Monday, August 9, 2010

Meatless Monday

I have a lot of posts about my newborn but I am getting about 4 hours of interrupted sleep right now. So when I can manage a coherent thought in English or German, I will try to write those up.

So, I am going to talk about my other favorite topic. Food!

The Scientist and I are good corn-fed Mid-westerners. We both grew up with meat-and-potato families for the most part. However, we are both trying to be health and ecologically minded so we switched in the recent years to more vegetarian dishes. I often thought of vegetarian dishes as sides and was having trouble coming up with ideas. Over the years, we have incorporated our favorite dishes into our rotation and at this point, I can say, we eat vegetarian about 4X a week.

For this first installment, I thought I would talk about one of our favorite go-to dishes that is in season right now; Sour cherry couscous and zucchini. The recipe is below with a few very minor changes.

I know my food-tography skillz could use some work... :) (Maybe Snooker can give me some tips??)

Grilled zucchini with sour cherry couscous
serves 4 as a light meal

1 large zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups dried couscous
1/2 cup sour cherries
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped

1. Thinly slice the zucchini length ways into strips with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Cook on a griddle pan or BBQ for 2 minutes each side or until tender then transfer to a plate and drizzle with good quality olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

2. Place the couscous in a medium heatproof bowl and add one cup of boiling water, a handful of dried sour cherries, the juice and zest of half a lemon and stir.

3. Cover with lid 10 minutes until all the liquid has been soaked up. Fluff with a fork and add a tablespoon of olive oil, a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve with the zucchini strips.

As far as tips go, we usually use fresh sour cherries, as they are in season right now, but we have also used the jarred variety with much success in the off season (make sure to put some of the juice in too!). As the basic recipe stands above, it is fresh but a bit bland, so we often spice it up with dill, cumin, or even a bit of hot sauce. Really, this recipe is very adaptable. Try whatever you like and let us know in the comments if you find something that really works!

If you are interested in learning more about why vegetarian lifestyles are important, I would recommend as interesting, introductory books, Micheal Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma or Grescoe's Bottomfeeder .


Mom said...

wouldn't you brush the zucchini with the olive oil, salt & pepper first before you grill it?

AstroYoga said...

You guys are like the reverse of us. I was vegetarian before I met my husband, and we mostly ate vegetarian until my daughter was born almost 2 years ago. At that point, my mom came to help, and she would have been at a loss as to what to cook for a vegetarian, so I gratefully ate anything she made for us.

At that point, my husband thought it was kind of cool that I ate meat now and started reintegrating meat into our menu. I haven't been able to switch back yet. Admittedly, this second pregnancy initially made me crave proscutto, and now I am not a big fan of meat anymore. I wonder if we will ever make the switch back....

C said...

If you're ever in need of ideas for veggie food, check out ... some of the recipes are simple and silly but you can type in, for example, zucchini, and find loads of things to do with it...

ReluctantYankee said...

Wow..we are attempting Meatless Mondays twice a month around here also...
Have you seen this clip?
It's a great meatless veggie chili...I tweaked it with a bit of onion, garlic, and chili powder.
Very satisfying and yummy! Enjoy :)

Christie said...

Hi there! I'm so glad you liked my recipe - thanks for the link back ;)

I love it when people make their own additions, that's what cooking is all about. If only we could get fresh sour cherries here in Australia! You're very lucky.

Christie @ Fig & Cherry said...

Mmmm! This reminds me of a sour cherry basmati rice that is served at my favorite Persian restaurant in Houston (where I used to travel frequently for work). The cous cous looks wonderful...will definitely have to try it!

The Omnivore's Dilemma is a fantastic book and definitely made me rethink my eating habits and where I get my food.

Yelli said...

@Mom - you can if you want! We don't have a grill so we saute them anyways

@Astroyoga - LOL! I had a distaste for meat initially in this pregnancy but then turned into a raving carnivore for the last part of my pregnancy. :) (I was also pretty anemic though)

@C - Thanks! That is a great site!

@reluctantyankee - That looks like a great recipe! I will have to try that one when chili weather starts soon...

@Christie - I love your website!! Thanks for stopping by! (you can be assured I will link again!)

@resident - Sour Cherry rice sounds yummy too! Pollan's book was the beginning of our "transformation."