Jun 21, 2012

Lemon-Glazed Eggplant (or Chicken) with Stevia and Dijon

Summer's finally here! What do you crave when it's hot? I crave sour foods, like lemon -- one of the few fruits allowed on the body ecology diet and therefore one I've been using with increasing frequency. Another thing I've started doing is eating more animal proteins. What does this mean for the vegetarian, you might ask. Is he relegated to eating tofu and/or side dishes? Not at all! The beauty of having cooked (mostly) vegetarian for the past two years is that, when making something like chicken, I prepare two pans, side by side, with the same seasonings -- one of chicken and one of (in this case) eggplant. That means I get two dishes with one dish's worth of preparation. And the added bonus? An extra side dish for the omnivore (since I've basically doubled my vegetable intake).

As a side note, eggplant is not strictly allowed on the body ecology diet so if you're in stage one and don't want to risk it, by all means make only the chicken version. And, obviously, if you're a vegetarian, make only the eggplant. Serve with Mung-Bean Sprout Stir-Fry. Bon appetit!

Lemon-Glazed Eggplant (or Chicken) with Stevia and Dijon
inspired by Healthy Eats

Preheat oven to 375. Drizzle olive oil on a shallow roasting pan. Pepper eggplant slices (or chicken breasts). Set aside.

Zest 1/2 of 1 lemon. Segment and remove flesh from skin. Chop. Juice 2nd lemon. In a medium bowl, stir together zest, juice, stevia, mustard and thyme. Fold in lemon pieces, onion and garlic.

Spoon over eggplant (or chicken). Bake 30 minutes. Serve topped with parsley. Enjoy!

Edible Inspirations:

Jun 7, 2012

Monthly Cooking Adventure: Falafel (Fava Bean Fritters)

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." -- The Silence of the Lambs.

Not wanting to skip our Monthly Cooking Adventure this month (and wanting to see what would happen if I "went off" the Body Ecology Diet for an evening), the vegetarian and I picked fava beans as this month's main ingredient and I decided to make Falafel, fava bean fritters. I adapted the recipe from The Book of Jewish Food and, with my seasoning changes, everyone agreed they were the best Falafel we'd ever had ... if I do say so myself.

I actually tweaked the original recipe quite a bit. To counteract the bitter fava beans, I added pungent spring onions, salty sea salt, hot chile peppers, bittersweet cumin, garlic, sour yogurt and walnut oil. I also soaked the beans with a piece of kombu; this makes them easier to digest and I highly recommend it. The fritters are best right out of the oven (along with some hot sauce) so only make as many as you're going to eat. The batter saves well so you can fry up more whenever the inspiration strikes.

For a treat, I recommend them with Vegetable Couscous and Chickpea & Chile Pepper Salad. Bon appetit!

Falafel (Fava Bean Fritters)
adapted from The Book of Jewish Food

Place beans and kombu in a large pot and cover with cold water. Let soak 12 hours. Rinse, drain well and pat dry on a clean dishtowel.

Finely chop parsley and onions in a food processor (much easier than doing it by hand). Remove and put aside. Add beans to food processor and blend, pausing to scrape down the bowl, about 15 minutes, until it's a smooth paste about the consistency of chunky peanut butter. Add salt, chile powder, cumin, garlic and yogurt and process another 5-10 minutes until well combined. Return parsley and onions and pulse a few times, just until mixed through. Remove from food processor and set aside to rest for 1 hour.

To fry: The best bet is to do these in batches. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until just before it smokes. Take walnut-sized lumps of batter (smaller than you may be used to but, believe me, it works better) and shape them into round flat cakes. Fry as many as you can comfortably fit into the pan (without crowding!). Once the falafels are in, lower heat to low and let fry until golden, about 5 minutes on each side. While they're frying, set up a plate with a layer of paper towels on it. Remove falafels to this plate to drain once they're cooked. Serve with pita bread, salad or whatever you like. Enjoy!

Links to edible inspiration:

Jun 4, 2012

BED: Moroccan Fava Bean and Vegetable Soup

Two and a half years ago, not long after the vegetarian and I started dating, I came down with mononucleosis. Being over 21, and therefore past the age at which people normally contract this disease, I was hit particularly hard and all-but confined to bed-rest for the next eight months. What a way to start a relationship!

