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Fat Guy

Vegetarian for a week

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Stupid question, but you did use salt in the kale dish? I know that sounds really daft, but I've noticed that many people, when they try to cook in a new way sometimes forget to do routine things like add salt!

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Shakshouka is a favorite of mine and is easy to make at home.

Also, what jenni says is something I have noticed also. Sometimes when people try to cook with out meat, they try to make it very healthy, and leave out salt etc. And the resulting blandness gets blamed on the lack of meat.

Kale is not my favorite vegetable, but when I cook it I tend to put it in a vegetable stew kind of thing, tomatoes, white beans, and kale, onions garlic herbs etc, and just let it cook for a good while till the kale is actually almost melty.

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For that dish I used both salt and soy sauce. I think it had enough saltiness. It just wasn't good!

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Cut and run. Maybe it was just a lousy recipe. Wouldn't be the first one.

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So far today has not been an interesting day. I had the usual cereal and yogurt combination for breakfast, and a toasted bagel with Swiss cheese for lunch. I have to go to a meeting tonight where the food is likely to be pizza. I may make salads for the family tonight too.

I hope to do some actual cooking tomorrow.

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I did wind up making salads this afternoon. My son PJ prefers his deconstructed, so he got a vegetable plate. He and Ellen both got tofu in theirs. I didn't -- I had pizza at my meeting so certainly didn't need additional protein.

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This was one of those disorganized days in which I can't really figure out how to make lunch and dinner, so we have linner. Linner happens usually somewhere between 3 and 4. We might have a late cocktail hour and/or a snack or dessert later, it's rarely planned.

Today there was a snack around 1pm: smoothies, made from peaches, sorbet, a little bit of vanilla ice cream, and milk. Excellent, and very peachy.

I've been craving rice pudding, so I made some of that.

Linner was one of my stand-by summer salads: french fingerlings, snap peas and radishes with a creamy mustardy curry dressing, served warm. It was accompanied by a very simple avocado salad, with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and some fine shreds of red baby onion. Also there were crackers and my new favorite cheese, something labeled Pecorino Classico, and which makes lovely thin curls and can also be used as a grating cheese. Surprisingly unsalty.

The rice pudding is chilling, so I am guessing there will a late-night snack. And since my husband recently went on a business trip to Louisville and came back with a new-found fascination with bourbon, a shot of that may be called for as well. I'm still on a Bulleit rye kick, but now Bulleit bourbon is challenging it to a duel. Not at dawn, in case you were wondering.

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I tend to think that going Vegan for a week will be a much more difficult task. :)

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Had the morning off work so headed out for lunch - i forget what this was called on the menu but basically it was a flat bread base with caponata at one end, spinach and pinenuts in the middle and a red onion and herb mix at the other end.

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Off to Beirut for the weekend and craving hindbe (dandelion in oil) served with caramelised onion on top, think this weekend will end up being veggie for me as ive had prawns in some way, shape or form every day this week pretty much and am prawned out...

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Breakfast today was yogurt and fruit.

For lunch I made a "vegetarian but not locavore" platter: Israeli pickles, Greek olives, Australian cheddar, French mustard and French Culinary Institute sourdough bread (the one locally produced item, albeit made from flour that was surely produced elsewhere).

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I'm hoping it cools down enough this evening for me to do some real cooking.

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Dumb question: Is your glass pink or is your drink pink? Or both?!

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That's the color of the glass, which is made of plastic. Inside is just water.

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I've started two pots of beans: kidney and cannellini. I plan to make a vegetarian chili with kidney beans and tofu, and a white bean and escarole soup. I might also make some lentils into an approximation of daal with Indian-type spices. The beans should be ready for use in a couple of hours.

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Tonight I did a bunch of cooking. I started by making beans according to the Russ Parsons no-soak procedure I outlined here a few years ago.

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Here's my mise en place for the three items I planned to cook: vegetarian chili with kidney beans and tofu, white bean and escarole soup, and Indian-spiced lentils.

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Each of the three dishes started out the same: onions, carrots, celery and garlic, with salt, cooked to develop flavor.

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At this point the preparations diverge: first when adding the different seasoning mixtures, then when adding beans or lentils (the lentils were not pre-cooked, because they cook so quickly anyway) and finally with the addition of chopped tomatoes to the white beans and the chili (not the lentils).

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After giving the flavors time to blend, I added escarole to the white beans and tofu to the chili (there was nothing added to the lentils).

