Since going 99% vegetarian last June, my vegetarian cooking repertoire has expanded quite a bit! I tend to cook with very Japanese ingredients, thanks in part to having two JP grocery stores within 5 min of my work place, but there are a few dishes that require nothing particularly difficult to obtain that I think is worth sharing here.
One came from my exploration of the avocado. When I started training harder for the upcoming marathon, I noticed a distinct absence of stamina from time to time. It wasn't that I was under-trained or tired, because my muscles were completely fine and my heart rate was totally stable. I attributed it to the lack of freely available energy - "the bonk" was happening sooner than I expected on some runs!
I realized that perhaps my diet had become too Buddhist Monk-ish, and since I was trying to run 20+ mi instead of meditating all day long, I just didn't have enough energy in my system. I turned to the avocado for a quick solution, and voila! It totally had a positive effect on my training regime! Now, I have three avocado menus that I have made multiple occasions to add an energy boost.
Avocado Goodness #1: Oven-baked Avocado "Katsu"
Katsu is a Japanified version of Cutlet. It's usually made with pork or chicken, but I made this with avocado and I didn't deep fry it like it's typically done. This is so simple, it doesn't even require a recipe, but here it is anyway:
1. Slice avocado to bite size pieces.
2. Soak/dip avocado in beaten eggs.
3. Coat egg-covered avocado in Japanese bread crumbs (panko).
4. Bake in a 450F preheated oven until golden. Turn if necessary.
I use a convection toaster oven and it takes about 20 min.
Avocado Goodness #2: Wakame-seaweed Salad with Avocado Dressing
Photo courtesy of my cooking buddy, Mrs. Chef.
This is another one I have made with many slight modifications. I basically mash avocados up with a bunch of different vegetables and season the whole thing with ponzu. And that's really it! I always add wakame seaweed and chopped cucumbers, but the other ingredients have varied quite a bit. The "microgreens" from Trader Joe's (which is basically a mix of various sprouts) was very good, as well as canned corn and anything else with a crunch.
Avocado Goodness #3: Avocado Miso Sauce
This is another one so simple, it requires no formal recipe...
All I do is mix avocados and miso at a ratio of 1 avocado to 1 tbs miso with a dash of milk and yuzu juice in the food processor. Literally. That's it. This sauce is great on most white foods that have body or density - boiled daikon radishes, potatoes, chicken, pork, etc. The smoothness of the creamy avocado is best showcased against the backdrop of some texture but in the absence of any competing personalities.
Drop me a note if you try any of these and let me know how it went!