Written by Oyster Bay’s own Chef Alan Zox Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
Those of us who are not vegans, myself included, may suffer these days from the politically correct movement toward eating healthier, low-fat foods. Vegetarian cooking for me used to be risotto Milanese or eggplant Parmesan. These dishes were easy for me but the cheese and butter these dishes call for are tough to give up. Moving beyond these winners is still a challenge. I am too often unsure about cooking vegetarian for the evening meal. Perhaps you too find yourself somewhat at a loss trying to decide how to cook a purely vegetarian meal, without resorting to the ease of pasta and marinara, or another lentil, bean, tofu or tempeh specialty. Did I hear someone ask to pass the bowl of quinoa?
Eating meat is still a fashion for me that is hard to give up. I know that eating steak and potatoes every night is not going to shed the pounds nor is eating meat 24 /7 good for the environment. And I too often feel I have eaten too
much come morning after ribs and mashed potatoes. Yet I must also admit that BBQ ribs prepared “low and slow” with my own Midwestern bbq rub, a Hamburg with chopped onion inside, or a juicy rib eye with chimichurri on the side still attract me like no other meal can. There are alternatives however. Eating less meat is one step forward; trying out a vegetarian option 1-2 days a week is another. (See Mark Bittman’s book, Food Matters, for a more in-depth discussion of options.) I believe that over time we will find that family and friends will give us room to experiment. They are looking for cooking and eating guidance that is nutritious and tasty as well.
Chefs and authors Mark Bittman, Deborah Madison and Heidi Swanson are very helpful in this movement towards vegetarianism. So we are not alone. Interestingly only Swanson considers herself a vegan, yet all three value the joys and healthy benefits of vegetarian cooking. Each of these authors is enabling the rest of us to make this conversion an easier, more natural one. This column will continue to share their insights, along with my own, to help all of us prepare our vegetarian creations more easily and naturally. And I will continue to share the angst I sometimes suffer in helping others move closer to eating healthier vegetarian options. Perhaps my episodic discomfort will help you all feel more comfortable knowing you are not alone.
As the founder of the restaurant, Greens at Fort Mason in San Francisco, Deborah Madison managed to build an incredibly popular vegetarian restaurant that never labeled itself as such. Her groundbreaking book Vegetarian Cooking for
Everyone became an extension of the West Coast healthy food movement led by Alice Waters with whom Madison worked.
Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking became the new alternative to the Moosewood Cookbook of the 1960’s and ‘70’s–a more grown up version if you will. Whenever I would visit the West Coast and the Bay area in those days, Greens at Fort
Mason became a destination of choice. The dishes served were elegant, beautifully presented, and delicious to eat. And their wine cellar continues to be world class.
Today I have drawn from one of Madison’s more recent books called Vegetarian Suppers where she recommends over 100 everyday meal recipes. She has published nine books to date. The recipe I have chosen is tasty as can be and truly wonderful when accompanied by mustard cream. It’s not meat but it is a fine alternative with a fresh salad and homemade cannellini beans both on the side.
1 ½ Lbs. green savoy cabbage- chopped into 2-inch squares
3 fat Leeks, white parts only, quartered lengthwise, chopped and washed
Sea salt to season
1/3 cup of flour
1 cup of milk 1/3 cup of sour cream
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley or dill
Mustard cream (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter or oil a 6-cup gratin dish. Put a large pot of water on for the chopped leeks and cabbage. When the water boils add salt to taste. After 5 minutes, pour the vegetables into a colander. Force out as much water as possible with the back of a rubber scraper.
Whisk the flour, milk, sour cream, eggs, and herbs together, then add the cabbage and leeks and mix together. Season with ¾ teaspoon salt. Pour into the prepared dish and bake until firm and lightly browned—about 45 minutes. Serve with mustard cream on the side.
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup sour cream or whole milk yogurt
2-3 teaspoons prepared mustard, smooth or coarse or mixed with horseradish.
Mix the shallot and vinegar in a small bowl with the salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream and mustard. Adjust the seasonings, adding more mustard or vinegar to taste as preferred. Enjoy.
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 00:00
It was a positive night for our local veterans, as the Oyster Bay/East Norwich Board of Education approved the Veteran’s Tax Exemption Law at last week’s board of education meeting. The new school tax break for veterans, signed into law in December, is a partial property tax exemption available to service veterans who are residents of districts that opt in. The meeting was a follow up to a public hearing on the tax exemption which took place on Feb. 11.
Eligible recipients are entitled to the exemptions provided in the Real Property Tax Law under the designations of “qualified owner,” “qualifying residential real property,” and “veteran.” Recipients are entitled to a maximum of $12,000 (qualified owner), $8,000 (qualifying residential real property), and $40,000 (veteran).
Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
Local author Rajdeep Paulus of Locust Valley is living the writer’s dream. After having her first young adult novel published last year with positive reviews, she has just released her second novel, and will be holding a book signing at The Book Revue in Huntington on March 12.
Her first book, Swimming Through Clouds, is about a high school transfer student and her friendship with the basketball captain during their senior year. The sequel, Seeing Through Stones, was released March 1.The mom of four girls only recently tried her hand at novel writing; an English major in college who then taught for a few years, says, “I spent about a decade doing the mom thing...then as my youngest got to be school age, my husband asked me, ‘What do you want to do with your life now?’”
Thursday, 06 March 2014 12:01
On Saturday, Feb. 22, as temperatures rose to well above freezing for the first time in weeks and the melting snow created a thick fog, the Oyster Bay High School Varsity Lady Baymen Basketball Team showed up at Long Island University ready to play.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 11:48
The Winter Varsity Sports Season is into post-season play in Oyster Bay. Many fine young athletes have excelled this season and were chosen by the Oyster Bay High School coaches as Athletes of the Month for February.
Cassidy Exum has been a member of the varsity wrestling team since his freshman year. Since that time, he has achieved All-County honors, which includes a Nassau County Small School County Championship. This year, Exum started his competitive season with success. He was a place winner in the annual Locust Valley Tournament, a Hank Paris Tournament Champion and a Bethpage Tournament Champion, where he was presented with the Champion of Champions Award. Exum’s success is due to his work ethic, dedication and discipline.; he is a fierce competitor which will help him as he competes for his second Nassau County Championship. Exum is coached by 2012 Coaches of the Year Jay Davis and Doug Axman.