In-Depth 2022 | Post #4

Welcome to my fourth blog post for In-depth 2022!


After 4 weeks of working on my vegetarian cooking, I am back with another progress report. I was away for most of spring break, so my mentor and I only cooked one dish. However, I was able to connect with a friend from Indiana, (Thelma) who shared with me her perspective on plant-based cooking.


First of all, what did I cook? Stuffed peppers! This is one of my favorite dishes that I have made with all kinds of substitutions. For most thanksgivings, I either make stuffed peppers or stuffed mushrooms to have instead of turkey. Ms. Lee and I decided to make the stuffing with brown rice and lentils to keep it vegetarian and full of protein. This was a really simple recipe with very little ingredients and steps. It is also one of those recipes where you can add any leftover vegetables (such as celery, onion, etc.) into the sauté to use them up and add more nutrients. This recipe was pretty seamless, especially since I’ve made it before. One issue I encountered was that I tried to broil the cheese for the last minute of cooking. I didn’t realize how fast the broiler is and the cheese got a little crispy on some of the peppers. Next time, I’ll have to watch the oven to monitor how fast it gets done. Overall, this was a really fun and simple dish to cook, and my family loved it.


The recipe I used:


Photos of the process:

Ms. Lee’s pepper    |    My Pepper

Thelma Abhyankar is an expert in plant-based cooking and only cooks with local ingredients. She follows a book called In the Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. It is a really interesting book about sourcing all of your ingredients locally. For example, she drives out to a local farm to get eggs and dairy products at the start of every week. We had a really interesting conversation about making everything fresh, so if I wanted mayonnaise in my sandwich, she would make it on the spot using the ingredients in her fridge and only enough for one portion. That way, there is little waste and no buying processed ingredients. I found this way of thinking really different from what I’m used to. It was really cool to see someone actually able to accomplish this lifestyle. However, I don’t think it’s something I could do in my life, mostly because of time.


Reflection Questions for post #4:

  1. What has been your most difficult mentoring challenge so far?  Why?

Covid really limits how much mentoring Ms. Lee can do, since we can’t actually cook together. I think it would be beneficial to see each other in person while cooking, so hopefully we can do that in the near future. Also, my mentor and I often talk about dishes after we cook them and not beforehand so we come up with different end products. Originally, I thought this was a good idea, so I would have more variety in the dishes we cook. Now I think it might be a good idea to try to cook the exact same thing to compare difficulties with that medium.

  1. What is working well? Why?

Things are going really well! We are doing a great job coming up with meal ideas and Ms. Lee cooks really often so it’s easy for her. It is also really beneficial to have in-person meeting once a week, as it is so much easier to communicate face-to-face, rather than through email or MS Teams.

  1. What could be working better?  How can you make sure this happens?

We could pick out meals during our meetings (before I was emailing my mentor a list to pick from on Sundays) so we can talk about ideas for substitutes and potential issues before. I think this would be really beneficial and would give my mentor a better opportunity to teach me any techniques required for that dish.


Overall, this dish was voted 9/10 by my family!

Until next time,


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