Friday, 27 June 2008

just yummy

It's pretty rare that I post my lunch, but this one is two of my favorite lunch things. Potato salad: spuds and greens (though spuds and tomatoes also works), fresh coriander. Dressing: toasted and then ground cumin, salt, chilli, sugar, a whole lemon worth of lemon juice. The yum. Fun with okara: all in a food processor: 1.5 soy milk batches of okara, a small onion, a carrot, half a bell pepper, a few chives, a sheet of nori, two tbs or so of dry wakame, some capers, about a tbs of miso, a sprinkle of oregano, some lemon zest. When I have celery, I add a bit of celery too. Then when that was all blended, I added smoked paprika and some rice flour. The amount of rice flour depends on how wet the other ingredients are. Them made them into little patties and baked them. And I eat them with either ketchup or lime pickle, depending on how classy I'm feeling. I've heard these compared to crab cakes, and they are wicked good with sweet chili dipping sauce, but I've never had a crab cake, so I have no idea if they taste anything like them.

morning music: CBC radio 2.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

...with fava beans and a nice chianti

The last of this weeks veg box (which is good, because the new on arrives tomorrow). Fresh fava beans, which make me love beans even more than usual. Such a treat. Fava beans, carrots, and onions, simmered in water/white wine, then lovingly schmeared with dressing made of umeboshi paste, lime juice, mirin, vinegar, maple syrup and salt. With mashed spuds and gomashio. And I did have a lovely glass of wine with this, though I have to come clean and admit that it wasn't chianti. Because finding vegan chianti is a bitch.

calm, traditional music for calm, traditional food: propaghandi

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Why I *heart*, or: Stuff I actually learned in grade 9 english but am only posting now.

Most of us have had to read George Orwell's 1984, and so are familiar with the term "doublethink". Also, most of us read 1984 with a smug sense of superiority that we were far too intelligent to get drawn into doublethink. Meh, I say. Every time I meet a compassionate and caring person who convinces themselves that using animals is somehow compassionate and caring (or even ecologically sustainable), I see doublethink in action. For starters, in what way is *killing* compassionate? At this point, I rant. I rave. I fume. And eventually, I inevitably reach the point where I decide that I won't discuss veganism with my friends anymore. Enter, a bunch of really awesome people who have better anger management and diplomatic skills than I do who are "encouraging truth, transparency and integrity in animal advocacy". Which means that they are taking all the bullshit of "happy meat" and "humane slaughter" apart sentence by sentence, exposing the doublespeak of the animal use industry for...well... doublespeak. Instead of relying on shocking images (a la Earthlings) or blatantly sexist publicity stunts that make no sense whatsoever (a la PETA), they actually go through the media coverage of "happy meat" and show where it is inconsistent, where it is twisting language, where it is leaving key information out, where it is lying, and where it is just plain nonsensical. And they have piles of resources. And more information than you can shake a stick at, if you are the stick-shaking sort or if you have to convince another one of your ecosexual friends that no, the carbon footprint/energy consumption of happy grazing grain-fed, personally massaged cows is NOT smaller than that for tofu. (Oh, and you still kill them. Killing = not so compassionate. If this is unclear to you, picture someone killing your pet. Nicely, but for no reason other than they wanted a new dog-fur purse. Now see if you think that person acted with compassion. Right. That little outburst is why I'm stopping this rant right now and referring you to the not-ranty vegans with loads of cool info. And decent diplomatic skills.)

However, you *do* get a food post for making it through that rant. The most Scottish Bread Ever (TMSBE): mashed potatoes, kelpie seaweed ale, smoked salt, rosemary, whole wheat flour, baking powder, yeast. You can tell it's TMSBE because a) tartan oven glove and b) potatoes AND ale. Served with the chickpea cheese stuff from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and sliced (scottish) apples and walnuts. Oh yes. Bring on the giant sammich. That'll be lunch tomorrow. Some of the bread got made into pizza dough, and I did this: TMSBE, chickpea cheez, greens, pear, olives, walnuts, dried figs. Dried figs go with everything, right? That was a rhetorical question. They do, and I don't want to hear otherwise. Oh yum. TMSBE is about to become a kitchendancing staple. The forecast calls for soups. Also, I think I will make the chickpea cheez with seaweed in it.

