NEW START – March 2017
We are off to a new start with Sustenance-Cuisine. There are new recipes to share and some new resources as well. It has been almost four years since we switched to a plant-based diet. When we first started out my husband Jim kept telling me that the food I made was really good and that I should write about it so others could benefit. So one thing led to another. The focus of Sustenance-Cuisine.com is on recipes for good tasting food that will help people incorporate plant-based eating into their lives.
I’ve learned a lot in the past four years about how to have a plant-based diet and I cook differently than I did before. To start sharing what I have learned I’ve added two new pages to Sustenance-Cuisine.
- In Resources I share the books and websites I’ve used to learn about nutritional needs and how plant-based diets can fill those needs. I also use some of them for cooking techniques and inspiration.
- In Strategies I share some of the things I have learned about how to actually make most of your food from scratch . . . and still have a life.
I want to thank my friend Mary for telling me about plant-based diets and their benefits four years ago. Also I want to thank Jim and my friend Michael for going along with Mary and I and becoming avid boosters.
There are many reasons why plant-based diets are important – health, environmental, etc. Originally for me the impetus to change was my health and I was able to make significant changes. I also found that, after an initial period of adjustment, our food bill went down at least 25% if not more. Whatever your impetus for change, the goal here is to make it easier to forge a new path.
Moving to a plant-based diet isn’t all or nothing. Some people include eggs and low-fat dairy in their diet. Other people include a little fish or poultry; some include limited amounts of meat. Some folks eat plant-based 3-4 days per week and others eat plant-based during the day and go back to their old diet for dinner. It is important to do what works for you while taking advantage of the benefits of eating lots of plants. Jim and I occasionally join friends for dinner at a local restaurant that serves great pizzas and calzones. We also sometimes eat out at other restaurants and have meals that include cheese and oil. At home we use very little oil and no dairy. But we enjoy it when we eat out. Sometimes we even have dessert.
It was a big change in our lives when we started and things have continued to evolve. I cook differently now than I did before, and not just with different ingredients. I was astounded to learn that food can be sautéed with wine, broth or water instead of oil. I was also astounded to learn that you can make baked goods without eggs or oil. I use a little olive or walnut oil on salads and a high-heat oil for cooking pancakes and waffles. I eat differently as well. Previously, most meals were one or more veg plus a protein, sometimes supplemented with soup or salad. Now most meals involve some sort of grain with vegetables and beans and an appropriate sauce or condiment. Think risotto, pasta, rice and beans, stews, etc. Generally, soup is on the lunch menu at our house. I usually have Hummus as well as Tofu Cream Cheese in the fridge ready to be paired with whole-grain bread. Usually dessert is fruit. I like the way we eat. I have lots of energy and stamina to do the things I like to do.
WELCOME – April 2014
I’m Dorothy Crocker from Missoula, Montana. Come join me in exploring a plant-based cuisine that is delicious and nourishing. The recipes here are based on fresh, seasonal vegetables, herbs, fruits, nuts, grains and beans. The food we make will be intensely flavored and satisfying. SUSTENANCE-CUISINE is about adopting a plant-based diet and developing a cuisine based on vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Olives and nuts are used in place of extracted oils and fats.
This is an opportunity to explore and adapt recipes from many sources. The cuisine with which we grew up defines us as much as religion, place and language. The flavors and scents we experienced at home are part of our identity and they shape our preferences and pleasures. Most of the recipes I have adapted are based on European traditions and North American and Central American ingredients and flavors.
As an adult I learned about cooking techniques and, more recently, learned ways of adapting traditional techniques to a plant-based diet that enhance the flavors. For example, white wine or vegetable broth can be used to saute instead of oil or butter. Flaxseed, almond butter and applesauce can be used in place of eggs and butter in baking. Roasting or salting vegetables intensifies the flavor by removing much of the water in them. Cauliflower makes a wonderful bechemal-type sauce and cashew cream is as good or better than whipped cream or butter. Grilling over a wood fire adds a rich smoky flavor to vegetables, fruits and flatbreads.
We will also explore growing, harvesting and preserving vegetables, fruits and herbs from a small summer garden. If you don’t have room or time for a garden there are seasonal farmer’s markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA’s) gardens and local farms that can supply fresh produce. Most communities have grocery stores that feature fresh, locally-grown, seasonal food.