Thursday, August 21, 2014

We Eat Very Simply

I suppose that some families would absolutely hate how we eat, and not because it is plant-based whole foods. No, some people really wouldn't like how often we repeat meals and how simple they really are.

Two people in my family are super tasters; I am one of them. Super tasters can have a more difficult time with spicy foods, unusual flavors, and even textures.

A simple meal of brown rice, pinto beans, sautéed zucchini, and avocado.

Two people in my family are teens; I am NOT one of them. They haven't developed a sophisticated adult palate. I would actually say that T has regressed some in terms of being an adventurous eater, whereas J has always been more choosy.

Three of the people in my family have multiple food allergies; I am one of them. The boys allergies no longer are of much concern; J has outgrown a lot of his allergies and while T hasn't outgrown his dairy allergy, we don't eat dairy, so it is a non-issue. I, however, still have to cook around my allergies and sensitivities. While I am very pleased that some of my more recently acquired allergies seem to have disappeared, my lifelong tomato allergy has not.

I am a believer in simple, and I think a lot of people really do love simple foods and enjoying how foods taste. I get so many compliments on my cooking, so it must work!

I rarely do much to dress up legumes because we like the flavor of legumes! Pinto beans are cooked with garlic and seasoned with salt; adventurous tomato lovers can add salsa, avocado lovers can add mashed avocado. Black beans get the same treatment. My favorite way to eat lentils is cooked as mujadara with a very simple, very traditional recipe that involves lentils, rice, onions, olive oil, and salt. The combination is magic. Heirloom beans are seasoned with olive oil, sage, lemon, and salt. Chickpeas become hummus, but even my hummus recipe is very basic: chickpeas, olive oil, water, salt, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini. I would never add cumin or other spices! My split pea soup is a bit more complicated, including salt and a few herbs: thyme, rosemary, fennel seed, and oregano.

I love roasting and sautéing vegetables simply with olive oil and salt, and occasionally black pepper. I never bother with sauces for vegetables. Greens get the addition of garlic, well-browned, and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice.

Sometimes we eat pasta; two of us have it with tomato marinara (jarred), one prefers plain olive oil and salt, and I bounce between olive oil and homemade hempesan or a homemade vegan cheesy sauce or homemade olive tapenade (just olives, olive oil, and salt).

Tacos are simply refried (really pureed) beans with a simply seasoned rice (garlic, chili powder, onion, salt, pepper) and raw or cooked veggies.

We are a family that can make a meal out of oven roasted potatoes (olive oil, salt, pepper), a roasted vegetable, and a cabbage salad (cabbage, olive oil, AVC, garlic, salt). Even better would be mashed potatoes and sautéed cabbage. On a lazy day the potatoes might be simply baked. If I am really fancy I will cook Indian spiced potatoes which uses more spices than any other dish I make.

If I branch out and make a tamale pie or lentil-rice casserole I am certain to get some resistance from one or more of the troops. Heck, J doesn't even like stir-fry, especially if it is prepared with Asian seasonings. I still think of stir fry as simple, though, so I make it :)

When I was a newlywed Papa worked at a restaurant so I was responsible for my own dinner 4 - 5 nights per week, either at home or work. My number one meal, repeated several times a week, was steamed vegetables and brown rice, seasoned with either vegan margarine or tamari sauce.

It's all good, simple food, seasoned just enough to highlight the natural flavors of the healthful foods I serve.

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