Friday, March 6, 2009

Going Easy on the Meat

I'm going to start this blog by saying that I'm not lecturing - I'm just writing about a new style of eating that interests me.  I'm certainly not a vegetarian, I mean I just posted about a chili cook off!

But, since reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma I've decided to become more conscious of where my food is coming from.  I don't want to buy my meat at my local grocery store anymore but grass fed beef and free range organic chickens can be pricey.  

This is where the brilliant Mark Bittman and his book Food Matters comes in.  His solution?  Duh, eat less meat.  This way you can afford to buy those more expensive but humanely raised cuts of meat and you can feel less guilty when you do buy meat that isn't quite organic because you're eating so much less of it.  Mark Bittman's way of eating just makes so much sense.  I've realized that I certainly don't need to eat meat before dinner and a lot of the time I don't need to eat meat at all.  Meat should be a treat NOT the main component of every meal.  Oh and whole grains and legumes are a must.  Read both of these books - you'll learn SO much.  Or, you know, don't.  I'm not telling you what to do.

Does this all sound awful to you?  Are you wondering what the hell I'm eating?  Well look at these pictures and follow the links to a few good recipes and maybe you'll come around.  These are a few of the meals I've enjoyed recently.  It's quite obvious that I think everything is better topped with a runny fried egg.

This is spaghetti squash topped with kale and a fried egg.  
Super simple!  For the spaghetti squash just split it lengthwise, scoop out the fibers and seeds, pierce the skin with a fork, drizzle the flesh with olive oil and cook, flesh down, in a 350 degree preheated over for about an hour.  Toss the seeds in olive oil, salt and pepper and toast those along side - they're a nice added crunch on top. 

I always prepare kale the same way.  Saute some onions in a bit of evoo until they're really soft and sweet then add the clean, chopped kale - mine always has some water left on it from washing it and it's the perfect amount to steam it a bit when  you put the lid on.  Steam the kale for a few minutes, if it needs more water then add it!  Once it's cooked down a little add some red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flake - don't cook it too much, it should be bright green.  Serve with a runny fried egg and the toasted spaghetti squash seeds.

Next - French lentils with broccoli rabe:

Braised cabbage over red lentils, again, topped with an egg:
I found this recipe on Orangette a few weeks ago and I've made it three (four?) times already and will continue to make it until we get a full week of temperatures over 60.  Braised cabbage is the perfect cold weather food.  I did make two small changes to the recipe - adding leeks, they get carmelized an sweet after the two hours in the oven, and decreasing the amount of oil from 1/4 cup to just a tablespoon or two.  

Leftovers for breakfast:  
Leftover kale with leftover lentils topped with a fried egg and hot sauce.  Oh man.  Yum.

So these are a couple weeks worth of photos.  I really don't top EVERYTHING with an egg.  That braised cabbage, eggless, on top of some quinoa?  So good.  And kale, eggless, on top of some french lentils with a good shake of hot sauce?  Seriously delicious.


AdicaRoy said...

Your post made me hungry. Additionally:

I top soups and salads with a fried egg too (or poached), and also whole wheat pasta dishes with tomato or cheese sauces. That runny egg bit is pretty much the perfect accompaniment to almost anything and a way to make things creamy without adding any actual cream. A few years ago I tried the no carb thing and one pasta substitute I read was to top eggs with tomato sauce instead of eating spaghetti. It's not quite the same thing but I realized then that eggs go with everything.

Also - I am reading "What to Eat" by Marion Nestle right now, and I think you might like it too. It's a little bit less preachy and talks more about how the marketing and big business goes about corrupting what food you think you want to eat, and how the corn subsidies have basically made the entire country obese, but I'm actually only three chapters in so maybe that isn't a fair summary. Still, I think you'd like it. said...

Seriously - who knew about the evils of corn? Michael Pollan dedicated a whole chapter to it. I had no idea.

And yes, a perfectly runny egg is my absolute favorite food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in between!

RereP said...

Fried eggs are the best - seeing it on top of your spaghetti looked really foodie you!!!

Adrienne said...

Right on - less meat, better choices. We went less-meat after new year's, now we're only buying meat from the family farm at our farmer's market. Rant away!
FYI, the butcher (Giunta's) across the aisle from Iovine's at RTM uses locally sourced (some organic) suppliers. The owner is awesome, and will totally talk to you about where his products come from. He's the middle-aged, good-looking Italian guy with salt-and-pepper hair. Bonus!