Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Truth Is: Yucca is NOT Yucky!

Okay -- Yucca Experiment #1, successful. Even Gordon swallowed.

Of course, rather than telling you the time, I must build you the clock first, but today, the clock is small.

Yesterday I was at Red Mesa Cantina in St. Pete enjoying afternoon tapas with a special friend and as a vegan, I needed to search a bit for my taste treat. I ordered fried yucca and chipolte catsup. The yucca came with a slight breading, about the size of steak fries. And the Chipolte Catsup was The Bomb!

Fried is NOT on my Garden of Eden Vegan list of healthy foods, although in a pinch, exceptions are made. So I decided to try to replicate this yummy treat in a healthy way.

First step: buy a Yucca, also known as Cassava. It looks like the ugly brown root pictured below. I got mine at Publix for less than a dollar.

Second, Chop the sucker. I machete chopped it in half and then chopped of the top. Now it was more manageable.

Third - Skin it -- this was easy. If I had a potato peeler, I think it would have worked. I just used a paring knife.

Fourth - Cut it in the size of steak fries.

Fifth - Boil until almost soft.

Now -- here is where we can get creative. I wanted to lightly bread them in Panko Breadcrumbs, my son, the chef, said it is the only way to bread things. And I thought I needed some moisture, so I soaked the par boiled slices in salsa and then breaded them.

I think I/you could have sprayed them with olive oil spray or if you are not avoiding oil, brush them with olive oil -- and then bread them.

Pre-heat the oven at 375 to 400 degrees and bake them. I kept an eye on them and turned them half way -- maybe ten minutes each side. True disclosure in recipes: I did spray them, after breading and before baking with olive oil spray. Just a spritz.

They came out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Yummy. I sprinkled them with French sea salt (a finishing salt from Penzey's). And I bet if I hadn't forgotten to buy the Chipotle Catsup -- which is what I went to Publix for in the first place, they would have been great with that as a dip. We ate them plain and/or with regular catsup.

I have a few more yucca ideas -- stay tuned.

But alas -- I do work the day shift a few days this week so it cuts down on my cooking and play time. But IF my new idea works -- it will be well worth the wait, she says ever so humbly.

Savor the Flavor -- of Life!!!

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The Story Behind the Garden of Eden Vegan Blog

For those of you who knew me prior to December 30, 2009, I was a veteran of the fast food culinary institute. My son, when he lived with me would ask if I had ordered the "Shabbat pizza" yet as the sun was setting Friday nights.

My idea of a good meal was a McFish sandwich, fries with extra salt, and a medium diet coke.

Everything was better covered in a rich creamy sauce and the idea of a naked baked potato was as foreign to me as walking naked in Manhattan.

In June of 2009 I decided to formally become a vegetarian. Although I had dabbled with this, it was not until I read Skinny Bitch that the gauntlet was thrown.

Now being a vegetarian does not sign you up for good health. I was proof of that. Chubby when I started, I indulged in pizza, french fries, cheese, cheese, butter, cheese, pizza......and became very over weight, tipping the Toledos at 200 pounds at 5'4". And taking an assortment of meds for cholesterol and GERD and who knows what else.

As the decade was waning, and with my 60th birthday approaching in the year 2010, there was a perfect storm that snapped my beak and got me in gear. The same friend who gave me Skinny Bitch, turned me on to the John McDougall website. At the same time, there was a Grand Round lecture at the hospital where I work on the book Eat to Live, and at the same time, I was tired of how I looked and felt and needed to make a change.

I regret that I did not start this blog when I changed my lifestyle, but it is better late than never.

My weight is down about 35 pounds, my size has gone from a tight 16 to a loose 12. And I am on no meds, although my vegetarian doctor and I will review my blood work within this month to see if I need anything (like b12) boosted.

I began as a Vegan Minus. Or what I call a Garden of Eden Vegan.

As you know, a Vegan eats no animals nor animal products - none. But then I subtracted oil, sugar, and processed foods.

That is a big subtraction -- but it is this subtraction that helped with weight loss, lack of cravings, increased energy, health, and vibrancy.

Now I am dabbling in raw foods and have signed up to learn with Russell James (google him).

I like the taste and health aspect of raw foods, but worry about the increased calories. So I will (hopefully) use the raw creations as a supplement to my Gan (Hebrew for Garden -- I am in a Hebrew mood today) Eden Vegan lifestyle.

My doctor said that I should write a book about this since most of her patients need it. I said, "Who, or how many, would want to do this?" We shall see. It has been easy (no cravings) and exciting as life and energy unfold before me, just as it was meant to be. (It didn't unfold over a fried fish sandwich, extra tarter sauce.)

Join me or not. Walk with me the whole journey, day trips, part of it, or not. This is my 60th year -- buckle up life, here I come.