VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and ecological issues.
A #MemorialDay Sunday grilling edition of #VeggieDag Thursday
Here's how the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) describes a Russian Imperial Stout:
Rich, deep, complex and frequently quite intense, with variable amounts of roasted malt/grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hop bitterness and flavor, and alcohol. High roasted malt/grain flavors can suggest bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, and/or strong coffee. A slightly burnt grain, burnt currant or tarry character may be evident. Fruity esters can take on a dark fruit character (raisins, plums, or prunes). Malt backbone can show some supporting caramel, bready, or toasty flavors. Alcohol strength should be evident, but not hot, sharp, or solventy. No diacetyl. The balance and intensity of flavors can be affected by aging, with some flavors becoming more subdued over time and some aged, vinous or port-like qualities developing.
And, here's why scientists say that, for your Memorial Day picnic, you should switch from fizzy yellow beer to dark, roasty, full-bodied stout.
- According to the National Cancer Institute, HCAs (heterocyclic amines) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemicals formed when muscle meat from beef, pork, poultry and fish is cooked using high-temperature methods, such as pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame. The American Institute of Cancer Research adds there is "limited, but suggestive evidence that compounds produced in meat through the grilling process factor in human cancer." Studies have suggested that marinating meat and fish before grilling can decrease the formation of HCAs; scientists point to antioxidants in marinades as possible HCA blockers.
—More via Chicago Daily Herald.
- Researchers at the University of Porto, in Portugal, tested the effect of marinating meat with a Pilsner, a non-alcohol beer, and a dark beer, against a control sampling of raw meat. Dark beer showed the strongest "inhibitory effect," reducing the formation of carcinogenic PAHs by 53 percent. Pilsners and non-alcoholic beers showed less significant results: 13 percent and 25 percent respectively. The scientists aren't entirely sure why a beer marinade has this effect; they speculate that it might be the antioxidant compounds in beer, especially darker varieties, which inhibit the movement of free radicals necessary for the formation of PAHs.
—More via Mother Jones.
Be careful, here. The research isn't stating that (dark) beer is good for you, but rather that the anthocyanins in beer may reduce the amount of potentially dangerous HCAs and PAHs in grilled foods. On the other hand, there is indeed plenty of evidence to support the supposition that beer, in and of itself, is a health-promoting foodstuff.
So, now that you know how to be prophylactic while grilling, it's on to the recipes, with a few appetizers to begin with.
- Mango-avocado salad with cilantro-lime-serrano-pepper dressing. Via Cooking Stoned.
- Chilled radish soup. Via The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge. As their recipe uses buttermilk, here's a simple process for making vegan 'buttermilk', via Southern Vegan Food: "Add 1 tbsp vinegar to 1 cup of non-dairy milk. Let stand for 5 minutes. The milk curdles immediately."
- Steam soy 'hot dogs' in beer. Do not grill them; they blister unattractively. Via YFGF.
- 'Grilling' corn on a George Foreman Grill. Via YFGF.
- "Oh She Glows" blogger Angela Liddon has seven requirements for "Perfect" Veggie-Burgers:
- Can’t be mushy in the middle.
- Crispy outer shell.
- Lots of flavor from fresh herbs & spices.
- No tofu.
- Crunchy, chewy texture is a must.
- No cracking or falling apart.
- Must cook well 3 ways: frying pan, oven, and BBQ.
- Grilling spiced olives. Via Primal Palate.
- A trio of grilled vegetables:
- Grilled cabbage. Via "Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One", by Joe Yonan.
- Baby Bok Choy with miso butter. Via "Brassicas -- Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables: Kale, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and More", by Laura B. Russell.
- Blistered asparagus. Via Jim Shahin of the Washington Post Smoke Signals barbeque column.
- Salad of Grilled Vegetables. "A marinade can add flavor in as little as 20 to 30 minutes, and can be used on vegetables, as well as meats, seafood, and poultry," 1 says cookbook author Lucy Saunders, who wrote this year's Dinner in the Beer Garden [a -mostly- vegetarian beer-with-food cookbook], and 2006's "Grilling with Beer."
For a basic marinade, use olive oil, vinegar, juice of lemon or lime, fresh herbs, and soy sauce ... for umami. Toss the cut vegetables and marinade into a locking plastic bag, and press out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least a couple hours.
Saunders is partial to beer in marinades and adds this advice: "If adding a malty amber ale or stout to a marinade, the malts will add to the caramel color of the food, turning white onions or pale lobes of endive into gilded and browned beauties. I prefer milder kölsch or weissbiers for grilled fruits and tender vegetables, and brown ales or stouts for richer flavored grilled onions, eggplant, or sweet potatoes," she says. "I use fresh beer, but not the most expensive or rare beer. Very hoppy beers can make food too bitter."
- And, for dessert:
Tomorrow, on Memorial Day, please remember those who gave the "last full measure of devotion" toward protecting the ideals of America.
And, maybe, in their honor, enjoy good grilling and good eating. But don't forget the stout. For health purposes, of course.
- 1 Never brush cooked meat, fish, or poultry with a marinade that has had raw animal in it. Boil the marinade first; if you cook it long enough it will reduce to a flavorful glaze.
- Why the name VeggieDag Thursday? Here.
- Read all the posts: here. Follow on Twitter with hashtag: #VeggieDag.
- Suggestions and submissions from chefs, writers, and home-cooks welcomed! Contact me here.