Monthly Archives: August 2014

My Flirtation With Vegetarian Food

Last weekend my girlfriend and I took a quick vacation and spent some time at The Grand Lodge at Brian Head in Brian Head, Utah. Now Brian Head is mostly known as a ski resort but it’s also a great place to go for a few days to escape the summer heat, and it is just a short couple of hours from home so it’s a great value. If you don’t believe me then Google the place and just check out how amazing it is.

Our first afternoon there we had lunch at The Lift, which is the lodge’s bar and grill. The thing that caught my eye on the menu was a portobello mushroom burger with sweet potato fries. Now I must admit that I am a big carnivore so I was expecting a big Angus beef patty topped with portobello mushrooms and that is not what I got. But I must admit that I was not disappointed at all with the meal I was served instead.

What I got was a grilled portobello mushroom cap nestled on a whole wheat bun and topped with Swiss cheese, romaine lettuce, red onion, and surprisingly, a grilled tomato slice. The first bite was a bit of a surprise, not just because of the lack of meat but because of the meaty taste and texture of the mushroom.  Over all the burger changed my view on meatless meals and while it was not quite enough to make me swear off meat forever it has made me stop and think about eating more vegetarian food.

Just before we left I managed to coerce the recipe for the portobello burger out of the staff at The Lift. Most of it is pretty straight forward and just involves layering the raw ingredients I listed above. The secret lies in how they prepare the mushroom cap. They marinade the caps in a blend of 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of Italian salad dressing. Place the mushroom cap or caps (the marinade above makes enough for two caps) in a bowl and toss them in the marinade. Let them sit for 20 to 30 minutes and turn them about every five minutes or so. Heat the grill until it’s about medium heat. If you are using a gas grill you can control this precisely but if you are like me and prefer charcoal then you will have to be more careful with this process. Oil down the grill with olive oil or olive oil spray and place the cap on the grill and cook for five to seven minutes on each side. Grill the tomato slices at the same time but only one or two minutes on a side. You are just looking to get char marks. You don’t want to fully cook the tomato. Then put the mushroom cap on the bottom section of the bun, top that with the Swiss cheese, then layer on the lettuce, red onion, and tomato and enjoy.

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Simple but Amazing

The other day I had a bunch of leftover rice that I needed to use so I decided that I would try and do something creative with it. Looking through my cupboards I realized that it was close to payday so I didn’t have much to work with. But what I did have were some of my favorite flavors of Asia and the Middle East so I decided to see what I could make with them. The result was a delicious vegetarian rice porridge that could easily become vegan with just the change of one ingredient.

To start with you need two cups of cooked rice. Like I said before, I was using leftover rice but you could easily just cook some just for this recipe. Add four cups of chicken stock to the rice in a large pot. To make this vegan simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock. It is that simple.

Next mix in one tablespoon of curry powder, one teaspoon of five spice powder, on half of an onion finely sliced, and a fourth cup of soy sauce. Finally stir in one can of garbanzo beans, otherwise known as chickpeas. Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the beans have softened and the rice is soft and creamy. Serve it in bowls; this should make about four to six servings.

You can also add any meat or veggies that you would like to add some more flavors. For example, through some chicken thighs in and cook them with the rice mixture for chicken and rice curry. Tomatoes, peas, and squash would also make good mix-ins. You could even add shrimp and shellfish if you are so inclined.

 

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