Foodie Fridays: Food For Thought


Another Friday, another chance to talk about the latest in vegan cuisine in my ongoing celebration of vegetarian awareness month. Today I’m giving a shoutout to a fellow blogger, now cookbook author, Christy Morgan of The Blissful Chef.

In a sea of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, all of which preach that whole food, plant-based diets are good for you, few capture the holistic benefits to veganism as well as Morgan’s new book Blissful Bites. Her book is packed with useful information about the actual ‘properties’ of food behind those pesky calories. For example, did you know you know that aside from giving us energy, stabilizing our metabolism, and keeping our digestive tracts clean, carbs actually keep us centred? And how about garlic and onions? Morgan suggests that by minimizing or cutting them out of your diet you might feel downright lighter and brighter.

But here’s my favourite thing about this book. Since most people I know that are vegans and vegetarians are also huge advocates for organic and locally-produced food, you’ll probably dig the fact that Morgan actually divides up each section of her book by season – based on what produce is easier to find at your local farmer’s market during each time of year, and what feels most ‘in season’. So expect to see light, quick dishes that’ll keep you in the kitchen for the shortest time possible in the summer, and hearty, soul-soothing soups in the winter. Same goes for lemon meringue cupcakes  in the spring and pear pie in the fall. Plus she includes a few bonus ‘anytime’ recipes in each section so you don’t feel limited in your options.

Admittedly I’ve spent most of my time perusing the fall section, and trying my hand at a few of the recipes. So far, I can vouch that this is a great pick whether you’re an ominvore looking to add a bit of veg to your dinner plate, or if you’re a full-blown vegan. None of the recipes are way out there (although the sea vegetables section is quite interesting!) It’s also suitable for people with many different levels of cooking skills – nothing will really intimidate the average chef.

Now, in the spirit of giving, I’m pleased to share with you a recipe – from the fall pages of the ‘whole grains’ section, naturally – that Christy Morgan actually picked out as one of her faves in the entire book. It’s gluten and oil-free (as many of the recipes are, plus you’ll have it on the dinner table in under 45 minutes. Bon appetit, or shall we say – douzo meshiagare, in Japanese.

Sushi Rice Bowl
Serves 4-6
This dish is like an open-faced sushi roll. A beautiful dish to take to a potluck or party.

Ingredients
1 cup long-grain brown rice, washed
1 cup Japanese cucumber, diced (or any cucumber will do)
1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted (or fresh, if in season)
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons dulse flakes
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, minced
1 sheet nori, torn or cut into little strips (hint: try your grocery store’s deli, or visit an Ethnic food market / health food store)
Butter lettuce
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
1/2 cup cilantro

Cook rice according to package instructions. While rice cooks, place all ingredients except lettuce, sesame seeds, and cilantro in a large bowl, then add cooked rice and fold together.

To serve, cover platter with lettuce leaves and spoon rice in the middle. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

This recipe and image printed with permission of BenBella Books Inc.

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