Monday, March 18, 2013

What's Cooking? Rawsome or Toasty Warm

It is my last day in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. Contrasting the city to which I will return this afternoon, there is quite a different vibe than the sometimes sterile and a bit uptight city of Washington, DC. I was visiting my friend JY from college - just for the weekend - a visit that usually involves plenty of exploration and lots of tasty vegan food.

My first night consisted of a bountiful bowl of udon and greens at Life Alive. This reminded me very much of a Portland or San Francisco/Berkeley veg eatery, with meals of vegetables, grains, and tofu, not to mention stellar smoothies. And while we also had good intentions to bake a pie after dinner for Pi Day, that activity was actually postponed until the following evening (a beautiful gluten-free vegan ginger peach pie with lattice crust...we were so proud!).

So moving on to Friday. Feeling like we could undertake just about anything in the kitchen, we embarked on creating a particularly complex salad. While chopping and dicing and shredding, M (JY's roommate who joined us) asked whether we would be cooking the kale. When I replied that we would keep it raw, she raised the important question about whether it's better to consume crudites or cooked vegetables, and what is the ideal combination of cooked and raw. This is an issue because, in my most basic understanding, raw vegetables can be difficult to digest but heating vegetables can destroy certain phytochemicals.

After a bit of online sleuthing, I found that the short of it is that we need to eat a mix of raw and cooked vegetables. The impact of cooking differs depending on the vegetable, and it's best to steam over boil, cook for a short time versus long and on high heat (so much for roasting...). This is consistent with a study a few years back, which found that raw foodists had high levels of certain vitamins and deficiencies in others. SO, our fabulous salad has a mix of raw and cooked vegetables to cover all our bases, a bit of fat to help absorb nutrients, and some fruit for a touch of sweetness. If you want to enhance the digestibility of the raw kale, make sure to massage it or let it sit overnight in the dressing.
Hale and Hearty Green Meal
1 tbs toasted sesame oil
1 tbs canola oil
1/3 cup orange juice (can be fresh)
1 tbs wheat-free tamari
1 tbs dijon mustard (and/or miso)
1 tbs agave (or honey)
pinch salt
1 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional)

Apple-Brussels Hash
1 pound brussels sprouts, sliced
2 medium apples, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 package tempeh, cubed (optional)
1 tbs olive oil
Salt to taste
Salad Assembly
2 bunches of kale, chopped or ripped (we used Red Russian and Purple Curly)
1 ripe avocado, sliced or diced
1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped (optional)

1. Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a lidded jar. Put tempeh in a bowl and pour in about half the dressing to marinate.
2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 4 minutes until beginning to caramelize and brown. Toss in apples and a pinch of salt. Cook for another 2 minute or so. Finally, add the brussels sprouts and continue to cook until starting to soften.
3. At that point, incorporate the tempeh, reserving the rest of the marinade to dress the salad. Continue to cook until sprouts are tender and everything has a nice caramelly "crust"
4. Assemble to salad in a large bowl, tossing together kale, avocado, AB hash, and the dressing. Serve with warm, crusty, whole grain bread!

Check out more tastiness on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Wellness Weekends.

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