Growing up in Texas, I never gave much thought to being a vegetarian or Meatless Mondays for that matter. . Like I’ve written before, in Texas, you pretty much come out of your mother’s womb and are immediately given a slab of steak (forget the breast milk). OK, I’m obviously kidding. . but for me, I seriously grew up eating beef, pork, fish, chicken, everything. You name it. And that included eating meat very often. My father loved giving us kids new foods to try and I remember him always introducing new foods to us and telling us to at least try one bite. One bite. And then, if we didn’t like it, we could spit it out and eat something else.
While I was living in San Francisco, I met a guy. A Korean guy who was a vegetarian. You would have thought I had told my mother I was having dinner with an alien or freak of nature or something. She flipped. “Why does he not eat meat? And he’s Korean? What’s wrong with him? Do you like him? You should not date someone who’s a vegetarian. You have nothing in common with him.” This was seriously the phone conversation we had one night. I am not making this up. At all. . . But I’m going to defend my mom. . . because I love her. She’s Korean 1st generation and old fashioned. And she might even feel differently now that she and my dad are getting older and health is a bigger concern. They have changed their diets (not as much white rice, no salt, less meat etc).
We Koreans like meat. One word = Kalbi. Nuff said.
Maybe it was my mother and father praying every night. Maybe it was just my destiny. . but I married Paul. The epitome of the perfect Korean son-in-law. He has an appetite like no other and can devour Kalbi like no one’s business. I watched as we were having dinner with my parents for the first time – at a Korean restaurant in Los Angeles- and I just watched my parents smile so big as they watched Paul eat. They were in love, at that moment. And so proud.
Of course there’s more to Paul than just how much he can eat. He’s a great man, husband and father. But I’ll save this for another post.
Flash forward like 6 or 7 years. . we have two daughters, I’m trying to cook healthier and now I am instilling Meatless Mondays. Paul doesn’t know this yet. I’m just not going to tell him. And I will eventually introduce Meatless Wednesdays and Fridays. I basically want our family to eat less beef. Mainly for health reasons. People who eat less meat, generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease. I know it’s not just about the lack of meat. There’s a ton more that you have to do to stay healthy (ie: regular check-ups to the doctor, exercise, diet etc) and I think eating less meat definitely helps.
I’m not saying we’re going full-on vegetarian. That would be crazy-talk and Paul (and I) wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. But dammit, we are going to try more meatless meals more often.
Here’s one from Aida Mollenkamp’s new cookbook, Keys to the Kitchen: Indian Burritos with Curried Cauliflower. I absolutely loved this. I’ll be honest, the girls didn’t like this one so much but they did eat the red and purple potatoes and peas. That’s something, right?
I hope you enjoy!
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 to 1½ tablespoon curry powder
- 1 head cauliflower, florets cut into bite-sized pieces
- Kosher salt
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 serrano chile, halved and seeded (optional)
- 8 oz mixture of red-skinned and purple potatoes, cut into small dice
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
- 1 cup shelled fresh or frozen baby peas
- 1 cup black beans
- ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 to 6 soft whole-wheat flatbreads (such as rota, lavash, or tortilla), warmed or toasted
- Plain whole milk yogurt or sour cream, for garnish
- Chutney or apricot jam, for garnish
- More fresh cilantro if desired
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the ginger, half of the curry powder, and all of the cauliflower. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and the cauliflower is golden brown, for about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Wipe out the pan, return to the stove over medium heat, and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When it shimmers, add the onion, garlic, and chile (if using), season with salt, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining curry powder, and cook until fragrant. Add the cauliflower, potatoes, and broth, and bring to a boil.
- Decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and stir through to coat all the cauliflower. Cover again and simmer until the potatoes are knife-tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the cover, add the black beans and the peas and cook until the peas are bright, about 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning as desired, stir in the cilantro, and use to fill the burritos.
- To make the burrito, place the curry in the middle of the flatbreads. Top with yogurt or sour cream and chutney or jam, fold in sides, then roll up into a burrito shape, and serve.