a few weeks ago, i started a health coaching program. the course has put forth a number of challenges…get more sleep, exercise more, find meaningful work, etc. i have been working on “experimenting with proteins.”
for years i was a vegetarian. i ate fish but for 14 years i didn’t eat meat (with a few exceptions, like corn dogs in Daytona and the occasional late night hamburger. don’t ask). then, about 6 years ago, i tried a perfectly marinated and grilled steak tip. my vegetarian days came to a screeching halt. i dove head first into learning about meat. how to season it, cook it, store it. i experimented with locally raised and conventionally farmed chicken, beef, lamb. i made heritage birds and tyson chicken. i started eating meat everyday. i forgot how to cook tofu and tempeh. i could have cared less about tofu dogs or meals without animal meat. so in the last few weeks, in an effort to work different kinds of protein back into my diet, i have been experimenting again. here’s what i’ve been up to:
1. i bought this–a pressure cooker. 8qt. we are getting to know each other. its a work in progress.
2. i made white beans for a Warm White Bean Salad by Peter Berley. While the salad was delicious, it would have been better if my beans were actually fully cooked. still learning the pressure cooker.
3. i made black eyed peas for Jane’s Texas Caviar recipe. Of course i didn’t follow her directions for cooking black eyed peas because i have a pressure cooker now–meaning i don’t need to follow directions. cooked the peas too long–ended up tossing the mush. clearly still learning the pressure cooker and when i actually make this recipe, i will share Jane’s recipe because i’ve had it before and its so good.
4. i made this tasty rice dish from my new favorite blog, Sprouted Kitchen. opted to ditch the pressure cooker on this one and cook the rice in a rice cooker. good on the first try! i added shredded cabbage and kale, which i sauteed first, to the recipe for even more color!
5. i’m still cooking meat but i’m trying to cook less of it, and when i do cook it, i’m cooking local, fairly raised meat because i do believe it makes a difference. One of my favorite meat dishes is a mushroom and sausage ragu. Onion, mushrooms, garlic, sausage, and fire roasted tomatoes. saute and simmer until everything is well cooked and the flavors meld together. the longer the better. add your favorite spices–red peper flakes, fennel, oregano, etc. serve over creamy polenta or baked spaghetti squash.
6. i am cooking lots of quinoa. im sure you already know this but quinoa is the kind of whole grains because it contains all the essential amino acids, making it a “complete protein.” Just one cup of cooked quinoa contains 18 grams of protein, as well as nine grams of fiber. I use quinoa instead of barley to make tabouli-like salad.