Ich will curry essen!

Oh boy, its been a busy few weeks and its set to only get busier! I have been cooking occasionally, sure, but more often I've been gorging on lentils with celery root and pomengranate syrup alongside beets in walnut/ garlic dressing with blood oranges from this local pizza place across the street. Under $4, full of good health stuff (iron! potassium! vitamin c!) AND it allows me to continue reading the Emma Goldman autobiography that's been commanding my every spare moment. (Read it, it's amazing!)

However, there are a few recent creations worth note. First, my Mom and I attempted to recreate the Candle Cafe's awesome 'paradise pie' on a less time consuming scale. To the left is my brother consuming the result of our plotting. Rather than millet, we used quinoa (much quicker!) as a base, spread into an oiled casserole dish. Next, we put a layer of beans: black bean soup and a can of black beans, both drained, mixed with a little cumin and spread on top of the quinoa. Finally, some boiled sweet potatoes were mashed with a tablespoon of miso and generous sprinkling of cinnamon, and spread on top. The "pie" was baked at 350 for about 30 minutes, and topped with some good old mushroom gravy. Not quite as good as what you can get at that dear little vegan restaurant in NYC, but stlll quite delicious.

Adding to the generalized mayhem, my darling S. was in town from Berlin last week, prompting me to bake up a storm of cupcakes, breads and other sweets. Of course, being S., he ignored them all in favor of coffee and cigarettes. And of course, being T, I gobbled them all up. However, I was able to tempt him into eating one luscious gingerbread cupcakes with lemon cream cheese icing. (From VCTOTW, naturally.) He was duly impressed, although I wasn't quite sure he understood what I meant by "wee-gan".

However, he proved me wrong! On Wednesday, after a ridiculously packed day including 3 classes and an intense mock-deposition, in which I had to convince some skeptical mock- lawyers that I was sexually harassed by an imaginary employer, I returned home to find an extremely relaxing scene: S. had cleaned up the apartment and cooked a home-made peanut curry, complete with carrots, mushrooms, green beans, and (gasp!) mock-chicken strips! From what I could ascertain, he liberally used peanut butter, soy-sauce, red pepper flakes, curry powder, and soy creamer. At any rate, it was delicious, all the more so because I didn't have to cook it. And soon my imaginary sexual harassment ordeal was just an imaginary memory...

So now S. is back in Berlin and I'm back into the thick of things... but he did leave behind a specially requested gift: Karl Marx's Das Kapital, in the original German, which I intend to translate into English, page by page. By the time I visit Berlin again in May I should be able to bore people with the important features of the commodity... in German! And maybe one of these days I'll attempt some good old German cooking as well... Although I think, for the moment, I'll be preoccupied with the upcoming passover feast.

Song of the Day: Of Montreal- The Autobiographical Grandpa


You know you've been veganized...

As I was enjoying my delicious and homey supper of mashed potatoes with spinach, mushrooms with leeks and thyme, and roasted brussels sprouts this week, I stopped for a moment and looked down in wonderment as two thoughts occurred to me:

1. This entirely-too-green meal might be a nice dinner for St. Patricks day- screw green eggs and ham!
2. Everything on my plate was something I would have considered deeply odd to eat a few years ago.

That's when it occurred to me... I had been veganized!

You see, when you first go vegan, there are a lot of foods that you havent been exposed to before, and it can be scary. You might just stick to fake chicken nuggets, cheese-less pizza, french fries, salads and spaghetti, like all the uninitiated. Then you start to venture a little further, frequenting health food stores, trying your hand at some muffins, maybe a stir fry and... even some baked tofu. Soon enough though, you find yourself eating, for every meal, things most people have never heard of or thought of... and loving it! It means you've been VEGANIZED! Symptoms:

