Nov 4, 2015
For already sometime now, I'm experimenting pescetarianism by abstaining from meat except for fish and seafood. Nevertheless, the smell of grilled meat while passing by a burger joint still makes my mouth water. That's why I refrain from being too vocal about it (aside from announcing it on a blog); I might give in anytime during a weak moment and by ''a weak moment'' I refer to being under the influence of alcohol. I recently read that about seventy percent of vegetarians admit they eat meat when they're drunk and I'd hate being the minority.
I find no difficulty whatsoever in finding ideas to cook meat-free. I've never had a habit of buying meat for home-cooking anyway and consumed most of the meat at restaurants or from the hands of my mother. Since meat is completely out of the picture now, I pay more attention to eating balanced.
Cooking becomes more fun and easy to improvise when you have variety condiments and sauces. I have a collection of herb infused olive oils and vinegars. My absolute favourite is fig molasses and fig vinegar. If you have your hands on them definitely give it a try.
Anyway, although I'm the last person to give any advice on eating healthy and balanced, the least I can do is to share some ideas to do that.
The rice salad came out as an endevour to make a wild rice salad recipe from a magazine. I couldn't find wild rice, instead I used quinoa and basmati rice. The mandarin infused olive oil was a good compliment to give it an acidic as well as a citrusy kick.
The veggie burger used to be my favorite meal in my favorite pub in the neighborhood. Although a newly opened eatery just nearby outdid this burger with their Panko crumbs coated patties, I endorse theirs as my favourite since they came out with the idea first.
The pasta recipe is a product of my late obsession with a feta-like creamy cheese that was introduced to the market recently here in Turkey. Sadly, you might not find it anywhere else but the grilled eggplants and cherry tomatoes are as good an idea as they are. Just use any soft cheese of your liking, like Turkish feta or gorgonzola if you like you cheese sharp.
Basmati And Quinoa Salad With Broad Beans, Zucchini And Fresh Mint
- 1/2 cup Basmati rice
- 1/4 cup black quinoa
- 1/4 cup peas
- a handful of broad beans
- 1 courgette
- a handful of fresh mint
for the vinaigrette:
- 1 teaspoon lemon rind
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple vinegar or mandarine vinegar
- Slice the courgette into thin rounds. On a non-stick grill pan, grill their each side for 5 minutes, until tender.
- Boil broad beans for 10 minutes. Pass under cold tap water. Peel, set aside.
- Boil green peas for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain, set aside.
- Wash and drain quinoa. Boil in 1 cup water for 10 minutes, until a white ring appears on the edge of the grains. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside to drain.
- Boil basmati rice for 15 minutes in salted water. Drain, set aside.
- Mix vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
- Toss everything together in a bowl with the vinaigrette. Check the seasoning, add more vinegar if necessary.
Makes 6-7 burger patties
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3.5 cup water
- just a little less than 1 cup fine ground bulgur
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 small carrot, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil or hazelnut oil, for frying
for the burger:
- store-bought burger buns
- red onion, sliced into rounds
- ripe tomato, sliced into rounds
- lettuce leaves
- mustard and ketchup to serve
- Wash lentils. Boil them in 3.5 cup salted water for 20 minutes or until lentils have dissolved.
- In the meantime, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick pan and sauté onion and carrot for 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Pour the lentils with its water (if remained any) when still hot, over the bulgur in a larger bowl. Add the sautéd carrots and onions, salt, coriander and curry. Combine everything togerther with a spoon. Let cool for about 15 minutes.
- Add the egg. Knead very gently and briefly to obtain a homogenous dough. Dispatch 130 gr. pieces, patt them into patties. Transfer them on a tray, cover with cling film, let cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Heat 2 fingers high frying oil in a non-stick pan. When hot, fry the patties until golden on medium heat, 1-2 minutes each side.
- Serve patties in between burger buns, with tomato, onion, lettuce with mustard and kethcup on the side.
Penne With Grilled Eggplants, Cherry Tomatoes And Soft Feta
- 2 eggplants
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 250 gr. penne
- 100 gr. Feta cheese
- Preheat your oven to 200C/400F, in gril function. Line the oven tray with grease proof paper.
- Partially peel the eggplants in stripes. Cut them into bite-size cubes. Halve cherry tomatoes. Transfer them to the oven tray.
- Drizzle the vegetables with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle a teaspoon salt. Toss them to coat with oil.
- Grill them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until eggplants are golden and tender. Midway through flip the eggplants. Keep an eye on the cherry tomatoes; they might be done before eggplants.
- In the meantime, cook the penne al dente according its package instructions.
- Drain the pasta. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the pasta pot. Toss the penne in this oil. Add eggplants and cherry tomatoes. Crumble the feta cheese and mix to let the cheese melt a little. Bon Appetit!