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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bloomingdale's and Beans...

I can remember as a very young child, seeing the big "B" on Queens Blvd. It was the site of Bloomingdale's and where I got a pair of navy blue PF Flyers. When we went there to shop, my mother or grandmother would make certain that we were nattily attired for the trip, I think we even wore our Sunday best. Far cry from today when people shop in gym attire and eat Cinnabon as they peruse the racks. But, in my mind, I still see the big, cursive letter "B." It is a happy memory.

I am headed to Bloomingdale's tomorrow to do a demo on "Plant Strong" eating. They had called me several weeks ago and wanted to know if I could come and do a demo for Earth Month. Everyone loves Whole Foods Market, but even more so in April. They were thinking cleaning solutions made from scratch. And I was thinking plant strong, carbon footprint, organic food, etc. So tomorrow, I and a colleague are headed there for a two hour class. We are cooking up a plant strong storm with recipes from my new favorite book, "The Engine Two Diet." I love to cook, and I love to teach. And I also love the components to E2. I can now walk the walk, talk the talk, and cook the speak.

What's funny about this is that I went to the Bloomingdale's website to see how they had promoted the class. And they have me listed as a "chef" from Whole Foods Market. I silently laughed, but also thought that my grandfather, who was a master chef and owner of several restaurants in his lifetime, would have been so proud. When other four year olds were playing in the sand box, I was working in the kitchen of Luigi's, his restaurant. So, grandpa would be very proud. I am hardly a chef, but I do love to cook. I especially love to make Italian food, which is hard to do without cheese. However, take a look at this recipe where I have recreated a sausage flavor with beans. I am not a fan of the tofu, nor do I want to eat processed "meat crumbles."

Lentil "Sausage" Recipe

This is really delicious and can be used to make a "meatloaf," lasagne, or anything where beans are kicking a high step of culinary enjoyment.

Make a whole bag of lentils. Cook as the package suggests, but use about 1/4 cup less water. I like to add a bay leaf or two for flavor. When done, as the package recommends, drain, if needed. I prefer to then squeeze the juice of one robust lemon into the lentils. Let them cool. Don't forget to remove the bay leaves.

Once cooled, you can mash them into a coarse paste. I don't like putting this in the food processor, because it looks to "mealy." Now add:

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt (I am not a fan of salt, so you don't even need this)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 tablespoons fresh, minced Italian (broadleaf) parsley
4 tablespoons crushed fennel seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced (I grate this on a planer)

Mix well by hand. You can either make them into a "patty" or use it as filler for a casserole, lasagne, etc. If you want, add about 1/2 cup of instant oatmeal to the mixture to use if you want that "veggie burger" like consistency.

If you love being plant strong and also appreciate Italian food, this is a great recipe for the flavor and texture of freshly made, and delicious, Italian food. I wonder how you say "Plant Strong" in Italian?

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