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OUR GOOD COOKS Enjoying the fruits of a vegan diet



Published: Wed, August 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cutting animal products from her diet helped her lose 50 pounds, a Youngstown woman says.

By SARAH A. CART

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

"I have always enjoyed cooking and sharing my food with others," declared this week's Good Cook, Marianne Whitehouse of Youngstown, a full-time fiber artist. And as a co-founder of an area vegetarian group, she gets plenty of opportunity to share vegan meals -- prepared without any animal products.

Growing up as Marianne Paskey, she recalled, "I was always in the kitchen with my mom. She taught me very well because she taught me all the basics: chopping, saut & eacute;ing, boiling. No matter what kind of diet you choose, the basics are important to meal preparation."

The South High School graduate earned a degree in art education from Kent State and shortly thereafter headed off to Berkeley, Calif., as a new bride. Before the end of the 1970s, however, she returned to her native Youngstown where, she confessed, "I grieved the end of my 17-year marriage with food."

Making the change: When she remarried, it was to her childhood sweetheart, Bill. Shortly thereafter, amid all the press reports about the dangers of high cholesterol, and "despite being born and raised here in the heart of the meat-and-potatoes belt," the newlyweds decided to give up red meat for health reasons. "At the time, I weighed nearly 200 pounds" despite an active lifestyle, Whitehouse said.

An educational process followed, the couple's diet evolved, and Whitehouse noted that her collection of cookbooks took on a new complexion as well. Eventually, as fish and chicken went the way of red meat, she and her husband became ovo-lacto vegetarians, who eat eggs and dairy products along with plant-based foods.

Whitehouse stressed that she and her husband made their dietary choices together. "That's significant, because when one member of the family is 'different' in his or her eating patterns, tensions can develop."

Then, as she and her husband continued to read about different levels of vegetarianism and reasons why people adopt them, they found themselves increasingly concerned with the moral and ethical aspects of how today's society chooses the foods it eats. Within a couple of years, they had become vegans, abstaining from all animal products.

Weight loss: Less than two years after that lifestyle change, Whitehouse declared, she had dropped 50 pounds, "And I've kept them off. Now the only foods I need to be careful about are sugar, salt and oils."

She also keeps active by taking aerobics classes, practicing yoga and working part-time at the YWCA as a water exercise instructor. In addition, she serves on the board of directors of the Good Food Co-op on Pyatt Street, where she gives monthly cooking demonstrations. Other interests include rubber stamping, paper making, photography and organic gardening. Additionally, her works have been shown at the YWCA and the Butler Institute of American Art.

And because their options for dining out are so limited, in 1989 the Whitehouses founded Vegetarians of the Greater Youngstown Area, a group that meets once a month in Mill Creek Park for a potluck supper.

Whitehouse's culinary talents were brought to The Vindicator's attention by Karres Cvetkovich of Youngstown, a friend of several years who shares Whitehouse's interest in healthy eating and living.

PICNIC POTATO SALAD

4 medium potatoes

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

3/4 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons minced parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)

Celery salt to taste

1/2 package silken tofu

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain, peel and cut up, then toss with a mixture of 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, salt, black pepper and dry mustard. Let cool.

When potatoes have cooled, add celery, onion, parsley and celery salt.

To make dressing, blend together until smooth the tofu, two tablespoons vinegar, one tablespoon oil, sugar and lemon juice.

TEMPEH "CHICK'N" SALAD

8 ounces soy tempeh, cubed

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 cup celery, chopped

4 scallions, minced

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 cup minced parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably eggless)

Combine tempeh, soy sauce, water and vinegar in a covered 1-quart glass casserole. Cook in microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring once. Remove cover and cool to room temperature.

When tempeh mixture has cooled, add celery, scallions, celery seeds, sage, parsley, salt, pepper and mayonnaise, stir well and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: Tempeh is a preparation of cooked hulled soybeans and is available at the Good Food Co-op; it provides dietary fiber and has a nutty, mushroomy taste.

BEAN BURGERS

4 slices whole wheat bread

16 ounces canned vegetarian refried beans

1 cup cooked millet or brown rice

1/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon arrowroot

2 to 3 teaspoons finely minced onion and/or parsley, optional

Process bread, one slice at a time, in a dry blender to form soft crumbs. Combine crumbs with refried beans, cooked millet, oats, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, arrowroot, onion and parsley and mix well. Form into eight patties.

Brown patties on each side in a nonstick skillet sprayed with vegetable oil. Serve as is or on whole wheat buns with lettuce, sprouts and ketchup, if desired.

RICE WITH LENTILS & amp; ONIONS

2 large onions

11/4 cups dried lentils

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Salt & amp; freshly ground pepper

1 cup brown or long-grain white rice

Finely mince one of the onions and set aside. Cut the remaining onion in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise very thinly, and set aside.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook for 10 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the lentils and combine in the saucepan with the cooked onion. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Add the rice and 3 cups cold water, then bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until the lentils and rice are cooked through. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and leave for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until brown and caramelized. Put the rice and lentil mixture in a large bowl, sprinkle with the crispy fried onion, and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

PINEAPPLE-COCONUT PIE

11/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

2/3 cup unsweetened orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup shredded coconut

2 cups crushed pineapple

Sliced bananas

1 (9-inch) baked pie shell

Soy whipped cream for garnish

Chopped nuts for garnish

Briefly blend together the pineapple juice, orange juice, vanilla, salt and cornstarch on high speed.

Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium high heat until clear, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pineapple.

Line a baked pie shell with sliced bananas and cover with filling. Chill.

This may be sprinkled with coconut before chilling, or chill first and top with soy whipped cream and chopped nuts before serving. Makes 1 pie.




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