Stomach: A slave that must accept everything tht is given to it, but which avenges wrongs as slyly as does the slave.We only have one life, so we should live it right (or the best we can, at least) and not waste it. Hence it is our responsibility to handle our body with respect and care for our well-being if we want to be happy, grow old and not die prematuraly because of our careless and harmful lifestyle. As a matter of fact, one cannot pretend to look after his/her health or spiritual self if he/she treats his/her organism comparably to a dustbin.
- Emile Souvester
When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
- Ayurvedic Proverb
He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skill of the physician.
- Chinese Proverb
The mortal carcass we occupy is our temple. It is precious and needs to be maintained correctly or else our anima will wither. Once you know that, you realize how wrong it is to separate matter from spirit as a sound soul cannot inhabit an insalubrious ruin or house infested with parasites and rot.
There is no doubt that we are what we eat* and this is why it is crucial to nourish ourselves as heartily as possible. After decades of bad dieting on covenient meal products, fatty, sugary and chemical junk, the Western world is at last/suddenly waking up, becoming more conscious of its hazardous food habits and aware of how wrong it was to have chosen the comfortable path of faineancy, irresponsability and autodestruction rather than that of harmony, reasonability and amour-propre.
But, being a mindful consumer is not a novelty. As a matter of fact, Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine (two of the most ancient established medical practices which are still in use today) have been emphasizing on the importance of keeping a balanced nutrition plan for centuries. Both believe aliments are not just a source of enjoyment, but also an elixir of wellness; everything we swallow has a direct effect on our corporeal, psychological and metaphysical condition.
Therefore, I make it a point of honor to sustain myself correctly, cook with the best produces available as well as to prepare meals which are wholesome and take into account our individual needs. Porking out rarely occurs at my home, but if ever we decide to indulge, we still do it in a thoughtful manner (no big excesses and nothing industrially produced or additive-laden makes it to our table) and exclusively on weekends.
So, when Eva Huwiler at Blofeld Communication GmbH offered me to review a book about stylish vegetarian cooking, I was totally enthralled and could not refuse her generous and enticing proposition as the subject fits my feeding philosophy perfectly!
"Tibits At Home" is named after the tremendously popular, fashionable and relaxed concept self-service buffet Tibits which has been serving hearty and delicious hors d'oeuvres for over a decade and which was initially established in Zurich, near the Opera, in 2000 by three brothers - Christian, Daniel and Reto Frei - and the renown restaurateur Rolf Hiltl, owner of Hiltl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world (founded in 1898).
Following the inauguration of their first outlet and thanks to the place's increasing success, four more green gourmet ventures have seen the light of day in the oriental part of Switzerland (in Zurich Seefeld, Winterthur, Bern and Basel) and one extra canteen has been inaugurated in London's West End in October 2008 (read reviews here and there).
All cafeterias revolve around a large smorgasbord featuring more than 40 different homemade salads, hot dishes, daily squeezed juices, a large choice of fine wines and cocktails. A winning formula as, since opening a site in England, their no-fuss, ethical and sustainable approach to meat-free cuisine has become quite the trend-setting cuisine for celebrities and city folks alike.
Tibits' fame is ever growing and, over the years, an increasing number of people have been showing an interest in obtaining the methods for recreating their favorite menus and bites at home. For a long time, they continued to be jealously guarded, however in order to celebrate this bar's 10-year innaugural anniversary and for our greatest pleasure, the Frei siblings and the Hiltl family have finally decided to "lift the lids of their pans and allow us a peek inside".
The cookbook offers 50 tasty, light, fresh, nourishing, international, easy to follow and fun to make recipes for drinks, mains, sides and desserts which are classified according to seasonality, largely vegan (80 %) and suitable for those with nut and gluten allergies. Each of them highlights the purity of quality ingredients and focuses on satisfying our senses.
To top that, the sleek, elegantly contemporary and modish look of this publication is very pleasant and conveys a feeling of zenitude and inner peace to the reader. The dishes are presented in an uncluttered manner (no fuddy-duddy propping here), the layout is voguishly sober and the vibrant pictures - shot in the houses of their loyal customers - whet the appetite.
This isn’t so much a cookbook, more a guide to general well-being and contentment; it’s bringing the tibits concept home, which I for one, love.Adventurous and knowlegeable vegetarian gastronomes might find this hardcover a little unchallenging as a majority of the fares displayed in this bestseller don't employ many unusual ingredients or come out of the beaten track ("Pea Soup With Fresh Mint", "Red Thai Vegetables", "Feta And Cucumber Sandwich", "Mixed Vegetable Antipasto", "Tabouli Middle-Eastern Style", "Vegetable Quiche Mediterranean Style", "Berry Crumble", "Poppy seed Cake", "Coleslaw", "Spinach And Feta Lasagne", etc...), yet I'm pretty sure that this lovely hardcover will enchant the fans of this establishement, beginner home culinarians as well as those who want to grace their cabinets with beautiful gastronomy tomes.
That said, "Tibits At Home" is an excellent read and nonetheless proposes a swell selection of mouthwatering and innovative chows ("Coconut And Peanut Fritters", "Tomato Soup With Lemongrass And Coconut Milk", "Tofu And Honey Melon Salad", "Goa Curry" and "Spelt Risotto With Mushrooms") which I'm eager to try in the privacy of my kitchen. Going through the book's pages has awaken my desire to travel to Bern in order to visit this wonderful noshery and feast on their colorful and flavorful lunch wagons...
