Bacon? Did you say bacon Bigg Sis? I know. I don’t believe the word bacon has ever appeared in one of our posts before, but here it is, in all it’s dishonor or glory…. it all depends.
Now you probably know that we at Sis Sisters Central do not eat a lot of animal products. In fact Little Sis eats much less of it than we do at my house. I eat eggs and eat meat about once a week or every other week. The boys often sneak in an extra meat night when I am working late. One of the reasons I only eat meat once a week or so is because when I do eat meat I try to make it what I call ‘clean meat.’ Clean meat (and eggs) is from animals who are treated well; allowed to move around naturally; not confined so that they are wading around in manure and contracting diseases which must be prevented with drugs that end up in their muscle tissue (which is what we eat!); and who eat a natural diet. There is lots of good information about these distinctions in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. You may be able to find local ‘clean’ meat at a farmers market or even by visiting a local farm where you can actually see clean, healthy animals in action!
This kind of meat costs more, so my original solution was to have less meat and more veggies and grains on the plate. In addition to the financial cost of ‘clean’ meat, my bets lie in the camp with those who say that less animal / more vegetable is the ticket when it comes to health.
Less meat can mean less on the plate, or less often, and it opens up a world of wonderful plant based dishes. Having said that, we occasionally indulge in ‘clean’ turkey bacon, and did so this Easter when we played with Peeps and dyed eggs with our friends, and also ate free-range, organic turkey bacon without hormones, antibiotics or preservatives such as nitrates and nitrites.
Having a crowd with diverse nutritional needs led me down a road that Little Sis and I both love. Pile It On Lane. Dinner on Pile It On Lane aims to please everyone. Basically, you offer a central theme with a variety of ingredients that will please everyone and let the eaters get creative.
We built wraps.
Foundation: I offered whole grain tortillas or large Romaine leaves.
Eaters and Builders, Movers and Shakers could spread some moisture and/or adhesive with either: mayonnaise with ground cumin; white bean dip; and/or salsa
Furnishings for the builders were:
asparagus & thinly sliced zucchini roasted with oil, lime juice and ground cumin
grated cheddar cheese
and lettuce for those who used tortillas.
So there were GF, DF, meat free, and meat-ful options.
These were very delicious and in my fervor to get ready for guests I neglected to take pictures, so we made it again a week or so later without the zucchini and I took a few pics this time 🙂
The white bean dip was very tasty. I totally swiped it from Vegetarian Times (April-May 2013 issue) by Mark Bittman.
Zesty White Bean Spread
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked or 15 oz. can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice (I used lemon)
Heat oil in skillet and add garlic – cook until translucent and fragrant
Add beans and mash (I used a potato masher)
Stir in 1/2 cup water and cook 10 minutes to spreadable consistency, stirring occasionally. Add a little more water if you need to – Bittman calls for 3/4 cup water – 1/2 worked for me.
Stir in lemon juice.
As for mayonnaise with ground cumin.
sprinkle one on the other, taste and adjust 🙂
I usually roast veggies at 375. I mixed couple of Tablespoons of safflower oil with juice from 1/2 lime and 1 tsp. of ground cumin. Then I brushed this onto the zucchini slices and the asparagus. Asparagus takes about 20 minutes depending on how fat it is and how much you are doing at one time. The zucchini took a little longer, probably 30 minutes. I stirred the asparagus a couple of times and flipped the zucchini and re-brushed. At this juncture I suggest that you always roast more vegetables than you need. Especially if you are working on wraps – the leftovers make great lunches! And if you have any other veggies that would be good roasted, toss them in as well. I roasted 3 red potatoes the second time around just because I had them. They took longer, so I separated them at some point.
And when everything was cooked, I sliced up some avocado and laid it all out to let the building begin! Little Sis likes to stroll down Pile It On Lane with cooked grains and a variety of veggie mix-ins, the Varia-Bowl!. Same principle of building what you like with some easy ingredients.
And of course trips down Pile It On Lane might come on a night when there is a little of leftover this and a little of leftover that and you’ve got tortillas, romaine or cooked grains on hand.
Here is the house that Bigg Sis built… and it was very tasty too!