Tag Archives: food

Healthful Fast Food

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I really like Mark Bittman. His cookbook  How To Cook Everything Vegetarian taught me how to make eggplant that is not too chewy, slimy, mushy, or oily (dry fry it whole until the flesh collapses!); applesauce ideas (add savory flavor like garlic, cumin, or pepper!); and so much more. I regularly refer to his 2009 article “101 Simple Salads”. So of course I was happy to read his current NY Times Magazine article  “Yes, Healthful Fast Food is Possible. But Edible?”.

I’ve been thinking about the differences in fast food restaurants, such as McDonald’s and Burger King, which I never go to, and places like Chipotle, Potbelly’s, or Panera Bread, which I go to on occasion. I don’t have the illusion that the latter restaurants are healthful, but they do seem to be better than the former. (Plus they have vegetarian options on the menu). It was interesting to read the categories these restaurants fall into- quick serve, fast casual, premium fast casual…

I agree that food does not have to be vegetarian to be healthful, and that minimally processed foods are better options than imitation meats. I disagree, though, with his vegan friends’ argument that Americans aren’t ready for rice and beans, or chickpea and spinach stew. I think that a fast food restaurant, I mean, a fast casual or premium fast casual restaurant, that served quick lunches like that would be a hit! I would much rather have a stew, salad, or casserole made with vegetables, beans, and grains over an imitation meat product.

What are your thoughts?

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Kohlrabi Mushroom Quiche

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Kohlrabi is kind of crazy looking, so when it showed up at the farmers market, I had to buy it. I also buy mushrooms every week. I had to decide what to make before all my spoils spoiled, so I chose a simple quiche.

kohlrabi

Quiche might seem difficult, I guess because its French, but it really isn’t. I just cleaned and chopped the kohlrabi and mushrooms, then cooked them in the cast iron for a few minutes. I also made a pie crust, which can be hit or miss for me. This one turned out well, but I didn’t roll it out quite thin enough to make a decorative edge. To make an even quicker quiche, buy a crust. (Though really, crust doesn’t take long aside from the chill the dough at least an hour step).

Then, I put the cooked veggies into the crusts, shredded a little cheddar cheese, sliced a tomato, and whisked some eggs with soy milk.

preparing

After that, I poured the eggs in, sprinkled the cheese on and laid the tomatoes on top. I baked it for about 35 minutes, then had delicious quiche.

quiche

Gnocchi and Kale. So Easy.

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As much as I enjoy cooking meals with lots of ingredients and new techniques, it’s not something I can do super often. Mostly because I don’t have time. So here’s a meal I made in about 20 minutes and it was just as tasty as some that have taken hours.

I bought packaged whole-wheat gnocchi, cooked it up and added a can of Muir Glen diced tomatoes (they are way better than any other canned tomatoes, in my opinion).

Then I chopped some kale and cooked it down with salt, curry powder, and balsamic vinegar.

So easy, so tasty, so quick. I could eat kale every day. It’s my new favorite vegetable.

My Husband; My Personal Baker

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It started with bread. Then it moved on to bagels. Now he wants to try pretzels as soon as we get some cream of tarter.

My mom got us the cookbook Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day last November. My husband skeptically decided to try it out. We haven’t bought bread since.

 

 

The thing is, it really is just about 5 minutes a day in active preparation. There is no kneading or anything. The rest of the time is letting it rise and bake. I don’t really understand how it works, but it does!

Why am I not as into it as he is? I’m not sure. I enjoy the process of measuring and mixing, and these recipes are so simple they lack that process. I also like baking sweets rather than breads. Baking bread doesn’t interest me as much as it does him, but I am hugely grateful that he took to it. Because eating delicious homemade bread interests me a lot.

Pasta with Extra Hidden Vegetables

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I don’t remember what cookbook I read it in, but a long time ago I found a recipe for “Fettuccine Alfonso.” This was a vegan version of Alfredo in which the sauce was made from pulverized corn, garlic, and soy milk. Maybe even some nutritional yeast, I’m not sure. I’ve made it a few times, and it’s decent. But this time I wanted a little more substance.

First, I sauteed onions, artichokes, and garlic, then added spinach. Separately, I put a bag of frozen corn (wish I would have let it defrost) into the food processor with some soy milk, salt, and pepper. Then, I heated that up once it was nearly liquified.

Then, I cooked some spinach rotini and combined everything. I topped it with grated Parmesan because I love using the rotary grater, but this could be made vegan without the cheese.

If I was to make it again, I would make the sauce a little thinner and use an extra container of artichokes. And more garlic. I’d always add more garlic.

Best Birthday Cake Ever

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One thing I wanted for my birthday was a cake so cool that when it was presented, everyone would clap and cheer, just like they do for the Cake Boss. Simple enough, right? So my friend Andrea decided that instead of paying a ton of money to get an awesome cake for me, she’d do it herself!

The only thing I knew about it was that it was going to be lavender/lemon flavored and that I was going to really like it. She totally exceeded my expectations, and when she presented the cake, everyone cheered and clapped. No joke!

She made the base round cake, covered it in fondant she also made herself, used a stamping tool to look like basket weave, and intertwined the rolled fondant edge. She (I think) scooped other baked pieces into 3 round spheres and covered them with fondant and fondant spaghetti shaped stuff made from like a play-doh press.

The final, though inedible, touch was the knitting needles she stuck in the top.

I can’t decide if it tasted better or looked better.

But thanks to the photos I get to have my cake, and I ate it too.

Andrea- care to comment on your work?

Individual Figgy Apple Pies

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My mom bought me Vegan Pie in the Sky for Christmas. The first recipe I tried out was the Cosmos Apple Pie. I really think Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero are mind readers, or at least, they know their audience. Their cookbook stated that this apple pie would be the first recipe tried. When I bought their cookbook the Veganomican, I first flipped to the dessert section, where I was surprised to read, “We figured you’d flip here first…”

So anyway, the second recipe I tried from the pie cookbook was the Figgy Apple Hand Pies, since I still had a couple of granny smiths leftover, not to mention a couple slices of apple pie still in the fridge.

I’m not going to reveal the recipe- you’ll have to get the cookbook yourself, but I will show you the outline.

First, you need to make the crust by combining flour with non-hydrogenated margarine and soy yogurt among a few other things.

When it’s all combined, you have to refrigerate it for a bit while you make the filling. The filling is basically apples, figs, maple syrup and cinnamon that gets cooked to perfection before being baked.

Then you roll out the dough, cut it into smaller rectangles, fill them up, fold them over, and bake.

Once that’s all done, let them cool, and enjoy!

As is everything developed by these cookbook authors, these hand pies are delicious. The crust is flaky and soft, but hold together perfectly. The filling is sweet, but not too sweet. They’re good enough to share, but you’ll probably end up keeping them.