Recently my siblings and I were passing online messages about my father. At one point, my older brother Mike said, "Dad's cooking broke down into two categories: it either tasted good, or it was healthy, but generally not both. Or more that his thinking was, if it's healthy, there's no reason to be concerned with it tasting good or not."
This was the 1970s and "health food" was not what is today. Besides my father's tendency towards "more is more" ("Dad, raw oats in the hamburger? Really?"), his Sunday specialty was, no lie, seaweed-soybean waffles. Good God, that was dreadful. [Ed. note: That sounds worse than disco in bell-bottoms.]
Truth told, he was ahead of his time, very disciplined about exercise and nutrition. During WWII, as a teenage Austrian refugee in Shanghai, he took up boxing and sparred with US Marines stationed there. Growing up with my siblings, we never witnessed him missing a workout, no matter the weather or how late he came home from work. He'd jog a couple miles, hit the punching bag, skip rope double-time while running in place, do countless push-ups. Something. Every single day.
We ate 14-grain bread (which tasted like brick and mortar back then), when all I craved was that soft, white Wonder bread that was popular at the time. Now, this is not to say that we didn't have delicious food and sweets at home, just not on Sundays.
Dad passed away on September 23, 1979. Forty years gone. If he could only see us now. See, Dad, we were listening! I'd like to think that he would have loved these veggie burgers.
These days, the BF and I eat healthy, but it has to taste good. [Ed. note: Oh hecks no, inject those soybean-seaweed waffles directly into my veins. :-/ ] And we both love a healthy veggie burger. Am not trying to make this taste like a beef burger, it's not a beef burger, but I will say that I've made hundreds of variations of veggie burgers and the BF and I absolutely adore this one from the talented women at Pollan Family Table.
PS: A year ago I lamented the scourge of jury dury and the terror of a broken refrigerator, survived both, and made Mom's apple cake (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/moms-apple-cake).
Adapted from: Pollan Family Table
Number of servings: 4
Dad's boxing gloves, 2019.
Some San Francisco bay area transplants complain of the "loss of seasons" from whence they came [Ed. note: hey we've got fire, earthquake, mudslide, Cal not getting The Axe...], but won't lie, Septembers are pretty much meteorologically perfect. Warm, but not too warm, and an ideal time to get on with fall food. Hey, it's the Oregon in me.
And this is my gateway meal into fall. The combination of sweet and smoky spices that perfectly complements the salmon, always a hit. We love it with coconut rice, but that's optional.
Now that school has begun, if you're being pulled in a million different directions, you need dinners to be easy. It's not only easy, but I love meals that look fancy enough for company, but yet are super casual, delicious and healthy.
A word about salsas. Mango or tomato salsas are quite common, but don't hesitate to try other fruits and veggies as well. Some of my favorites include: cantaloupe, peach, pineapple, papaya and corn. They all make delicious salsas to accompany meat and fish.
PS: A year ago we launched into autumn with grilled naan, mango chutney pork, chili and yogurt (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/grilled-naan-with-mango-chutney-pork-chili-yogurt).
PPS: Momala's roast chicken was channeled to break last year's Yom Kippur fast, in a decidedly non-traditional style (www.moveablefeast.me/blog/mexican-marinated-chicken).
Adapted from: Pinch of Yum
Number of servings: 4-6
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the bay area. Living life with my wildly funny boyfriend and dog Marlowe. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.