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Meatless merry-making

December 04, 2007|By SHOVAL RESNICK / Pulse Corresponent

For many, late November is associated with Thanksgiving, eating large quantities of food, especially turkey. Children in school make the paper turkeys to act as center pieces for the Thanksgiving table and parents bring home the great frozen turkey to be lavished over on Thanksgiving.

But what about those of us who have given up the almighty turkey?

In recent years, the number of vegetarians and vegans has grown. For those who are unaware, vegetarians are people who don't eat meat. Some vegetarians do eat fish. The less readily recognized form of vegetarianism is veganism. Vegans, in addition to abstaining from meat, do not eat eggs or dairy products.

There are a variety of reasons for becoming vegetarian or vegan (pronounced "VEE-gan"). One reason people decide to eat this way is for health purposes. Meat, dairy and eggs carry high fat content and contribute to cholesterol.

The other prominent reason is that of morality. This is why I am a vegetarian. Voluntary herbivores appreciate that the animals which humans kill and eat are living, breathing, feeling animals just as humans are. These animals deserve the right to live just as humans have that right; some vegetarians fight for animal life as fervently as abortion opponents fight for human life.

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Some vegans and vegetarians believe that killing an animal to eat it is not the primary problem - the way in which the death comes about is the problem. Causing pain to the animal in the process of killing it and horrific living conditions are important issues, particularly with vegans. It is little known the living situations of cows and chickens which give the milk and the eggs. Again, this is the thought: That even though they are animals, they deserve some decency. Humans wouldn't allow other humans to be treated cruelly. Why should animals be treated cruelly?

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says animals raised for human food are treated like production units, not living creatures.

"Chickens have their sensitive beaks seared off with a hot blade, and male cattle and pigs are castrated without any painkillers," says the PETA Web site Goveg.com/vegetarian101.asp. "... Farmed chickens, turkeys, and pigs spend their brief lives in dark and crowded warehouses, many of them so cramped that they can't even turn around or spread a single wing."

Common arguments against vegetarianism are "What else are animals here for if not to eat?" and "They are only animals." Such arguments anger animal rights activists more than anything else.

So what is the meatless holiday meal? Tofurky makes a wonderful turkey replacement. Vegetables are always a necessity. It doesn't have to be the leaves and twigs which meat eaters often joke about. There are many wonderful recipes. Here are a couple side dishes from my family.

For more recipes and information on vegetarianism, veganism and animal rights, check out another PETA Web site, Peta2.com.




Recipes:



Hummus

2 cups drained chickpeas
1/3 cup tahini (aka tehina)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, sliced
Dash parsley and basil (optional)

Blend in blender until smooth. Use as vegetable or cracker dip.

- Courtesy of the Resnick family

Stuffed mushrooms

For the stuffing:
3/4 cup almonds, crushed
1/2 cup Greek feta cheese
1/3 cup Provolone cheese, chopped (could use Monterey jack)
2 tablespoons pesto sauce
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

12 whole mushrooms (regular or portobelini)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons garlic
3 tablespoons pesto
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
12 slices of Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together stuffing and set aside.

Hollow out the mushrooms with a spoon; be careful not to break them apart.

Place olive oil, garlic, pesto sauce and balsamic vinegar in pan over medium heat. Saut mushrooms for 3 minutes, turn over and saut for another 3 minutes.

Lay mushrooms on a cookie sheet. Stuff with stuffing mixture and place a slice of Provolone on top.

Put mushrooms in oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Mushrooms are done when cheese is melted.

- Courtesy of the Resnick family

Apple Stuffing

1/4 cup of butter/margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cups diced, tart apples
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups small bread cubes

Melt butter in a large frypan. Add onion, celery, and apples. Sprinkle whith salt and sugar.

Cook, turning occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until apples are lightly browned.

Add bread cubes and toss gently to blend ingredients.

- Courtesy of the Resnick family

Falafel

1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, coarsly chopped
1/4 cup fresh curly parsley, stems removed, tightly packed
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon peper
vegetable oil for frying

Bring chickpeas to a boil then let sit for several hours. Drain and put in food processor. Add all incgedients and blend until creamy (about a minute).

Heat in an inch of oil in a large, heavy frying pan to 375 degrees. Scoop a large spoonful of mixture and place in heated oil. Put 4 or 5 in pan. Fry patties until brown on one side (2 or 3 min), then flip and brown other side.

Put patties on a plate covered with paper towels and spinkle with salt if desired.

Makes 16 to 20 patties.

- Courtesy of the Resnick family

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