Monday, June 7, 2010

Meatless Monday: Week Four

I embarrassingly just "stumbled" upon a new Meat-Free Monday website, this time with more of a focus in the UK. Check it out at: They seek to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption. Many people are unaware that livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than the entire transport sector.

As it's founded by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney, it's has some big-name celebrities and chefs behind it. So I thought I'd share of one of the family-friendly recipes here.

First is Anna Hansen of The Modern Pantry with:

Salad of wild rice, charred sweet corn, spiced pecans, avocado and feta MFM Recipe

This recipe is really simple and a great one to prepare in advance and assemble last minute if you’ve got friends over, and it looks impressive too. It’s also perfect as a week day supper because the rice makes it really substantial.

2 cobs of corn
150g (5.5 oz) wild rice
1 small cinnamon stick
1 red chilli, split lengthways
1 red onion
3 tbsp good red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
100g (3.5 oz) pecan nuts
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tbsp Maldon sea salt
1 bunch coriander, chopped (stalks and leaves)
1 avocado cut into pieces
Small bunch of watercress, washed
100g (3.5 oz) marinated feta

Cut the kernels off both cobs of corn. Put a little oil in a big pan, add the kernels and fry over a high heat until charred in places. Simmer the wild rice, cinnamon and chilli in plenty of water until tender but still al dente, and strain (check your packet of wild rice for timings, and taste for tenderness). Leave to cool.
Slice the red onion and caramelise in a pan in 1 tbsp of oil until soft. Add the vinegar and paprika. When the vinegar has evaporated, remove from the heat, allow to cool and add the corn.
Toss the pecans with the icing sugar, cumin seeds, salt and 1 tbsp water. Bake at 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 for 20 minutes or until golden (keep checking to make sure they don’t scorch). Cool.
Mix the rice, sweetcorn and onion, chopped coriander, avocado and watercress together. Crumble over the feta and pecans. Serve.

(I'd leave the omit the pecans for my 20 month old, but clearly this recipe looks like a fab summer dish.)

I also thought I'd recommend something from my most favorite food blog: Smitten Kitchen

Shaved Asparagus Pizza
Makes 1 thin crust 12-inch pizza

1 recipe Really Simple Pizza Dough or your favorite pizza dough
1/2 pound asparagus
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 pound mozzarella, shredded or cut into small cubes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it goes, or about 500 in most cases. If you use a pizza stone, have it in there.

Prepare asparagus: No need to snap off ends; they can be your “handles” as you peel the asparagus. Holding a single asparagus spear by its tough end, lay it flat on a cutting board and using a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler works best here, but I only had a standard, old and pretty dull peeler and it still worked; a mandolin would also work, in theory, but I found it more difficult to do it that way), create long shavings of asparagus by drawing the peeler from the base to the top of the stalk. Repeat with remaining stalks and don’t fret some pieces are unevenly thick (such as the end of the stalk, which might be too thin to peel); the mixed textures give a great character to the pizza. Discard tough ends. Toss peelings with olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and be sure to try one — I bet you can hardly believe how good raw asparagus can taste.

Assemble and bake pizza: Roll or stretch out your pizza dough to a 12-inch round. Either transfer to a floured or cornmeal-dusted pizza peel (if using a pizza stone in the oven) or to a floured or cornmeal-dusted tray to bake it on. Sprinkle pizza dough with Parmesan, then mozzarella. Pile asparagus on top. Bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, or until edges are browned, the cheese is bubbly and the asparagus might be lightly charred. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with scallions, then slice and eat.

More ways to tweak this: Pinch of red pepper flakes (toss with asparagus), squeeze of lemon juice (over the asparagus, after you remove it from the oven), sprinkle of truffle salt or few drops of truffle oil (if you’ve got it; also at end) or up to 3 eggs (bake pizza for 8 minutes, break eggs on top, then finish cooking pizza and eggs together).

Finally, if you’ve got a grill going, this pizza seems almost destined for it. When I grill pizza, I throw the whole dough down on an oiled grill and let it cook for a few minutes on the underside. I pull it off with tongs, flip it out onto a plate and pile the toppings on the grilled side, before sliding the raw side back onto the grill. Grill the pizza with the lid down for a few minutes, or until everything is bubbly and brown.

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