I was working a catering a dinner at a client’s house, with a piano recital between hors d’oeuvres and sit down courses that went on for twice as long as it was supposed to. Standing in the kitchen, bored and famished, praying the rice wouldn’t overcook too obscenely, I munched: pita bread with two different spreads; wiener Schnitzler followed by a slice of Sacher torte.
By the time I got home, at midnight, ready to roll into bed, I felt like a couple of bricks had settled in my stomach. I tossed and turned all night. Serves me right.
So, today, my only day off this week, I decided on light and healthy. I still struggle to incorporate enough proteins in my meals, as my meat avoidance is becoming more pronounced. Mainly, I eat nuts and pulses as if they were going out of style.
Los Angeles has had a resurgence of vegan restaurants and shops serving such delicious food that can make you forget meat is not on the menus. Many use cashew nuts in very creative ways: cashews are the in-food.
Cashew nuts are highly nutritional, rich in protein and with a fairly bland taste that can be incorporated in many recipes. A sort of better tasting and better textured tofu. A fake cheese shop recently opened up in West Hollywood, with offerings mainly derived from cashew milk. While I can’t pretend cashew brie tastes like the real thing, the creaminess is remarkable. So there is always a bag of cashews somewhere in my pantry, for those days when I need to beef up a vegetarian meal.
Riffing on a recipe I found in the NYT a little while ago, my main lunch course today was green beans with cashew nuts, cooked in coconut oil. I omitted the coconut flakes and milk as I don’t love too much coconut in my food, unless curry is involved.
With some rice and a couple of lox slices on the side, it was surprisingly delicious and filling.
- Trim the green beans.
- In a saute pan on high heat, melt some coconut oil and add a pinch of thinly sliced fresh ginger, a sprinkle of turmeric, some mustard seeds and red pepper flakes to taste. Cook for a minute.
- Add the green beans, coat them with the oil and add some water. Reduce the heat and partly cover the pan. Let cook for about 10 minutes, until the beans are tender but not mushy.
- Remove the lid, let whatever remaining water evaporate and add a handful of cashew nuts. Cook for a couple of minutes longer and serve.
- If coconut is your thing, substitute coconut milk for the water (or, if you are not vegetarian, chicken stock and serve it as a side dish).