Thursday, April 4, 2013

Deborah Terra Weltman: "Veggie" in a Carnivore World & pumpernickel rye bread recipe

I met Deb at my Dec. 21, 2012, End of the World Age party promoting my novel ZERO TIME. Since then, I've learned about her amazing trek of Spain's 500-mile Camino de Santiago (her book is in the works!), and how she's trying to help others reach their "Big Dreams." In fact, her next class starts this Saturday, April 6 (scroll down this link to see Guided Class). I've also come to appreciate her spirited advocacy for healthier food, even taking on a favorite Midwestern burger joint like Steak 'n Shake.

Guest post by Deborah Terra Weltman

This column is dedicated to providing vegetarians with decent alternatives at “normal” restaurants, and to supplying restaurateurs with feed-back from the “veggie” perspective.

Imagine the plight of the poor vegetarian who lives among carnivorous folk and is inclined to be social, to dine out, with meat eaters. There are often lunches and dinners to be eaten out at establishments where veggie alternatives have not been considered by the restaurateurs (or by the restaurant chain): where options are not plentiful, are boring at best, at worst, are laden with heavy cheeses, sugars, or (Eeek!) iceberg lettuce.

Case story:

Quickie dinner out with my parents, my sister and my son at Steak n Shake….
Because we live in different parts of town (South county and Creve Coeur), we decide to meet at the Steak and Shake on Kirkwood Road, a good mid-way point. We’ve all eaten at a Steak n Shake at some point in our lives, so we all are clear what’s on their menu. While Mom, Dad, and sister, Sallie, ordered Steakburgers, fries, chili, and shakes, my son, J.T., and I (the vegetarians) were looking for creative alternatives. In the past, my son had been under the impression that the chili three-way could be created without meat. He had ordered this on quite a few occasions on the advice of a friend who had previously worked there. After further research we found out that his friend had simply served him from the top of the chili pot…with the meat having sunk to the bottom. So…we were looking to find real vegetarian options. Note to Steak n Shake: the seasonings in your chili are wonderful! How about creating a vegetarian version? Besides us vegetarians, you would also draw the Kosher and Halal crowds, not to mention the health conscious!
On to the “alternatives:" Of course there are salads on the menu: green or taco (minus the beef) to name a few, but they are made with iceberg lettuce…hardly healthy or interesting enough to bother with. There are no burger alternatives and, given that cooking “veggie burgers” on a grill with beef burgers would render them “beef grilled veggie burgers” not a practical plan. So, we settled: J.T. had a BLT without the B. He subbed cheese for the bacon. I went for the “sides”: baked beans and coleslaw. They were good. I didn’t ask, but kept hoping NOT to find a hunk of meat in the bean pot. The coleslaw was fresh and crisp, but excessively creamy for my taste. Another note to Steak n Shake: more cabbage and other veggies, less mayo…a “half-creamy” slaw…another more healthful option?! My son, who can handle the calories, had a shake…as usual…delicious. I made a wimpy attempt to watch my calories and had a yogurt shake… with real raspberries. It was exquisite and I don’t plan to research the calorie count!
Vegetarians and appropriate others: what about a write-in (or e-mail-in) campaign to the Steak n Shake headquarters suggesting they add to their menu. I’m all over the idea of a “veggie chili” alternative. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Meanwhile, if you happen to be dining out at Steak n Shake, know the limits (it is limited) and try those yummy yogurt shakes!

NOTE: You can contact Deb at or check out her blog: Queen of the World

Deb’s Healthy Grain Spring Pumpernickel Rye Bread
How about a bread-maker recipe? This would be a great bread to serve with a green salad and an egg dish….scrambled eggs, egg-salad, or a crust-less quiche.

Following your bread maker’s directions, here are the ingredients:
½ cup + 2 tbls. warm water
1 ½  tbls. molasses
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup rye flour
1 tbls. unsweetened cocoa powder
1tsp. salt
2 tbls. butter
1 ½ tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. caraway seed
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dark raisins.
Put all ingredients except sunflower seeds and raisins in the bread-maker pan following the manufacturer’s directions.
Set the bread-maker on the whole-wheat cycle.
Add in the seeds and raisins about ½ way through the kneading cycle.
Makes a dense 1 pound loaf. It smells so good! Best to schedule your meal for about 15 minutes after the end of the baking period or it may be gone…
Happy emergence of new life! This is my favorite time of year. I love to see the green sprigs coming up out of the ground! Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment