Arroz con frijoles d’estate

15 Jun

I originally called this a primavera, but, it’s summer, so, estate is the right word, I think. 

I was daydreaming about something really fresh and non-processed and full of veggies. I wanted something that would make a filling lunch without being heavy. With lots of protein, but without soy meat. Wild rice and lentils! Are delicious, but not very summery. What do I do when I want to lighten something up? Add lemon juice. What goes great with lemon? Parmesan. What goes GREAT with lemon and parm? Asparagus. NOW we’re talking summer flavors. 

This isn’t really a recipe, so much as it is, hey! Quality ingredients cooked well taste great without doing anything fake to them! I put wild rice in the rice cooker with veg stock. I put lentils in water and cooked them. I added some roasted asparagus, corn and carrots. I threw in some peas, because there were some in my freezer. I mixed in lemon juice and parm. Here is the essential part: I chopped fresh green onions on top. 

Crazy simple. Crazy cheap. Mass leftovers. Good the next few days. Good with an egg fried on top.

2 cups wild rice mix

1 lb lentils

1 lb asparagus, trimmed 

1 ear corn with kernels cut off (I put the whole thing of corn, with husks, in the oven while I was roasting the asparagus and carrots.)

some carrots, in coins

frozen or fresh peas (who can find fresh peas?)

Cauliflower would have been good but I was out

Veggie stock

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup grated parm

green onions for garnish

That’s seriously all that’s in it. SO, SO GOOD, you guys. Filling but not heavy, crazy flavors, that nice lentil silkiness, tons of veg. . . and very little actual work on your part. Try it!

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Freedom Day

1 May

On May 1st, 1999, I admitted that I wanted to quit starving, and I haven’t starved a day since. God removed the compulsion from me that day. It took another 6 years for me to give up sugar and be relieved from the compulsion to binge eat, but for 13 years I have been free every day from the physical impulse to starve. That doesn’t mean I’ve been “over” anorexia for 13 years. I am anorexic every day. I look in the mirror some days and hate my body, hate it with a profound deep hatred most people reserve for Nazis. I don’t want that hate, and I pray to be kind to my body, but the hate bubbles up. But I eat. Every day. No matter what. And I wear shorts out in public, and I go swimming (well, not very often, but I am vain about my hair coloring) and all sorts of things I thought impossible once. For 13 years, I have been an anorexic and a woman, not just an anorexic end stop. 

You guys, I can’t even. Nothing has ever been a greater gift than the one I was given that day. 

FA, ED, Feminism and fat shaming

14 Apr

I feel like I keep having a similar conversation with people about the Fat Acceptance movement, and how it relates to feminism and eating disorder recovery. I thought maybe if I blogged about it I could just point people to the blog post instead of trying to articulate my argument over and over. I’m not by ANY means an expert on the FA movement, and am open to being schooled. I am also not an expert on feminism, or for that matter on having an eating disorder, although I am a feminist with an eating disorder so I feel somewhat more comfortable addressing those issues. I do have some concerns about the conversation around FA, and I want to talk to other thinking people about it because I think it’s a huge deal. 

Rather than a coherent essay I am going with a list of points, which are not in order of their import to me or the world. 

1. I am a HUGE FAN of the idea that we cannot judge someone’s health by looking at them. I think this is a really important issue both for body acceptance and feminism. The following two points are probably preaching to the choir and also nowhere near the whole story but I want to establish that I am on board with a lot of the points made by the FA movement. 

2. It’s important for feminism because women’s bodies tend to be assumed to be public property, with people making all kinds of judgments about women based on their looks, and thinking those judgments are justified and valid and important. Women who won’t put on mascara don’t care about looking professional and it’s ok to look down on them, fat women are lazy and selfish and it’s ok to look down on them, skinny women should eat a damned sandwich and it’s ok to look down on them. This smug condescension is divisive and hurtful and plays a role in keeping us oppressed. 

3. It’s important for body acceptance because those of us who hate our bodies often judge our insides by other people’s outsides, and assume that someone else is healthier than we are, or less healthy than we are. It’s SO SO important for me as an eating disordered woman to separate out my eating, my health, and my weight. My eating can cause me to gain weight and my weight gain can cause health problems, but it is not all interchangable. 1st, my eating disorder sometimes causes me to lose weight, which would cause most Americans to believe that I am healthier, when in fact, I am deeply unhealthy. Second, duh, skinny women can have terrible cholesterol and fat women hearts as strong as horses. What both of these mean if I can internalize them is that I can hopefully let go of the hatred of my physical fat, because I can let go of the emotional baggage attached to it. Fat has no moral value and no inherent good or bad. That’s one of the most life-altering beliefs I can adopt. 

