Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My self-imposed cooking challenge

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I can’t remember the last time I posted about food. That just goes to show how little thought I tend to give to my meals. I have struggled with my weight for decades now, and as a vegetarian, have learned that mindless munching adds up pretty quickly.

There is a combination of factors for my lack of enthusiasm over the stove. Working out all day surrounded by young children means I am tired by the time dinner rolls around. My husband is a true Ready, Set, Cook chef, being able to throw any two things in the pantry together and make it work. Truth be told, I am a horrible cook. One of those capable of burning and yet undercooking something at the same time.

Every time I decide to give cooking a go, I get all excited, plan a whole week’s worth of exquisite meals and give up by Wednesday. So this time, to make it work, I decided to start slowly. Really slowly.

I will make one meal a week from scratch. That’s not to say I won’t cook any more, but I will devote myself to learn and dedicate myself to one meal a week. I chose my two favorite veggie books as guides: The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone, and Mark’s and Spencer’s Vegetarian Book.

I have mentioned The Kind Diet several times, and I must say it has become my veggie bible. I’ve read it three times in the last year, each time learning something new. The recipes all sound delicious and exotic, and since I’ve had a bit of trouble finding products in the past I’ve put it on the back burner. Not anymore.

 Mark’s and Spencer’s Vegetarian Book is an indulgent guilty pleasure. There are some very healthy meals, but they are mainly luscious pizzas, pastas and the such. All yummy, and I am sure I will use it more and more once winter comes upon us here in Brazil.

Without further a-do, I’d like to share with you my first recipe: Mark’s and Spencer’s Vegetarian Book’s Country Salad with Horseradish dressing. Here is a picture of the book version:

I must be honest and admit I copped out of the fancy dressing. One, because I was a bit iffy about the horseradish exotic-ness. Two, because as I have been on a new healthy feeding scheme (a.k.a a diet),I promised my nutritionist I would always season my salads with olive oil, which I did.

Here is my version and recipe. As you can see, I don’t set quantities simply because I don’t believe in them unless the dish won’t work without specific measurements (such as in a cake).

Julie’s M&S Inspired Country Salad


-cooked and chopped beetroot

-split peas

-boiled egg

- onion

-cherry tomatoes

-lettuce or arugula

Stir fry the onion with olive oil and garlic to taste. Once they are soft, add peas. After they get soft, add the beetroot and cherry tomatoes, just to heat them lightly. On a dish, add the boiled egg, and serve over a bed of lettuce.