Monday, April 25, 2011

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday, Volume 21: The Three P’s: Pea Shoots, Parmesan, and Pinata Apples- Ole!

I was excited.  I’d taken a task off of my things to do and it had been wildly successful.  That task is food shopping, or at least not all of it.

I have to go to an array of stores and sometimes it just doesn’t happen, especially this time of year when there isn’t any food to harvest off of the deck.

Luckily, there’s a great local resource in Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks.  Think a localvore/organic food delivery service and you’ve got the best of Irv and Shelly.  A part of my order included a fruit/vegetable box and that had in it pears, piñata apples, and a beloved sign of spring—pea shoots.

All day, I thought about the lovely sign of spring that pea shoots have come to symbolize and I couldn’t wait to use them.

I get in and reach for the champagne vinegar and the mustard, and the grapeseed oil.  I pull out the vessel of fine sea salt; yes we keep more than one kind of salt in the house, and pepper.

I knew the pears were ripe because I saw them in the fruit bowl that morning.  I pull out the pea shoots from the fridge and a hunk of parmesan that I will shave for dinner.  When I get to the fruit bowl, I almost yelp, “WTW”!  There were no pears in my fruit bowl.  There were kiwis, grapefruits, tangerines, bananas, and a pomegranate that’s been there since before Thanksgiving.

For a quick moment I had no idea what I was going to do.  I bet you know what it’s like to have your mind fixed on eating something and once you’ve decided what it is, nothing else will do.

Then it clicked and I remembered that part of the fruit/vegetable box was a bag of apples called piñata.  Okay, I got this!

Three P’s Salad

1 bunch of pea shoots, separated from roots
piñata apples, sliced
Parmesan, shaved with a mandolin or vegetable peeler into curls
¼ c grapeseed oil
4 T. champagne vinegar
1 T. mustard

Toss the first three ingredients in a large bowl to combine.

Place grapeseed oil, champagne vinegar, and mustard in a jar.  Cover.  Shake vigorously until combined.

Pour over salad and enjoy!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday, Volume 20: Winter Tomatoes Help You Say Goodbye to the Sugar Habit

I’ll admit it, I’m scared.  Yesterday, I read the NY Times Sunday Magazine.  This issue focused on health.  There was an article on what happens to everyone, not just air traffic controllers when they get inadequate sleep.  There was another article highlighting how sitting shaves years off of your life.  Finally, there was the whopper,  an article about the dangers of pure sweet—S-U-G-A-R.

The article makes no differences between the white crystallized stuff or high fructose corn syrup.  It doesn’t say so in the article, but I think it doesn’t matter if you use agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup.  The bottom line is there are a couple of prominent cancer researchers and others in the field of child obesity who won’t consume sugar.

The problem is we are hard-wired for sweet.  A very long time ago, before we learned to process sugar, we had to rely on the occasional honey pot from bees or just wild berries.  Now we can eat it at will, and we do eat it., frequently disguised in our foods.

Today’s dish is an ode to summer, the sweetness of summer, while we still get snow in April here in Chicago.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes, adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients  (yes, there's no mistake, only 2)

2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh basil, chiffonade

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place halved tomatoes cut-side up in a single layer on the cookie sheet.  

This can take a long time, depending on how juicy your tomatoes are, but start checking them at about the 2 hour mark.

The tomatoes are done when there is no more apparent moisture in them when you bite into one.

The beauty of this dish is it does NOT require peak of summer tomatoes in order to be sublime.  You can take those lovely looking (they rarely taste great) cherry tomatoes, or a larger variety, and swear at the end of roasting that you plucked these off the vine in August.

What do you do with them?  They never last long enough in our house to require packing in oil, but if you don’t eat them fast enough then sure, place them in a container and cover them with oil.  We eat them plain, like raisins or pop them in salads, on sandwiches, wherever one wants a true taste of summer perfect tomatoes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday, Volume 19: Vegetables are the Main Dish

Vegetables are the Main Dish is a play on Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s, “ Salad is the Main Dish”.

We all talk about wanting to eat healthier.  We all talk about wanting to look better.  We think we have plenty of time then Bam!  WTW! A 80 + degree day in Chicago.  It’s a day for shorts and hanging out at the lakefront, but um, er, it’s still winter here right?

I should have at least 6 weeks to get my body ready for the beach.

So here it is, a quick, tasty, high nutrition, low carb, and low calorie vegan entree.