Friday, 20 June 2008

indulgence with a side of kink

Ah yes, here we have some vegan deprivation. Life is so hard. *SIGH* Spaghetti and truffle. (spaghetti, truffle, olive oil). Garlicky greens with lupini beans. This is a photo I took in Florence, and this is what you get, since the ones I took here were far less pretty, though the last of the truffles were just as yummy as the first of the truffles. Plus, I didn't have actual slices of truffle to arrange on the spaghetti here. I was kinda down to crumbs.

And, since I haven't posted a good rant in a while:
Earlier, I read an account of a friend's vacation, where she stayed in a leather-themed hotel. I got peeved that BDSM seems to almost always mean leather (though there are lovely ethical alternatives), and then dropped it, since that rant is a bit old in my head, since I don't have any interest in playing with people who want to play with me and dead skin at the same time, and since I have so much work to do that I want to curl up in a little ball and go into Deep Denial. Also, I like to pretend that nobody I know and respect would be into leather. It's a sanity thing. But then today I was listening to this as I got my dinner ready (the May 27th show), and I got to thinking about leather in the context of kink again, and since I was cooking, it's not like I could have spent that time working, right? (parents, siblings, and those of you who like yer sex AND yer vice cream vanilla should stop now...though there's nothing wrong with a little vanilla vice cream). Now, where was I? Yeah, leather. Replacing leather was the only hard part of going vegan for me. (No, I don't miss cheese.) Leather is such an obvious signal and shorthand for kink of various kinds. It gets bound up with sex in our heads and is a standard component of even the tamest toys (like harnesses). But anyway, eventually getting rid of all my leather stuff was also the point where I went from being half-assed about living in line with my ethics to actually being consistent. And since then, I've been completely flabbergasted that kinksters the world over continue to play with leather. Why? I mean, I'm not particularly surprised that most people keep eating animals, and despite my disagreement over whether or not we should use animals for our own ends, I can understand how animal exploitation is so very embedded in every aspect of life that it's hard to see. But kinksters tend to spend a lot of time talking (and hopefully thinking) about consent. I mean, one might get off inflicting or taking pain, humiliation, service or what-have-you, but any BDSM website will tell you that the difference between BDSM and abuse is consent. So, when exactly did those animals consent to being owned by us and then skinned so that we could (unnecessarily) use them? How did they agree to be in our scenes? Are our libidos really so important that we should be able to kill for them? (mine's not, but hey, i've been called strange on a number of near-nekkid occasions...) I mean, most people agree that no matter how much something turns you on, you don't get to indulge it if it hurts somebody against their will.

Getting pleasure out of hurting someone is sadism, pure and simple. If that's done in a consensual and safe way, it tends to also involve someone who is a masochist (and has the option to stop), and I think it's all good fun. If it involves killing sentient beings who clearly would rather not be tortured and then skinned, then it tends to involve someone who takes on the (involuntary) role of victim, and it's a gross abuse of power to say the least. If we're all going to go on about respect and consent, then perhaps we should respect everyone, not just those that we're legally bound to. The fact that we fetishize the skin of others to the point where we're willing to kill them for an orgasm and don't even think of it like that shows how very deeply the abuse of animals is embedded in our society. Also, it's icky dead skin. Eeeew (that's my refined and academic argument). So, bring on the pleather.

music to wear pleather and grind to: Nick Cave. Yeah. Pretty much anything by Nick Cave.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

too cool for rules

Despite Pythagoras and his highly amusing rules forbidding fava beans, maybe because they contain the souls of the dead, maybe because they look like testicles (ummmm...maybe Pythagoras had more experience than me in this department, but I just don't see it), maybe because they resemble the gates of hell in having no hinges, I found myself wanting them for dinner tonight. Perhaps it's just my rebellious nature. The man had some weird rules, and people have tried to work out his reasoning behind this on a number of occasions. As for me, I will cede all things triangle-related to Pythagoras, but I'm going to just ignore him on the whole anti-fava front. I'll let you know if it adversely affects my geometry skills.