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As the dishes neared completion, I adjusted seasoning. In all cases, more salt. In the case of the lentils, I added some paprika too, and more pepper.

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Once they're cool enough, I'll pack these in containers -- some in the refrigerator and some in the freezer -- for use throughout the coming week.

For my own dinner, I made a Swiss-cheese omelet and some toasted French Culinary Institute bread.

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Steven I admire your ambition--and your ability to keep the ingredients straight for three types of legumes and three pots at one time. Your omelet looks yummy. I've been thinking I should probably get more protein, since most of my veg meals have had little cheese, and no eggs. Being a dedicated vegetarian would be very hard for me, since cholesterol is something I have to limit. Some of my husband's family are diehard vegetarians and they eat mountains of cheesy entrees. I have to admit, I am starting to look forward to some shrimp in a couple of days.

Today's lunch was an avocado salad with red onions and a peach smoothie.

This evening we made mint juleps for the first time. Really tasty, but they made me wish I had some cheese straws to go with. That bottle of Bulleit Bourbon is disappearing quickly. The rest of the meal was sort of southern too, but only if you mean southern Europe. As you noted Greek and middle eastern food lends itself to a vegetarian diet. I grilled eggplants on the barbie and made Baba Ghanouj. I love it when it's still warm. Along with that we devoured most of a baguette, Greek salads and some surprisingly flavorful blue lake beans from the farmers' market, dressed only with a squeeze of lemon, olive oil and salt. My husband is chowing down on the leftover rice pudding, but I'm too full.


Edited by Katie Meadow (log)

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I've been surprised at how much dairy protein I've been eating on this vegetarian regimen: yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs, butter. I want to try to reduce those a bit, to get more in the spirit. That's part of what motivated me to lay in a supply of vegetarian -- vegan, actually -- entree items that can form a complete meal when served with rice or whatever.

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I've been surprised at how much dairy protein I've been eating on this vegetarian regimen: yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs, butter. I want to try to reduce those a bit, to get more in the spirit...

People tend to miss the luxurious mouth-feel of fats when eating vegetarian dishes. Vegetables may be starchy, but they are also "lean." That's why the craving for dairy and eggs. Also, veggies have an earthy, bitter edge to them, even the sweet veggies like carrots. Dairy distracts from and ameliorates the bitterness. All this is a complicated way to say, I think you're normal.

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I've been surprised at how much dairy protein I've been eating on this vegetarian regimen: yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs, butter. I want to try to reduce those a bit, to get more in the spirit. That's part of what motivated me to lay in a supply of vegetarian -- vegan, actually -- entree items that can form a complete meal when served with rice or whatever.

Have you experimented with using small amounts of avocado (about 17% fat, according to USDA stats) to give a richer mouth feel to foods? It's surprisingly neutral tasting (McGee even recommends it as an addition to sorbets, in The Curious Cook), and does the job extremely well.

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Were I to eat vegan, I'd probably rely on avocado a lot.

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In salads, I often just use avocado as the "oil." In other words, as I toss the salad with my "impeccably clean hands," I smash up the avo and it becomes the dressing, along with perhaps some freshly squeezed lemon juice or other acid...even the tomatoes, if they're good, can become the acidic component.

I know that the Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines have been mentioned a lot as being great for vegetarians. I haven't yet seen dishes that require very little cooking, like tabbouleh or cacik (cucumber-yogurt soup) or the great bean salads, using canned beans.

Of course, when I go "vegetarian," which tends to last for a meal or so, I love thinking Italian. Caprese, of course, but pasta e fagioli is great too. The vegetable/pasta dishes of southern Italy are satisfying and healthy as well, and just a little grating of a fine Parmesan of Pecorino goes a long way to boost flavor.

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Your three pots, three dishes definitely shows off multi-tasking. :smile:

Here are some of my fav, vegetarian dishes:

Fish-Fragrant Eggplant

Meatless Ma-po Tofu

Meatless Singapore Rice noodles

Moosewood's Hungarian Mushroom Soup - substitute chicken stock with veg stock

Vospapur - Armenian Lentil Spinach Soup - again with veg stock

Vegetarian Lasagna from Loony Spoons - my daughter's fav.

Egg Fo Young with bean sprouts, mushrooms, onion, celery, cabbage

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Vegetable stock. I need to make some of that. I better start a topic.

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(There are already a few. Going to read now.)

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