4. That being said. When I personally gain weight in any noticeable way, it is a very worrisome thing. This is because I gain weight when I am eating compulsively, and when I am eating in a healthy way I stay pretty much the same weight. I personally, when eating in a way that is sane, am not fat. That’s not because being fat and unhealthy are synonymous.It’s because my body’s set point is where it is.

5. It is also a very worrisome thing when I lose weight past a certain point. The worst part is people’s “you lost weight! You look great!” reaction. Thanks dude. What did I look like before? 

6. I am not getting into the potential health concerns associated with weight gain, because I am not a doctor and just don’t know enough about what is media hyperbole and what is medically legitimate.

7. Here is the concern I have, and it is maybe none of my business, except that I think a lot about how to help women who are suffering from ED find some recovery: I worry that the advocacy has gone from “there’s nothing morally or aesthetically or inherently physically wrong with being fat” (TRUE) and “women can be healthy at any size” (TRUE) to “because there’s nothing wrong with being fat I should not be concerned about whether or not my eating behavior is healthy.” Now, many women are fat for reasons that have nothing to do with their eating behaviors. And many women do not have eating disorders but do have poor access to healthy food/ nutritional information/are living in poverty/ a million other reasons. BUT some women do have eating disorders, and eat in a way that a) makes them emotionally, spiritually, and mentally miserable b) is nutritionally unsound c) happens to lead to weight gain. In that case, weight gain WHILE NOT THE PROBLEM is a red flag that there is behavior going on that is a) and b) and those problems have a right to be addressed. I worry that the FA movement is, in its vigilance, giving women with ED a hiding place to avoid looking at the causes of their weight gain. 

8. Clearly I do not think our culture’s fat shaming is a better solution for women with ED. I would god damned love it if I could go an hour without being reminded that I am supposed to want to lose weight, so that I fit into the patriarchal confines of sexual attractiveness. The shame that we internalize about our bodies, our lack of willpower, our inability to be attractive, it makes it a gajillion times harder to recover. I don’t believe that fat shaming is the last acceptable form of social prejudice. The amount of socially acceptable misogyny I see daily, the institutionalized racism against Native Americans that surrounds my daily life, the off-the-cuff jokes about little people and the transgendered convince me otherwise. But certainly many, many, many otherwise thoughtful progressive people engage in unintentional fat shaming language and behavior with astonishing regularity. Our whole lives are seeped in it when you start paying attention. Fat shaming helps anorexics hide their disordered eating behaviors. 

9. I am not suggesting that “we all just stop talking about a woman’s size and focus on helping women be happy.” First, that’s not the world we live in. We live in a world where fat people are mocked, shamed, and both socially and economically discriminated against. We need to talk about that, obviously. We also live in a world where women have been told since birth that “fat” = “unhappy” so we have a lot of work to do talking about THAT to unhook the two. I AM suggesting that, for each of us, the issue is both political and profoundly personal, comes with a lot of baggage and hurt, and is intricately complicated. 

10. It’s so hard you guys. It is. I felt like I had won the god damned lottery the other day when I actually thought to myself, about my workout, “But I don’t WANT to lose weight, I just want to be STRONGER.” Seriously, I heard angels singing. Because I was able to look at my body and think, “Nope, don’t care if I’m skinnier, do care if I can run longer.” Recovery is a thicket, y’all. My beliefs (being thin != being pretty or good or smart or competent) and my gut reactions (I NEED TO BE THIN OR I AM NOTHING) are so often out of synch with each other. I can’t unchain that from the political discussion of fat and feminism. I can’t look at the issue without seeing the gray.

11. The black and white language of the FA movement, I find, sometimes leaves no room for the complexity of the ED experience and therefore invalidates the experience of women who are miserable being fat not because of the fat, but because of how they feel about how they eat. Now, I know, it’s none of my business how healthy anyone else is. They have a right to be unhealthy without my judging them. But IF they are unhappy because their eating is disordered, and IF they want to stop being unhappy, then that, as a woman recovering from ED, is my business. It’s my business to be of service to women who want to recover. 

12. Feminism needs healthy, emotionally supported women. Women in the depths of eating disorders do not, in my experience, have the energy to fight anything else, like the patriarchy. Eating disorders are a feminist issue.

13. I don’t really have any suggestions for what I’d like to see happen, I just want the conversation opened, because I’m uneasy with some of the rhetoric I see from the FA movement, and I think talking about FA without giving any voice to ED is disingenuous and backwards-thinking. 

TL/DR: But what about MY SPECIAL VALID EXPERIENCE?!

Please to comment. 

Be careful out there. 

