I didn’t realize until the class had begun that I was in a group of 3 PhDs and two attorneys, all more fit than I. I was here to teach them how to ‘Transform’ their plates into more healthful meals. The term ‘preaching to the choir’ came in my mind, then it was said aloud.
We talked about the fact that so many eat processed foods, diets consisting mostly of take out or frozen foods. My mantra is becoming more clear in my mind. Make it yourself! Buy more vegetables! Eat less meat! Translated, it means simply learn to cook, then buy local and fresh food and cook it yourself. Teach your children or have someone else teach them to cook. Independence and control result with knowledge and skill.
This is not to say that we don’t go out to eat. No way am I giving up that luxury! But when I do go out, I assure you it will be to a place that cooks as I do. Food is fresh, portions are such that there is room for dessert. (Why go out if you aren’t having dessert?)
But this evening’s focus was on cooking in, and cooking healthfully. We began with a simple and quick French Vegetable Soup and ended with a Citrus Sorbet. Moroccan Roasted Vegetables and Lemon Scented Couscous provided the very satisfying and beautiful entree. This dish was inspired by Ghillie Basan’s Modern Moroccan, my first Moroccan resource tool.
Roasted Moroccan Vegetables
3 red onions, peeled and quartered
3 zucchini, halved lengthwise
2-3 colored peppers, seeded and quartered
2 eggplant, cut into 6-8 long pieces
2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled, halved and cut into long strips
4-6 tomatoes, quartered if large, halved if smaller. We used a mixture of yellow and red tomatoes.
6 or more peeled garlic cloves
1 oz fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Place the prepared vegetables on two rimmed baking sheets. Tuck the ginger, garlic and rosemary around the vegetables, then drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and honey, maybe about 1/4 cup of each on each of the two pans. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast at 375 for about 1 1/2 hours. Stir once or twice during this time to adjust the vegetables that may cook more quickly than others. When all the vegetables are tender, serve with the couscous.
To cook the couscous, bring 2 cups water to a boil and add the zest of the lemon a generous pinch of salt and 2 Tbls of olive oil. Stir in two cups of couscous and remove from heat. Allow to absorb the water for about 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork to serve.