Sunday, July 1, 2007

Comfort in Food

Happy Early Fourth of July!

This last week in June was the most stressful time ever for us - sooo busy with our Food Management summer class! A relief to get it done with, and a hope for a lighter load for the next summer session. We found comfort in our food this busy week from favorites such as veggie burgers, bean burritoes, and corn on the cob and from new recipes such as chickpea salad sandwiches, "Chicken" lemon orzo, kidney bean salad, and vegan italian tofu pasta bake.

First of all, we had alot of quick-and-easy foods. We enjoyed Morningstar Black Bean Burger and Amy's Texas Burger with lots of avocado. We never tried the Texas Burger before, and we probably will stick to Amy's California Burger or other veggie burgers (like Morningstar), as the Texas one didn't wow us. For another quick bite we made Chickpea salad sandwiches from vegweb (we didn't use mayo; just mustard, celery, red bell pepper, lettuce, tomato, cucumber). Being Texans we love having burritoes quite regularly, with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, lots of avocado, wheat tortillas, black bean refried beans, and lots of spicy salsa! We also loved fresh local yellow and white corn. Another fresh idea - kidney bean salad with spinach and greens, celery, green bell pepper, shredded carrots, tomatoes, avocado, and balsalmic vineagrette:
For more elegant meals, we tried "Chicken" lemon orzo and vegan italian tofu pasta bake. With the pasta bake, we used whole wheat bowtime pasta and swirly pasta instead of shells. We also used mushrooms and yellow squash, no spinach or nutmeg, and some fresh basil and nutritional yeast. The tofu mixture seemed like mild ricotta cheese - perfect substitute in lasagna or stuffed shells. Next time we will try it with lasagna noodles or large shells. For the orzo, here is the recipe we used (serves two):
1 1/2 cups whole wheat orzo
1/3 cup onion, diced
handful of spinach leaves
1/2 asparagus bunch (about 24 asparagus sprigs)
1 lemon, zested (more than 1 tsp lemon zest)
Gardenburger "Chicken" cutlets -2
black pepper to taste
For lemon sauce:
1/4 cup + 2 Tb vegetable broth
1 1/2 lemon, squeezed (juice)
Prepare orzo according to package directions. Simmer on medium low vegetable broth and lemon juice in a small saucepan. While simmered, saute onion until carmelized. Also, steam asparagus for about five minutes in the microwave. When orzo is done, drain well, then add onion, spinach, and lemon zest, and mix well. Heat up "Chicken" cutlets in the microwave for about 3 minutes or until warm. Serve orzo mix with asparagus and "Chicken" cutlet, with lemon sauce. It tasted refreshing and healthy! Could add cherry tomatoes, green beans, or bell pepper to the orzo.

For a reward for all of our hard work in school, we made Peach Cobbler with fresh local in-season peaches! Yumm. The cobbler had lemon juice and zest, and we used spelt flour. Very flavorful!

Hope you find comfort in food as much as we do,

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