I am constantly struggling with my vegetarian status. When I was thirteen, I swore off meat completely. The next year, I started boarding school, and four years later, I went to college, so it was never difficult to remain a vegetarian when the vast majority of my meals were prepared in a dining hall. And after nine years, vegetarianism was firmly ingrained in my eating habits, and it still is. But a year ago, when I started training for my first marathon, I decided to add turkey to my diet just to make sure I was getting protein to build enough muscle to get me through the race. And after the marathon was over, I kept eating turkey for a little while because, well, I liked it.
Within a few months, though, I gave up meat again. I found that I had become quite attached to my ‘vegetarian’ title, and I just couldn’t reconcile eating turkey and still calling myself a vegetarian (go figure). Since then, I’ve been a wishy washy vegetarian, never hesitating to taste a bite of a friend’s beef or chicken dish in a good restaurant, but never ordering or preparing it myself. I created an exception for when I was traveling, because who wants to go to China and never try Beijing duck or xiao long bao? Or visit Budapest without eating goulash? Jamaica without jerk chicken? No thanks. My favorite part of traveling is experimenting with local specialties, and trying to be a vegetarian in a foreign country is like trying to diet on vacation, and who wants to do that?
In the end, I’ve concluded that vegetarianism is like anything other dietary choice. If not eating meat is something that matters to you, following it 95% of the time is a whole lot better than nothing. And, more importantly, you save a lot of mental anguish by accepting that and not faulting yourself for that serving of turkey on Thanksgiving, or a piece of (this) delicious beef tenderloin on Christmas.
Five Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin
1 beef tenderloin (about 5 pounds)
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons coarsely ground 5-peppercorn blend
12 fresh large sage leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Rub the outside of the tenderloin with olive oil. Slather the mustard in a thin layer over the tenderloin. Sprinkle the peppercorn blend evenly over the meat. Place the sage leaves in a row down the center.Â Season with additional salt as desired.
3. Place the beef in a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour, or until internal temperature is 135 degrees for medium rare. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.
Yield: 10 servings
Tags: food · main dishes
I’m very excited that this week, this site hit its millionth page view!
When I think about that, it sort of makes my head explode — the internet is really so amazing, and I constantly appreciate the fact that I get to reach so many people just by putting up my own photos and recipes. Â When I get emails that people have actually tried and served my recipes, all across the country and throughout the world, it’s pretty much the quickest and easiest way to make my day.
One of the really exciting things about having a website is that it’s a slow process of regular growth. Â Last year around this time, I was thrilled to get a hundred visitors a day — now it’s several thousand. Â I’m thrilled to revisit this next year, and see how far I’ve come,
So, to celebrate, I’m posting a recipe that’s simple, fresh and perfect for the early days of summer. Â I bought freshly made ricotta from the italian market near my apartment, but if you wanted to go all out, you could make your own with these instructions. Â This is an easy, healthy weeknight dinner, and an excellent addition to your go-to recipe list. Â And I’m excited for zucchinis and summer squash to come into season, but you could also make this with spinach or broccoli, if you want to convert it to a more wintery recipe. Â Enjoy!
Last, but not least, the winners of the Singing Dog vanilla beans are comments #13 (AJ) and #50 (Katie) — I’ll be emailing later today for your addresses!
Pasta with Riccota and Zucchini
1 box (1 lb) gemelli pasta, or similar
1 fresh zucchini, jullienned into 2″ slices
1 fresh yellow squash, julienned into 2″ slices
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. drain it and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water for sauce. In a separate saucepan, saute zucchini and squash in olive oil, then add the ricotta, white wine and tarragon and heat through. Add enough pasta water to thin out the sauce, then add salt and pepper to taste, and toss with the pasta. Serve.
Tags: food · main dishes
I joined a CSA this winter, and my favorite part of it, so far, was an organic, free range chicken. The moment I saw it, I knew I wanted to do something special with it.
But sometimes the best recipes are the simplest, and this was one of those times. This chicken would make an excellent weeknight dinner, and roasting is by far the easiest preparation imaginable.Â Since it also adds a ton of flavor, you really can’t do much better.
So if you want something healthy and easy after a season of elaborate holiday cooking, try this.Â And happy new year, everyone!Â I, for one, am ringing in 2009Â by giving myÂ kitchen a rest for a day or two!
Garlic Roasted Chicken
1 whole chicken, cut into breasts and legs, skin removed
6 large garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Rub each chicken breast and leg with olive oil, salt and pepper. Finely chop the garlic cloves and cover the chicken with them.
Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve.
Tags: food · main dishes