In the recipe for Broccoli with Tofu Mayonnaise that appeared in last week's Food Section, the cooking time was incorrectly listed as 20 minutes. The correct time is about 50 minutes at 350 degrees.
Jeanne Rossoff doesn't eat meat.
For her the seed was planted in childhood.
"As a kid, I remember saying, 'I don't want to eat a cow," she recalled last week. "I stopped eating meat altogether when I was about 19, but there was no rhyme or reason to what I did eat. "Then she was introduced to macrobiotics with "a meal based around a whole grain" and found a philosophy of eating as well as a diet. That was more than six years ago.
Macrobiotics is a word that brings looks for horror to the faces of nutritionists. Fathered by a Japanese, Georges Ohsawa, it is based on the Asian principle of yin-yang, which are opposite but complementary forces.Foods are classified either yin or yang and are recommended in relation to each other, to the seasons of the year, to various ailments. Nutritionists find many of the ideas simplistic, but object most strenuously to the extreme macrobiotic diet: Gradually one reaches a point where only unpolished rice is eaten.
"(Ohsawa's) call, if followed faithfully, is that of a Pied Piper who can lead young people to totally inappropriate and miserable death," wrote Dr. Jean Mayer in "A Diet for Living."
Mayer and others are not opposed to a meatless diet that represents balanced nutrition. "A vegetarian diet can be as healthy as a typical high-meat diet," Mayer and Dr. Johanna Dwyer wrote recently.
The diet Jeanne Rossoff and her family follow is broken down this way: 50 per cent whole grains; 25 per cent cooked vegetables; 15 per cent beans, sea vegetables, soups, nuts and seeds; 10 per cent "anything," which includes fruit and fish or poultry.
"Fish is an occasional side dish," she said. "My husband eats it maybe once a week and we will order it in restaurants because the children like it. We eat it if we feel we need it."
Rossoff teaches macrobiotic cooking at St. John's Church in Lafayette Square on Saturdays for the East-West Foundation, the group that proselytizes Ohsawa's philosophy. On a recent Saturday, despite the 15-degree temperature outside, more than two dozen men and women were on hand.
She prepared a menu that consisted of black bean soup, brown rice with seitan (a versatile gluten product derived from whole wheat flour) and mushrooms, broccoli with tofu mayonnaise, carrots with sesame salt and bancha twig tea. The students watched, worked at preparation and eventually ate.
"Eating this way you become aware of the tremendous subtlety of simple foods," said a woman named Judy Levy.
According to Bill Spear of the East-West Foundation, current macrobiotic practices are much misunderstood. "We realize it is hard for those on sugar and chemicals to say. This really tastes great. It has to be an 'evolution," he said. He stressed the desire to eat "whole" foods (including some whole fish, poultry and fertilized eggs), to eat foods native to the local environment."We don't use tropical foods," he said. "We eat seasonally and, as much as possible, locally."
Dairy products and sugar are thought to coat the tongue and prevent enjoyment. Food is chewed slowly, so beverages - used by "normal eaters" to was down too. Nonetheless, with the use of condiments such as gomasio and toasted seeds, as well as miso and tamari, Rossoff thinks her meals have variety.
"The only way beginning students know how to cook vegetables," she said, "is to plop them in boiling water. But you can steam them, saute them, stir fry them, make tempura, pickle them, bake them dry or with a sauce, dry them. There is a huge vocabulary of possibilities. The point is to make foods taste like they are.You just have to get into the food the way it is, not try to make it a substitute for something (such as meat)."
Rossoff began her cooking only after aiding a macrobiotic cook for several months and taking lessons. Before that she had been "only a spaghetti and lasagna cook."
There were mistakes along the way and it took time to discover the range of what was available. Much of it is sold in Oriental markets under unfamiliar labels. "To cook well requires patience," she said, "taking time to do it well and giving careful attention.
"I hardly read cook books any more. Every day is different and I don't want to cook the same things the same way twice. I used to spend 30 hours a week in the kitchen. Now I try to make a meal in the amout of time it takes to prepare the rice (about an hour). I try to cook 'fancy' for my family at least twice a week, but if company comes I just cook the way I'm accustomed to doing." Her cooking is mostly Oriental in inspiration and she would like to investigate some Middle Eastern grain dishes.
Rossoff now does most of her shoping at supermarkets, although she considers organic vegetables superior. A pressure cooker is "essential" for whole grain cookery, but she does without a raft of kitchen gadgets. Items she considers essential are a cast iron skillet, a soup pot, a pair of saucepans with covers, wooden spoons, a Japanese vegetable knife, a cutting board and a suribachi - a bowl for grinding with ridges on the interior. She also makes use of a work, a steamer and an asbestos pad to put under the pressure cooker on her gas stove.
