Monthly Archives: July 2012

Meatless Protein Combinations

The key to low cholesterol, Lenten, vegetarian , (lacto/ovo- vegetarians who eat dairy products and eggs; lacto-vegetarians who indulge in milk and milk products),
vegan, (those who consume and use no animal products), or absolutely fool-proof, non-offensive hosting are meatless-protein combinations. Some of them are not complete proteins, but are close enough. There are several types of non-dairy milks that are readily available in your local grocery store: Soy, Rice and Almond, which I find wonderful, and can not only be substituted for milk as a drink, but in cereal,(cooked or cold), rice, whipped into potatoes, etc. Again, please ask any guest as some of these may cause allergic reactions. There are also Oat and Hemp milks on the market. I have not used these; and I need to experiment more with tofu, seitan and other non-meat proteins.
[Recipes for suggestions with asterisks will be in upcoming blogs]
Examples of non-meat protein combos are:
Beans or legumes with grains, corn (vegan)
Beans or legumes with dairy products.
Grains with dairy products.
Rice or potatoes with dairy products.
Confusing? Not really. You already eat many of them without realizing it:
Macaroni and cheese
Pasta Alfredo
Cheese ravioli or tortellini
Cheese pizza
Cheese sandwich; grilled or on plain bread, or grilled open-faced under the broiler
(Try Cheddars, Swiss, Muenster, my favorite, Gouda, or Mozzarella or Brick
sprinkled with Parmesan.)
Cheese pinwheel breads*.
Cheese tacos.
Peanut butter sandwich, or crackers. (vegan)
Bean, (vegan), (or bean and cheese) burritos.
Bean dip* and corn chips. ( without cheese or sour cream, vegan)
Red (or black) beans and rice. (vegan)
Navy or Great Northern beans and rice. (vegan)
Cheesy rice.
Rice pudding, or rice with milks, (served as breakfast in the South.)
Oatmeal, wheat or rice cereal, cooked in milks.
Dry cereal in milks.
Cream cheese on a bagel, rolls, toast or crackers. (try mixing with honey or fruit
puree).
Cheese and crackers.
Baked potatoes, with sour cream, shredded cheese ,or twice-baked potatoes*.
Potato casserole with cheese or milk-based sauce.
Potatoes, scalloped or au gratin.
Potato soup with open-faced, broiled cheese sandwich, or crackers.
Bean soup* with noodles ( non-egg, vegan) or crackers.
Lentil soup* with rice, (or popcorn instead of crackers).(vegan)
Any of the above soups with corn bread or rice (vegan)
Vegetable Pasta Salad* , (vegan)
“Breakfast” burritos,* without meat.
A tossed salad, with cubed cheese and and/or sesame seeds, (vegan) or
A tossed or layered salad with either cheese or with sesame seeds and cooked
lentils,(vegan)
Herbed Garbanzo or other beans, rehydrated bulgur wheat, cooked rice or croutons, without cheese, ( vegan)
(These can be presented in a tomato or baked into a vegetable* )(vegan)

(To rehydrate bulgur wheat, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and
steep ½ cup of wheat for approximately 20 minutes. Drain and cool. Add to
salad. Serves four. These salads can be a real pick- me- up. They wake Husband
up better than a cup of coffee.)
And Custard or Cheese pies, pastries, torts and blintzes . (These being made with wholesome ingredients.) There are many Mediterranean and Eastern European specialties made with cheeses, eggs, farina or other grains, which can make a light meal when served with fruit .
Maybe you have a family, regional or ethnic favorite that comes to mind when
reading this list. Use your family’s taste and your own imagination for other
combinations. Remember to be careful with the use of dairy products when trying
to avoid cholesterol, and for vegans, who eat no animal products. For all others,
don’t forget the egg, a most useful food for Lent, vegetarians, (who eat eggs,
again, ask), or if your guest avoids beef or pork.
Egg salad*, in a sandwich or stuffed in a tomato*.
Deviled eggs*, or hard-cooked eggs, sliced and on a cheese tray or in a tossed
salad.
Scramble eggs with American or cheddar cheese, tempered with a few drops of
milk. Try using picante sauce or a meatless spaghetti sauce for a surprisingly
filling meal.
Omelets with almost any type of cheese; try adding onions, (with sautéed peppers and
tomatoes for a Spanish omelet), or make frittatas*, which are basically open-faced
omelets, with white cheeses and green onions; add any herb that catches your
fancy. And if you can’t manage an omelet or frittata, or you just break one, turn
it into scrambles eggs and pass it off as if
you’d planned to make it that way. It will taste just as good, and no one will
be the wiser. ( I dropped a Bundt cake on a table just before guests arrived for
dinner. I sliced it at an angle and arranged it nicely on a serving dish. No one would have been the wiser, if my sister hadn’t decided
to make an embellished version of the story the night’s entertainment.)
All of the egg recipes above could be served with a carbohydrate; biscuits,
muffins, croissants or toast, which aid in the absorbing the protein.
Try serving something other than white sandwich bread: toast wheat, multi- grain, Italian, rye, pumpernickel, and your stand-by, raisin, make an interesting and flavorful addition. If you have a bread machine, pull it out. It is an easy way to make something that seems a little special and you have used very little effort in doing so. On the other hand, some bread recipes call for vegan no-nos: egg, milk, or honey, which is not often thought of as an animal product.
Honey is the only food that will not spoil, ( if it crystallizes, you can warm it back to perfection in a microwave or better yet, with its opened container sitting in boiling water, stirring at intervals until smooth), but should not be used by children under two, and perhaps by folks with compromised immune systems, as it can contain spores which can cause a rare type of botulism, and infant digestive tracts are not ready to render them harmless, as older, developed ones do . Science knows that honey consists of about 90 per cent sugar and 10 per cent water, but has never been able to be duplicated it, no matter what you have heard. Once, a very tipsy relative by marriage came in bearing gifts. Lifting them out of her bag, she listed them off ; among which were peanut butter, candy, flowers to plant and a jar of honey. Doing a double take before setting the honey on the table, she woozily and laboriously focused in on the label and added, “This is clover honey, not regular bee honey.” Trust me; it was bee honey. Most of the honey purchased bottled in the United States is clover honey, made from nectar collected from clover flowers, because Americans like a nice, light, mild honey spread, but bees will utilize any nearby flower. There would be no apples, pears, peaches or any fruit without pollination from bees, and therefore there are many different honeys out there, often used in food processing. So, even in eating fruit you are utilizing bee power, so give them some respect, their stingers not bee-ing the only reason. In most larger supermarkets you can find Orange blossom, buckwheat or honeys made from other pollens and nectar. Generally speaking, the darker the honey, the stronger the taste. I suggest fruit spreads, jellies, jams and margarine, ( some softened, mixed with cinnamon and sugar, vanilla ), peanut and nut butters as spreads for you vegan guests…..or, rather, their breadstuff

