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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, March 26, 2008

Easter dinner and more

So, Foodie Report readers, you think you're sick of hearing about tofu, greens and dairy-free food? Try being my boyfriend, who willingly eats whatever I cook. He likes tofu and all my vegetarian concoctions, but I came home to a bucket of KFC in the fridge two weekends ago. ("But it's a family meal," he said. "It'll last all weekend.") And it did. He and his friends pigged out on KFC, and I realized my vegetarian dinner parties aren't always as much of a hit as I thought. (I crave junk food sometimes, too, but how can you eat something that has a "Food Safety Assurance" label on the lid? Ew. Food shouldn't need such a label. Reminds me of the time I saw "KFC is safe for consumption" on the door of a Seoul KFC during the bird flu scare. No, thanks, I'll pass.)
The night before Easter, my friends who were still in town decided we needed to have Eastern dinner together. And, because I'd had a few glasses of pinot noir (three big ones, at Grammer's), I agreed to roast a chicken.
Dinner turned out to be Fred, three guys and me. They got a variation on engagement chicken, and I got roasted mushrooms, lentils and tofu with lemon-Dijon-herb sauce.
I bit my tongue, made no anti-meat comments and let the guys enjoy their dinner. And I stripped the carcass and made stock for a soup that Fred ate for dinner the next night.
Reportedly, the chicken was perfectly roasted, and it fell off the bone. I stuffed it with lemon, rosemary, thyme and garlic, then slipped herbs under the skin.
PETA's cringing right now, but I was happy to serve a meal that every one of my guests could enjoy. And I'll add that everyone tried -- and liked -- the lentils.


14 Comments:

at 9:33 AM Blogger Cin Twin1 said...

Just a curiosity question from a meat eater. Why do you not eat meat? Does it have to do with the cruelty to animals, or is it for health reasons? I have a sister who gave up meat in college just because she was too lazy to figure out how to prepare meat dishes in her dorm room. She has been a vegeatrian for 7 years now because she got used to eating that way. I read in my hubby's Men's Health magazine this article: "100 things to do in your lifetime" One of them was that you should go vegetarian for one month. I am tempted to take on this challenge. I am curious what the fuss is about. Any tips or thoughts? Will I be a changed person?

 
at 9:46 AM Blogger Julie said...

CinTwin, I did the vegetarian thing, and I eat a lot of fruits and veggies and cook with tofu, but I can't give up crispy roasted chicken skin or pork products or chicken broth. I try to buy free range hens and meat from quality butchers that offer more healthful and ecologically-sound choices, but there's no way I'm eating only lentils when everyone else is eating chicken. As much as I adore lentils. :)

 
at 9:50 AM Blogger liberal foodie said...

delish! I agree with Julie, I'd be right there eating the chicken with others. Cin twin1, I also tried the vegetarian thing and gave it up in college. Salads at the cafeteria day in and day out wasn't cutting it for me.

Stepf, how did you prepare your lentils?

 
at 12:56 PM Blogger Stepf said...

I have a really sensitive digestive system, and I have to be careful what I eat in general. Fried foods, dairy and meat render me useless! I chose not to eat meat because it makes me sick. I ate it so infrequently that when I did, I was ill. I never liked beef and only ate pork when I lived overseas. At home, I pretty much ate chicken (with some occasional bacon in a dish) and vegetarian dishes. I decided to stop eat meat because of all the digestive trouble I had, but then I started reading more about animal rights and factory farming. That solidified my decision. I have been trying to phase out seafood and fish, but I keep eating it. It doesn't make me morally superior to not eat meat, and it doesn't make me a flawed human to still eat fish. It's a diet that suits me well.
I feel healthier when I eat fruits and vegetables, with some whole grains thrown in. But do I stick to that? Heck, no. Even I am tempted by cheese sauce, deep-fried potatoes and good bread with great butter.
Julie: I put a block of tofu (with herbs and Dijon mustard slathered all over it) and lentils in a 9x9 glass pan. I covered the lentils with veggie broth, three in a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary and a glug of white wine. I squeezed a Meyer lemon over it and baked it at 400 for about 45 minutes.
Tofu gets really meaty when you freeze it, but I didn't thaw it for very long before I baked it, so it didn't roast like I had hoped. It was a bit watery. Next time, I'll thaw and squeeze dry the tofu. (I had tofu in the freezer, so that's why I used frozen.)

 
at 12:57 PM Blogger Stepf said...

