Sunday, August 8, 2010

b*tches love food

And I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Before my mother has a heart attack, let me explain that the title of this post is part book review and part personal experience; so it's only halfway offensive now.

I consider myself to be a relatively well-read young woman (please let me still be young!).  In addition to having the ability to form words from the random letters spewed in semi-organized fashion onto the pages of magazines, books, and websites, I also have the gift of critical thinking.  This sometimes leads to fun experiments or moments of food zen.  I read about food or lifestyles or the combination of those two (for example, veganism) and I feel inspired.  I don't always feel inspired to make any kind of permanent life change, but I usually feel provoked to at least try new things.

Between the 10th Anniversary edition of VegNews magazine and one of the girls at work lending me her censored copy of Skinny Bitch (she taped paper over the word Bitch on the cover and the spine so it wouldn't offend anyone who saw it on her desk), I have had a weekend of inspired food experiences.

In addition to fulfilling its usual quota of awesome (which led me to finally subscribe to it), the VegNews 10th Anniversary issue features an article on Summertime Drinks by Dynise Balcavage (of The Urban Vegan fame).  I'm way too lazy to make cocktails for myself, but that article may come in handy someday when I have a home large enough to entertain.  However, the article reminded me of a fun snack I wanted to pick up and try:

Dynise mentioned these in a post of hers a couple of months ago and I've been distractedly obsessed with trying them ever since.  They're just so weird!  I got some today at Essene and they are as delightful and addicting as she said in her post.  The best part, though, is how affordable and guilt-free they are - even if you ate the whole bag (which you could easily do if you aren't paying attention), you would only have eaten 450 calories of pure veggie goodness - I mean, they're baked pea fries for heaven's sake! 

They could be mistaken for bland if you aren't in the habit of taking a moment to taste your food.  The flavor definitely develops as you munch, so if you eat them too quickly, you won't recognize the subtle flavors lurking behind the fun, crunchy outside.  That's fine.  More for me.

Yesterday, I ran down to the Spice Corner (may I say again how happy I am that they are open again?) to restock some herbs and spices.  After I completely underestimated how much marjoram = 2 oz (roughly 2.5 cups, if I had to guess), had to have an employee help me find the bright orange turmeric that was right next to my head, and paid for my treasures, I had an irresistible craving for fruit salad.  I'm such a devil.  As luck would have it, the Golden Donut shop (on the corner that more or less marks the northernmost point of the Italian Market) had a nice big plastic cup full of fruit just waiting for my $2 of ransom cash.

As I strolled home, bag of herbs and spices swinging from my arm, eating my fruit salad with a plastic fork, I reflected on just how much I love where I live.  It's magical and it never gets old!  I have lived in my specific neighborhood for over five years now and I still cannot take it for granted - it's just an amazing place to live.

Today, Mister was puttering around and making me crazy with his doom-doom-doom music and talk radio podcasts, so I packed up Skinny Bitch and one of my growing collection of reusable canvas bags and headed over to the new tea cafe next to Salon Sugar: Cups and Chairs.  Since I had just gotten to the chapter of SB that discusses fasting, and since the parts I had already read more or less berated the reader for filling her body with crap and minced no words about the need to detox, the Detox iced tea looked pretty promising - Matcha green tea with lemon juice and a squirt of honey that I didn't feel like disputing.  I had never had matcha before and didn't realize how much lemon juice she had added until my first shocking sip.  Again with that whole "tasting your food" thing, after the initial shock of sour-bitter wore off, I found the tea very refreshing and I could see it becoming an expensive addiction.

After I finished the book and my tea, I headed around the corner to my bastion of weird gourmet treasures - Essene Market.  I was on a mission to find Kaia Kale Chips, which were featured in VegNews, but a thorough study of the snack foods section only turned up my SnapeaCrisps and falafel chips, which, although they looked fascinating, they were just a little too expensive for natural junkfood.  I also ended up with some Mediterranean flatbread to accompany the most amazing thing I think I have ever found at Whole Foods (from my earlier shopping adventure): Cava Kalamata Hummus.

I tried it earlier on a slice of multigrain bread and it is amazing.  Very possibly the best food ever.  I mean, hummus and kalamatas?  How could it not be perfect?

Anyway, I also got a banana for tomorrow's breakfast and because I'm suddenly on a fresh fruit kick.  Then I picked up some Endangered Species chocolate because I needed some quality dark chocolate.  Okay, maybe I don't need it, but my foodie tastebuds were crying out for the bittersweetness of serious dark chocolate.  As I approached checkout, I decided Mister would enjoy the Primal Strips vegan jerky they had hanging out by the Vegetarian Times magazine I picked up.


An hour and a half has passed since I put the period on that last sentence.  Just as I finished typing that, Mister decided he was hungry, so I started making dinner.  Dinner is simmering as we speak, and Mister and I just finished our appetizer:

First, you'll notice Mister replaced the burnt-out lightbulb.  If you didn't notice that, please back up a few posts and observe the very poor quality of the photos.  

You're back?  Good - let's continue.

I cut some multigrain flatbread into triangles, then did the same (okay, wedges) with a perfectly ripe nectarine.  I filled one little bowl with kalamata hummus and the other with a mix of olives I put together at WF today.

Mister and I destroyed that plate.  

So, while dinner simmers away, I'll share this week's short menu (because I'm taking a long weekend next weekend, so I only need to think through Thursday).

1. Modular Pakistani Kima from The Urban Vegan.  That's dinner tonight, and it just quit simmering (in other words, I was able to smush a potato against the side of the pot, which is my way to figure out if the potatoes are done cooking).  

2. Red Lentil Coconut Curry which has escaped my attention for nearly a year.  I created this recipe for Mister's birthday...last August 15th.  I think we're due to make it again, don't you think?

3. Pineapple-Tamari Braised Seitan

4. Cajun Red Beans and Rice from The Accidental Vegan.

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