-you think everything's better with nooch on it.
-you can instantly tell if the barista gave you regular milk instead of soymilk.
-you look at recipes with kale in them and think: "YUM!"
-"panko", "agar-agar" and "arrowroot" aren't nonsense words to you- they're in your pantry!
-you're deeply shocked that people still make non-vegan cupcakes.
-you know how to pronounce "quinoa" correctly.
-you prefer brown rice and whole wheat bread to their bleachy-white counterparts.
-you fight over the last green bean, and lust over brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, and all those other veggies your childhood self turned your nose up at.
-to you, sweet potatoes and black beans go together like peanut butter and jelly.
-you are weirdly obsessed with oatmeal.
-you have agave nectar, maple syrup AND molasses in your pantry.
-why put white sugar in your coffee, when you have stevia/ succanat/or sugar in the raw to choose from?
-you can veganize almost any recipe (even one by Anthony Bourdain) in less than 3 steps.
-you can't remember a time when there wasn't a tub of Earth Balance and a bottle of Braggs in your fridge.
-the words "chocolate soymilk" are deeply meaningful to you.
-the words "chickpea gravy" cause a faraway look to appear in your eyes.

What's funny is, you don't have to be vegan to be "veganized"- I think the fact that my parents now suggest things like roasted beets, paradise pie, and penang tofu for dinner shows that they too have fallen victim. Who knows, with the prevalence of health conscious recipes online, and mainstream omnis who love vegan food like Mark Bittman, perhaps the whole world is on the verge of being veganized...

What are your symptoms?

Song of the Day: Titus Andronicus- Arms Against Atrophy


Miserable Spring Break

My so-called "Spring Break" in Columbia Heights

Ever heard that saying, "if you want to make G-d laugh, tell him your plans?" Absolutely could not be more true for my pitiful excuse for a Spring Break.

First, let me back up and say that Spring Break is cherished in a law student's year, not necessarily for the opportunity to travel to exotic locales and imbibe tropical drinks, but more often just for the much needed opportunity to catch up! I was excited about my break for the most mundane of reasons- I speculated I could study for the MPRE, start my outlining, and finish some job applications. How lame is that? Yet even those most soporific of plans could not be completed, because almost immediately I came down with the absolute WORST flu... and didn't recover until break was over and it was back to the grind. No studying, no progress, just 7 days of staring at the ceiling and choking down the occasional potato or bowl of oatmeal...

And to think, I had planned to make a different cookbook recipe every day last week! HA!

Directly prior to my gloomy illness, however, I got to partake in an extravagant vegan lunch at one of my favorite spots, Teaism. Teaism has been around forever, and is sort of a new-agey tea salon for posh people with a few locations around DC. They shill bubble teas, loose leaf teas, and various nibbles (including an ostrich burger, wtf?) and have sort of an Asian bent. And despite how yuppie and expensive it is, I find myself haunting there on those occasions that I have a very specific craving... their tofu bento box. Behold!

Now, as far as I know, this is the only vegan thing on the menu. But what a vegan thing it is! The box is stuffed with freshly steamed edamame, brown rice covered in gomashio, silky tofu in a ginger scallion soy sauce, and the best part- a sweet potato salad drenched in creamy miso dressing.

I have no idea if this is authentically Japanese, but it is the best combination of flavors and always makes me feel like I have a total protein buzz. If you happen to be in DC and heavy of pocket, definitely give it a shot.

Although I cannot vouch for its healing properties, since I immediately got the flu afterwards... oh well. Upon returning to school I found out that lots of others had this dread illness as well, so I'm hoping that none of you in blog-land were struck down in recent days! You probably weren't, because unlike me, you probably weren't heard bragging to your Mom the day before, "That's why everyone should go vegan. I NEVER get sick, like, EVER! I can't even remember the last time I've had a cold that lasted more than 2 days! Blah blah blah...." What a dumbass.

Oh well. Spring break may be over, but Spring is just around the corner! I can't wait!

Song of the Day: Neko Case- People Got a lot of Nerve