Something for vegans, something for carnivores

I watch the Food Network sometimes while I’m exercising, and in the past two weeks I’ve seen Giada and the Barefoot Contessa make risotto on their shows. They both insisted that you “have” to put cheese in your risotto, and I think they added cream as well.

I couldn’t disagree more, so I’m re-posting one of my favorite food substitutions:

To make risotto with no milk or cream, I use a tip from the Moosewood Collective’s Low-Fat Favorites cookbook. In a food processor or blender, combine a cup or two of frozen corn kernels with whatever kind of stock you will use to cook the risotto. This creates a creamy consistency, but without being as heavy as risotto with cream. It’s good for vegans or anyone cutting back on calories.

I like to stir basil pesto into my risotto right before serving, but you can make that without cheese as well.

For the carnivores in the Bleeding Heartland community: on Thursday I cooked a flank steak (local and 100 percent grass-fed) using a recipe from Cynthia Lair’s article on grass-fed beef in the March-April 2009 issue of Mothering magazine. It comes from her book Feeding the Whole Family. You use a little of the dressing as a marinade; the rest is supposed to go on a noodle salad, but I saved it to pour over the leftover meat:

2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, 3 Tbsp tamari, 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp hot-pepper oil.

It only took a minute to stir together the ingredients, and if you don’t eat meat, you could use this dressing for a vegetarian or vegan stir-fry or noodle salad.

What have you been eating or cooking lately? I am not a big salad eater for most of the year, but I am loving the fresh mixed greens I’ve been getting from One Step at a Time Gardens this month.

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