By Marsha Fottler –
This month we celebrate an unusual national movement, The American Meatout, which intends to focus attention on how much meat we eat in this country and how it might be good for our health and our food budgets (not to mention the environment) if we made a concerted effort to eat a bit less. National Meatout Day is March 20.
The movement began in 1985 by FARM, a non profit, grassroots educational group headquartered in Washington D.C. Ideally, FARM wants to everyone to be a vegetarian or vegan. But many meat-eating people support the movement and adopt some of its principles because they don’t like the environmental impact (or the animal cruelty implications) of factory farming in the United States. These carnivores show support by eating less meat and by insisting that their meat is of free-range variety. An eater who favors vegetables and fruits over meat regularly (but not all the time) is called a flexitarian.
Many religions curtail the consumption of meat (consider Catholics and Lent) or ban entirely some kinds of meat products (Jews and pork or shellfish). For mental and physical fitness the ancient philosophers Plato and his teacher
Socrates advocated a vegetarian diet of barley-cake, bread, olives, cheese, beans, peas and figs. The figs were for dessert. But aside, from religious considerations and philosophical restraint, an overwhelming amount of recent medical literature suggests that switching to a mostly plant-based diet can yield significant health benefits in the short and long term.
If you’re concerned about what too much meat can do to your waistline or to your heart, consider a FARM suggestion and observe Meatout Mondays throughout the year. This conscientious effort will probably challenge (in a positive way) your menu planning skills, it will expose you to new recipes, and it might help you shed a few pounds as well as a pinch of environmental guilt. If you want to observe Meatout Mondays, pick any Monday this month and see where it leads you. At Flavors And More, we’d be interested to know. Here are a few recipes to get your started.
Hazelnut-Crusted Brussels Sprouts
(from the cookbook Savory Bites by Kim Hendrickson, Salvia Press, $18.95)
40 tender young Brussels sprouts
1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
½ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
flour for dredging
vegetable oil for frying
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
Bring Brussels sprouts to a boil in salted water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Mix bread crumbs and hazelnuts in a small bowl. Beat egg with a bit of water in a shallow dish. Place ½ inch flour in another shallow dish. Dip sprouts, 3 or 4 at a time, in flour to coat, than roll in egg until surface is just sticky, then finally in bread crumb/nut mix. Set aside for 10 minutes to breading adheres.
Heat ½ inch oil in a small skillet over high heat until the surface is shimmering hot but not smoking, then lower heat to medium-high. Add garlic slices and cook until they have browned, about 30 seconds. Remove them at once with a slotted spoon so the do not burn. Place a few sprouts into the hot oil and brown them quickly. This will take less than a minute . Drain on paper towels and continue with remaining sprouts. Serve immediately.
Raw Kale Confetti Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds
(from the cookbook Clean Start by Terry Walters, Sterling Publishing, $25)
2 bunches kale (about 4 heaping cups) chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
3 teaspoons finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1 small carrot, grated
3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
Remove stalks from kale and discard. Chop leaves into small pieces and place in mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and using your fingers, gently massage oil into leaves. Sprinkle with sea salt and ginger, add avocado and continue massaging until leaves are evenly coated. Set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.
Add onion, red pepper, carrot and sunflower seeds, and toss. Drizzle lemon and lime juice over salad, massage juices into leaves and toss to distribute ingredients evenly. Season to taste with salt, massage one last time and
Blueberry Oat Bars
(from Fat Free Vegan)
These tasty bars are not too sweet, making them just right for breakfast or an afternoon treat served with hot tea.
1 pint blueberries
¼ cup agave nectar or maple syrup
¼ cup apple juice
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water to form a smooth paste
3 cups gluten-free oatmeal (regular, not instant)
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsweetened applesauce
6 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375F and oil an 8×8-inch baking dish. In small saucepan, make the filling by combining blueberries, agave nectar, and juice; bring to a boil over medium-high heat; when it boils, stir in the vanilla and the cornstarch mixture; continue to stir as the mixture boils and thickens; remove from heat and set aside.
Put 1½ cups of the oatmeal into blender and grind it to a fine powder; pour it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add remaining oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; mix well; stir in applesauce, agave nectar, water, and vanilla, and mix well. Spread half the batter into prepared pan, smoothing well to cover bottom of pan; spoon blueberry filling over batter, and cover blueberries with remaining batter. Bake 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned; allow to cool before cutting into bars.