Monday, November 23, 2009

one down, one to go

Work days, that is. In a stroke of good fortune, as well as possibly the stupidest combination of responsibilities, there are only 2 [very very busy] days in my work week this week. I managed to get through today...well, I should rephrase that and let it read more like this: today completely took over and before I could blink I was 75% through my work day and upon completing aforementioned blink, the imaginary whistle was blowing and it was time to go home. I imagine tomorrow will be very much the same way and despite the joy it brings me to just work my normal workday, there is a part of me that thinks I should head in early tomorrow so I can leave on time, and I don't see HOW Monday will happen without overtime. Did I mention I was a little busy?

I was also kind of a babbling idiot by the time I got home from work tonight and my mind just stopped spinning with myriad thoughts about 15 minutes ago after forcing myself to focus on providing my sister with an answer to her question about Jews, Muslims, and pork (as well as their apparent mutual exclusivity). Fortunately, dinner required almost no thought and relatively little effort. I think the total hands-on time for the Lentil-Edamame Stew was approximately 5 minutes, including the time to put it in bowls and set them on the table. This is a great recipe for those days when you simply cannot focus on a dinner that requires constant attention.
Speaking of dinners which require all of your attention every minute - I made that one last night. The first meal of the "week" is always the hardest because I have everything I need for all of the recipes and can choose any one I want, really. Once you pick one, though, the rest are easy. I consulted with my tastebuds to see what we were feeling - the answer was a resounding "umami" so I decided to go with the Seitan Stirfry with Black Bean Garlic Sauce.
It was very good and quite simple as well = a pound of seitan, a pound of green beans (I'll admit, I used frozen), a wok. I added some bok choy because I had some leftover for reasons I'll probably never know. Also, I finally broke down and bought Cooking Rice Wine. I have dozens of recipes that call for it, which I have generally overlooked because I thought, "What an esoteric ingredient! I'll end up with a huge useless bottle to use only when I make that recipe....a few times a year." Somewhere along the line, though, I realized that I have a bunch of recipes like that, so it might not be quite as esoteric as I smells really good.

By the way, I'm still trying to figure out where November went. Anyone?

Finally, I did make cookies last night and I'm proud as hell that they made it to my work potluck because they smelled SO good baking. I think Mister and I deserve some serious kudos for only doing our quality analysis on two samples... I made Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from the July 2009 issue of Cooking Light.
I veganized the recipe very easily. I mean, seriously? Banana-anything cookies/muffins/cake beg for another banana to replace the eggs, so that was a no-brainer. I also replaced the butter with 1/4 cup canola oil. They were a big hit - they smelled just like banana bread, but had the toothsome texture of whole oats and the squishy sweet surprise of dark chocolate chips. Hopefully, they provided a healthful polemic to the Turducken one group brought in. The smell of the turducken = utterly revolting and at least somewhat nauseating. Not one, but 3 roasted corpses, each one crammed into the next size up...mmmm..... NO.

Actually, that is probably the best segue I'll have to throw out this little thought-nugget: my sister emailed me an article from the New York Times. It's an Op-Ed by Gary Steiner, a vegan professor at Bucknell University. In the [very well-written] article, Professor Steiner points out the stunning dichotomy present in the growing concern over how Thanksgiving turkeys lived prior to having their heads chopped off, feathers plucked out, and being roasted in an oven for a bunch of gluttonous Americans to eat. Free-range poultry is all the rage, as omnivores everywhere try to assuage their consciences of any guilt that might be associated with killing a big bird that you know you won't finish, so you make sandwiches and soups and other stuff from the plethora of recipes that come out about this time of year to help you use up the leftover turkey. How often, though, does someone stop and think about how little it matters whether the turkey was happy before you ate it because it was bred, born, and raised specifically to DIE and be roasted on the fourth Thursday of November?

That's enough from me - I'll let the good professor [angrily] make his point.

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