"The best way to begin," she said, "is to look for (vegetarian) things in the supermarket and start using them." Occasional lapses in the diet are taken in stride, although her children go to visit friends with lunch boxes in hand. Meat-eating children arrive at her house with their lunches, too. "I started something in the neighborhood," she said. "Now everyone does it."
Spear and the others consider the macrobiotic diet "healing." He contends sufficient protein is allowed for. Critics ignore, he said, the calcium and other minerals in the "sea vegetables" (kelp and other products harvested from the sea) that are used extensively in macrobiotic recipes. He argues that those who forego sugar need less calcium, that the fermentation of miso and tamari produces B vitamins. he also suggests people who feel "spacey" eat root vegetables and those who feel "tight or tied down" eat broccoli or "something that reaches out.
For those who may be interested in trying a meal, Spear presents luncheon in the basement of St. John's (Lafayette Square at 16th Street) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 to 1:30. Main dishes are $1.75, soups $1 and on Tuesdays senior citizens are served at half price.
"Cooks really rule the world," Rossoff believes. "The selection and quality of what people eat determines the quality of their blood, which equals the quality of their health. The quality of their health determines the quality of the judgments they make, which determines the kind of world we live in."
Items in the recipes not available in supermarkets may be purchased at area health food stores or in some cases at Oriental markets. MISO SOUP)
(Serves 4) 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 1 small carrot, cut into thin matchsticks 2 or 3 kale leaves, chopped fine 4 cups water 1 piece (3 inches) wakaim sea vegetable, soaked in 1/2 cup water 5 minutes and cut in 1-inch pieces. 4 tablespoons pureed miso, or to taste Sellion slivers for garnish
Select a heavy bottomed pot with a lid. Heat pot until warm (100-degress), then add oil. Saute onions until transparent, then add carrot. Saute, then add kale. Add water and bring to a boil. Add wakami and soaking water. Simmer for at least 20 minutes with lid ajar.
Mash miso with a fork or in a mortar with a pestle. Add a little of soup stock and mix until smooth. Turn off heat, add miso and cover pot for 5 minutes. Serve in bowls with scallion alivers on top of soup. PRESSURE-COOKED BROWNRICE
(Serves 4 as a main cours) 2 cups short grain brownrice 2 1/2 cups cold water 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Wash rice in 3 changes of water and drain in strainer. Place rice, water and salt in a 4-quart pressure cooker. Bring to pressure over high flame. Reduce heat to low and place asbestos pad under pot. Cook 1 hour.
When done turn off heat and let pressure descend gradually. When down, open pot at once. Move a wooden paddle around the edge of the pot to loosen the grain, then move toward the middle, fluffing grains to separate them and to mix rice from various levels. Spoon gently into a wooden bowl. Cover bowl with a bamboo mat until ready to serve to let air circulate.
Notes: Reconstituted dried mushrooms, cooked or toasted seeds or nuts may be folded into the rice before serving. The brown crust of rice that forms on the bottom of the pot may be mixed in or used separately in soup. Soaked dried beans (any kind) may be cooked with the rice. The formula is 1 1/4 cup of water to 1 cup rice, and 2 1/4 cups of water to 1 cup beans, but Rossoff will use on 1/4 cup beans for every 2 cups of rice GOMASIO
( [WORD ILLEGIBLE] table condiment) 1 cups washed, unhulled sesame seeds 2 tablespoons see salt
Carefully tast sesame seeds in a dry, heavy skillet until brown and tragrant. Put unheated salt in a suribachi (ridged mortar) and pour in hot seeds. Grind with a circular motion until only 20 per cent of seeds are left whole. use with meals to season rice and vegetables. (This quantity should be sufficient for 2 persons for a week or more.) TOFUMAYONNAISE
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups) 2 tablespoos tahini paste 5 [WORD ILLEGIBLE] plums 2 seallions, cut up 2 cakes (6 ounces each) to tofu Water as desired
Cook tahini in a prewarmed skillet for 2 or 3 minutes or until it smells "toasty."
Cut out plum pits and chop fruit. Combine fruit; scallions, tofu and tahini in a blender and whirl. Spoon into a bowl, cut with water to reach desired consistency. Alternatively, grind plum meat and scallions in a suribachi. Beat in tofu and tabini. Add water as desired. Use with steamed or raw vegetables, or in the following recipe. BROCCOLI WITH TOFU MAYONNAISE
(Serves 4) 1 head broccoli 1 recipe tofu mayonnaise
Cut off bottom 2 1/2-inches of broccoli and slice remainder into flowerettes. place flowerettes in a baking dish in a single layer. Cover broccoli with mayonnaise, cover dish and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove cover and run under the broiler to brown top slightly.