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Abrazos! xox Penny

Monday, November 8, 2010

With a little help from...

All the talk about India this past weekend and the fact that it is Divali brought back a flood of great memories. Jeepers...has it really been 4 years??? I loved it there. Seeing pictures the Taj Mahal (overwhelmingly beautiful...the first full sight of it moved me to tears), Gandhi's ashram and museum, and the merriment of the school children dancing really put me in the mood for tonight's cooking workshop on spices. I learned most of what I know from that trip and from cooking tips my "sister" Usha (son's mother-in-law) has shared. I am excited to share all I know with the folks at Eggshells, tonight. One of the recipes I am making I will post here on Friday. Thank you, Usha, for teaching me so much and Happy Divali to all my Indian friends and family xoxoxo

So I don't spill the spice before tonight's class, I am shifting my thoughts to herbs and a promise I made a couple of weeks ago to share both my brother Rick's chimichurri sauce and a little about seitan, a meat substitute made from wheat. It is high in protein and has a really nice texture. That it is made by a company with "soy" in its name is unfortunate. There is no soy in seitan.

Ordinarily I shy away from "fake" anything but I ordered this appetizer in a favorite restaurant in New York and flipped for it. This is one of my all-time favorite plant-based delights. I even bought some to eat on the plane going home.

When I got home and first made it myself and went to the store to pick up the ingredients, no joke, the clerk at Whole Foods asked me, "Are you alright?" I had never seen seitan "as is" before and I guess my face was a sight. At first glance, seitan is not all that pretty or appetizing. Now I am used to it and opt for the "can't judge a book by its cover" adage. I am so excited that it is also available in my neighborhood grocery store now, too! Don't wait for Meatless Monday to try it!

Chimichurri sauce is delightful, fresh and garlic-y and adds a wonderful zing. Rick's recipe uses white wine. I have made it before with fresh orange juice. Either way, it's a winner.

 Seitan Kabobs with Chimichurri Sauce

1 package seitan cubes
wooden skewers
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Blend lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, parsley and cilantro until smooth in a blender or food processor. Use as a marinade for seitan. Marinate at least for one hour or overnight.

Next day, thread seitan cubes onto a wooden stick and broil or grill until browned, about 5-7 minutes a side. Serve with Chimichurri Sauce drizzled over top. Serves 2 amply.

Rick's Chimichurri Sauce

1 bunch parsley
4 garlic cloves
"little" olive oil
"little" lemon juice
"splash" of white wine
Black pepper

Mix all in a blender until the consistency of heavy cream. Season to taste, adding more lemon juice or wine until it has the "zing" you want.

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