I have a really sensitive digestive system, and I have to be careful what I eat in general. Fried foods, dairy and meat render me useless! I chose not to eat meat because it makes me sick. I ate it so infrequently that when I did, I was ill. I never liked beef and only ate pork when I lived overseas. At home, I pretty much ate chicken (with some occasional bacon in a dish) and vegetarian dishes. I decided to stop eat meat because of all the digestive trouble I had, but then I started reading more about animal rights and factory farming. That solidified my decision. I have been trying to phase out seafood and fish, but I keep eating it. It doesn't make me morally superior to not eat meat, and it doesn't make me a flawed human to still eat fish. It's a diet that suits me well.
I feel healthier when I eat fruits and vegetables, with some whole grains thrown in. But do I stick to that? Heck, no. Even I am tempted by cheese sauce, deep-fried potatoes and good bread with great butter.
liberal foodie: I put a block of tofu (with herbs and Dijon mustard slathered all over it) and lentils in a 9x9 glass pan. I covered the lentils with veggie broth, three in a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary and a glug of white wine. I squeezed a Meyer lemon over it and baked it at 400 for about 45 minutes.
Tofu gets really meaty when you freeze it, but I didn't thaw it for very long before I baked it, so it didn't roast like I had hoped. It was a bit watery. Next time, I'll thaw and squeeze dry the tofu. (I had tofu in the freezer, so that's why I used frozen.)

 
at 12:57 PM Blogger Stepf said...

oops, I edited a comment (to correct response to liberal foodie) and posted twice.

 
at 4:10 PM Blogger vudutu said...

I agree Julie the crispy stuff is the best part! I have two friends that we cook with who are vegie but I can't do it. As to the chicken recipe your stove must be a lot hotter than mine, I cook Marcella Hazan's lemon chicken that this was adapted from about once a month. She says 20 minutes a pound, I usually do 80 plus minutes for a 4 pounder. She also turns up the heat to 400 the last 20 minutes.

 
at 12:12 AM Anonymous Vunonymous said...

So I'm guessing that there will be no blooming onions in your future.

 
at 12:15 PM Blogger Stepf said...

oh, heck, no! I can't get within a mile of that. I do eat French fries every once in awhile... dipped in mayo! oh, that's the best food sin ever!

 
at 4:41 PM Blogger vudutu said...

I feel for you Stepf, I feel like I should send you veggie recipes! I am not sure what I would do if I could not eat about anything. I am always sorry after a Big Boy and onion rings, but it was sure good going in.

Actually JeanRos Pomme fritts and mayo is the best.

Have you tried roasting veggies? We roast one or two big cookie sheets, with foil on them, of bite size veggies most weekends and they last the week. The trick is roast them around 375 or 400, don't crowd them or they will just steam. Stir them around once in a while. You may want to add softer stuff after they have been a while so thing cook evenly but any root veggies, rutabaga, turnips celery root, potatoes, some fennel shallots or onion cauliflower, whatever works for you. They get nice and caramelized and sweet.

 
at 7:03 AM Blogger Cin Twin1 said...

I found that if you roast veggies on parchment paper, it absorbs some of the liquid and steam making them more roasted and less soggy. I also like to make "blasted broccoli". Same concept, brocolli, EVOO, salt, and pepper under a hot oven until it starts to brown. Yummy! I also found brussel sprouts work well roasted. I don't think I found anything that doesn't roast well come to think of it! I might have liked veggies more as a kid, if my mom had cooked them like this!

 
at 8:53 AM Blogger Stepf said...

Thanks, vudutu! I have no shortage of veggie recipes, I assure you. :) And I just got Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Suppers" cookbook. It's fabulous. Another favorite is Patricia Wells' "Vegetable Harvest."
Roasted/Blasted broccoli is delicious!!!

 
at 10:47 AM Blogger Nicci King said...

CinTwin - I am SO with you. I love Brussels sprouts in the oven. A hot oven, olive oil, course salt and fresh black pepper... Yum! Way better than the boiled, lifeless sprouts I remember eating when I was a kid. I love my mom, but she was not the greatest cook. It's funny because now she learns cooking techniques and recipes from me and she's getting to be a good cook. :)

 
at 10:56 PM Blogger vudutu said...

cintwin Like the parchment paper idea, I'll try it.

Brussel sprouts are great, I find quartering them opens them up and makes them more paletable, love them with apple slices or fennel to go with some dishes. You can really mix it up when your doing oven roasted vegies, or just use what you have. Tonight it was rudabager, shallots, fennel, celery, turnips, some onions that we found over wintering in the garden when we cleaned it up yesterday and kale. We added the kale in the last ten minutes.

Have you tried kale chips, this is great, take kale and strip the stems, what you want is chip size leaf pieces. Toss them in olive oil and salt and pepper, Roast them in a 400 or so oven and toss them ever few minutes. What your going for is browned, crispy munches. You have to watch them close. Lots of latitude here, flavor them with whatever you want when you toss. This is a must try, trust me.

 
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