Seventh Week, now featuring more Santa

Good morning. Hello. It was a beautiful warm sunny day here in London yesterday, which turned into a deceptively clear evening for the Santa Claus Parade, which then froze us with a wicked chill wind in our lawn chairs by the side of the road at Maitland and Dundas. When not shivering before pagan idols, I have been combing the news lately for interesting items related to Meatless Mondays and found a couple of interesting ones.

The Globe and Mail had a great story which informs us that "Meatless menus are all the rage," partly in response to demand from people such as ourselves who are observing Meatless Mondays. There are those among us, myself included, who, after a long and tiring Monday, cannot face cooking. That's why it is nice to have a restaurant which helpfully provides for our needs. This article lists some Toronto restaurants who provide options, but if you check some of your local menus I'm sure you'll find something.

This piece in New York Magazine also highlights "Why Vegetables Are the New Meat," showing how chefs everywhere have discovered that vegetables are more than just a side dish and that meatless recipes can be delicious and popular. Another important statistic comes out in the first line of the article: only 26% of Americans eat at least three servings of vegetables a day. This isn't even keeping up with the paltry guidelines set out by various governmental bodies. I'm sure the same thing holds true in Canada and other western countries.

And in the "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" portion of today's newswatch, take a look at this hilarious picture taken of Registered Dietitians lining up for free Coke at a Nutrition Conference. If that's what they're learning, is it any wonder people don't know what to eat anymore? There are always helpful Multinational Corporations or Marketing Boards stepping up to tell us it's okay to eat the things we feel guilty about eating, as in this New York Times exposé of Dairy Management, showing that governments are also sometimes complicit in this misinformation of the public.

Taking the New York Magazine's beautiful photo of an eggplant as my jumping off point, I am including it as the vegetable of the week. They are a delicious nightshade vegetable, with potent antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties. They also have an ANDI score of 149, putting it solidly in the green column. I like to prepare the asian version, which is light purple and thin like a carrot. I just slice them up and lightly fry with soy sauce and sesame oil and serve with some rice noodles. They are also delicious in Baba Ganoush, the lesser known cousin of Hummus. Also Eggplant Lasagne. I'm just saying.

This week's recipe was given to us by my brother Steve, who named his concoction Gnocchi with Garlicky Walnut Sauce. If you're wondering how to say that, it is pronounced "Knee Hockey" without the "H." They are delicious little potato pasta dumplings--look for the ones that say 70% potato. We use the same Gimme Lean brand of veggie sausage that Steve used in the original, but it's not available in Canada, so Canadians can substitute any kind you like. Christina suggests the Yves Veggie Breakfast Patties, available in the produce aisle of most grocery stores. The suggested wine pairing for this dish is a 2006 Cennatoio Chianti Classico. Begin with a tossed salad. Buon appetito!

This has been Meatless Monday Motivational Minute. Thank you for listening.