chinese?

He: Nah.

She: Chuey's?

He: Not tonight.

She: Well, what do you want?

He: I don't know. Do we have to go through this every night?

She: How about one of those roasts?

He: Eh.

She: Meat loaf?

He: No.

She: Italian sausage?

He: That'd be okay. With some nice steamed vegetables like we had the other night.

She: I can do that.

The specifics vary, but the ritual itself is almost inevitable.

Tonight, however, I had an unusual opening gambit for it.

"The Round Robin tonight is 'Eat your vegetables,' so...."

"So you want veggies for dinner. What did you have in mind?"

"I thought maybe a salad from Applebee's."

"That's not vegetables!"

"Yes it is. Lettuce and stuff are vegetables."

"No, they're not. Veggies should be hot."

"Well, what do you want for dinner?"

"I want a hamburger."

"Applebee's has hamburgers."

So we went to the Applebee's web site. John picked out a quesadilla burger. I decided to go with something with hot veggies for once, instead of my usual Oriental chicken salad. So I ordered the grilled beef teriyaki bowl. I called it in and drove over, but the curbside service spaces were all full. I had to drive around the block a few times. Fine.

When I got home and opened my container of teriyaki, I was somewhat underwhelmed:

There was a fair amount of beef in it, and yes, some veggies, but not a lot. They didn't even fill the bottom of the bowl. So I did what I had been considering all along:

This particular selection of steam-in-bag vegetables seemed just about perfect for teriyaki. So I nuked 'em for five and a half minutes, offered John half of the result, ultimately added the whole thing to my Applebee's container and stirred it up. Ah! That's much better!

And I still have half of it left for later!

(Addendum: In fairness to Applebee's, since many of you seem to be taking my description above a little too seriously, I should mention that the bowl got tipped on its side a bit as I prove him, so that the food slipped to one side. That's the real reason you can see bare bowl. Even so, it was a little disappointing how veggie-deficient it looked.)

Okay, okay. I can feel someone glowering at me. "Frozen vegetables, Karen? Is that the best you can do?"

Well, no. It's not. Let's go to Safeway.

Grabs jacket, drives away.

Okay, I'm back. And look what I got!

Yes, I've brought back pictures. But that's not all.

As you can see, I bought zucchini. I also picked up two packs of asparagus. Despite my protestations about hating to cook, I do steam fresh vegetables occasionally, in a pretty blue spaghetti pot with a drain in the lid.

The asparagus was especially cheap tonight. Looking at the pictures now, though, I get the impression they're past their prime. I'd better cook 'em tomorrow. And look, off to the left. Rutabagas! When I told John about this topic, he asked, "Can't you just riff about rutabagas again?" Not this time.

Here you go: chili peppers and jicama. Produce doesn't get much more Southwestern than this.

The produce aisle is inevitably the prettiest place in the supermarket. Forget the flowers, the frozen foods, the brightly decorated boxes of sugary cereal. Nothing at Safeway (or Kroger's, Wegmann's, Food Lion, Winn-Dixie, Van's or even Trader Joe's) is more visually attractive than a well arranged display of fresh produce.

I also love it when the veggies for sale get "rained" on, complete with thunder and lightning effects. That wasn't happening tonight, though, twenty minutes before the store closed.

Maybe I'll catch that show for you next time.

Now go sample the veggiemania of our other Robins:

Linking List

Jill - POSTED!
Letting Crazy Take A Spin

Carly - POSTED!

Carlo ***Welcome New Member*** - POSTED!
Captured by Carlo

Sandy - POSTED!

Shorty - POSTED!
I Couldn't Help Myself

Momma - POSTED!
Sandcastle Momma

Martha - POSTED!

Karen - POSTED!
Outpost Mâvarin

Swampy ***Welcome New Member*** - POSTED!
Anecdotes, Antidotes, & Anodes

Lisa - POSTED!
Lisa's Chaos

Keyhole Pictures

Sarah - POSTED!

