SLOANE'S FIVE INGREDIENTS OR LESS COLORFUL VEGETARIAN MEDLEY
As someone with food allergies since birth, I'm acutely aware of what I am eating every moment of every day. Embracing that awareness/food-fear and transforming it into a love of food fostered a deep respect and love for the art of cooking. I started getting serious about cooking when I was 16. I had become a vegetarian because of palate fatigue (I just couldn’t eat another burger) and immersed myself in the then current literature about being a healthy vegetarian. My first two bibles were Moosewood and Diet for a Small Planet. Moosewood was especially freeing. Every page was filled with a call to arms: “Here’s the recipe, but change it if you like; go, play.”
I became the family cook because no one knew what a food allergic vegetarian could eat. I read cookbooks for fun and watched PBS shows like The Frugal Gourmet instead of doing homework. I went to culinary school to learn French culinary technique. I threw elaborate dinner parties and brunches; I baked my own bread and made my own preserves. I stayed a healthy vegetarian for 17 years. (NB: I added meat back into my diet recently.)
Even though I have food
allergies (or perhaps because of), I love to talk about, think about,
read about and learn about food. Some of
my happiest childhood memories involve cooking. I loved to watch my
bubby as she deftly poured pancake batter so it would cook in the shape of
a bunny or Mickey Mouse. What a master! When I was a little older I was sous
chef for my father as he made pounds of “Daddy Pasta” in his loft on 18th
street: fusilli pasta, ground veal, peas, sautéed garlic and onions,
sesame oil and cups of Parmesan cheese. For so many of us, cooking and
togetherness go hand in hand.
For my blog, Allergic Girl and my food allergy coaching and consulting business, Allergic Girl Resources, Inc, I dine out between five and ten times a week. But when I dine at home, I want colorful, attractive, nutritious, healthy, low fat, whole food and inexpensive dishes made with as few ingredients as necessary. These recipes use little-to-nothing processed industrially, highlight local, seasonal produce and you can make them within about 30 minutes from walking in the door.
Like Moosewood, I say, add and subtract flavors or components as you see fit. No chard? Use purple kale or spinach. No apples? Pears are fab. No rice? What about quinoa, barley, amaranth, or buckwheat noodles. No sweet potato? Pumpkin or any winter squash totally works. Spicy chickpeas not your thing? Here are five other chickpea versions from the New York Times. Don’t like spicy? Just warm beans and add more olive oil and some kosher salt and pepper (even some lemon works). Don’t like beans? Sub another veg protein like tofu. See how it easy it is?
MISE EN PLACE
First, get your mise en place. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees for the sweet potato fries. Chop garlic,