Thursday, September 30, 2010

Veggie Might: Top 5 Reasons I Love New York + A Recipe

Written by the fabulous Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about all things Vegetarian.

Today, my Fair Readers, is the 15th anniversary of the day my pal JBF dropped me, my two milk crates of books, and my dreams in front 201 W. 91st, New York, NY. Our journey originated in Orlando, took side trips to our respective familial homes in North Carolina and Virgina, and ended with JBF settling in Princeton, NJ and me in the Big City. Fifteen years, three apartments, and 17 roommates later, I’m still here and loving New York.

Top 5 Reasons I Love New York

1. Each neighborhood is like its own little city. Residents get to know their neighbors, the best places to buy groceries, which laudromat gives the most time per quarter, and the coffee shop with the most lenient WiFi/purchase policy. New Yorkers are as proud of and loyal to their neighborhoods as Europeans or South Americans are to their countries during the World Cup. HELL’S KITCHEN RULZ!!!1!!1!

2. Public transportation! Not only does the MTA get you from point A to point B (most of the time), it’s a world-class entertainment venue. Nowhere else can you learn cutting-edge modern dance moves, stay abreast of the hottest indie music, and have your picture made for $2.15 a pop.

3. Governors Island, the car-free, bike-loving island oasis in New York Harbor. Governors Island is dotted with art installations, criss-crossed by bike paths, and inviting for a picnic or just chilling.

4. The food, of course. In one afternoon, you can grab brunch at one of a million amazing restaurants, pick up your fresh produce at the farmers’ market, snag a homemade popsicle from a street vendor, and hit the Mexican/Korean/Indian/West African/Chinese grocery for the spices and miscellany needed to make a delicious home-cooked supper.

5. Dinner parties/potlucks/game nights in cramped apartments with brilliant friends and home-cooked food. No one who lives in New York on a work-a-day budget can afford to eat out all the time, so the best way to socialize and economize is to cook for each other. Juggling plates while 4-to-a-couch with a few folks on the floor is part of the charm. Karaoke is a bonus.

Happy anniversary, New York. I made you this mushroom quinotto.


If this post tips your canoe, swim on over to
Pumpkin Orzo with Sage
Butternut Squash Risotto
Swiss Chard with Mushrooms


Quinoa-Millet Mushroom Risotto (Quinotto)

adapted from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero
serves 4

Note: The recipe calls for white wine, but I used a substitution of apple juice and apple cider vinegar. I used a blend of quinoa and millet because I was low on the big Q; go all the way with one or the other and my blessing. I also tossed in a few beet greens, which go nicely with this dish, but I would advise against going overboard with the greens. The mushrooms should be the star.

1/2 lb crimini mushrooms
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed in a mesh strainer
1/3 cup millet
1/2 cup apple juice + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or 1/2 white wine)
1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
3 cups hot vegetable broth or stock
1 cup beet greens, shredded (or any leafy green)
1 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
fresh cilantro or parsley to garnish

1. Brush or wipe dirt from mushrooms and slice into matchsticks. In a large saucepan, sautee mushrooms in half the olive oil over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes. Put mushrooms in a bowl and set aside.

2. In the same saucepan, heat the remaining oil and sautee shallots and garlic for 5-7 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add quinoa and millet to onion/garlic mixture. Cook for 2 minutes or until grains become golden.

3. Add apple juice + vinegar to deglaze the pan, and stir. Add dried spices and jalapeño and cook for another minute. Stir in mushrooms.

4. Here comes the real stirring: pour in about 1/4 of broth to grain/vegetables. Bring broth to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and, stirring frequently, allow grain to absorb the broth. Then add another fourth of the broth, stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process until all the broth is absorbed and the grains are light and fluffy, about 30-35 minutes.

5. Salt and pepper to taste along the way. Cover and allow quinoa/millet to rest for 10 minutes. Drizzle with lime juice, toss in beet greens, and fluff with a fork. Serve with fresh cilantro. Your guests will be impressed that you made such a brilliant, flavorful, earthy dish in such a tiny kitchen.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price per Serving
282 calories, 7.7g fat, 5.15g fiber, 7.6g protein, $1.31

1/2 lb crimini mushrooms:: 64 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $2.00
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil: 180 calories, 21g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.12
3 shallots: 90 calories, 0g fat, 9g fiber, 6g protein, $0.60
2/3 cup quinoa: 417 calories, 6.7g fat, 8g fiber, 16g protein, $0.97
1/3 cup millet: 251.7 calories, 2.7g fat, 5.6g fiber, 7.3g protein, $0.28
1/2 cup apple juice + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar: 57 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.41
1/2 tsp dried thyme: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.02
1/2 tsp dried oregano: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.02
1 jalapeño pepper: 4 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.16
3 cups hot vegetable broth: 60 calories, 0.3g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.57
1 cup beet greens: 8 calories, 0g fat, 1g fiber, 1g protein, $0.16
1 tbsp lime juice: 4.75 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.05
salt and pepper to taste: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.02
fresh cilantro or parsley to garnish: negligible calories, fat, fiber, protein, $.02
TOTALS: 1128.5 calories, 30.7g fat, 20.6g fiber, 30.3g protein, $5.24
PER SERVING (totals/4): 282 calories, 7.7g fat, 5.15g fiber, 7.6g protein, $1.31

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