I know, I know, I know, it's not Monday! But a Meatless Monday can happen any day of the week. And why should one do a Meatless Monday? Because it's not only good for you, but good for our planet. On top of that cows, chicken, and fish love it! :) The trend started during WWI when rations for meat were sometimes scarce. Cutting back on meat once a week was a way for everyone to help in the war effort while sending more animal products to the troops. FDR re-introduced it again during WWII for the same reasons. But the benefits of substituting a vegetarian diet one day a week for a meat based diet now are both personal and global. From weight management, to reduced risk of heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes, to saving money and reducing your carbon foot print (the costs and environmental impact of raising, processing, and distributing meat are substantial), you can do yourself big favor by embracing a meatless diet, even just once a week. It also has the potential of stretching your culinary boundaries as well. Something I always think of as good. Strive to create a complex protein by mixing nuts and wheat (think peanut butter and whole wheat bread), rice and beans, lentils and rice, hummus (chickpeas have special nutritional properties) and pita, or tofu (the baked seasoned loaves at Trader Joe's are really good!). Mix these with a little healthy fat like olive oil or avocado slices or low fat diary, and lots of vegetables. You will feel full and your body will feel fantastic! And you just may develop a love for meatless meals that goes beyond once a week :).
To get your started, I've got a couple of delicious recipes to share with you...something healthy, tasty and a little exotic. They are both great recipes and they are all part of our Fall-Winter 2018 Menu. Click here to go to our website and have a look at all our new menu options. If you would like any of the recipes you see on the site, send me a message. I'm happy to pass them along! Don't forget to keep in touch with all the goings-on in the LAFW kitchen by clicking onto our Facebook page and becoming a fan or following us on Instagram!
Happy Healthy 2018!!!! Looking forward to cooking with you all soon!
Coconut Rice with Peas and Pineapple
I absolutely love this version of coconut rice. Because the peas (which are a lentil) are paired with rice, we've got our complex protein, but it's the Masala Pineapple topping that pushes the dish to an extra special level. You won't miss meat or fish for one minute! I came up with this version of the classic Southeast Asian dish by putting together two separate recipes. Special thanks to former LAFW chef Tahia Lameer for sharing her aromatic and super delicious pineapple curry recipe with me. Featured on our Fall-Winter Menu, I think this pineapple crowns the rice perfectly!
For the Rice
2 tablespoons coconut oil 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
For the Pinapple
1 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 15 ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, drained and juice reserved
2 tablespoons coconut milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons toasted coconut
Photo by Chef Suzi and her iphone!
For the Rice: Put coconut oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and let cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add rice, salt and ginger, stir to coat. Let rice sizzle for minute then add coconut milk and water. Give it a quick stir to combine, and bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low and put on a tight-fitting lid.
Cook for 20 minutes, then turn off heat and let rest for 10 minutes. Fluff rice and stir in peas.
Meanwhile, make the pineapple: Heat oil in another medium sauce pan over medium-low until it shimmers. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop. Gently add pineapple chunks (the oil will sputter), and the rest of the ingredients. Stir thoroughly and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, adding reserved pineapple juice if mixture dries out.
To serve, transfer rice to serving shallow serving bowl or a large platter, making a depression in the middle and then spoon in the pineapple. Garnish with toasted coconut and serve.
Makes 8 servings. Per Serving: 325 Calories; 11g Fat (29.7% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 53g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 163mg Sodium.
Butternut Squash and Mushroom Wellingtons
A couple of years ago, I found this recipe in one of my daily emails from the New York Times Cooking section. It had a caption that said something like, "What to cook for a vegetarian guest coming to Thanksgiving dinner". Of course, the NY Times would never suggest something boring and this recipe by Melissa Clark does not disappoint. Although not a complex protein dish, the goat cheese component provides plenty of protein. Like the other famous Wellington, a sautéed chopped mushroom mixture (or as the French call it, duxelle), is wrapped up in puff pastry. However, instead of wrapping it with beef, we layer duxelle, goat cheese and roasted chopped butternut squash, then wrap all of that in the puff pastry. Yeah, it's as good as it sounds! To cut down on calories, and the heaviness of the dish, I like to roll out the puff pastry to half it's original thickness. I just prefer to keep it lighter which also allows the other ingredients to be highlighted more vividly. It's a beautiful, impressive dish that is worth a little effort in the kitchen. This one is also featured on our current Fall-Winter Menu but the possibilities are endless, so make any kind of Wellington you can think of!
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" cubes 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
pinch of paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 large shallot, finely chopped
3/4 pound mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped 1/3
cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablepsoons chopped parsley
flour for dusting work surface
8 ounces puff pastry sheets, thawed if frozen
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water for egg wash
Heat the oven to 400F degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix together the squash cubes, olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast the squash for 15 minutes and cook until golden, but not till very soft, about 15 minutes.
Remove squash from oven (do not turn the oven off) and place the vegetables in a bowl. Stir in the syrup, thyme, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let cool while preparing the mushrooms.
In a large skillet or saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in garlic and shallot; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and another 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until mushrooms are soft and their juices evaporate, about 7 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until the mixture is dry, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the pepper and parsley. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, unwrap the puff pastry and roll it out to make it thinner and into an 11 x 15 inch rectangles. Cut the large rectangle into 2 7.5-by- 11 inch smaller rectangles.* Spread mushrooms on each pastry rectangle leaving 1/4-inch border. Spoon the cheese crumbles over the mushrooms. Then spoon the squash over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border (it will look like a stripe of squash lying on a bed of cheese and mushrooms).
Brush half of the exposed borders of dough on each rectangle with the egg wash(*You will be pinching these together to seal but if both sides to get pinched have egg wash, they wont stick together as well. Better to have one wet side and one dry side meeting). Fold the long sides up to meet in the middle and pinch together to seal; pinch the ends, too. Transfer the pastries to the baking sheet and turn them over so that the seam is face down. Brush the tops generously with more egg wash. Bake until they are puffed golden, and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.
*If you don't want to do all the measuring and cutting, just use two sheets of puff pastry that are not rolled out. This will be fine, however there will be a significant amount more of bulk and calories because of the extra pastry sheet).
Source: adapted from a recipe published in the New York Times, November 5, 2010 by Melissa Clark
Per Serving: 327 Calories; 23g Fat (62.9% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 46mg Cholesterol; 294mg Sodium.