Sunday, April 11, 2010

Living La Vegan Loca? (Guest Post)


So, when this posts - I will be in the middle of all the wonderfulness in Orlando.  As a special treat, I asked my friend - Gina Ventola, if you she'd like to do a guest post on her experience in feeding her family vegan over Lent this year.  I hope you enjoy this and give her recipes a try!  xxoo Susie aka Hick Chick



Living La Vegan Loca?                                                                                 Gina Ventola
For the second year in a row, my husband and I gave up animal products for Lent.  That meant no meat, cheese, milk, butter, eggs, etc from Ash Wednesday to Easter.  You can imagine the impact on my carnivore, Atkins-devotee husband.  However, he chose to join me in this and I would like to share our experience with you.
This type of fast, sometimes known as the “Daniel Fast” originated in the Bible:
“…Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see."                       Daniel 1:12,13
Through the wonderful advancement of technology, we now have a lot more vegan options than in biblical times.  There are many good sources of plant-based protein.  My preferred choices are mushrooms, lentils, tofu and beans.  While we are on the subject of beans, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the “methane elevation syndrome” side effect.  Rinsing beans before using can dramatically reduce this. There are many cultures who enjoy a vegetarian/vegan diet.  For me, it never seemed like deprivation when eating different cuisines versus not having meat.  I love texture but let’s face it, beans are very soft.  If you have beans several nights in a row, it can get bland and boring.  To combat this, I developed some recipes to break up the monotony. Spices are a true friend to the vegetarian/vegan cook.  For my recipes, I always list spices “to taste”.  What may be tasty to me may be flaming hot to others so I recommend adding a little and then tasting.
To be honest, eating this way for an extended period of time would be very tiresome to me.  While I have tremendous respect for my vegetarian/vegan friends, it is definitely not a life choice for me.  However, I do enjoy vegetable-based meals and plan on incorporating them into my diet more often.
For the record, I am having steak and eggs for breakfast on Easter! Oh, did I mention that we also gave up sugar???
RECIPES
(This recipe was inspired by a “skillet” dish made popular at a chain restaurant)
SPICY BLACK BEANS WITH ROASTED POTATOES
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. water
2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
1/3 c. parsley, chopped finely (optional)
3 T. olive oil, divided
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
cumin, to taste
chili powder, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, salt, parsley and 2 T. of olive oil.  Once fully coated, pour the contents onto a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. 
While the potatoes are roasting, preheat a skillet on medium heat.  Once pan is heated, add remaining 1 T. of olive oil.  Add onions, garlic and salt and stir gently.  Once onions are softened, add black beans, chili powder, cumin and water.  Add more water, if needed to give a little more moisture.  Reduce to simmer while potatoes finish.  Once the potatoes are slightly brown on top, remove from oven.  When serving, keep the potatoes and beans separate until plated then serve black beans over potatoes.
Serves 2 – 4 people
FAST VEGAN DINNER
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
½ jar salsa
1 ½ c. brown rice, prepared
Combine in skillet, heat then serve
Serves 2 – 4 people
VEGAN SPAGHETTI SAUCE
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 carrot, shredded
1 lb. button mushrooms, cleaned
2 c. tomato sauce
½ red wine
1 T. olive oil
Oregano, to taste
Basil, to taste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Preheat a large sauce pan on medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion, garlic and salt.  Once onion is softened, add celery and carrots.  Place mushrooms in a food processor and pulse until they have the appearance of hamburger.  (Be careful not to over-pulse or you will have mushroom soup).  Add mushrooms into saucepan along with red wine.  Once the red wine has almost evaporated, add tomato sauce, oregano, basic, salt and pepper.  Bring to boil then reduce to simmer.  Allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve with your favorite pasta – ours is linguine.
Serves 2 – 4 people

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1 comment:

Katy ~ said...

I commend your efforts. Wow! That's a lot to give up and to be so devoted to the ideal. Well done indeed.