Monday, October 24, 2011

Cookbook Mondays: In Celebration of Food Day

Today is Food Day. Now, do not confuse this with World Food Day, which took place last weekend. The U.S. version was founded by two congress people, seeking to rally public advocacy around reforming the domestic food system. Six basic principles make up the agenda:
  1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
  2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
  3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
  4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
  5. Promote healthy by curbing junk food marketing to kids
  6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers
That is a hefty set of goals, but I encourage all of you to sign the petition on the website to garner as much support! In the meantime, it seemed like a good time to break out a cookbook I had acquired and not yet consulted: A Cook's Book of Vegetabales: Peas, Beans, Greens. This is an out-of-print Aussie cookbook focused on just what its title insinuates.

So I made this lovely dinner (and week's lunches) and forgot to take a photo (not very photogenic food, anyhow)! So, instead you get some old photos of an eggplant, and my contributions to Wellness Weekends on Diet, Dessert 'n' Dogs (both adapted from the aforementioned cookbook). I think this roundup1 is well-suited for Food Day, in so much as it promotes healthy meals and avoids the need to rely on factory farms by being completely animal-product-free!

Creamy Sweet Potato Polenta
1 orange sweet potato, washed and aerated with a fork
t tsp coconut oil
1/4 cup soy or almond milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup polenta
3 cups water

1. Microwave potato for 3-4 minutes, until soft but not dried-out.
2. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of water to boiling, adding polenta at the beginning. Continue to stir and add liquid as necessary, until loses its coarse, grainy texture. Add cinnamon, salt and milk.
3. Mush potato and oil together until smooth. Add to polenta with a fork, and combine until even.
4. Serve warm.

Eggplant and Lentil Salad
1 medium eggplant, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
2 tbs olive oil (I tried a smoky one!)
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tbs red wine vinegar (optional)
1 tbs olive oil (good stuff, optional)

1. Place eggplant in a bowl with salt. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
2. Heat 1tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add eggplant and cumin. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until onions are translucent and eggplant soft.
3. Remove mix back to a bowl. Heat second tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
4. Add garlic and brown for a minute or two. Then pour in vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
5. Cook lentils until soft and liquid is gone. Return eggplant to pan and cook for another five minutes.
6. Toss in vinegar and good quality olive, if so desired, before serving up.

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