Saturday, May 29, 2010

Not innovative, but delicious!

For the past week, E and I have been eating a largely animal-product-free diet, and it's been great!  We originally decided to take the plunge after we noticed that a lot of meals in which we ate meat, or eggs, or dairy left us feeling less than 100% great.  So far, the vegetarian diet has served us well!

Luckily, the transition has been pretty smooth, since we had already limited our intake of meat to about 2-3 meals per week for environmental reasons.  One slight problem has been my reliance on soups and stews in creating veggie meals, which aren't the most appealing things in the heat of summer.  Sunday, for instance, I made what amounted to veggie stew with zucchini, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and some other odds and ends with a side of couscous.  Delicious, yes. But had it been 10 degrees warmer, I don't think we would have been so jazzed.

Monday, though, I threw this together and it came out great.  I adapted this recipe -- minus the pine nuts, plus some perfect cherry tomatoes, and with twice the garlic -- and I highly recommend it!

The other interesting culinary experiment we conducted was spaghetti squash.  I've been meaning to try this for a while now, but the only other time we remembered to pick it up at the grocery store, it fell off our kitchen island and broke and got moldy. So that didn't work out.

It looks strange, but it was pretty tasty!  The texture was a lot like pasta, but it was crunchier, like squash.  This will definitely be back on our shopping lists in the future because it was easy and satisfying.  As a side dish, I made some Greek lemon rice using this recipe, but I used vegetable broth instead of chicken. I've used the recipe a couple other times, and it is a favorite side dish.

Last night I made a sort of eggplant lasagna.  The internet also taught me a new trick -- to peel the eggplant, slice it into rounds, and then salt the rounds and let them sit for about a half an hour.  The salt draws out the bitter juices in the eggplant, so you get a more flavorful, sweeter vegetable.  You can actual see the liquid gathering on top of the sliced eggplant.  After a half hour or so, you just rinse the salt and juice off, squeeze the eggplant dry, and cook with them as usual.  In this case, I pan cooked the eggplant for a few minutes and layered it with sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, fresh spinach, a couple of cooked lasagna noodles, and a sauce I made from tomato puree, a bunch of garlic, and some chopped onions.  After about 40 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees, we feasted.  Came out great!

I'm excited to continue expanding my vegetarian repertoire. I've been gently pushing E to go more veg for a while, and I'm glad we're both on the same page with this.  And we're both feeling great after a week of our new eating routine!  

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