This dish is chock full of taste and spice.

Green Beans and Shiitake Mushrooms  inspired by Red Light


1 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil
1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, peeled & minced
1 Pound Green Beans, snap ends off
6 Ounces Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed and sliced into thirds
1 Tablespoon Organic Dark Brown Sugar, can substitute with maple syrup
14 Cup Dark Soy Sauce

Add oil to hot non-stick skillet or wok over medium high heat. Once the oil is glistening add the fresh ginger and garlic to the pan. Stir until fragrant.

Add green beans and stir constantly for 2-4 minutes.

Add mushrooms to the pan and stir until tender, about 2 minutes.

Mix soy sauce and brown sugar together. Pour sauce over vegetables. Decrease heat. Allow the sauce to thicken and coat vegetables. Serve.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday, Volume 18: When a Sandwich Is More Like a Meal

I have a confession.  I know it maybe un-American, but I’m not a fan of sandwiches.

I don’t like them for lunch.  I don’t like them as a snack.  I don’t like them for dinner.

I like a hot meal, served on a plate, preferably with flatware, okay, okay and on a plate (no Styrofoam).

So, I went to a Sandwich Supper Party the other night.  A baker-friend hosted. She likes to challenge me.  So I thought.  And I thought.  Then landed on a winner!

This is delicious.  Still it took some time to pull together, because one of the most important parts of a sandwich, even if you think you know what you want as a filling, is the bread.

People can be very particular about their sandwiches so I learned that there is controversy over whether a lettuce wrap (low-crab), or a tamale, or a turnover, or a hand pie would qualify as a sandwich.  After ruling out such exotic items I was left with a filling between bread.  Once I decided I lacked the time to bake my own bread, I found I was not the only one struggling with where to get bread.  There is an entire thread over on the LTH Forum dedicated to the best baguette in the city.  I picked my bread from a suggestion there and I was well served.

How do I know?  Here’s what a couple of the attendees had to say:

 i ate your bocadillo(sp?)  for lunch and dinner today. (i slept thru breakfast, or i'd probably have eaten it then, too.)  so delicious!  and i wish i'd known about cook au vin's baguette before i made my sandwich, as the baguette was much easier to chew than the ones i bought. . glad to know for the future. and it reheats beautifully, FYI.

    Your sandwich was amazing, ma'am. Wow J let me take a few slices home. The leftovers, reheated, even better, if possible. The sweet potato was a nice addition. Also, the bread. Every component was great. The end. Thanks

Bocadillo de tortilla de patates y la batata con aioli   Serves 8

Ingredients for the tortilla de patates y la batata (omelet of potato and sweet potato)

13  cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
13 pound Sweet Potato, peeled & sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds
1         medium Onion, halved & sliced 1/8 inch thick
23 pound Yukon Potato, peeled & sliced into 1/8 inch thick rounds
10 large Eggs (Seriously, get your hand on some farm eggs)
      14 teaspoon Black Pepper

        1 really, really good baguette (not too hard, not too soft, just right!), apx. 3 feet long

Step 1

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes,onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and stir to coat thoroughly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and onion are soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 2

2. Whisk the eggs, pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt together until uniformly yellow. Pour the eggs over the potatoes, stir gently to combine, and continue to cook until the eggs begin to set, about 1 minute

Step 3

3. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the eggs are cooked, the top is puffed, and the edges have pulled away slightly from the sides of the pan, about 12-15 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to loosen the tortilla from the skillet, then carefully slide it onto a cutting board. Slice into strips that will fit your bread. (The tortilla can also be made up to 4 hours in advance and served at room temperature.)

For the Aioli

1 medium clove garlic , peeled
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice , plus 1 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/4teaspoon table salt
3/4cup olive oil

 Grate garlic. Measure out 1 teaspoon garlic; store the remaining garlic for another use.

In a food processor (or high powered blender) mix garlic, yolks, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste until combined, about 10 seconds. With machine running, gradually add oil in slow steady stream (process should take about 30 seconds; and process 5 seconds longer. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper.

Assembling the Sandwich

Slice baguette, down its side, in equal halfs (do not slice completely through the bread). Flex baguette backwards along the seam so that it lays open and flat.
Spread aioli inside of the baguette.  Lay long strips of tortilla inside of the baguette (overlapping is fine).  Cut into 3-4 inch sandwiches and serve.

Dare I say it? Ole!