Monday, April 5, 2010

Meatless Monday

I'm late writing my
Meatless Monday post because I've been distracted watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on Hulu.

Jamie's a very personable celebrity chef who's been entertaining British and Australian audiences for years with his accessible and fun approach to cooking simple, healthy food.

It will be interesting to see if he can now motivate American audiences to change their habits and patterns around food.

In the episode linked to above, he initially comes up against some resistance in the West Virginian school system, where he's trying to implement his Food Revolution lunch program.

However, by the middle of the episode, Jamie's motivated a group of Huntington high school kids to cook a fund-raiser dinner for 80 local dignitaries and potential sponsors of his program.

By the uplifting end, you can't help but shed a few tears over the stories the kids share about what they've learned and how they feel Jamie's Food Revolution will improve their lives and the lives of other kids.

But change happens slowly, particularly when it comes to changing the way we eat, so I'll be tracking the progress of Jamie's Food Revolution as I'm curious to see if he can make a difference where it's most needed -- in the lunchrooms of American schools.

Meatless Monday is a fun and innovative way to make changes to the way we eat. By making the first day of the work week meatless, we're encouraged to think out-of-the-box regarding our food choices.

For some, eating three vegetarian meals may mean putting a little extra effort into meal preparation; for others, it may be a simple process of elimination.

Either way, Meatless Monday is an exercise in intention: the intention to give up meat for a day--though I prefer to consider it less about giving up something, and more about giving my body and liver a break from digesting the saturated fat present in animal protein.

In other words, going without meat is a chance to eat lighter, less fatty fare for a day.

The meal idea I have for this meatless Monday makes the most of the humble chic pea, a legume with gourmet potential. (My recipe behind this link includes ham, but you can easily leave it out).

Red Curry Chic Pea Casserole (pic above) is all vegetarian and it includes a number of spring vegetables including beet greens, however, any leafy green like chard, kale, dandelion greens, or spinach will work.

If you're feeling reluctant to cook with dried chic peas, because of the lengthy soaking and boiling they require, you'll find the power soak method a quick and easy alternative to using a pressure cooker and or overnight soaking.

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