Thursday, June 17, 2010

I wanna be a vegetarian!

Well, maybe that statement goes a little too far. I would like to make a proper effort in making a vegetarian out of myself one day a week. I think a poll and subsequent post in the recent past shows I'm not alone in this effort. In the mean time I've learned a few things I'd like to share.

Flexitarian? I'd never seen the word either, and for due reason. It's a new word first uttered in 1992. That's pretty new as far as words go! A flexitarian is anyone who makes an effort to lessen the amount of meat in their diet. Genius! Personally, I'd rather stick to calling myself a once a week vegetarian. No disrespect to either faction.

Meatless Monday is a movement that has transformed over the past century. Yep, it was during World War 1 that Herbert Hoover took to a movement intended to urge families to reduce consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. The MM campaign has become a global effort to improve the health of individuals as well as the planet.

Lightlife is more than just another pop-up veggie food label. I mean it's contributed 5% of their net profits to organizations that work to protect children, the environment and human rights, all the while producing quality products that help those of us who choose a vegetarian lifestyle live one that is full of healthy, flavorful, and interesting dining options. Lighlife has a vast product offering, but I have come to like their line of entrees. They offer six international flavors all easy to prepare and a full meal. I particularly enjoy the Indian Veggie Malsala entree. They are available at Giant Eagle grocery stores in the Cleveland area, but they have a product locater here.

If you are like me, and find it somewhat difficult to go meatless any further into the week than Monday Lightlife offers a great line of meat substitutes. Like hot dogs, burgers, deli meats, even wings. Or consider one the delish entrees a perfect side dish for that fat T-bone off the grill.

Friday, June 04, 2010

The Heat

The temperatures here in the Cleveland area have been about 10 degrees above normal the past 6 weeks or so. It seems to rain, no disappearance of the scorching sun needed right about 15 minutes before service. Service being the time when all the heat discharging equipment needs to be on. After a short rain (90% humidity), turning on all the equipment and wiping the sweet of the past four hours of prep from you brow it's time to hunker down for another 5 hours in front of the grill pushing out the kind of heat that turns a one pound raw hunk of meat into a medium-rare steak in about ten minutes.

There comes a time when you contemplate turning the fan off because it just seems to blow hot air on you. Not long after that you find yourself asking for another quart of ice water, but either can't find the few seconds to take a gulp, or you feel so bloated from the past 5 quarts you sucked down it almost hurts to take a sip. I'll spare you the amount of liquid your clothes can absorb, the chafing, or where the drips of sweet tend to drop. Of course this is nothing new for us, but it is a smack in the face comes this time of year when people actually stop complaining about the snow. Oh how I would love to see, "flurries" in the forecast later in the week.

It's part of the job, part of the challenge, part of what going to work as a chef and going home with a sense of fulfillment entails.The funny part comes when Kari cooks dinner for me at home. A very nice gesture and great meal prepared. But with only two burners going and the window wide open she says to me, "God it's hot in here. I don't know how you do it all day." That comment brought a huge smile to my face and a good night’s sleep.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

2010 Farmers Market...Ready, Set, Go!

I stopped at my first farmers market of 2010 today. It was the opening of the Lakewood location today. Kamm's Corner kicks off this coming Sunday. Plenty or asparagus, nice looking lettuce, some supper sweet but small strawberries and apples. I got some asparagus that is about 18 inches long with 17.5 inches of beautiful green stalks. Knife sharpener was on hand, and hanging basket tomato plants that were pushing little green gems out already. Exciting.