Why I Am Posting These Recipes

I believe that it is healthier for an individual and for the planet to reduce the consumption of animal products in the human diet. However, I love to eat all kinds of delicious food, and find it really, really difficult to go totally vegetarian. Also, my family protests if I serve too many vegetarian meals in a row. So I am committed to making an effort to move towards a vegetarian diet without wholly doing so. I will post recipes several times a week that represent my philosophy of eating well, eating healthy, eating local. Most recipes will be easy to prepare, as I have a busy life. So I expect my followers to be people who love to cook and eat well, want to try to help the planet through their eating (by eating local foods and trying to reduce the use of meat in our diets), and have many other things to do each day besides cook.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Creamy Dip for Chips and Veggies

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
handful of fresh chives, chopped
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
handful of fresh dill, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
lots of freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix all ingredients together well.  Let sit for 1/2 hour or more in refrigerator to let flavors blend well.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stir-Fried Kale, Napa Cabbage and Snow Peas with Miso-Ginger Vinaigrette

My doctor reminded me the other day that I need to make sure I get lots of calcium in my diet to prevent osteoporosis.  Recently, I heard on the news that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against taking vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis, as studies show that taking them does not seem to reduce the occurrence of osteoporosis.  Other things I have read indicate that the best source of calcium is fruits and vegetables, because consuming calcium within animal products results in a metabolic process leading to your body actually excreting calcium.  Kale is one vegetable that is a particularly good source of calcium, so I bought a couple of bunches at the farmer's market and want to experiment with different ways to prepare it.  Today's recipe is one that I ate as a vegetarian main course last night.  With the brown rice, I found it filling and tasty.  Since snow peas are in season, I was able to buy them from a local farm, also.  

Olive oil for sautéing
2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 TBS rice vinegar
1 ½ tsp water
1TBS white miso
1 ½ tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp mirin
1 tsp ginger juice
1 ½ tsp tahini
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp soy sauce

½ head of Napa cabbage
bunch of Kale (about 12 leaves)
3 cups Snow Peas
1 large carrot, sliced diagonally.

Make sauce:  combine all ingredients and stir with a fork until smooth.
Prepare vegetables:  remove core from cabbage and slice horizontally.  Strip kale greens from stems and discard stems; chop kale.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir quickly, then add cabbage and kale.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring, then add carrots.  When vegetables are cooked (carrots should just be crisp-tender), add snow peas and cook for a few more minutes, stirring.  Serve sauce at room temperature over sautéed vegetables.  Brown rice is a nice accompaniment.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sauteed Summer Squash, Red Onions and Tomatoes

This was a quick and easy side dish I threw together the other night.  You could use any kind of onion, but I think the red onions when cooked until just a tiny bit brown are especially sweet.  The browning caramelizes the onions, making them taste almost like sugar.  Yum!  I served this with a simple fish dish, which was wonderful, but it would be good with all kinds of main dishes.  It makes a simple meal seem special.

2 yellow squash, sliced
2 zucchini, cut lengthwise down the middle then sliced
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
handful of fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Heat olive oil in large skillet.  Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft.  Add yellow squash and zucchini and continue to cook until vegetables just begin to turn a little brown.  Add tomato, basil, salt and pepper and cook a few minutes more.  Serves 4-6.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

 I apologize to my readers for the lengthy time since my last post.  I encountered technical difficulties which I had difficulty understanding and solving.  I and many (most?  all?) of my readers were prevented from viewing my blog with a "server not found" message.  In the end, I don't know exactly how the problem was solved, but am hopeful that the issue will not recur.

So here is my latest recipe.  For the most sustainability, use local chicken.

I have been concerned about using canned items because of information I have read about BPA lurking in the lining of cans used for food.    I recently found this tomato sauce that is in a carton instead of a can, so I feel more comfortable about the lack of toxicity in the tomato sauce, and I am guessing it might be better environmentally (though this is my intuition talking, rather than anything scientific I have read):

16 chicken thighs
22 oz. tomato sauce
3 medium onions, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
6 garlic cloves, pressed
olive oil
½ cup red wine
2 cups chicken broth
handful of fresh herbs:  basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
a couple of shakes of red chili pepper

Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken thighs.  Heat olive oil in skillet.  Brown thighs in batches over medium high heat and remove to slow cooker.  Pull off skin with your hands after they have cooled enough to handle, and discard skin.  Remove excess fat from skillet and return to burner.  Saute onions and green pepper in additional olive oil over medium heat, stirring, until onions are translucent.  Add ½ tsp. salt to mixture and stir.  Add pressed garlic cloves and stir quickly.  Transfer vegetables to slow cooker.  Mix tomato sauce and red wine together and add to slow cooker.  Pour chicken broth into the measuring cup or bowl that you used for the tomato sauce and red wine and swirl to get all the remaining sauce mixed in with the broth.  Add this to the slow cooker.  Chop fresh herbs and stir into mixture in slow cooker, along with bay leaves, red chili pepper salt and black pepper to taste.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Serve over brown rice.  Serves 8.