Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Quickies #14: Big Change, Mini Recipe

Not that I'm particularly religious or anything, but I thought it might be interesting to give up meat for Lent, just to see what horrific unique recipes I could whip up and what dismal creative choices I have when eating out; overall, just an interesting personal challenge. 40 near-consecutive meatfree days, hmmm...

But I have a few caveats to this -- I'm not going to be super scrutinizing of ingredients & labels, and will likely still be consuming things that aren't obviously meaty but contain meat elements (e.g. marshmallows and panna cotta with meat-derived gelatin and my omega-3s which probably came from fish). And, since I'm not observing Lent Eastern Orthodox style, Sundays will be a mini-break for me and if I really want meat, I'll get it.

Oh yea, there's also my one little non-Sunday break to eat at Circa 55. Did I mention I'm not really religious?

So expect my foodventures in the next several weeks to highlight some veggie restaurants (or great veggie dishes in regular restaurants). It's been over one week and while I don't really miss meat, I've noticed how big, and probably unhealthy, a role it played in my usual diet. So maybe by the end of this experience I'll be either 1) Michael Pollan/Marion Nestle - like and be more conscious / aware of my food choices or 2) batsh*t insane. Take your pick.

That being said, soups are one of my favorite dishes that's easily be made vegetarian friendly. But one of my big gripes with pre-made vegetarian soups is that 1) they are either a watery vegetable puree with no chunky textures, 2) just a oversalted tomato broth with nasty tasteless veggies thrown in and 3) of course, playing it safe with the flavors for broad audience appeal.

And as much as I like making soups from scratch, often I don't have the time (and I'm too big a worrywort to just let something simmer in the kitchen for however long) So I decided to take the best pre-made and fresh to make a quick, simple and satisfying soup.

I simply sliced up about a cup of bell peppers & mushrooms and roasted them in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 375, meanwhile, I thoroughly simmer 2 cups of those organic puree-ish soups from a carton (cream of sweet corn for this particular one) and add the vegetables at the end, top it all off pinches of ground ginger, cayenne & black pepper, a teaspoon of white truffle oil and a handful of mixed greens. And the generous, filling bowl of soup clocks in at a very figure-friendly 350 calories.

Yes, very S. Lee or R. Ray- but at least nothing is ladened with preservatives, artificial somethings and goodness-knows-what.

P.S. Got any great vegetarian recipes or wonderful spots to check out in L.A./O.C.?
Let me know!


susan allport said...

Thought you'd be interested in this short omega-3 video:

Jessica said...

Kung Pao Bistro has great vegetarian and vegan options that taste almost exactly like the real thing if you're ever jonesing for some good and (not too) greasy Chinese food. (Their sweet and sour "chicken" is delish!)

H. C. said...

Susan, thanks for the heads-up!

Jessica The veggie menu looks nice - will definitely check out KP next time in Studio City & WeHo.


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