Thursday, April 12, 2007


Those who know me are so very bored of my obsession with Jamie Oliver, and I’ve honestly (honestly!) tried to wean myself away from his sites and cease my rantings about how great he is — at least in public. However, it’s not just his methods of cooking and insightful uses of ordinary ingredients, whether or not he cooks with meat, that continue to inspire me. I perused his site today and am continually impressed by the way he involves himself in his immediate and world communities. By improving school lunch programs (even lobbying for nation-wide improvements). By actually cooking said school lunches himself, rather than just issuing statements. By teaching homeless teens to cook and then employing them in his restaurant then starting three other restaurants in other cities doing exactly the same thing. His love of organics and promotion of home cooking for everyone make him the center of my cooking universe.

So I’ve been wandering thru cooking sites for inspiration today, including my veggie favorite which is plenty of things I’d like to try here, like this article about grilling, Give Your Grill a Passport to Great Tastes From Around the World. and Grilled Cajun Portobello With Avocado Crème. I’m absolutely wishing I could fire up the grill right now, but it’s far too cold. I’m bookmarking this one for summer though. Mmmm. . . .

In the meantime, this beef and broccoli stir-fry recipe sounds exactly right, and now I have a recipe to use with the Morningstar Farms Steak Strips.

‘Beef’ and Broccoli Stir-Fry

This heart-healthy stir-fry is so good and easy to make that it will become a family favorite.

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. veggie beef strips (try Morningstar Farms Steak Strips)
1 small bunch broccoli
2 tsp. vegetable oil, divided
2 carrots, sliced diagonally 1/8-inch thick
1 bunch green onions
3/4 cup vegetable broth

•In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, cornstarch, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Whisk until combined.
•Toss in the veggie beef and let stand for 10 to 20 minutes.
•Cut the broccoli florets from the stem and slice the stems into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.
•Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add 1 tsp. of the oil. When almost smoking, add the “beef” mixture and stir-fry for 1 minute. Remove from the wok. Add the remaining oil and the vegetables, stir-frying for 1 minute. Add the broth and cook, scraping the bottom, until the vegetables are tender.
•Return the “beef” to the wok and heat through.

Makes 4 servings

Lentil Salad

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Thyme, tarragon, and garlic flavor this hearty, easy-to-prepare lentil salad. Serve over red leaf lettuce (or any fancy lettuce) with oil and vinegar on the side. Having some warm pita bread on hand won’t hurt, either. For adorable hors d’oeuvres, spoon small scoops of salad into endive leaves.

For the Salad:
4 cups vegetable broth
2-3 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup uncooked French lentils
1 small red onion, very finely chopped
1 small tomato, diced
2 radishes, grated
1 small carrot, grated
Salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil (or 2 Tbsp. for a low-fat dressing)
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 clove garlic, minced

• In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, tarragon, and salt to a boil.
• Add the lentils and reduce the heat to a low boil. Cover, leaving a little bit of room for steam to escape, and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are soft but not mushy.
• Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing in a mixing bowl and set aside.
• Drain the lentils in a mesh colander. Let cool, shaking the colander every few minutes so that the lentils drain and cool faster. Once lukewarm, remove the bay leaves, chunks of garlic, and thyme sprigs. Add the lentils to the dressing, along with the onions, tomato, carrot, and radishes. Toss to combine. Season with the salt and pepper. Cover and chill for at least half an hour.
• Serve over lettuce with oil and vinegar on the side.

Makes 4 servings

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