Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Adventures with Food

Greens at the Chinese Market

I find my exploration of vegetarian meal options very interesting and have discovered that many ethnic cuisines feature vegetables, grains and legumes served in tasty combinations. One of our larger local supermarkets has two rows of international foods including ingredients for Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Central American, and South Asian dishes. I like the bags of rice and chick pea flour, the many varieties of rice, beans and lentils as well as the pouches of unfamiliar herbs and spices.

Vegetables Bahjis with lime and hummus

The Becka has perfected vegetable bahjis which are made with chick pea flour or besan. This week, I bought a colourful bag of mixed lentils and used them in a vegetarian version of my mother's ground beef goulash recipe. The experiment turned out well and the recipe is posted on Come Home for Supper. There is a Chinese supermarket downtown which has the largest selection of reasonably priced fresh green vegetables I have ever seen. Last week I bought a large bunch of mustard greens, a vegetable I have never found in our regular stores. It has a peppery flavour and is tasty in soups and stir fries.

Rice and Lentils with mustard greens

My daughter and I spent two weeks last fall in Nevada, Arizona and California. I managed to find healthy vegetarian food most of the time. Las Vegas was the most difficult place to find a good restaurant so I drank a lot of Odwalla smoothies and ate fresh fruit from a nearby Walmart. California is a very vegetarian friendly state and even the ferry we took across to Alcatraz sold vegan lunches at their snack bar.

Roasted Vegetable Fajitas, El Torito, Monterey, CA

We ate at a Mexican restaurant near Cannery Row in Monterey and enjoyed a well presented vegetarian fajita sizzler. Served with rice, beans and tortillas, it was so big that we enjoyed another meal of leftovers the next day.

My main complaint with restaurant meals is the high sodium content of almost every dish. I really notice salty foods because we use few processed foods or canned soups at home. So I prefer to spend money on good ingredients and experiment with herbs and spices instead of relying on salt for flavour. I am enjoying this food adventure very much!

6 comments:

  1. I love Asian food (probably because that was the first food I tasted -lived in Indonesia till i was 5 y. old). The combination of an Asean main course and a Western desert is heaven to me!

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  2. This all sounds and looks delishous. Yet I have to admit to being a very lazy cook and not motivated to start cooking different. When I get to a resturant that offers vegetarian I almost always order off that and have never been disapointed. Good for you to think so health concious.

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  3. I have been a vegetarian for twenty six years. I love good wholesome fresh food. I am sure it keeps body mind and soul healthy.......

    I understand your reference to salt. I use very little in my cooking, certainly not enough to taste. If food is flavoured with herbs or spices, who needs salt.

    Enjoy your weekend......

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  4. It's fun trying out new foods. And with ethnic groceries abundant, rather than scarce, it's easier to buy fresh and unusual ingredients.

    Your pics are great. Looks like good cooking and yummy eating.

    I so hear you on the salt issue. I never buy processed foods (or rarely) and I make my own soups (once you get into the habit of making your own soups, the canned stuff tastes terrible - you can't go back). I really don't understand why "they" put so much of it in ordinary food. Nobody needs that amount of salt for something to taste good. Yuk!

    Give me fresh herbs any day.

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  5. Wow, those bahjis look incredible! And I'm sure they're extremely hearty and nutritious too :)

    Glad to hear you're enjoying your vegetarian food adventure - isn't it incredible that sometimes cutting back on something can actually open your eyes to many more options? I love it!!

    Yes, herbs and spices over salt, any day!!

    :) aletheia

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  6. I like Chinese greens better than sliver beet. My daughter too has turned vegetarian.

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