Once I was allowed to resume my normal life, I did so with my usual gusto. Much to my chagrin, however, I found that my energy stores were much lower than they'd ever been before. Not to mention the fact that my immune system was now totally shot. So I experimented with different things -- vitamins, vegetarianism, a higher protein diet -- and, while there were glimpses of more energy, nothing worked long-term.

About a month ago, I was killing some time in Barnes & Noble and happened upon a book that promised to "rebuild my immunity": the Body Ecology Diet book. A skeptic, I nevertheless began reading the introduction and, much to my shock, I felt as though Donna Gates was describing my very symptoms. So I've put myself on the Body Ecology Diet, at least as well as it can fit into my hectic life.

The basic tenets of the diet are no sugars (including most fruits, some vegetables, no dried beans, no dairy and no gluten) and 80% of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. Obviously some days (and meals) this is easier to follow than others. And living with a vegetarian who prefers grains and beans to vegetables has made cooking and meal-planning a challenge.

The good news, however, is that, frustrating as this has been, I've felt more consistently stronger and happier in the past three weeks than in the past two years. So, at least for now, this is the way to go. And don't worry -- our monthly cooking adventures will still be my monthly permission to myself to venture off. But for now, enjoy this soup with a Lemon-Chive Potato Salad and bon appetit!

Moroccan Fava Bean and Vegetable Soup

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot until it glides like water. Add leeks, onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add radishes, potatoes, fava beans, water, 1 teaspoon salt and parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Puree using an immersion blender. Add 1/4 teaspoon pepper, turmeric and cilantro and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring, 30 minutes. Add remaining salt and pepper. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro and remaining olive oil. Enjoy!

Inspirational Links:

Jun 3, 2012

Rustic Citrus Jicama Scramble

When the vegetarian and I first started this blog, I realized I needed to change my reading materials. I first discovered the world of food blogs back in 2005 when I was a student living in Paris and stumbled upon Chocolate and Zucchini. So I'm certainly no stranger to food blogs. But vegetarian food blogs? I had always found them too limiting. Of course, now that I (almost exclusively) cook vegetarian food, they don't seem quite so limiting anymore. And since I do sometimes get tired of adapting omnivore recipes for our kitchen, it's a welcome change to find a recipe that "needs" no tweaking. Plus, I get to learn about new (to me) ingredients that are often found in vegetarian kitchens. What's not to like?

One of the first vegetarian (actually vegan) food blogs I started following was Kathy's Healthy. Happy. Life. At that time (four months ago), I bookmarked this Rustic Citrus Carrot Scramble. Well, life got in the way (as it always does) and now it's May and I've finally found the time to start making some of the recipes saved in my "Blogworthy" folder. Of course, I tweaked the recipe to make it more springlike, most notably substituting jicama, a sweet root vegetable, for the carrots. I sauteed the jicama and tofu in some neutral canola oil along with some sesame oil, a sour-sweet orange, some white vinegar, salty soy sauce, sour lemon zest and kosher salt. I even used nutritional yeast for the first time; it took some getting used to but I'll definitely experiment with it more in the future! Kathy recommends this for breakfast but we had it for dinner, over kaniwa (a grain very similar to quinoa) and accompanied by Pinot Gris, with Kasseri cheese for dessert (for me). Bon appetit!

Rustic Citrus Jicama Scramble
inspired by Healthy. Happy. Life

Wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel and place on a plate. Put another plate on top and weight it down with cans and/or jars. Allow to sit and drain for 1 hour (or as long as possible).

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Swirl in canola oil. Add onion and saute 2 minutes.

Toss in jicama, sesame oil, orange and soy sauce. Unwrap tofu and crumble it in as well. Stir in nutritional yeast, lemon zest and pepper. Cook for another 4 minutes, mixing well and lowering heat and adding more oil if necessary. If pan seems dry, you can also break up orange and distribute its juices.

Turn off heat and add vinegar and salt. Let sit 2 minutes to cool and thicken. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

Inspirational Links: