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Monday, October 17, 2011

Meat eaters and plant eaters...

We spent a wonderful couple of days in White Plains, NY visiting some friends who invited us to celebrate the first days of the Holiday of Sukkot.
We couldn't have felt more welcome (well...maybe next time a pre-booked personal masseuse would be a nice touch?Mmmm...just throwing it out there...).
Our hosts--and everything else--were amazing. Our kids were quite angry when we made them come back to Manhattan. And who could blame them after a 3-day-long playdate in the warmest of homes? 
It's impossible to leave the City and not study and compare urban and suburban lives. The answer is clear to me because I love Manhattan's chaos and inspiration all around (plus I'm a masochist), but my poor kids...They don't even know how to get in and out of a minivan! They stare at the car seats as if they were alien contraptions and they kept asking me if nighttime in White Plains was also nighttime in NYC. The stairs and the basement were the stars of the show. My daughter was in awe of the mailbox, which is actually a box right next to the entrance door, a rarity she'd never encountered.
My son didn't even see the mailbox, as he couldn't stop playing with his fellow dinophile (yup, I made the word up) and his extensive dinosaur collection. Their playtime looked exactly like an episode of nerdy Dino Dan. They would arrange the toy beasts dividing them into meat and plant eaters, would teach each other the unpronounceable names of all the prehistoric creatures and comment on their characteristics to attack or defend themselves. Then the boys would ask me to read and re-read the board book Dinosaur ABC (currently called Dinosaur A-Z). That's when my ignorance-induced humiliation started... The 3 and 4-year-old kids had to correct me each time I tried to say the name of any of the animals I was reading about. Even if the book came with phonetic spelling (I find that of little help as you can't take away the Spanish speaker in me. I still think of the vowels having only 5 sounds: a, e, i, o, u), plus the tongue twisting names paleontologists have decided to give to all those ancient beings, made me be at a total loss. At the end of the visit, I think I got the Diplodocus right (once!).

And now that we are back in the City, I'll convince my son to love it again with our newly purchased membership to the Museum of Natural History, where he can enjoy his dinosaurs at leisure.
After so much meat and plant eating knowledge acquired this past weekend, I'm including one recipe for the meat eaters and one for the plant eaters in my home, hoping that both dishes get eaten by all in this urban household. The chicken recipe is gluten free and can be adapted to be egg free.

  • Gluten, dairy, and nut free
  • To make it egg free, substitute 1/3 cup grapeseed Veganaise thinned with a bit of water for the eggs
  • Super ingredients: chicken and potato flour (despite being mostly carbs, potato flour is surprisingly rich in iron)

1.5 pounds thin chicken cutlets
1.25 ounces (1/4 cup) potato flour (NOT potato starch)
2 large organic eggs
2 cups crispy rice cereal (you can use crispy brown rice, which has a bit less sugar and a bit more fiber, or Rice Krispies that has a bit more sugar, but is also enriched with vitamins or minerals)
salt, pepper and sweet paprika to taste
About 1/4 cup olive, sunflower, safflower or grapeseed oil for frying

Rinse and pat dry the chicken.
Put the potato flour in a bowl and season it with salt, pepper and sweet paprika.
Beat the eggs with a fork in another bowl and place the rice cereal in a plate or shallow bowl. Then work the assembly line: dredge each cutlet in the potato flour in both sides, shake off the excess.

Then dip the dredged chicken in eggs (or thinned Veganaise)
and place it on rice cereal and turn it around to make sure both sides are covered.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Once cutlet has browned, flip it and cook the other side. Cut a piece in the middle of the cutlet to make sure chicken has cooked completely. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Serve hot.

Unfortunately, I can't claim authorship for this recipe, but it's fantastic, delicious, nutritious and a great fall and winter dish.
It can be made with Kale too, but I find red chard to work particularly well, plus this leafy vegetable could be the definition of a super ingredient!
  • Vegan, dairy, egg, gluten, nut and soy free
  • Super ingredients: Swiss chard is incredibly rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, especially K, A, C and E and minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium. It's also high in fiber. Basically, it's the ideal food!
1 bunch organic Red (or any kind) Chard
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Rinse chard well and dry it either in a salad spinner or patting it with a towel.

Remove thick stems from the leaves and discard stems or save them to flavor vegetable soup.

Divide leaves on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper
 and add 1 tablespoon of oil to each pan.

Rub oil onto leaves and spread them on one layer.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (check constantly after 12 minutes, as they burn fast).

When crunchy, take out of the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper (don't salt before baking as they become soggy!).

Serve warm or at room temperature. It keeps well for 3 days at room temperature in an air tight container.

I'd love to say that this happened because they ran to the table to eat their chard...



Anonymous said...

Thanks for our 15 minutes of fame. The guests were the best part of the 3 days!

Anonymous said...

We had a great time. Thank you!