Antipythagorean beans: chopped onion, a whole head of garlic, olive oil, an eggplant, vast amounts of *fava beans*, cumin, lemon, ras el hanout, pomegranate molasses, salt. Scooped up with potato bread (mashed spuds, okara, nutritional yeast, spelt flour, rosemary, baking powder). I forgot to take a photo, so here it is ready to go to work tomorrow, accompanied by some olives that miraculously escaped my olive rampage this morning, but only because they were hiding behind a red pepper, which will be made to pay dearly for harbouring fugitives. It too is coming to work tomorrow, where it will be eaten. In the background are my boobs getting their nerd on. We also had broccoli with tahini on it, but there is none left for the photo because there is never broccoli left because I love it so much. But I thought I'd mention it so that y'all know that I occasionally eat something green. You see, I am secretly afraid that my mother is reading this blog and is worrying that I live entirely on chocolate and fancy dinner party food. So, just for the record: I eat my broccoli. And sometimes other people's broccoli.

subversive, "i don't need your damn anti-fava rules to be cool" music: The Balanascu Quartet playing Kraftwerk.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Ducky's culinary school: foodgasms.

I was in Florence and spent some time in the central market on the top floor where all the vegetables are, stumbling around in a state of quasi-estatic sensory overload. Mostly because of a fresh porcini stand. I bought fresh porcini, which are butter-melty and frankly, have a taste and smell that falls into the sex category. It would have been criminal to do too much to such a lovely and complex taste, so I just heated them through in some olive oil and salt, and put them on some fresh bread and ate. I also cooked up this little flowered zucchini on the side (just oil, salt, pepper and a bit of garlic). And maybe slumped into my chair making little noises of happiness. Of course, the next day, I went back to the market and bought some dried porcini to take home.

Now, usually, dried mushrooms don't smell like much when you open the bag. This smelled like much. Suddenly I understood why one might need a warning on a plastic bag telling you not to stick your head in it. One night, I rehydrated a few of the mushrooms, and put them on spaghetti with truffles and just a bit of parsley (Yes, I bought truffles packed in oil on this trip. Because life is too short not to) and parsley. Oh. My. Goodness. And then last night Spanky and I went down to Leith for an night of risotto. Hilarity ensued, but that was mostly due to the conversation.

Mushroom risotto: If you are lucky enough to get your hands on mushrooms this good, for the love of sweet Jeebus, don't do too much to them. Brown rice in olive oil, heated until is smells nutty and then doused with a good cup of dry white wine. Simmered and stirred in the mushroom water. Meanwhile, the rehydrated mushrooms were heated up in a little oil, a tiny clove of garlic, some wine, and a green onion. When the rice is done, mix, and add salt and a smidge of black pepper. Perhaps a little more olive oil. If you have more delicate mushrooms, use white rice.

Strawberry risotto: Take thinly sliced red onion and a clove of garlic and add it to olive oil in a pan before heating the oil. Turn the heat on low and cook until the onion is translucent. Add white rice and a tiny bit of cumin and some salt. When the rice is also translucent, add a healthy two or three shots of saffron gin (or gin and saffron. vermouth would also work), then hot water. Do the usual risotto thing. Meanwhile, reduce some balsamic vinegar (somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup for 1.5 cups of rice going into the risotto). When the rice is done, stir in the reduced vinegar, about 3 cups of sliced strawberries, at least half a cup of fresh basil, and black pepper.

Take both of these, and serve them with green salad to good friends. Eat slowly. Laugh a lot.

perfect music: snippets of Bach, sung by a choir boy and an angel, interrupted by helpless laughter and drinks.