I am an unethical 90% vegan. I am also a skeptic. As such, I hate recipes calling for anything organic, gluten-free, shade-grown, non-GMO, or free-trade. I find recipes, remove the “hippy” stank from them, make them, and post the modified recipe.
After listening to Penn Jillette, Alton Brown, Ray Cronise, and reading some of wack-job Joel Fuhrman’s nonsense, I realized that I needed to eat more vegetables. A lot more vegetables. I still love to cook and eat, so I would spend hours searching the web for new “vegan” recipes, only to find them amongst 15 pages of soft-focus food photographs and meaningless narrative before finally getting to a recipe full of meaningless hippy buzzwords. After de-hippyfying and tinkering with some of those recipes, however, I found them quite tasty. This is a place to store and share my recipes and modifications.
I am not 100% vegan, or even vegetarian. I just tend to eat meals with a metric-ton of plants. Some of my stocks/soups still have left-over bones from my “rare and appropriate” ventures into animal flesh. Some of my vegetables are sautéed in left-over duck fat. I generally don’t put those into the recipe unless they are integral to the process. They may, however, show up in the “Cook’s Notes.” Don’t freak out, Hippy.
Let the wackiness ensue.
I’m a graduate student so my days start early and end late. I also lived in the Pacific Northwest for two years, and you get the hippy all over you up there. So my choices about eating more vegetables and less animals have mixed motivations. Mostly, the impetus comes from being almost 40 and an academic. Neither of these things are particularly good for my physical or mental health.
“Moles and Trolls, Moles and Trolls…work, work work…all they want to do is study” (Chris Knight).
I work in a windowless office, and have to set a timer to remind myself to get out of my chair and walk. I find that when I drink whole food smoothies for breakfast and eat vegetables for lunch, I’m less likely to feel like death by Wednesday afternoon. Some days I chuck it all, eat bagel breakfast sandwiches with sausage and cheese from the union, and order the red eye coffee. But those days are fewer, and I feel better when I pay attention to the salt, fat, sugar, and animal product in my diet.
You’ve got some Hippy on ya
I did my master’s degree in Bellingham, Washington. This is a lovely place to live in the world. But you can’t swing a cat without hitting an organic, farm-to-bottle micro-brewer, a locally-sourced kale salad, or a hippy publicly shaming you for paying for a paper bag at the grocery store instead of bringing your own. No plastic, you heathens, plastic grocery bags are forbidden—but the pot is legal, so shut it. (Also someone is going to accuse you of animal cruelty for swinging that cat, micro-aggressor.) Despite my open mockery, I loved living in the PNW. Against my will, I developed a sense of ethics about how I eat, and I’m trying, with uneven and often hypocritical success, to be more conscious about how I live on the planet. That means less meat, and more meat from local sources, which is expensive, so that also means less meat. (See above about that graduate student/academic part. Eat brown rice and veggies; you can afford the mid-shelf bourbon.)
Food is life, Food is…therapy.
I love food. Good food. Beautiful food. Food that people marvel over and gather around. I like to cook pork shoulder all day and braise short ribs until they crumble into something that’s sticky and fatty and magic. But on a day-to-day basis I need routine. I need organization. Also, I live alone, so I learn to adapt recipes for freezing, for making ahead and assembling, for re-heating. Making practical, tasty, school-day-friendly vegan food is a challenge I find calming. Chopping veggies and fruit and sorting them into single servings for smoothies and salads works to reset my synapses and soothe my nerve endings. Trading recipes and talking adaptations with other foodie geek friends gets my creative juices flowing. Sharing what I’m up to in the kitchen is often my way of saying “Hi, how are, you, I miss you. Let’s chat.”