-C

 

Carrot Parsnip Soup

25 Mar

I thought I was going to do a slight mix-up on my Pudding Soup, the recipe for which is, I believe, around somewhere. I wanted to use up some carrots and half a can of coconut milk, and I bought some parsnips and thought I had an orange laying around somewhere, and I thought, the orange and carrots will be a change up! And then I just bought 5 spice powder for my seitan pork chops, and I had fresh ginger, and I figured. . .those things probably all taste good together, right? 

Well, yes, except that I DIDN’T have an orange, I had a lemon and lime, but anyway. I wasn’t going to blog it because I figured, I already did this soup. But it came out tasting completely different! I’ll tell you the recipe, and then why this is totally not like my Pudding Soup.

2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced

6 small carrots, diced

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic

1/2 can coconut milk 

A large-ish chunk of fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon each of cayenne and 5 spice

2 tbl olive oil

Some veggie broth

juice of 1 small lime + lemon

Put oil in medium to large soup pot, heat on medium. Add spices + ginger. Toss veggies to coat. Throw in all liquids. Add some salt + pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower to simmer. Cook until veg is soft. Blend/process until smooth. 

Here’s the thing: Pudding soup is heavy. It’s starchy, coconuty, sweet, and has a prominent curry flavor. This soup. . . tastes more like this crazy lemon curry stuff I got at Monk’s in Philly. It’s tart and not super sweet and has a nice warm background heat but the spices aren’t overpowering. It’s a really unexpected flavor in your mouth, and while it smells a little coconuty while cooking, it doesn’t taste it. The coconut milk just helps it blend up to a lovely texture. I think when I serve it I’ll fry some fresh ginger to put on top to get a little more of the flavor, and for some crunch. It would be so awesome with just good bread on the side. AND it’s the color of saffron, which is always nice.

It’s a lot less heavy than Pudding Soup, which is great since it’s finally spring, and it has the added bonus of feeling kind of Eastery with the carrots. It’s not what I expected, but it’s yummy. 

Seitan Pork Chops with Apple/Apricot/Onion Compote

20 Mar

So a month or so ago my husband told me he wished he ate more pork chops, and wondered aloud if there were some veg option I could eat at the same time. I forgot about this until I was at the grocery store and saw cameo apples on sale. I love cameos. They’re my favorite. I bought some and started imagining doing something savory with them. What savory thing do people do with apples? Pork chops. So I googled “vegan pork chops” and found a few recipes, all of which involved ingredients I don’t normally keep in my kitchen. I chose one for which I would only have to buy things I wouldn’t mind owning later. This is the base recipe I used: http://jennshaggy.blogspot.com/2008/12/vegan-goat-cheese-spinach-and-sun-dried.html

I made a few changes: I used a mix of buttermilk and regular milk instead of “mock cream” because. . . it’s what I had in the house. I also breaded the chops. And I didn’t have any star anise so I didn’t add it. I forgot how much bigger seitan gets when you cook it, so I made four chops instead of 6. They were quite generous. The recipe calls for broth and cream, and tells you to squeeze out the liquid. This seems silly, and it is indeed too much liquid. I added more vital wheat gluten until it soaked up the excess. 

I riffed on an Anne Burrell recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/pork-chops-with-apples-and-onions-recipe2/index.html) for the apple compote. I’ve been watching Worst Chefs in America, and I just ❤ Chef Anne. I sauteed about a quarter of a big white onion in about a tablespoon of butter with crushed red pepper and salt. When the onions were translucent I threw in a chopped apple and a few chopped up dried apricots, a sprig of fresh rosemary and a couple of cups of apple-grape Martinelli’s. the recipe called for wine, but I don’t drink. I let the whole deal simmer until the liquid was almost entirely cooked down. It was SUPER SWEET to my taste, and could have done without the apricot. The flavor of the apricot kind of got lost in everything else and it just made it sweeter. However, the rest of the flavors were awesome. AWESOME. If I did it again I’d either go heavier on the chili flakes or put in a fresh jalapeno, which would have rocked I think.

The seitan was flavorful and fairly moist. I’m not sure it tasted like pork, as I haven’t eaten pork in 20+ years. I’m also not sure it needed to be breaded. I baked the breading on, not wanting it to be too greasy, but it ended up kind of dry, and then the fruit topping made the breadcrumbs soggy. I do think the leftovers will make great “chicken” salad. 

I will probably eventually take pictures of things again, but really dudes, this one just looks like a hunk of breaded seitan with fruit compote on top. 

I didn’t make this one vegan because I’m lazy and used what was on hand, but actually it would have been truer to both original recipes to go vegan. 

Health benefits: Apples have crazy vitamin C, you probably don’t get enough servings of fruit in your day, onions and chili peppers are both great for you. 

