Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Introducing: Modern Cooking

I have thought for a while to re-activate "Tasty Tuesday", but somehow this title didn't seem right any more, since Tasty Tuesday was more focused on yummie comfort food while modern cooking will focus more on nutritious, quick-to-prepare meals that feed a family with different dietary preferences or needs. Until a while ago, our family of 4 had to serve 3 different diets: regular omnivore (Richard and Lily), lactose-free (Violet), and vegetarian (me). Luckily, Violet's digestive system has matured enough now so that she is able to eat milk products. I am still a vegetarian though, which I stress is a personal decision which I refuse to force on my husband or children but decided to work around.

I am starting this column with a healthy meal that can be adapted to fit almost any dietary preference while being easy to prepare and extremely yummie without the slightest feeling of guilt:

Feta Cheeseburger with country potatoes and salad.

Did I ever tell you that my husband makes the most delicious hamburgers in the world? Well, he does. For the burgers you need:

- 1lb of ground beef
- 1 egg
- steak seasoning
- small hand-full of bread crumbs (I make mine fresh from day-old bread)

Mix above well with your hands and cook to taste on a grill or grill pan.
Serve on a bun with thinly sliced feta cheese and tsatsiki.

For the tsatsiki you will need:

- 1 cup of plain (or Greek) yogurt
- 1/4 cucumber very thinly cubed
- fresh garlic finely diced to taste (we use lots)
- freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Mix the yogurt with the cucumber and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the country potatoes just wash as many potatoes as you need, quarter them and arrange them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with pepper, salt, and rosemary; bake until done and crispy.

For the salad wash the produce (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, etc.) and cut it into bite-size pieces. Prepare a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, salt, and Italian herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary) and toss with the other ingredients.

Make it vegetarian:

Forget the burger and toss the feta cheese on the grill. Watch it carefully because it will become runny (optional you can wrap the cheese in aluminum foil). Serve with the country potatoes, tsatsiki, and salad.

Veganize it:

Swap the cheese for tofu and marinate over night in garlic-infused oil. Grill and serve instead of the cheese. You can also cook up a nice soy burger to go with it. Prepare the tsatsiki with soy or rice yogurt.

Make it lactose-free:

Switch all regular milk products to either lactose-free versions or use the vegan options with the burger.

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