Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Critic Issue 6: The Health Issue - Num Nums

I think that there are enough sobering issues in this world to contemplate as it is, and food should not be added to the list. I can’t abide the practise of calorie counting and the scrutiny of nutritional content. For goodness sake, life is short and there are many other things to be miserable about. I think that most people would be fine if they practised common sense and moderation when it comes to eating. If you would like to read about health and nutrition, there are numerous related food articles to be found – I am not going to be another preacher. I will however, provide some easy, relatively healthy recipes that any student can whip up. I remember reading a Critic article some years ago about the average varsity student’s diet which apparently consisted of (surprise, surprise!) lots of junk food and very little fruit or vegetables. Here are a couple of fuss free ways to add a little zing to your vegetable intake for the day:

Recipe #1 is from Gordon Ramsay’s Cook-a-long show. Just mix 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 2-3 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper in a small bowl and voila, you have a nice piquant dressing for a salad.

Recipe #2 is my mom’s. Cut up a cucumber into sticks and remove seeds. Soak sticks in a little white vinegar and sugar mixture (just enough to cover - experiment with the vinegar and sugar amounts until you get a balance that you like) in the fridge for at least half an hour. Drain (optional) and serve. The result should be refreshing tasting, sweet & sour-ish, crunchy cucumber sticks. You can also use carrots and cabbage if you like.

I don’t know many Kiwis who like tofu. Here, tofu seems to be equated with vegans and health and abhorred by the average Kiwi. It’s like kryptonite – suggest tofu for any meal and watch their faces contort in horror. I have always maintained that that is because most Kiwis have not been exposed to the different kinds of tofu and the various ways of cooking tofu. It may be too late for some, but here’s my attempt to introduce tofu to the rest of you. Rest assured that the recipe is flexible and you can replace the tofu with potatoes and please use your own estimations for the ingredients by tasting as you cook.

Minced Meat & Tofu Recipe
1. Marinate minced meat (I like to use pork, but feel free to substitute with beef, chicken or lamb) with corn flour, pepper and light soy sauce.
2. Drain tofu (use the firm kind if you’re grossed out by the soft) and set aside OR peel and cut potatoes into cubes. Cut tofu into squares if you like.
3. Fry minced garlic in a little oil until fragrant
4. Add minced meat and stir-fry until mince is separated.
5. Add a little dark soy sauce (optional), oyster sauce, & sugar to taste.
6. Add some water and when sauce is simmering, place tofu on top of mince and cover pan to steam tofu for several minutes.
7. Garnish with chopped spring onions and fried minced garlic and serve.

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