Being part-Swiss (my father originates from Rances) and attached to the culinary customs/heritage of my homeland, I thought that it would be a good idea to showcase one of Tibits recipes which echoes my roots and love for rustic grub: "Dried Green Bean Salad".
Dried green beans are very common in canton of Vaud (not only though - you can also find them in other cantons of Central and Northern Switzerland) and the Vaudois natives traditionally love to serve them with "Saucisson" (or smoked ham/lard) and boiled potatoes. It is one of my all-time favorite trimmings as it reminds me of my grandparents who never failed to serve us this family classic whenever we came over for dinner.
In his garden, my "pépé" cultivated green beans (plus an abundance of other vegetables and of course, lots of fruits) and sun-dried them directly on his rabbit shacks. As you can imagine, they tasted just amazing. Anyway, nowadays if you want to prepare this exquisite speciality, then you'll have no problem buying it from any supermarket across the country.
Until lately, I had always concocted my dried green beans just like my "mémé" did (rehydrated in water, then sautéed in butter with garlic and onion, and left to stew for a short while) and have rarely dined on them in any other way, so testing Tibits' "Dried Green Bean Salad" gave me the opportunity to broaden my horizon and try something completely new.
We were definitely impressed by the refinement and delectability of this magnificent salad. As I expected, the result was mindblowing. My boyfriend P. greedily gobbled his way through his vegetables and I could not stop refilling our plates. The exhalirating aromas of garlic, onion, fresh thyme, roasted walnuts, balsamic vinegar, pistachio oil and of the greens mingled together elegantly, and the different textures (crunchy, chewy and crispy) blended magnificently with each other.
A real delight for the taste buds and a fantastic addition to any picnic, party, barbecue, lunch or brunch!
* Of course, other factors such as emotions and environment can be at the origin of many diseases too.
Dried Green Bean Salad
Recipe slightly adapted from "Tibits At Home".
100g Dried green beans
1 Tbs Sea salt
1 Small onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs Sunflower oil
4 Tbs Pistachio oil
60ml (1/4 Cup) Vegetable stock
1 Clove of garlic, pressed
100g Roasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1. Put the beans in a pot filled with cold water and add the sea salt.
2. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 25 minutes, until tender, but firm.
3. Drain and immediately rinse under cold running water. Set aside (in a colander).
4. In a skillet or frying pan, sauté the onion in the sunflower oil for 2 minutes or until soft and translucid.
5. Deglaze with the vegetable stock and leave to cool.
6. In a medium bowl, put the beans and add the pistachio oil, garlic, onions, walnuts, balsamic vinegar and thyme. Mix well and leave to marinade for 10 minutes.
7. Serve sprinkled with a little extra thyme.
If you put the beans into cold water for 2 hours before cooking, they will look less wrinkly.
Remember that 100g dried beans = 400g cooked beans.
The pistachio oil can be replaced with rapeseed or olive oil, the vegetable stock with chicken stock (for non-vegetarians) and the thyme with a chopped fresh coriander.
Serve with bread (pumpernickel, rye sourdough, whole wheat, etc...), crackers, roasted potatoes, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, cannellini beans, etc...), seared fish or grilled meat.
If you wish, you can also sprinkle some bacon bits over the salad.
Salade De Haricots Verts Séchés
Recette légèrement adaptée de "Tibits At Home".
100g de Haricots verts séchés
1 CS de Sel de mer
1 Petit oignon, finement haché
2 CS d'Huile de tournesol
6 CS d'Huile de pistache
60ml de Bouillon de légumes
1 Gousse d'ail, pressée
100g Noix de Grenoble, torréfiées et hachées grossièrement
4 CS de Vinaigre balsamique
Quelques tiges de thym frais
1. Mettre les haricots dans une casserole remplie d'eau froide et ajouter le sel.
2. Porter à ébullition et laisser mijoter pendant environ 25 minutes, jusqu'à ce que les haricots soient tendres, mais fermes.
3. Les égoutter et les rincer immédiatement à l'eau froide. Mettre de côté (dans une passoire).
4. Dans une poêle, faire revenir l'oignon dans l'huile de tournesol pendant 2 minutes, jusqu'à ce qu'il soit tendre et translucide.
5. Déglacer avec le bouillon de légumes et laisser refroidir.
6. Dans un bol moyen, mettre les haricots, ajouter l'huile de pistache, l'ail, les oignons, les noix, le vinaigre balsamique et le thym. Bien mélanger et laisser mariner pendant 10 minutes.
7. Parsemer la salade avec un peu de thym et servir.
Si vous mettez les haricots à tremper dans de l'eau froide pendant 2 heures avant la cuisson, ils seront moins ridés/ratatinés.
N'oubliez pas que 100g de haricots secs = 400g de haricots cuits.
L'huile de pistache peut être remplacée par de l'huile de colza ou d'olive, le bouillon de légumes par du bouillon de poule (pour les non végétariens) et le thym par de la coriandre fraîche hachée.
Servir avec du pain (de seigle, au levain, de blé entier, etc ..), des craquelins, des pommes de terre rôties, des légumineuses cuites (pois chiches, lentilles, haricots cannellini, etc ..), du poisson cuit à la poêle ou de la viande grillée.
Si cela vous dit, vous pouvez aussi saupoudrer le dessus de cette salade avec des confettis de bacon grillé.