Veggie Chat Leftovers: Soy Sauce, Winter Dessert and No-Meat Lent
Yesterday's vegetarian edition of What's Cooking ended too soon, with many unanswered questions idling in the queue. Here are a few to chew on over the weekend.
Dessert?: I'm taking dessert to a friend's house this weekend, for after a kind of heavy meal. Any suggestions for a dessert? We aren't vegetarians, but the friend has some cholesterol concerns, so I'd love some ideas for desserts without eggs, cream, dairy... It's too cold for sorbet!
Bake a fruit crisp, dear -- and instead of butter in the topping, use heart-healthier Earth Balance spread. I've been using it in cakes, cookies and my Dark 'n' Stormy pear crisp with great success, and no one can tell the difference. Oats and cinnamon are powerful anti-cholesterol warriors, so adding them into your topping ups the healthy ante.
Meringue makes for a festive ending to a meal -- and without the yolks becomes a cholesterol-free option. I've done meringue cookies, with an espresso-nut twist, which is fun with coffee or dessert wine, and I've also done a baked meringue island and topped it with fruit, which is quite stunning at the table. Meringue tends to be sweet, however, so keep that in mind as you peruse your options.
Washington, D.C.: What's the difference between tamari soy sauce and regular grocery store soy sauce? Are they interchangeable?
Although there are soy sauces from several different countries -- China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, to name a few -- the "regular grocery store soy sauce" you mention is most likely Japanese. And Kikkoman, the Japanese soy sauce giant that recently celebrated 50 years doing business in this country is likely to be the brand you've got in the cabinet.
In Japanese, the word for soy sauce is shoyu -- a generic term referring to that all-purpose mixture of soy beans, wheat, water and salt used in everything from stir fries to salad dressings.
Tamari, which is darker and more intense in flavor, is the precursor to shoyu and more closely that originally came from China, the home of soy sauce. Because of its intense flavor, tamari is "used mainly as a dip for sashimi," according to cookbook author Elizabeth Andoh, in her "Washoku."
The wheat-free factor is the reason why tamari is getting so much play on American shelves; tamari, already lower in wheat content than shoyu, is now available without any wheat whatsoever, a boon for the 1 in 100 people living with celiac disease and others with gluten intolerance. Check labels to guarantee what you're getting is the right stuff.
The trick, however, is to find a balance when you season. The tamari will undoubtedly will yield stronger results, and you'll need to figure out how to use accordingly.
Washington, D.C.: HELP! I'm giving up meat for Lent (keeping dairy products though) and I'm already scared. I'm on a budget, but I don't want to eat grilled cheese every night. I tried making spinach and chickpeas, but I hated the recipe. I love Indian food, but I don't know where to start. Any suggestions?
Forty days and 40 nights without meat. What a great experiment. There is absolutely no reason to be scared. The key with such a dietary shift is to get organized. Plan out your meals over the weekends for the week ahead so that you're not scrambling at the last minute and grabbing a frozen pizza just to satisfy the vegetarian requirement.
Spend a few bucks on a vegetarian cookbook or borrow one from the library. Take a look at this list of meatless titles, with omnivores such as yourself in mind. With a book at your side, you'll get ideas, inspiration and stay motivated. Get familiar with beans and legumes, a tight budget's best friend. Try this recipe for red lentil soup, which will set you back about five bucks. Speaking of soup, you must peruse this list of 20 ways to soup it up without leaving the house. Soup is one of the cheapest ways to get nourished, it transports well for next-day lunch and it is the secret to surviving winter.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Violet | January 25, 2008 10:07 AM
Posted by: Anonymous | January 25, 2008 10:08 AM
Posted by: Anonymous | January 25, 2008 10:28 AM
Posted by: Jenny | January 25, 2008 10:55 AM
Posted by: Steph | January 25, 2008 11:25 AM
Posted by: Em | January 25, 2008 2:05 PM
Posted by: Arlington Gal | January 25, 2008 3:18 PM
Posted by: H-Town | January 28, 2008 10:19 AM
Posted by: Mme_Libn | January 28, 2008 5:37 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.