Monday, August 17, 2009

Meatless Mondays

Monday’s almost over, so I’ve got to sneak this one in quickly. My friend Grace introduced me to an international movement with a fairly modest goal: Encourage people to cut meat out of their diet one day a week. Meatless Monday is no challenge for those of you who are already vegetarians -- and even for moderately-carnivorous-but-veggie-loving moms like me, going meatless fairly frequently is just part of meal planning. But I like the idea of making a conscious ritual of going completely vegetarian one day a week. So from here on out, when we don’t have events that push us towards meat, I think I’ll go with meatless lunch options and plan a vegetarian dinner for Monday. Go to Grace's blog for regular Meatless Monday recipe ideas -- and find plenty more on the Meatless Monday Web site itself.

Here I’ll add one of my own vegetarian suggestions, Senegalese Hoppin’ John, courtesy of our local farmer Jenny Jackson, the Senegalese cookbook "Yoele!" she found it in, and Shannon Klein, who first made it for me. I whipped up a batch of it with okra, tomatoes and Serrano peppers from Jenny Jack Sun Farm , served it over brown rice -- and it was delicious.

Senegalese Hoppin’ John:

First simmer for 25 minutes:
1 chopped onion
5 T tomato paste
2 chopped tomatoes
2 small eggplant and 10 pods of okra
(I got the onion going first in some olive oil)

Then grind with mortar and pestle:
1 clove garlic
½ onion
½ tsp. black pepper
1-2 serrano peppers at most (My kids couldn’t even handle one – be conservative at first here)

Add to tomato/onion mixture and simmer 5 more minutes. Then add 1 can coconut milk with a half can of water and simmer all together.

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