Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My vegetarian adventure

I've decided to go vegetarian for the next 365 days!

As it is, I actually started on April 1st.
One of my friends thought it was an April Fools Day joke, but I was a few days short of my Easter vacation and it seemed like a good idea to start. Besides it's spring; A lot of fresh vegetables will show up on the market in the next few weeks, and I will have a lot of delicious ingredients to choose from.

The idea to become a vegetarian didn't come to me overnight. First, I love vegetables. Second, I have grown more and more sceptical towards modern farming as the animals live on restricted diets and they are given minimal space to live on. Modern breeding have turned many animals into meat producing giants - with large bodies and feet that struggle to carry the weight. I asked myself, will I continue to support this business?

A vegetarian diet is also supposed to be healthy, but expensive and time consuming.
I am curious to see if this is true.
In this house hold we spend $1000 on food and grocery items every month. I hope my project won't add to an already bulging food budget.

In the weeks prior to my adventure, I spent many hours on the Internet, searching for vegetarian recipes and nutrition. I also started a subscription on Vegetarian Times - a magazine dedicated to vegetarian cooking.

I live a fairly busy life. I won't have time to cook time consuming meals every day. I eat out several times a month, and vegetarian menu charts are few and far between here. I think the restaurant business will give me a hard time in the months to come, but I'm crossing my fingers.

Actually, I met my first 'wall' during my Easter holiday. I was starving, and dropped by a nice lunch restaurant. As a meat eater, I have loved the place and eaten there many times in the past. I have seen vegetarian dishes on the menu, so I thought it was a safe place to start.
Not so. On this day the chef was out, and the temp chef had made two dishes: Meat balls or smoked salmon.

I told the waiter I don't eat meat.
'You'll have fish then', she said and that was that!

I found three restaurants that offered vegetarian dishes during my holiday, but the menu was repeated every day and to be honest, it will probably take a while until I eat mushroom risotto, vegetarian lasagna (which contained too much salt, by the way) or broccoli and gnocchi in cheese sauce again. Two weeks on this diet took the fun out of dining out.

I hope my holiday just turned out to be a small bump in the road.
I'm still excited about my project and I can't wait to try some of the new vegetarian recipes I have found.

Stay tuned!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Lauper - sweet anise rolls

I'm sorry for disappearing from the face of Earth...uhm, I guess that will be face of Blogger...without further notice a few months back.
Real Life got in the way there for a little while, but my stove has been screaming my name and this week we reunited.

I went for the flour first. These sweet rolls contain fine grind rye flour and has more fiber than plain white flour. In my book, that makes them almost healthy. I do agree that the amount of dark syrup keeps them from being labelled "Health Food", but if you serve them with cheese instead of jam, it evens out.
Serve them with tea or coffee.

Lauper (- sweet anise bread rolls)

These remind me of when I was a kid, visiting my grandmother who made these all the time.

The rye flour will keep them moist for days. (- but they never last more than a day or two in this house hold.)

2 1/4 pounds white flour
1 pound finely grind rye
1/2 cup canola oil
2 1/3 cup dark syrup
1 1/2 ts salt
1 envelope anise seeds (3 teaspoons)
2 envelopes of yeast (5 teaspoons)
4 cups of milk

Mix flour, salt and dry yeast in a bowl.

Crush the anise seeds in a mortar and add them to the dry mixture.

Heat milk in a casserole until it's lukewarm. Add oil and dark syrup, mix well and pour into the bowl with the dry mixture.

Blend well. Add a little white flour if necessary.
When you have formed a dough, let it rise until double in size.

Roll out 12 large buns (- I usually make around 20 because I like them smaller), and let rise for 30 minutes.

Brush with eggwash if desired, and bake at 350F for 20 minutes, or until done.