The markets and orchards of Central New York are swollen with colors more vibrant than a box of Lucky Charms. From procuring ingredients for my first salsa to picking apples with visiting family, all this bounty has kept me busy.
And then there was Saturday night’s excursion to the bedimmed Manlius Theater to see Food, Inc., a new documentary on the evils of the modern food industry. There were the expected appearances by Michael Pollan and his crony EricSchlosser of Fast Food Nation. There were undercover slaughterhouse cameras and dejected farmers. There was an appearance by the grieving mother of a 2-year-old poisoned by contaminated ground beef.
There were as many “corporation X refused to comment for this film” as there were new reasons to eat real food.
Check out this quote by Pollan on the backwardness of the modern food industry:
It’s a whole lot easier to slap a health claim on a box of sugary cereal than on a raw potato or a carrot … the most healthful foods in the supermarket sit there quietly in the produce section, silent as stroke victims, while a few aisles over the Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms are screaming their newfound ‘whole-grain goodness’ to the rafters. Watch out for those health claims.
We have a warped system where Coke and Doritos are more affordable than the ingredients for a salad. We sit blindly by while a handful of corporations mess with our kitchens. I watch documentaries like King Corn and Food, Inc., and still it’s hard to say no sometimes to chicken wings. Ignorance may truly be bliss, but for me a daily commitment to real, raw, unprocessed food brings a more continuous joy.
Take these delicious Moroccan roasted vegetables, an idea lifted from my old standby, the Moosewood New Classics. Plain old yam wrested from the earth, shiny purple eggplant and zucchini from a local farmer, red pepper and onion all tossed with lemon juice and the fire-colored spices of northern Africa. Easy as chopping, seasoning and baking, this mix yields enough to last for a few days.
Better than the lack of additives and sweeteners was the simplicity of flavors. The original Happy Meal was never patented and is not sold along suburban byways. It’s right here, in our fields and on our plates.
Moroccan Roasted Vegetables
serves 4 as a main
Prep Time: 30 min/Baking Time: 40 min
1 medium onion, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼ inch thick semi-circles
1 small eggplant, cut into ½ inch thick semi-circles
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
1½ cups cooked chickpeas (15.5 ounce can, drained: use the reduced-sodium ones if you can find them!)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T ground cumin
1½ tsp turmeric
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Mix everything up to the spices together in a large bowl. Mix the spices together and stir them in.
- Spread mixture onto an unoiled 11×17 inch baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir, then bake for another 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Serve warm, over a grain, and top with any combination of: toasted almond, raisins, chopped hard-cooked eggs, crumbled feta cheese, or plain yogurt for a balanced meal.
per 15-ounce serving: 296 calories, 8.1 g protein, 9.5 g fat, 48.8 g carbohydrates, 0 cholesterol, 10.3 g dietary fiber