Jan ***Welcome New Member*** - POSTED!
The Prytz Family

Suzanne R - POSTED!
Living . . . Suzanne R's Life

Sandra - POSTED!

Janet - POSTED!
fondofsnape (formerly fondofphotography)

Pictures of Craziness

Nekked Lizard Adventures

Vicki - POSTED!

Marie - POSTED!
Photographs & Memories

Robinella - POSTED!
Robin's Nest

Nancy - POSTED!
Nancy Luvs Pics

Kiva - POSTED!
Eclectic Granny

And be sure to stop by here again from time to time. You'll be most welcome, even if you don't bring a covered dish!



swampy in wa said...

Good grief. I have this sudden urge to go to the grocery store and buy out the produce section. BUT, I can't. It's midnight and raining. Will just have to grab a carrot out of the refrigerator.

MyMaracas said...

You make the produce section look like paradise. I don't quite have the nerve yet to whip out a camera at Krogers. LOL

Beautiful photos and a fun story to boot - my favorite veggie combo.


charish said...

So, did you call Applebees and complain? I love the produce section also.

Robinella said...

The veggie section is my favorite. Especially if you get there just after they have loaded everything up. You can't beat the colors from nature.

Great job!

Sandy said...

Terrific job. I think I would email that one pic to Applebee's, though. You just can't buy advertising like

I miss living where the veggies don't have to travel 1,000 miles to my store.

Beautiful pics and enjoy the asparagus! Our bell peppers are 2.38 a piece!

Sandcastle Momma said...

Your pictures are beautiful! And what a produce department it's gorgeous. I loved your story and the Applebees dinner looked much better after you added the veggies. Too bad the Applebees people can't see this - they would be SO embarassed LOL

Carly said...

Hi Karen

You've posted your usual series of wonderful photos for the subject. I think I would agree with others who mentioned sending Applebee's an email, that would be a good idea. You should consider doing restaurant reviews as a regular part of your blog. :)

Always, Carly

Suzanne R said...

I've never had take-out at Applebee's, just the Outback, but I feel that I have been forewarned if ever an Applebee's is built close enough for me to consider ordering from them. ;-) On a different note, your mention of asparagus reminds me of how my dad and I used to love to eat canned asparagus with Miracle Whip on it. Everyone else in the family went, "Ew!" LOL! I tried that with mayonnaise as an adult and it wasn't very good. I guess I need to get a small bottle of Miracle Whip and a can of asparagus and try it again. ;-)

I love all of your pictures, and your great narration, too. I don't like to cook very well, either! LOL! But being alone as I am, I have found that I do need to cook once in a while in order to enjoy food at all.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Thanks for your comment Karen! We really had fun with this one.

Sandcastle Momma

lisa marie said...

Very lovely! I like how you added the veggies to your Applebee's. I'm actually surprised they gave you so much meat!

I'm always so scared to take pictures in the store. You are one brave lady and you got some neat photos for your effort. :)

Martha said...

Your veggie photos are wonderful!

I love the oriental chicken salad from Applebee's, with the fried chicken of course. I've seen meals others have ordered from there, there was quite a bit LESS than the photo you showed. I'm sticking with the salad!

Kiva said...

Ah-ha! The meat & potatoes people must be taking over Applebees. They once had a steamed veggie plate that was heavenly and had the best asian type sauce to go with it. It's now gone like the grilled chicken stir fry. It's been replaced by breaded chicken in (very) sweet and (you couldn't prove it by me) sour sauce.

The market produce makes my mouth water especially the asparagus even though it may be past its prime. Scrumptious photos.

Janet said...

and your story confirms to me why I'm not married anymore LMAO!

Your store has thunder and lightning effects with the misting of the veggies? How COOL!!! Never heard of that before.

MariesImages said...

Now those bottom photos look so appetizing..... wonderful, bold color!