Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spelt with Mushrooms, Onions and Rosemary

To be a vegan or not to be a vegan, that is the question.  My wife has gone from vegetarianism to veganism quite easily.  But I am an animal protein eater.  I do not eat meat or fish very often but I feel because I am a chef who prepares meats and fish for my clients I must eat these ingredients to control the quality.  I do not drink milk anymore.  I eat very little cheese but oh do I love a good Parmesan or Gruyere.  Or how about a nice aged Manchego.  I only eat organic eggs from my friends and that isn't to often.  I had some organic chicken last weekend at a dinner party and before that it had been weeks without meat.  I eat canned tuna or sardines about once a week for the omega 3 and the protein.  So you see it would not be that much of a dramatic change in my diet.
The other day we watched a documentary about people who became a vegan and why.  One was a chef at the restaurant Saf in London.  Another was a female marathon runner, then a new mother, a poet and so on.  Their stories made me really, really think.  The poet brought up the fact that by being a vegan you are saying you do not approve of the horrific treatment of animals that occurs in mass animal processing.  Nor do you approve of fish farming, global warming, depleting rain forests, polluting of the underground water supply and you take responsibility of your own carbon foot print.
One of the most asked question a chef gets is, what is your favorite thing to cook?  And I would always answer, vegetables.  One reason is because there are so many different kinds of vegetables.  The other reason is that each vegetable has so many different varieties and then there are so many different techniques  that can be applied to each vegetable.  Take the onion for example.  The little market where I shop they always have at least 6 different types of onions and there are many more varieties.  And then what can you do with an onion: saute, boil, tempura, glazed, roasted, baked whole, pureed in a soup, stuffed, mirepoix, caramelized, stir-fry, onion rings, raw in ceviche or a salad, and on and on...  So you can see I love vegetable.  I especially love mushrooms and onions together like in this recipe.  The nuttiness of the Spelt and the perfume on the rosemary makes this dish a vegan dream.

Spelt is the star of this show

Onion, garlic and rosemary all fight against cancer

Nouveau Cuisine 

Spelt with Mushrooms, Onions and Rosemary
by Jeff Harter
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: saute appetizer entree side nut-free soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian Mediterranean

Spelt is a cousin to wheat but it is a slow release carbohydrate so it has a lower glycemic index. It contains more protein than regular wheat and is loaded with minerals and vitamins. In this recipe I use spelt in it's natural state.
Ingredients (serves 4)
    • 1 quart water
    • 2 quarts water
    • 2 cups spelt
    Sauteed Vegetables
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 yellow onion small dice
    • 16 button mushrooms small dice
    • 2 stalks celery small dice
    • 2 cloves garlic small dice
    • 2 tbsp rosemary small dice
    • 1 tbsp turmeric
    • 4 tbsp sprouts
    • 20 celery leaves
      • In a large bowl pour in 1 quart water and the 2 cups of spelt and let sit for 24 hours. Strain and rinse.
      • In a large pot add 2 quarts water and the 2 cups spelt. Bring to boil and cook for 1 hour then strain.
      Sauteed Vegetables
      • Heat a large saute pan over medium heat for several minutes then add olive oil and heat for 2 minutes then add onion, mushrooms and celery and cook for 15 mins stirring frequently. Then add garlic and rosemary and saute for another 5 minutes. Then add the Spelt, salt and pepper and saute for another 5 minutes until hot.

      • Divide the spelt between the four plates then sprinkle with turmeric, sprouts and celery leaves.

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