I hope that you enjoyed my most recent post on making what essentially is a tomato sauce dolled up to cater to personal taste.
Today, I would like to wax poetic on some handy hints to make your cooking experience run smoothly, some options for changing up this recipe, as well as the personal reasons behind the ingredients that I use.
So, no time like the present. Let’s get this show on the road.
How to dice an onion:
Place onion on its side and, using a sharp knife, trim off both ends.
Use the blade of the knife (carefully, folks) to peel away the outer skin.If the outer portion of the onion seems to be a bit soft, or mushy or discolored, peel away that portion as well.
Place the onion on the broadest end and while securing the onion with one hand (keep fingertips turned in, please), make vertical cuts in the onion almost to the base, but not quite through.
Turn onion 180 degrees(halfway) to cut the other half in the same manner.
Turn onion 90 degrees(1/4 turn) and slice in same manner.
Turn onion 180 degrees(last time folks) and slice in same manner.
Place the onion on its side with horizontal slices facing the blade of the knife and slice crosswise thru the onion thus creating what cooks call the dice.
Chop remaining end piece into a rough dice and Voila, your onion is cooked (well, not quite).
How to prepare fresh garlic:
Place garlic bulb (if it is still whole) on cutting board like so.
Place palm of one hand on top of bulb and then place other hand top for leverage.
Press down(takes a bit of elbow grease) on garlic bulb wiggling hand to separate the cloves.
Remove excess paper skin and store unused garlic in a paper bag if possible.
Place clove on its side with nubby end facing knife and then slice off this end.
Cover with flat side of knife blade.
Put palm over knife blade and press down sharply on blade to smash garlic.
Peel will miraculously fall away from clove and you are ready for mincing.
Substitutions: Instead of Vegan Sausage
Add 2 or more cups of legumes.
Add 1-2 cups sliced olives.
I base my ingredient choices on two lists, The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen, taking my budget into consideration.
So, here is what I do.
Items on The Dirty Dozen List are an automatic organic purchase if they are reasonably priced. If they are not, I will usually buy non organic.
I wash all produce or soak very well with a veggie wash: 35 seconds for hand washing and 5 minutes for soaking.
Organic Carrots: I cannot find them on either list, so….
Organic Peppers: When they are not too expensive
Organic Garlic: It is so inexpensive that I buy organic whenever I can.
Organic Mushrooms: They are at the bottom of The Clean Fifteen List which means they are one away from being on The Dirty Dozen List. I use wild mushrooms, because of their added nutritional punch.
Non-Organic Onions: Nice List
Organic Canned Tomatoes: Naughty List.
Organic Pasta Sauce: …Tomato based. Be sure to check the ingredient list on the side of the jar. Not all veggie pasta sauces are vegan. Some have fish oil in them.
Organic Veggie Broth: …some of the ingredients are on the Dirty Dozen List. I buy low sodium, but I have heard this just means less salt than the regular veggie broth. The price is the same so….I err on the side of caution.
Plant Based Sausage:
Field Roast Grain Sausage or Tofurkey Tofu Sausage . I generally stay away from what many people call “fake meats”. I think they send a confusing message to people who are considering a plant based diet and hopefully a vegan lifestyle. Also, many fake meats are made using soy protein isolate and I try to stay away from that as well. These are two tasty and fairly healthy options.
Annie’s Vegan View
Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Greger urge that we not get caught up in the topic of contamination, lost nutrients through cooking, and organic versus non organic. The main goal is to eat a varied diet of lots of fruits and vegetables, grains and beans.
Let us continue to remember that plant based, whether whole or not, is the kindest and most compassionate food choice we can make for the nonhuman animals with whom we share this earth.
Therein lies our own salvation.
May all beings be happy and free.