Meeting Hosting Challenges

Lent?

Or- Johnny’s New Girlfriend Doesn’t Eat Red Meat

Your father had a heart attack and Mom is at a loss as to how to cut cholesterol;

Janie comes home from camp and announces that she is now a vegetarian. What do you

do? (After arguing, which only strengthens her resolve).

Or maybe Jerome brings a Bangladeshi friend home with him from school. Your visiting cousin says that his wife has celiac disease.

DON’T PANIC.
You probably have enough on the pantry shelves and in the refrigerator/freezer for at

least one meal, a snack and breakfast before you feel the need to run to the store.

Don’t know if the vegetarian will eat eggs and dairy? Aren’t sure if a guest eats beef? First,

Play it safe. Offer something not possibly offensive. This is where knowledge of

meatless protein comes in handy. And then, Ask! Say, (in your sweetest, but most

unpatronizing tone),

“Do you have any dietary restrictions?”

Not your style? Practice it. This is always a good idea, as there are many people

with health related food requirements. What ever you do, avoid asking, “Is there

anything special that we can make for you?” That will only make your guest extremely
uncomfortable. They will not want to “put you out”. Being a good host means always making your guests comfortable and never seeming to be ‘put out”. If possible, enlist the aid of the person who brought them in. Try to tailor the family’s meals to suit your guest as much as possible.
No, Janie is not allowed to dictate that the family will now avoid all animal products, but if you have a Jewish or Muslim guest, please do not serve pork, or beef if your guest is a Hindu. It is only common decency respect other people’s religious sensitivities. That is being a good person and a good host. And believe me, there is nothing more frustrating than putting on a good show, only to have the guest pick at only a few things because they cannot eat the rest. All your hard work will have been in vain, and you find out only after tearing your hair that you possibly could have gotten off easier by meeting their needs. Even when I was young, people’s conversations with me seemed to gravitate toward food. When I was about twelve a teacher, whom I had all to myself , lamented over the previous evening. Her husband’s position had required them to entertain VIP’s from some exotic locale. She had looked into their dietary do’s and don’ts , pulled out all the stops, spending a great deal of time and money creating fine canapés and sweets pleasing to their eyes and she was sure, palates. They came in, she showed off, and they thanked her very kindly, but you see, they were sorry, but they were fasting as an observance of their religion. They wouldn’t touch a morsel. And she was stuck with platters of fancy foreign finger food, frustrated.
Right after we were married, a young man who was a friend of my husband’s family came to visit.
He was a tall, strongly built, active man, whom my husband warned me was a big
eater. He was in town, staying with his brother, and was going to visit us, starting

very early the next day. I made a huge breakfast of waffles, eggs, sausage, fruit and

more, but he had had breakfast. (Husband never thought to actually invited him for

breakfast, but that is an argument already fought). Anyway, he did eat, and lunched

well, and talked about his active life , all of the sports in which he was involved. He

came back through town a couple of years later. He was going to drop in to eat a

quick lunch with us and he was leaving from our place to

drive across the country. Husband asked me to fix a large bag dinner for him to take

on the road. As I was getting dessert, (something gooey), Husband brought sports up to

him. “Oh, no, not any more. I hurt my back, and I’ve had to radically change my life!

No more sports. Only whole grain foods, no more sweets, lots of fresh

vegetables…..” I panicked for only a second… that was all the time I had. I sent them

into the living room, as I sliced fruit, grabbed a jar of dry roasted nuts, pulled raisins

and dried fruit out of the cabinet to make a platter. “This is exactly how I should eat!”

he proclaimed. I had to change some of what I’d already prepared for his road bag,

but I made it, and he was happy. Husband was happy. And I was darned

pleased with myself.
Once I just plain lucked out. The story that I will tell another time about the family of nine who dropped in from out-of-state for dinner has one part missing. Having to quickly serve 13 people, I made large pitchers of fruited iced tea mix. Unknown to me, the father of the family was allergic to corn in any form, even corn sweeteners. The mix was, fortunately, sugar sweetened.
You can’t always rely on luck, ( however, as there are no atheists in fox holes or hospital waiting rooms, I might add that I have heard more than one muttered prayer or quick sign of the cross from many otherwise unreligious cook or chef when facing a culinary crisis), you can learn to rely on yourself and your shelf. You cannot possibly be prepared to set up housekeeping for every unusual contingency, but with a little knowledge and forethought, you can keep your head when faced with unexpected dietary needs of family and friends. You can come shining through.
Next time, we will talk about fish and meatless protein combinations and what you should have in your pantry cabinets at all times.