If every U.S. citizen ate just 1 meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats & produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 billion barrels every week. Small changes in buying habits can make a big difference.
I'm re-reading (for the ? time) Animal Vegetable Miracle. The previous statistic is from that book. I've mentioned before how much I love this book. It's all about one family's adventure eating only local and seasonal food for a year, except for a few exceptions such as olive oil and spices.
Most people who turn their noses up to the idea of vegetarian meals do so out of a misconception that it is a bland and uninteresting diet, so I want to share some of the numerous meatless recipes I have here in the hope that you will give them a try. There is a movement complete with website called Meatless Monday. There a many really great and creative recipes at the website.
Tonight, the guys here wanted burgers on the grill since it was such a warm, sunny day. For the most part, I don't eat red meat. If I do, I usually cut back the amounts in a recipe by half. In many countries red meat is used as an ingredient to compliment the dishes flavor, not as the main ingredient. Cutting back really doesn't effect the taste of a dish as much as most people think! Lasagna and chili are two good examples! I had half of an eggplant in the fridge so I had grilled eggplant medallions for dinner and some cheese grits. I didn't miss that burger at all!
I grew up in a typical Midwestern, small town family. Well, maybe not that typical, but our diet consisted of a lot of chicken, pot roast, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and corn, peas, or green beans. We lived in a small town, and our house just happened to be one of only a few houses in the town that had a barn. It was a small barn and my dad parked the car in it and stored all kinds of junk and gardening implements. There was a little 'outhouse' room, and a small room with it's own outdoor entrance which my siblings and I got to use as a playhouse. I sewed curtains for the windows and we had old furniture in it. It was a fun place for great adventures.
In the barn, my dad built a corral in whichhe raised a hog a year for several years. He would have it butchered and we would have that meat in our freezer. I'm sure you couldn't do that anymore! It smelled awful and that pig only had a small pen to live and grow in. My dad would drag us kids out on Saturday mornings after the farmers harvested corn in the fall, and we'd go to those fields and 'glean' the corn left in the fields by the corn pickers and take it home to feed the hog. Let me tell you, I was so embarrassed, humiliated, and just plain mad that we had to do that! I didn't like raising the hog in the first place!
We also had pet rabbits, and yes, they were typical rabbits and they did multiply. My dad would butcher these rabbits for food. I don't really remember eating them, except for this one time! We had one particularly tame rabbit. It was all white, and would stay in the yard and hop around and play with us kids. We loved that rabbit! One day as we were eating dinner, we asked our mom what we were eating and my dad said "your pet rabbit!!". Can you imagine!!! Oh my gosh..we were so upset and if I remember correctly we were crying.
I remember asking my dad if her remembered that when he was in his later years and he was so apologetic and felt so bad that he had done that! He couldn't believe he had but I assured him that he had. I didn't dream it up!
Several years we raised our own chickens, but we educated our kids about it. They didn't get to see them as pets, even though those day old chicks are adorable. We didn't name them or get attached to them. They were food from day one. We even butchered our own once so they could see what is involved in that. Needless to say, I now have one vegetarian child!
Here is another really good vegetarian recipe I you might like to try. It's seasonal, too. You should be able to buy fresh, local asparagus soon. I can't wait for that first 'picking' of asparagus..it's always so delicious!!
Asparagus and Mushroom Bread Pudding
3 c. milk
1 c.chopped green onions
Heat onions in milk and take off heat to steep.
1 loaf stale or toasted bread, broken into crouton sized pieces
Pour milk over crumbs and allow to soak.
1 pound asparagus in 1/2 in pieces
Simmer in boloing water until bright green.
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in skillet and and add:
1 pound mushrooms sliced
S&P to taste
Cook until mushrooms are tender
1/3 c. chopped parsley
3 Tbsp. oregano
3 c. grated Swiss cheese
Break eggs and beat until smooth, add herbs and S&P
Add bread crumbs with milk, asparagus, mushrooms and 2/3 of cheese.
Mix thoroughly and pout into a greased 8x12 (or 9x13) baking dish.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.