Friday, April 16, 2010

Eating Meat Less

We're making a few changes.  Starting small.  Just a few manageable changes in the way we eat.  We've been trying to avoid sugar and highly processed foods for a while.  We've been eating more meals at home and preparing them with good, fresh ingredients.  And we are trying to eat less meat.

This is actually a choice that's been a long time coming.  I've been a little grossed out by meat in general for as long as I can remember.  In our house, Keith has to handle all the raw meat, because if I touch or see it too much before I cook it, I can't eat it after it's done.  This all actually started before, and has only been compounded by, all the research I've been doing lately.  It's really more an emotional decision than a rational one, but still it makes sense.  Right now, I have absolutely no intention of going full-on vegetarian, much less vegan.  We're not eating meatless.  We just want to try eating meat less.  

We've started with our shopping list.  We usually cook four portions of dinner each night, instead of two. Then we make two plates for dinner and package up two lunch portions for the next day.  Saves time, saves hassle, saves money.  We usually shop for about three days worth of meals at a time.  That's really about as far ahead as you can get when you're buying tons of fresh produce.  We plan three dinners/lunches at a time, and have agreed to make two of them vegetarian selections.

I think Keith agreed to this, in the first place, mainly in hopes of cutting down on my gross-out raw meat drama.  But as we sat down to our Indian Vegetable Curry last night, we were surprised to find that we are not so much missing the meat.  A year ago, we both would have told you we insist on having meat with a meal.  Not giving it up, no way, no how.  But when food is as fresh and filling and flavorful as ours was, it's kind of hard to complain.  I totally recommend trying this dish even if you're totally 100% into eating meat.  It's takes a bit more effort that our usual fare because of all the veggie prep, but it was absolutely delicious.

Indian Vegetable Curry

4 cloves garlic
1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
1 Tbs olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 can diced tomatoes, low salt
3/4 cup plain, natural yogurt (we like Greek)
1 1/2 cup small cauliflower florets
1/3 cup water
4 oz fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Extra yogurt for topping

Pop garlic and ginger into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Heat oil in a medium-large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add chopped garlic and ginger, plus onion and spices.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until onion softens (about 5 mins).

Throw in tomato, yogurt and cauliflower.  Mix it up good, bring to a low simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes.  Then add water, green beans and chickpeas, put a lid on it, and cook covered for 10 minutes more. After that, add the zucchini and cook for 8 more minutes, still covered.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with cilantro and a little dollop of yogurt.  The yogurt-y sauce is so good with all that ginger and curry, I swear you'll want to lick the bowl.

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