Vegetarians have more fun -- in California, anyway
By Nicholas Boer
CONTRA COSTA TIMES http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/14376060.htm
Erin Bishop decided she wanted to be a vegetarian when she was 10. It wasn't until after enrolling at Tulane University, however, that she discovered how fortunate she had been.
"You can't be a vegetarian in New Orleans," Bishop says. "I had bagels every day. It was horrible."
Things got better after she moved out of the dorm and into her own apartment. Her mom, a from-scratch cook, never indulged Bishop's vegetarianism, so she has been cooking for herself for a long time.
Now that she's back in the Bay Area, Bishop shops at the Danville farmers market every Saturday. "This is the best place to be," she says.
Signature dish: She created the samosa recipe just for this column. The granola recipe is one she's been playing with for years.
Why vegetarianism?: Mostly for health reasons (her family has a history of high cholesterol), but also for moral reasons. Reading PETA's Web site sealed the deal.
Birthday cake: Bishop gave up eggs and dairy for Lent, so, to celebrate her 23rd birthday, she made a batch of vegan cupcakes. To her surprise, the four kids that she baby-sits, most of them picky eaters, happily ate them all up.
Going vegan: While she says it's been easy to go vegan, and that she has more energy than she used to, Bishop is glad that Lent is over. She's even thinking she might celebrate with some sushi.
Shopping: Aside from the farmers market, Bishop gets most of her groceries from Whole Foods in Walnut Creek and Open Sesame in Lafayette.
On grains: "I love lentils," Bishop adds. "I get most of my protein from beans and grains." Quinoa and brown rice are on the A-list.
Favorite veggies: "I'm huge on butternut squash," Bishop says. She also loves kale, arugula and sweet potatoes. What doesn't she like? Raw spinach.
Staying ahead: "It takes 40 minutes to cook brown rice, so I'll do a big batch," she says. One night she'll have brown rice with roasted vegetables another night a burrito or maybe a rice salad.
Breakfast. Homemade granola with soy yogurt or a fruit smoothie with Whole Foods protein powder.
Kids food: The kids she baby-sits survive mainly on hot dogs, pasta, or mac and cheese. They also love McDonald's, but Bishop says they just care about the toys in their Happy Meals.
Food philosophy: "I don't have an agenda, but it's important to be aware of what you're putting in your body and what you're supporting with your dollars that go to food."
Questions? Contact Erin Bishop at email@example.com.
MANGO-ORANGE RAW CHUTNEY
Makes about 11/2 cups
1 mango, preferably the small, sweet ataulfo variety (sometimes called Champagne)
1 large navel orange
1 tablespoon red onion, minced
2 tablespoons mint, roughly chopped
• Peel and cut the mango into a small dice. Place in a small mixing bowl. Cut off the bottom and top of the orange, lay it flat and remove the peel, including the pith, by making curved cuts with a sharp knife. Use a paring knife to section the orange, leaving behind the membranes. Chop the orange into a small dice. Add the orange, minced red onion and mint to the mango. Lightly mix. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Per 1/4-cup serving: 20 calories, 1 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 0 sodium, 1 g fiber. Calories from fat: 0 percent.
-- Times analysis
SWEET BAKED SAMOSAS
Makes about 20
5 cups unbleached white flour
11/4 cups water
1 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups peeled butternut squash, peeled and cut into small dice
1 small sweet potato, about 2 cups, peeled and cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
3/4 cup frozen or canned green peas
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Mango-Orange Chutney (see recipe)
1. Place flour in large bowl. Add the water and oil and stir until mixture becomes crumbly. Place dough on a floured work surface. Knead dough until becomes smooth and elastic. Add more flour if dough is too sticky or a little more water if it is too dry. Let the dough rest in a bowl while you make the samosa filling.
2. In a medium sauce pan, bring the butternut squash to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, and then add the sweet potatoes. Boil the butternut squash and sweet potatoes for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until soft. Add the sweet potatoes and butternut squash, peas, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Remove samosa filling from heat.
4. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a narrow rectangle about 41/2-inches wide. Put the dough through a pasta press until it is Þ-inch thick. If you do not have a pasta press, you can roll the dough out by hand. Cut the dough into 4-inch squares.
5. Place a square of dough so that a corner is pointing toward you. Fill the dough with a heaping tablespoon of the samosa filling. Use a brush or your index finger to moisten the edge of the dough with water. Seal the samosa and use a fork to decorate the edges.
6. Place samosas on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with canola oil. Bake 20-25 minutes or until samosas are lightly browned. Serve warm with Mango-Orange Chutney.
Per samosa (not including chutney): 230 calories, 4 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 2 g fiber. Calories from fat: 43 percent.
-- Times analysis
Makes about 10 cups
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup orange zest, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup agave nectar (or 1/4 cup honey for a non-vegan version)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup dried figs, chopped
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, sunflower seeds, flax seed, orange zest (if using), salt and cinnamon. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2. Combine the vegetable oil and agave nectar or honey and juice in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from heat and add the orange juice and vanilla extract.
3. Quickly pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix just until the oats are coated. Evenly spread the granola on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Gently stir the granola two or three times. Add the chopped dried fruit to the cooked granola. Granola can be stored for about two weeks in an airtight container.
Per cup: 490 calories, 11 g protein, 59 g carbohydrates, 25 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 90 mg sodium, 8 g fiber. Calories from fat: 47 percent.
-- Times analysis