Archive for mushrooms

Meat George Jetson

Posted in food, health with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2008 by uglydudefood

This is not a post discussing the merits of designing a life-sized cartoon character out of animal flesh.

This is a post about my falling-out with vegetarianism.

When I was dieting, I cut meat out of my diet entirely. It wasn’t out of any particular sociopolitical agenda, nor was it by the design of some radical “eating animals is wrong” mindset. Eating animals isn’t, I don’t think, particularly wrong. We have the enzymes. We have the teeth for it. It’s naive for humans to think that, as animals, we are “above” the idea of eating another animal’s flesh. Food chain, blahblah, etc.

We kinda sorta treat our food like crap, but that’s another story for another day.

I stopped eating meat because I was trying to cut fat out of my diet entirely. It worked for the most part. There were days that the very few grams of fat I received came from a Boca Burger here or there, and nothing else.

In my attempts to begin a healthier lifestyle of late, I did some research. Fat is an important part of a balanced diet. We should be getting anywhere between twenty and thirty-five percent of our calories from fat. This aids in insulation, healthy cell-function maintenance, and muscle-building, among other helpful bodily functions.

Oops. No wonder I’m always cold. I’ll just try to avoid saturated fats and trans-fats, thank you.

With that stumbling block out of the way, it was really only matter of time until I returned to an omnivorous lifestyle. The eventual cracking point was at Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill.

I am a seasoned calorie-counter. Caloriecount is my Bible. When I saw that Applebee’s had a “Weight Watchers” menu that included specific caloric/fat information, I was ecstatic. I wouldn’t have to nurse a Diet Coke until it was time to go home and nuke up some veggies.

With the exception of cake and onion soup (I was on a date, so onion soup was out of the question, natch), all of the Weight Watchers options were full of meat. Glorious meat!

I decided to go with the Italian Chicken and Portabello Sandwich (pictured above in all of its grainy, dark, cell-phoney glory).  Applebee’s calls it “Grilled, marinated chicken breast topped with sliced portobello mushrooms, a slice of tomato and chunky marinara sauce. Served on a wheat bun along with fresh fruit.”   I did not receive the promised chunky marinara sauce, and the mushrooms were flavorless at best.  As for the first taste of meat I’d had in over three years?  What kind of culinary pleasure did I experience on my grand reentry into the world of the societal norm?

Eh.  Tasted like chicken.

I may eat meat a few times a week at most.  Look forward to more vegetarian recipes and whatnot, simply because they tend to be more flavorful and healthful, and therefore worth more of my time.

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Mike Spoodles’ Old-Timey Hobo Vegetable Soup

Posted in food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2008 by uglydudefood

For the past three weeks, I’ve been actually cooking. Homemade vegetable soup, sir. Sure, it’s a meal that requires absolutely no maintenance, but it is fresher than anything you’re going to nuke up in the microwave. In a world drowning in preservatives and sassafrass (the ‘frass is not to be confused with sassafras, which is a fresh oil used to make root beer and ecstasy), you can never have enough fresh, unrefined produce.

My favorite part about my Old-Timey Hobo Vegetable Soup is that it is literally made of whatever you have laying around, assuming that whatever-you-have-laying-around is not your kid brother.

THE BROTH

Hobo Soup at workStewed tomatoes (canned–no salt added). This was a recommendation that initially turned me on to this “recipe” of sorts. You dump a can of stewed tomatoes (113 calories total) into a pot and add two- to four cans-full of water, making a nice, red, tomatoey broth. Any canned tomato will do, really. I accidentally bought diced tomatoes and they seemed to work fine (just fine). Watch out–most canned vegetables are doped up on sodium. Do yourself and your heart a favor. Go low-sodium and season your soup to taste later.

V8 Juice (low sodium, natch). If you’re looking for something with a bit more of a bouquet, V8 100% Vegetable Juice will work in a pinch. The reddish gunk is a mixture of tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, and spinach (AND IT TASTES AS GOOD AS IT SOUNDS). As a juice it is probably the most horrid thing known to man. As a broth? Well, it’ll do. Water it down to taste and plunk in your miscellaneous fillings. Tomato juice will also work, although at that point shouldn’t you get the actual tomato goodness of a can of stewed tomatoes?

Vegetable broth. Somehow there is an option even lazier than the previous two options. Available in convenient off-the-shelf can form, vegetable broth is the boiled-down essence of any number of stinky vegetables. You’ll probably fare better, though, making your own vegetable broth if you have the time.

OTHER BROTH ALTERNATIVES: Of course you could make the broth out of just about anything. You could use plain old water and spice it up. If you’re a meat-eater, you could obviously go for the old standby chicken broth.

AND NOW TO THE VEGETABLES

Once again, the sky is the limit here. Whatever you have that is fresh and lingering around your kitchen can go into this pot. As a for-instance, here are the things that went into my soup tonight:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper (my peppers were shriveling)
  • 100g fresh onion
  • 10g garlic
  • 2 beets
  • 3 spears asparagus
  • 30g baby portabello mushrooms
  • 10 radishes

Beets have been a must-have in my soups for the past week. Not only do they add a subtle hint of sweetness (which is sorely lacking in most vegetables), but they will turn your soup blood red. For a less-messy option, you can chop up an apple to offset the veggies with sweetness.

Other favorites of mine include: zucchini, cabbage, carrots, celery, eggplant. You can boil an egg (or an egg white) in the broth as well.

Experiment gone horribly wrong: fresh jalapeo peppers, which are apparently as unappetizing in soup as they are in bulk eating contests.

PREPARATION

After all of the ingredients are tossed into a pot willy-nilly, bring the concoction to a boil. Once your soup has been boiling for several minutes, reduce the heat and cover your pot. Leave covered until you are ready to serve. Everything will get tender. Your veggies and broth will begin to influence each other with their flavors.

This soup can serve one or many. The nutritional value of an entire batch is generally less than 400 calories. With that said, it’s a very filling dish. If you attempt to eat the whole thing in one sitting, your stomach will probably rupture.

I’d strongly recommend this soup if you are looking for a filling, low-calorie, fat-free meal, or just a way to experiment with new and different vegetables. The only thing missing is the stone.

Self-Inflicted

Posted in fiction, food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2005 by uglydudefood