Get Fresh with Brian Malarkey

Brian Malarkey doesn't want to be a vegetarian all the time, but thinking like one isn't such a bad thing.

on Oct 29, 2009

I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t want to be a vegetarian but I learned a lot watching our chefs cook vegetarian food tonight. The lesson I have learned time and time again, but must constantly remind myself of, is to keep it simple, use proper cooking techniques, and do what you do best.  

Yes, Michael V. is awesome with his “out of the galaxy” approach to vegetarian food and he showed why he is the one to beat, but Kevin showed us that we can all cook great vegetable dishes at home. His simple approach and the fact that he cooked with his hearty down home meaty-style gave me inspiration for the next time I cook vegetables on a cold winter day.

We saw lots of interesting approaches on this episode and I think some of our chefs got too caught up trying to emulate Michael V.’s polished cuisine with dainty portions and spent more time on colors and textures rather than soul. The other Michael, as we will call him, is a perfect example of spending too much time on looks rather than taste. This is where I challenge you and me to cook our vegetables with as much pride as the best steak, the freshest scallop, the rack of lamb or your backyard burger. 

As Americans, we all eat too much protein and not enough vegetables, fruits, and grains. It's time we spent more time and more energy looking to enhance our knowledge and skill level when it comes to preparing the “rest” of the dish. Not only is it healthier for us, but better for the planet in the fact that it takes so much more “carbon” power to raise a chicken, pig, or cow, than to grow a field of grain, a patch of squash, or a grove of fruit. The amount of energy it takes to fatten the animal is enormous when compared to that need to grow a field that is then fed to the beast. We can eliminate the strain on the oceans as well, and in general be better protectors of our planet. Again I am not a vegetarian nor am I pushing you to become one, I’m simply saying change the proportions from the “center of the plate” to the “sides.”

It is much easier digesting a diet (hate that word) similar to a vegetarian with a side of bacon (love that word) than the other way around. So make yourself a salad with some halibut croutons or a burger with great tomatoes, crisp lettuce, pickles with a few slices of salami.   Change your proportions and change your life as well as the life of the planet. This is where I want to insert a really lame Princess Leah joke about living well into the future or in a galaxy far, far away or something about Darth Vader but I just can’t seem to come up with anything that fits. I got it! The first movie I saw with Natalie Portman was a great small flick called Beautiful Life! Maybe the secret lies within that title! Eat Well and Live Well!

A few notes:

I love the fact that Michael got the boot before Robin after all his trash talking!
I love the fact that Kevin has been with the winner the last two weeks; you can just see him bursting with pride. 
I fear Jen is going to beat herself down so far that the judges are going to have little left of her.   It seems she has the ability to hang with the brothers and Kevin but she needs to get out of her head and just cook!
Now it is time for Robin to go home!
I hope Kevin gets his picture on a Schwan's box!
Michael V.’s take on Cheers was weak, but looked liked it tasted great.
Top Chef pulling the likes of Natalie Portman is a testament to the show on how well it is received and how far it has come. “I smell Emmy!”
I know that Richard Blais is going to have a great blog this week because he is a Star Wars FREAK!

See you all next week at Get Fresh!

Brian Malarkey 
chef@brianmalarkey.com
www.brianmalarkey.com