The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Update: cooking lessons

I'm not a kid person. I taught English for a year to little Korean children, and it was incredibly rewarding. But, I'm much more of an adult person. I hate "kid" food, in all its processed and artificial glory. That said, I'm having a ball with my "little sister" from Big Brothers Big Sisters. But when you're dealing with a kid that's not your own, you have to build good eating habits step by step.
Last night we cooked together. She tried broccoli and mushrooms for the first time, and we made tarragon chicken (for her -- leftover sauteed tofu for me) with mushroom sauce and steamed broccoli. I loosely based it on a Rachael Ray recipe. I was rushed last night, and I didn't have time to get kids cookbooks from the library as I'd planned.
(Many of you wrote about your dislike for Rachael Ray. I agree with you, but hers was the simplest cookbook I had. Plus, my little sister has seen her on TV. Let's talk another day about our mutual dislike for RRay. I used to be a fan, but I'm slowly joining the anti-RRay camp!)
Here's the recipe we made, with modifications in parentheses to make it (the sauce) vegetarian. (I also simplified a few things for Tabitha and substituted unsweetened soymilk for the red wine. And, I ran out of rosemary, so I used tarragon, which is my favorite herb.)
Tarragon chicken breasts with mushroom sauce
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened soymilk
    Heat a grill pan over high heat. Drizzle chicken breasts with oil, season with salt, pepper and tarragon. Grill chicken 5 minutes on each side and remove from heat to rest for 5 minutes.
    In a separate, medium skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, saute crushed garlic and chopped onion over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms 10 minutes, or until dark and tender. Add flour and cook 1 minute. Add stock and soymilk to the pan and reduce by 1/2, about 5-7 minutes. Slice chicken breast Ladle thick mushroom sauce down over sliced chicken (or tofu) and serve.
    My little sister knows I don't eat meat, but I'm OK with cooking it for other people. Maybe some day she'll be vegetarian, but I am not pushing her that way. I just want her to try new foods, whether they're meat, seafood or vegetables. My boyfriend, who happily eats tofu and veggies alongside me, was happy to eat the leftover chicken.

We also baked chocolate-chip cookies, but I substituted a banana for the butter. (Oops. I thought I had bought some.) I reduced the eggs to one, and they turned out great! My sister took two dozen to her family, and my boyfriend shared the rest with his co-workers. Not a cookie remains. (I've also substituted equal amounts of silken tofu for butter and eggs. The texture changes a bit, but the flavor is good.)


at 11:56 AM Anonymous Dave said...

Stepf, I think I've heard you mention this once or twice lately....By any chance do you not eat meat?

at 4:08 PM Blogger Stepf said...

Yes, I don't eat meat. (Does that make sense?) I'm not "vegetarian." (Who needs labels!?) I eat fish and seafood, especially in various sushi forms! But I gave up meat late last year/early this year. I slipped a few times, like while I was on vacation in France, and I felt horrible. I've also tried to give up eggs in their basic form. I feel terribly guilty about how egg-laying chickens are treated. I haven't quite made it yet.

at 5:14 PM Anonymous Dave said...

Yep, I know, I was being sarcastic....whoops. I was just poking fun at your frequent mention of this fact. No offense, just a joke.

at 8:16 AM Blogger Stepf said...

Oh, no worries! I guess I don't need to mention that so often. So, loyal reader, are you a veg-head, too?

at 9:18 AM Anonymous Dave said...

No, actually I am not, but I do enjoy a lot of vegetarian food. I am not a strict carnivore and go long periods of time without it. I am down with your philosophy though, I only buy cage-free eggs and free range chicken.

at 11:53 AM Blogger Stepf said...

Yay! I'm not a pusher. I try not to make others feel guilty. I let my boyfriend eat meat in front of me, and once I even cooked him a steak (to say 'I'm sorry')!

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