Also, for real, seitan is so easy to make. So. Easy. Why don’t we all make it ourselves all the time? 

Let’s be careful out there, y’all

-C

Smitten with Cauliflower

12 Mar

First, let me say that I’m sorry I’ve been so very, very absent from this blog. Grad school and then planning a wedding sucked up my brain. The other day, Mags and I were saying that we felt like without blogging we had less creativity in our cooking, and we challenged each other to post a new recipe once a week. We’ll see what happens!

I’m headed out of town for a professional conference this week, so I needed to use up the stufaf in my fridge. I had been thinking vaguely about something involving cauliflower, lemons and feta when I remembered a recipe I’d bookmarked ages ago from Smitten Kitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/02/cauliflower-and-caramelized-onion-tart/), cauliflower and caramelized onion tart. This was an excellent option because I had the end of a carton of milk (I used 2% not heavy cream) and a few eggs to use up.

I made some basic changes to the recipe that changed the flavor profile quite a bit. I subbed feta for the gruyere. I put the mustard in the blender with some kalamata olives and capers to get a nice little Greek kick. I used frozen pie crusts because, let’s face it, I don’t even own a tart pan and I’m lazy. I did drive out of my way to go to the one store in Gallup, NM that sells pie crusts without lard. I INTENDED to squeeze some lemon juice over the cauliflower but completely forgot. I am also waaaay too lazy to caramelize onions for 20 minutes, but I did give them some nice color.

Still, it was SUPER delicious, creamy, and had a nice balance of flavors. I split up my filling between two pie crusts but did not double the amount of feta or marscapone so it wasn’t as luxurious as the Smitten Kitchen recipe, but roasted cauliflower and caramelized onions are so creamy I thought it was fine. More feta would have overpowered the other flavors. I do wish I’d had a little bit more acid. The bites with the olive/caper/mustard spread were the best.

My favorite part was I know it’ll freeze well, so it’ll be there for me when I get back from my conference.

This is my first time actually making a smitten kitchen recipe rather than just drooling, and I’ll be back.

I will post pictures later. Also possibly clean up the formatting of this post.

Be careful out there,
C

Fried Ginger Garlic Tofu Sandwiches with Tartar Sauce

12 Mar

Believe it or not, this one owes itself to D. I only created the tartar sauce, which is godly, although I have never had real tartar sauce, so I cannot attest to how similar it is. But does that really matter if this one is SO DARN GOOD? The recipe that follows, for the tofu sandwiches was written by D. It’s divine! (Pictures to follow…)

– Mags

Tartar Sauce

Ingredients

3/4 C veganaise

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbs relish (Trader Joe’s works great)

2 tbs fresh finely chopped yellow onion

1 tbs onion powder

1 tbs garlic powder

1 tsp coarse Dijon mustard

sprinkle of salt to taste

couple grinds of black pepper

Tofu Sandwiches

Ingredients

1 Block extra firm Tofu cut to  1.5 in. chunks .5 in. thick.  (End up with an even #)

Tofutti Cream Cheese

Marinade:

Soy sauce to cover

2 tsp. grated ginger root

3 lg. garlic cloves, minced

Breading:

½ tsp. pepper

½ tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. chili powder

4 tsp. coarse sea salt

1 tsp. baking soda

Soda water (flavored lemon or orange is fine)

Vegetable oil

Marinate tofu slices in soy sauce, garlic, ginger.  Make sure they’re covered in liquid.  Put in fridge for half hour to 3 hours or up to all night.  Longer the better.

Add desired amount of  cream cheese between 2 slices of tofu, making little tofu/c.c. sandwiches.  Place on plate, cover with wrap and keep in cold box thingy until use.

Turn on pot of oil to make it nice and hot for frying goodness.  (Don’t fill pot too full with oil or overflow will ensue.  Heat just enough oil to ensure 3 tofu sandwiches can be fried at a time, hopefully without touching much.  No more.  No less.)

Ready a plate lined with paper towels for when stuff’s all fried up.

In a bowl, mix flour, spices and finally a dash of yer soda water.  Don’t be adding that soda wateruntil very last minute, when tofu is prepared, and oil is hot.  Whisk until it’s all nice and Elmer’s Glue thick.  Just add a splash of soda water at a time.

Take tofu ‘wiches out of cold storage unit thing and roll one in the goop.  Carefully drop in oil, repeat with a couple more.  They shouldn’t touch much in the frier or sticking will happen.  Flip after a few minutes.  They should have that ‘I’m crispy’ sound when you tap them with the slotted spoon you’re poking them with.

Place on paper towel plate when done, hit ‘em with a sprinkle of sea salt and continue with the rest.