Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Reluctant Vegetarian, Part Two

Today was the ultimate test of my newly adapted lifestyle: hamburger night... My roommates had requested it due to the rare occasion of me taking them grocery shopping yesterday and as the residential chef in our apartment, I agreed because I told them if they request it, I'll make it. Let me be perfectly honest, I was kind of dreading this because I know that I don't have a very strong will and like I said, I love meat. But I am here to tell you, my fellow foodies, that I came out on top, resisting the call of juicy red meat. WOOT!

Actually, it really wasn't all that hard once I started making the hamburgers. It wasn't because I tricked myself into thinking they would taste bad (I knew they'd taste delicious) and it wasn't because I was picturing some dewy-eye cow in a green pasture. No, I was able to reject the meat simply because it looked gross when I was cooking it. Each time I pressed down to flatten the patties, thick grease would ooze into the pan until I had to scoop it out. Yuck. I could just feel my arteries clogging when I thought about eating them. Surprisingly enough, the thing I caved on was my potato avoidance (supposedly those are bad for Type A). Those french fries looked so good, though, and my food wasn't ready yet, so I had a few. Oh well, Rome wasn't built in a day. Thankfully, my food didn't take long to make and it was really tasty. I've also discovered a new food: quinoa. The little grain reminds me of couscous; it was definitely a nice break from rice.
Black-eyed peas with leeks and quinoa. Yummy. It was light, quick, and best of all, filling. The cilantro in the dish was a good compliment and the leeks gave it a good bite. Who knew vegetarian stuff could be so good?

Black-eyed peas with leeks

2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (I used canned)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a cast-iron skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add leeks and garlic, turning well to coat with oil. Add water, cover, and braise leek until soft (or desired softness, mine still had a bit of crunch). When the leeks are done, add the beans and heat thoroughly. Toss gently with the cilantro and salt. Serve hot with rice or quinoa for dinner or cold/ room temperature with olive oil and lemon juice dressing for lunch. Serves 4.

Since I'm new to this whole vegetarian thing, recipes would be nice. Yes, I understand I'm not really a vegetarian, but I'm still clueless. Now it's time for the other part of cooking: cleaning... Until next time, eat well!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Reluctant Vegetarian

Damn, foiled by science once again. Yesterday, while helping some very good friends move into their new apartment, I happened to come across a book, "Eat Right 4 Your Type" which discusses how to eat according to your blood type. I gave one of the friends a quizzical look and she immediately told me to take it home to read. Now, when it comes to diets, I'm a skeptic mostly because of my food issues in high school. Even though I wasn't really overweight, I considered myself to be (like a typical teenage girl) and put myself through one diet after another paired with strenuous exercise programs. If I hadn't have come to my senses senior year, I can say without a doubt that I would have a serious eating disorder now. The only thing about this "Eat Right 4 Your Type" program is, it actually makes sense. I wish it didn't, though, because according to the book, some of my favorite foods are ones my blood type should avoid. Like meat.

Now, I know people that are vegetarians and all of them love the lifestyle. Me, however, I'm a meat and potatoes kind of gal that sometimes craves nothing more than a thick, juicy burger. And now some guy is telling me I shouldn't have meat?! What kind of world is this? Apparently one where you can't always get what you want. Despite my complaining, though, I'm going to give this a try, mostly for vanity issues once again. Lately I've noticed that I seem a bit heavier, so I weighed myself only to find out that I've gained almost 20 pounds in the last year. Not cool. Sure, I've stopped running and sure I was stuck eating college campus food for a while, but that's no excuse. So here I am again, about to start a diet, only this time I'm going to try and make it more of a long term change. Let the point be made, though, I'm not giving up meat completely, I can't. I'll just start with cutting out red meat and pork, then go from there because after tonight, I realized I can't live off tofu.

Mmm... Looks tasty, huh? There you have it, folks, the mysterious stuff known as tofu. Now, don't get me wrong, they aren't kidding when they say tofu takes on whatever flavors you cook it in, but something about the texture... It's a bit like scrambled eggs and while that's all well and good, I don't think I want to feel like I'm eating eggs all the time. Tofu has none of the resistance meat does; personally, I think that's boring. I'll give it a chance, though, especially in stir fry like the one I made tonight. Thankfully the book came with recipes that, unlike most diet books, actually seem good. Dinner for me was broccoli and a stir fry composed of curried tofu, apricots, almonds, and brown rice. It was quite tasty, to tell the truth. Maybe I can do this whole quasi-vegetarian thing. Guess we'll just have to see.