Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Functional Adult Cooks Vegan

I decided to cook vegan tonight.  Actually, I decided to cook vegetarian, but I accidentally ended up cooking vegan, which is like leveled-up turbo status vegetarian!  INFINITY BONUS POINTS!

But cooking vegan was harder than I thought it would be.  I'm a major meat eater, mostly because meat is delicious.  It's so easy to cheat when cooking meat - if you just cook a sausage, and put it in a crappy Costco hotdog bun, it will be delicious because IT IS A SAUSAGE.  Cf. beef hamburger in a crappy hamburger bun (also delicious); see also that's what she said.

There is no cheating with veganism.  Here is the secret to cooking vegan, as stated by someone who has now cooked at least one vegan meal:  you cook a crapton of vegetables.  

Shocking, yes.  And surprisingly DIRTY - but more on that later.  I decided to make lentils and rice, which is a pretty doable recipe I got from a very inspiring NY Times article about eating sustainably.  It's also easily vegan, though I usually make it with sausage.  This time, though, I decided to mix it up by using beets instead!

I thought at first I'd just chop up the beets and throw them in the pan with the onions and garlic I cook at the beginning. But when I went to my trusty friend Google to inquire "cook beets" (Google is an efficient friend who doesn't need pleasantries or extra words), all the hits strenuously insisted that I had to ROAST the beets in the OVEN or they would be GROSS. Unfortunately for my plan, that vaguely recalled that I had read something in one of my many cookbooks about beets being gross unless roasted. I hadn't actually read how to cook beets, but I'd read that, because I read cookbooks like hermits read travel guides - the pictures and the stories are good enough for me!

So I guessed I had to roast the beets in the oven. The recipe just said to roll them in oil and bang some salt on there (I'm paraphrasing), but I looked at the beets and thought I'd give them a rinse first. Which was when I was reminded that beets grow in the dirt and do not just appear fully formed in the produce aisle of Safeway. Those beets were DIR-TAY. I scrubbed them for what felt like forever to get all the dirt off, and the sink looked like I had spilled a post-apocalyptic ant farm in it.

And then I had the dripping wet leaves to contend with. At first I tried to rinse all of the grit off of them before I set them on a wad of paper towels, but then I didn't have enough room so I set the wet but still dirty ones on top of the ones I'd already cleaned, so I had to start a new wad of paper towels only for clean ones, but the only place to put that was across the kitchen (kind of on the stove) and so I dripped water on the floor after every gritty leaf I washed.

I finally got the beets in the oven and the greens clean in a pile. I made the lentils and rice pretty easily; I've made it several times before and then only obstacle was CRISIS THERE IS NO BROWN RICE HUSBAND WHY DIDN'T YOU BUY BROWN RICE oh I guess it's okay the recipe says I can use white.

Beets.  Yup.
So then it was time to deal with the beets.  Internet told me that I could peel the beets just by kind of rubbing it and bam, peeled.  But here's the deal, INTERNET, beets are REALLY HOT when they have just come out of a 400 degree OVEN.  Not to mention SO MESSY.  I tried to do this and mostly ended up hurting my fingers and also looking like I had committed purple murder in the kitchen.

Getting my Lady MacBeth on
My ah-ha moment came when I realized that Husband has a stash of latex gloves for working on his old car, which might provide some insulation against burning beet finger death.  So I popped those on, but the stupid beets still weren't peeling, so I had to bust out a peeler and just sort of push it at them.  It took forever.

This is how the purplocalypse began
I finally got them peeled, and wilted the greens in a pan, and put them on top of the lentil mixture, and check THIS out, fools:

Full five points for presentation, AMIRIGHT?
SUPER PLATED vegan dinner!  Hoo-ah!  That's right, I am a modern lady able to make sustainable vegetable-based dinners for myself and my modern husband.  And it was ACTUALLY TASTY.  The Internets may be on to something in re roasting beets in the oven.

Of course, the kitchen is still full of purple CSI evidence.  

And it's only two hours since I ate dinner and I am somehow starving.  Are Jelly Belly jelly beans vegan?  I think I need a second course.

No comments:

Post a Comment