Sotsil

Zucchini, Carrots & Mushrooms: Budget Meal # 7 February 10, 2010

Filed under: Budget Meals — sotsil @ 7:06 pm
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When you hear “zucchini” do you get excited?  I don’t, but I try to eat it maybe once every two months.  I like it for making muffins or bread because it gives these baked goods sufficient moisture (they have a high water content).  You know that feeling, don’t you:  “I don’t mind eating it as long as it’s tucked in somewhere…”

Yet, I make it a point to eat it…even if it’s in full view!

I’ve decided that zucchini is the kind of vegetable that tastes better when combined with other vegetables or other ingredients like beef or pork.  On its own, it has very little character or taste.  Carrots even taste better.  Zucchinis are a plain Jane. 

But before we turn up our noses…

They are packed with Vitamins A & C, potassium and calcium.  A nutrition web site said that the flavor of zucchini is better when it is less than six inches long.  (Oh…okay).  It can grow as large as a baseball bat, but are flavorless when they get to that size.  It’s the best vegetable you can put on your plate when you’re counting calories (and pennies).  Choose the darkest green you can find, and please…don’t peel them.  The skin is where you get all that wholesome goodness. Half a cup of uncooked zucchinis is equivalent to 13 calories.  Now…that’s a very good reason for falling in love with this Plain Jane, isn’t it?

Here’s a completely vegetarian dish that won’t break the bank.  One thing good about zucchini is it does not fluctuate in price with the seasons, unlike broccoli that seems more expensive in the winter.

This budget recipe is rather simple.

You need:

3 zucchinis (about 4-5 inches long)

2 medium carrots

1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms (you can use the ones in a tin)

2-3 tbsp onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

canola or vegetable oil

beef broth (next time I’ll use oyster sauce diluted in a few drops of water for more flavor)

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Cut up your zucchini, carrots and mushrooms as shown in the picture.  Heat oil in a large frying pan (about 2 minutes).  Sauté onions and garlic (1-1/2 minutes).  Add your veggies in this order:  carrots (cook for 2 minutes), zucchini (cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender but not soggy), mushrooms (another 2 minutes).

Pour your vegetable broth (or oyster sauce) just before serving.

Unless your fellow diner(s) adore vegetables, I don’t think this dish is going to be an instant hit or evoke fond memories…so you may want to have a luscious and evil dessert on stand-by.  Reward them for giving this meal a try.

 

Mushroom Bureau, UK: Great Chili (sans the "Carne") September 11, 2009

Filed under: Meals — sotsil @ 1:30 am
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I got this vegetarian recipe from the Mushroom Bureau of the UK (http://www.mushroom-uk.com/education/contactus.htm.  It’s a no-nonsense recipe with a hearty and robust taste, proof that you don’t need meat to jazz it up.  Button mushrooms, green bell peppers, and red kidney beans are the main stars of this dish, and I’ve made it three times now.  You can control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of paprika, cumin and the red hot pepper sauce (you can use red pepper flakes if you don’t have the hot sauce).

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Funny how you never tire of chili.  A good platter of spaghetti offers mighty comfort but once you’ve had your second serving, you vow never to eat spaghetti again – at least for the next 60 days.  You don’t get that feeling with chili.  The absence of meat probably explains it.

The Mushroom Bureau of the UK says that “Mushrooms have a glycemic index (GI) so low that it can’t even be measured.”  If you go to their web site and click on the tab that says “mushroom information” you’ll read about a dozen varieties. 

I was intrigued by the fact that button mushrooms grow in size every 24 hours and  turn into closed cup mushrooms.  They gradually grow to become open cup mushrooms,  their flavour intensifying as they increase in size and mature.

I used fresh button mushrooms (of course) for the first two occasions that I made this dish.  Last week I craved it again and went to the supermarket to fetch the ingredients.  They ran out of mushrooms so I bought canned ones instead. The difference in taste was negligible, but don’t make a habit of using canned mushrooms for this recipe.

Have a look-see into the Bureau’s recipe section.  It has a recipe collection that will tease the food lover in you.  They have one called “mushroom capuccino” – resembling a smoothie drink.  The “mushroom clock” recipe will make the little ones in the family light up with joy.  You use split-up mushrooms to represent the numbers on the clock, and two sausages as the clock’s hands.  Worth making this weekend when the kids are home and doing homework.  If you have three kids, you may want to have more than two sausages to replace the clock’s hands when they’re “dismembered.” Then there’s the Tunisian mushroom dish for something exotic.

This chili dish  is definitely healthy and serving it with brown rice will make your doctor smile.  There’s something about brown rice that turns me off though.  It feels rubbery.  But then I grew up eating long grain white rice and wouldn’t dream of giving it up.  I think this chili dish is more flavorful with white rice!  That or enjoy it with an old-fashioned baguette.  Make that white baguette.

Voila!

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