A chiropractor, she lives in Atlantic Beach with her husband and three of her children.
How long have you been a vegetarian? Since I was 14. Two of my children are full-time vegetarians, but the others and my stepchildren used to ask for meat, so I’d cook it occasionally even though I didn’t eat it. My recipe for cooking a chicken was hilarious. I would take it out of the wrapping and rinse it without looking at it, plop it in a dish, pour some orange juice and honey on it, still trying not to look at it, and roast it in a low-heat oven. The kids loved it. But I am mostly a meatless cook.
Have you always been interested in cooking? It was really when I had children and had to put dinner on the table every night that I started to think about it a lot. If you’re a vegetarian, obviously you don’t have the option of cooking a slab of meat, so you have to be creative. With kids, you have to work hard to not give them pizza every night. So I began to experiment.
Do you have any advice for people who want to try to eat less meat? Vegetarianism may not be realistic for many people, but there are ways to modify your diet so you are eating less meat. When I traveled to China in the ’80s, I was really struck by the fact that most of the dishes had meat in them, but just a little bit of meat, and I thought that kind of eating could work for a lot of Americans. One of my daughters is in Ireland now, student-teaching with two other American girls from the heartland, and those girls are used to eating steak and potatoes every night, but they’re learning to love Brussels sprouts now.
This recipe is gluten-free. Is that something you’re interested in? I just happen to like rice pasta. But we do eat so much wheat during the course of the week that any time I have the chance to make something else I will, for variety.
Brown Rice Pasta with Artichokes, Kale, and Beans
If gluten isn’t a concern, you can substitute whole wheat pasta.
14 ounces brown rice pasta
One 33-ounce jar artichoke hearts marinated in oil, vinegar and herbs, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
7 to 10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
One bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
One 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Ground black pepper
Finely chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and/or oregano (optional)
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until just tender.
2. While pasta is cooking, drain artichokes, reserving half of the packing liquid. Cut into quarters.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add artichokes and kale cook, stirring, until kale is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add beans and rest of juice if needed and heat through.
4. Drain pasta and combine with artichoke mixture. Stir in salt, pepper and herbs and lemon juice if desired. Serve immediately.