Thursday, July 19, 2007

Domestic Goddess

Being (almost completely) vegan is wonderful. I feel great, physically, and I know I am greatly reducing my risk of developing a lot of serious heath problems in the future. Heart disease and cancer are bad. =( More importantly, I am doing what I can to distance myself from the almost inconceivably torturous and corrupt affair that is modern animal agriculture. Cute, fluffy animals are good. =) Then there’s the environment... Trees and potable water are good, too. =) So all of these things are good, right? Why isn’t everyone vegan? Well, my friends, there is downside. What is it they say? "If it seems too good to be true…" There’s one unfortunate fact that nobody ever mentions when they tout all of the many benefits of the vegan diet- one terrible truth that lies hidden between the lines of all the books… You have to learn to cook. It’s true. Tragic, but true. Especially true if you are unemployed. You see, here in Nottingham there are few options for a vegan meal out on the town, and even if there were thirty vegan restaurants I couldn’t afford to go to them. So I must cook. And even Sarah can’t eat linguine with garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots every day. (Well, I probably could, to tell the truth, but there was that little episode when I was a kid where I turned orange from just that kind of beta carotene binging, so I try to mix it up.) It’s hard to know what you’re getting when you eat out at a place where they don’t label things veggie or vegan on the menu, and I find that even if you ask about the food, often the employees have no idea if there’s chicken stock in the vegetable soup, and the guy who made it left at three, so there’s no way to find out. And frankly, I think Gordon is going to go shopping for a new girlfriend if I force feed him Bombay Potatoes one more time… There’s got to be a better way to get our daily ten servings of fruits and veg! To this end, I went to the library and checked out a couple of vegan cookbooks. =) I have tried two recipes so far with great success! =) A couple of nights ago we had Rigatoni & Spinach Crumble, and last night we had Leek & Potato Soup (both taken from this book) with bread that I actually baked! :o Who woulda thunk? So, perhaps this downside of my diet is actually an upside? An educational experience? An optimistic person would say yes- it is allowing me to develop new skills and enhancing my quality of life immeasurably. And I am an optimistic person. =) Martha Stewart I am not, it’s true, but definitely a domestic goddess in the making! =) Here is the recipe for the pasta dish! Try it! If I can do it, so can you! =)
Rigatoni & Spinach Crumble
From Cook Vegan by Richard Youngs

8 oz. (225 g) rigatoni pasta
2 Tbs. (45 ml) olive oil
1 medium onion
1 small pepper
2 generous handfuls of spinach
4 tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (triple this if you’re me)
Sufficient breadcrumbs to cover
Handful of flaked almonds (I used ground almonds)

Boil the rigatoni according to packet instructions. Drain and rinse. Meanwhile finely chop the onion, pepper, and tomatoes. Crush the garlic. Wash and roughly chop the spinach. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and sauté the onion. When it has turned transparent add the pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and spinach. Cook until the spinach has softened and most of the liquid from it has evaporated. Add the cooked pasta, season, and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Top with enough breadcrumbs to cover and the flaked almonds. Place in a medium pre-heated oven and bake for about 15 minutes until brown on top. Serves two if you are a piggy like Gordon and me.


Gordon Simpson said...

I can vouch for the deliciousness of said crumble :)

Barbara said...

Cooking is good!! Not only can you control what you eat, but you can save bunches of money! Try baking bread. You'll love it! I have an easy Foccia recipe I can send eggs, no meat, no milk! :) Will be trying your crumble as soon as I get some decent tomatoes at the Farmer's Market. ;) Sounds yummy!