Saturday, September 25, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Aged and Fermented foods
I found the following recipe in Professional Vegetarian Cooking by Ken Bergeron. I’ve edited it significantly though so don’t go searching there if you’ve forgotten my website. It is the perfect umami meal. The meatiness of the mushrooms, mixed with the wine and the soy sauce, will make your forget the absence of meat in this meal. Enjoy it with some sautéed dandelion greens with caramelized onions and tomatoes. Dandelion greens are deliciously bitter, but the sweetness of the tomato helps your taste buds deal with the bitterness. Finish it up with a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper, and you’ve got a balance of tastes that will satisfy your palate and your stomach.
Exotic Mushroom Tart
For the pie dough:
AP Flour 12 oz
Salt 1 ½ tsp
Butter, chilled 6 oz
4 tsp water
½ cup mixed fresh herbs (I used thyme and parsley from my garden, but use whatever you want. Have fun!)
2 cups Parmesan
Vegan option: Omit the eggs and the parmesan and substitute ½ cup Vegetable Shortening for the butter
For the Filling:
Onions, small diced 1 ½ cup
Carrots, small diced 1 ½ cups
Parsnips, small diced 1 ½ cups
Shallots, minced ¼ cup
Olive oil 2 TBS
White Wine, dry ½ cup
Exotic Mushrooms, such as shitake, oyster, enoki, lobster 10 cups
Fresh Thyme 2 TBS
Fresh Rosemary 2 TBS
Soy Sauce 2 TBS
Salt, Pepper To Taste
Note: To save on money, you can buy more of a cheaper variety of mushrooms (such as baby bella or button) to mix with the exotic mushrooms. The flavor won’t change much, but you’ll still get to enjoy the expensive ones!
For the pie dough
1. Mix the flour and salt together.
2. Cut the butter into small cubes. Mix it in with the flour salt mixture, using your fingertips, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the herbs.
3. Making a well in the center, mix in the water and eggs until the dough just comes together. Add more water if too dry. The dough should not be too sticky, so be careful.
4. Kneed out on a floured surface until the dough is smooth, about 1 minute.
5. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes until use. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
For the filling:
6. Sauté the onions, carrots, parsnips and shallots with the olive oil for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté another two minutes. Add the white wine and let it reduce to au sec (or almost dry.)
7. Add the remaining ingredients and sauté another 5 minutes, or until almost all the juices have evaporated. If the filling is too wet it will make the tarts soggy.
8. Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough on a floured surface until it is between ¼ - 1/8 inch thick. Using a 6-inch cookie cutter or other circular object with a 6-inch diameter (I used a cup), cut out circles and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can continue to roll out the dough as much as you need to until most of it is used up. If the dough gets too warm, place it back in the fridge to chill it down again.
9. Fill the circles with ¼ to a ½ cup of the mushroom mixture. Crimp the edges of the circle up, until it looks like a cute little coin purse. Brush the circles with the egg wash (Vegan substitute: use oil), and sprinkle with the parmesan.
10. Bake until the crust is a deep golden brown. Eat and enjoy!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Yet, despite all the reasons to love meat, I question why it is such a necessity in my life. Why does an animal need to loose its life, in order for my family to have a successful Thanksgiving? Maybe I have been reading too many books such as Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, but damn the life (and death) of a farmed animal sounds brutal. I can’t help but wonder what those animals must be feeling in those moments before death, whether they be killed in a humane or inhumane way. I do feel a certain connection to animals, and I’ve always had trouble separating that connection from the food on my plate. Then, I remind myself that eating meat is just part of the circle of life, and plus it’s delicious!
So I am left with, as Michael Pollan says, an “ominvore’s dilemma.” I can continue eating meat and wildly ignore the horrible way it got to my table. I can cut meat out of my diet and be slightly miserable forgoing things like sweet, smoky, crunchy, delicious bacon. Or, I can do what I am trying to do, only eat meat that I know has come from a humane, sustainable source. Though I feel that this is going to be very, very hard. I expect failure. But, I'm still going to try.
This choice brings some problems. I am a poor twenty-something recent college graduate, and I don’t quite have the money to eat grass-fed organic straight-from-the-farm kind of beef that I desire. Also, there is no way to guarantee that the meat I eat at restaurants follows my dietary choices. So, I have no choice but to eat more vegetables. But, a steak is not an even trade for a salad. How am I supposed to feel full on a meal of carrots and spring mix?
That’s why I’m here. To create recipes for other like-minded meat-lovers who might want to try an alternate diet. Recipes that are flavorful, satiating, and overall so good that you won’t miss the meat on your plate. But don’t expect meat to be missing from this blog, entirely. When I find some affordable sustainable humane meat (and the source can be guaranteed), I’ll put it on my plate and share how I did it.