Monday, October 31, 2011

MoFo Mystery Picture the Thirtieth and a New Year's Resolution

For the last mystery picture of Vegan MoFo 2011, I've chosen something very, very vegan.  Vegans will get it right away, omnis...well, go ahead and guess!

So, farewell to another MoFo, and Happy New Year if you are wiccan.  I am not wiccan, but this really does seem to me to be the ideal time for the year to begin, like seeds planted in the ground that need some germination time before they can sprout forth.

I've made a resolution!  Some of you may know that near the beginning of 2011 I lost quite a bit of weight.  Well, to my horror, I find that despite working out every day like a mad fiend, it is starting to creep back on.  Noooooooo!!!!!  No no no no no!  However, the reason isn't a mystery, it's because I like to drink wine while I cook.  I won't go into the gory details, but that's it in a nutshell.  The only really feasible way for me to drink less is to make cooking last a shorter time, which is what I did when I was dieting, but what I ate when I was dieting was pretty samey and boring. resolution is that on Mondays and Thursdays (at least), I will be cooking superfast but interesting meals and, I hope, blogging them.  To that end, welcome to The Airy Way's inaugural 20-Minute Monday!  Since my own cooking style is leisurely in the extreme (especially after a few glasses of wine), I thought I would consult an expert for tips and tricks, and have chosen Jamie Oliver and his Meals in Minutes.  I have a bit of a soft spot in my heart for Jamie Oliver--he looks like someone's brother, and wears hoodies, he gardens, and he appreciates vegetables not just as colorful stuff to put beside a hunk of meat, but as having beauty and dignity and a general awesome deliciousness on their own.  This cookbook looks amazing, and is filled with gorgeous step-by-step photos.  It is not a vegan cookbook, but contains many vegan and vegetarian recipes.  It's organized into menus, and the instructions are for the whole menu, to make the cooking go as fast as possible.  He asks in the introduction that you don't mess with the menus, picking and choosing and changing things, at least at first, but I'm going to do just that (sorry, Jamie) in order to:

1.  Make them single-serving-sized;
2.  Veganize them;
3.  Lower the fat content somewhat;
4.  Skip the dessert.

Otherwise, I'll try to follow along as faithfully as I can.

First step: get your ingredients together, and broccoli is, of course, the subject of yesterday's mystery picture
This is the very first menu in the book: broccoli orecchiette, zucchini and bocconcini salad, and a prosciutto and melon salad I didn't make.  I subbed the faux feta from American Vegan Kitchen for the bocconcini, and almonzano (see sidebar) for the parmesan in the broccoli (and, see, I'm weighing my pasta, another diet tip that I faithfully adhere to at all times these days).

The genius part of the broccoli orecchiette is this:

You puree the stems of the broccoli along with garlic, red pepper, and a few other things, and fry this in olive oil and a little pasta water while the pasta boils to make a sauce.  Is that brilliant or what?

The zucchini salad was wonderful, and very simple to put together, with a dressing of mint, chili, lemon juice, and lemon zest.  I served it with tomato drizzled with balsamic reduction:

Yum!  This was really, really good, and once all the ingredients were assembled did indeed come together in 20 minutes.  This is one resolution it shouldn't be hard to keep.


  1. Nutritional yeast! The most vegan thing there is, besides kale.

  2. I'm the same with cooking and wine, so I totally understand. Your 20-minute meals plan sounds good. I agree that Jamie Oliver has his own kind of charm. I was hooked on one of his cooking shows for a while.

  3. Nutritional yeast was my first thought. I'll be looking forward to your 20-minute meals because I know they will be creative and delicious.

  4. My first thought was lemon zest, but your hint led me down the noochy path.

    As hard as losing weight is, keeping it off is harder still. Mine has tended to span a range of about 20 lbs in my adult life. Every few years it creeps up to the high end of the range until I start paying attention to what I'm eating, and manage to lower it back down again. Having gotten it back down over the spring/summer, I would like to be able to maintain it at a stable (and yes, lower) level. That is my goal for the year.

  5. i agree...nutritional yeast!!!

  6. I love that your solution is to shorten cooking time and not just to drink less wine, and I don't mean that in a snarky way at all! Looking forward to seeing your quick meals, as I could use some reduction in dinner cooking time myself.

  7. Yes, oh yes, nutritional yeast! Every vegan's favorite secret ingredient!

    Rose and veganhomemade, I confess I am a hopeless drinker of wine as I cook, and believe this to be genetic, as five (at least, I suspect the sixth just doesn't admit it) of my immediate family members, all of whom are good cooks, do the same thing. We don't often drink after supper, never in the morning, don't sneak it at noon, but when's perfect.

    Stacy, word on the maintenance. How I ever lost the weight in the first place is still a wonderful enigma to me, but it truly didn't seem so difficult at the time. Now, though... Still, say what people will, to me it feels absolutely great to be thin and fit, a goal worth pursuing even at the price of daily trips to the gym and not eating everything one's heart may desire.