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Bittman’s Recipes for the Semi-Vegan — Plastic-free Style
Posted By Beth Terry On January 16, 2012 @ 8:00 am In Recipes,Vegetarianism | 32 Comments
Two weeks ago, food columnist Mark Bittman published ten Recipes for the Semi-Vegan  in The New York Times Magazine along with photos that left many of us salivating.
What a great source of inspiration, I thought, for those of us who aspire to eat more plants and fewer animal products. I, in particular, need help. See, in May 2010, after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals ,I resolved to stop eating meat. My reasons were personal. (You can read them here .) And I kept my resolution until the end of February 2011.
Then my mom died.
After the memorial service, my sister came home with a giant sack of Wendy’s cheeseburgers, Mom’s favorite food, and, dumping them out on the kitchen table, she announced, “Everyone must partake.” I couldn’t refuse this ceremonial gesture. I ate a cheeseburger. And then another. And then for the rest of my trip home it was all meat all the time. Something inside me craved the comfort it provided. The problem was that once I came back to California, I still craved meat. So last year, a tough year, I let myself eat as much of it as I wanted. Probably less than the average American, but still, I want this year to be different.
In addition to reducing the suffering of farm animals and being healthier for our bodies, cutting down on the amount of animal products we consume can also help mitigate global climate change. The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization estimates that livestock production generates about 18% of human-derived greenhouse gas emissions. The animals themselves, of course, produce methane, and large portions of the world’s carbon-sequestering forests are destroyed for grazing lands.
I’m not ready or willing to go all the way vegan, but I will return to my previous vegetarian state and add one vegan day per week.
To jump start my vegan experiment, I plan to make all 10 recipes, while generating a minimal amount of plastic waste. Some of the recipes — roasted squash with kale, for example — will be easy to make plastic-free. But others include ingredients that are usually found in either plastic packaging or BPA-lined cans. They will be challenging but not impossible.
I made the first recipe last weekend, and it was just lovely.
I love making risotto. And I love criticizing restaurants that serve something they call risotto that really isn’t. If you have to add a ton of butter and cream to make your risotto creamy, you’re doing it wrong. (I’m talking to you, Pasta Pomodoro!) A good risotto takes time. I’ve heard you can do it quicker in a pressure cooker, but I don’t have one, and to me, spending several hours on a weekend afternoon cooking risotto is meditative and relaxing. And the wine doesn’t hurt. A little for the risotto. A little for me.
In addition to Bittman’s ingredients pictured above, I added a few more as I went along:
You’ll have to read Mark Bittman’s recipe  for the exact instructions, but I’ll just say that to make any risotto, you saute your grain (rice — or barley in this case) in some kind of fat and then very slowly add liquid, a cup at a time, stirring almost constantly to help the grains release their starch. You don’t add the next cup of liquid until the previous one is absorbed. The liquids are usually wine and broth, and you can use your own taste buds to determine how much of each. I substituted wine for some of the broth in this recipe because I love the flavor of wine in food. Use as much liquid as it takes to create a super creamy food that melts in your mouth. When the barley or rice is soft enough to eat, the risotto is probably not done yet. Keep going and have patience to create the perfect texture and mouth feel. Yum!
The next Bittman recipe I’m going to make is Spinach and Chickpeas . Care to join me?
This post is part of the January Green Mom’s Carnival , hosted at Strocel.com . The theme this month is climate change. And this post is sort of about that, even if it’s really an excuse to make yummy food porn.
Article printed from My Plastic-free Life: http://myplasticfreelife.com
URL to article: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2012/01/bittmans-recipes-for-the-semi-vegan-plastic-free-style/
URLs in this post:
 Recipes for the Semi-Vegan: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/01/magazine/eat-vegan-recipes.html
 Eating Animals: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316069884/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=fakplafis-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0316069884
 You can read them here: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2010/05/brand-new-plastic-free-vegetarian/
 ChicoBag produce stand collection: http://www.chicobag.com/category/produce-stand
 Better Than Bouillon: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2011/01/quick-and-almost-plastic-free-broth-soup-base-tip/
 umami flavor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami
 Mark Bittman’s recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/01/magazine/eat-vegan-recipes.html#Saffron-and-Mushroom_Barley_Risotto
 Spinach and Chickpeas: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/01/magazine/eat-vegan-recipes.html#Spinach_and_Chickpeas
 Green Mom’s Carnival: http://organicmania.com/green-moms-carnival/
 Strocel.com: http://www.strocel.com/joining-forces-and-resolving-to-fight-climate-change/
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