Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lent is three weeks away

If you don't know from my earlier posted foray last year, I'm some sort of weirdo protestant who's been observing Lent for about 15 years. I won't get into the why's and the how's other than I think it's a good thing to challenge yourself to go without for forty days. Last year I kept to a strictly ovo-lacto vegetarian diet for the duration of Lent. That was pretty easy, and the hardest thing for me to do without was anchovies of all things.

This time, it'll be harder. I'm going fully vegan.

No meat, no dairy, no eggs, no honey, no derivative stuff like gelatin, none of that stuff. I wouldn't undertake it if I didn't think it was possible, but I admit it's going to be a wild ride. Those who've known me for years know I used to be the pickiest of eaters and could barely be bribed to eat veggies on my plate. What a difference a few years make.

Fortunately, my friend Dino has added his metaphorical axe to my quest, so I'm sure that if I ever get pushed against my own personal dinner rush without any ideas left, I've got a lifeline. I doubt it'll be down to that wire, but who can say.

Part of me is also interested in this because I'm keen on veganism not for any moral or ethical reason, but because I see it as a kissing cousin of sorts to kosher and halal cuisine, which is to say that it can be a cuisine that defines itself, diversifies itself, and creates its own world based on its limits. People hear vegan and they think vacu-formed tofu "meat" and garbage like that, and I'd like to make a lot of honest food that's vegan and tastes delicious without putting on pretense.

So for now, I'll be having an extended farewell to the flesh.

Because while my chana masala is vegan, that nice little slice of naan next to it ain't. Bummer!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy 2010, belated

Hey y'all.

Glad you're still reading my blog. As of now we're less than a week into 2010 so I hope y'all had some of this:

Followed at some point by some of this:

(and if y'all don't know about greens & the new year, you gotta eat 'em to make sure you bring in the $$$ this year. serious business in the south btw)

I hope everyone had a great new year and a great Christmas / Channukah / Kwanzaa / Eid, etc. My new year's resolution is to pick up the pace that I once maintained here, and to keep this place updated with fresh new articles. Even if I can't cook or snap a picture, I'll do my best.

So how's 2010 been so far? Here's a pictorial review.

This monster entered my kitchen. A fantastic gift from mom and dad, this is the steam driver to John Henry's hammer. I still like to hand-knead, but man this helps immensely when I'm too busy to bother. I hear I can do other things with it besides making bread (ie, grinding meat, making pasta, churning butter from heavy cream to name a few) but I haven't been bothered to do any of those things...yet.

Sometimes, with work and arranging furniture or whatever mad whim we're on, I'm just too tired to cook. Bless the KitchenAid for making the act of baking sandwich loaf a trivial issue. If you've got that, it's second nature to make a sandwich in about five minutes. Nevermind that I'm eating a decidedly non-kosher sandwich with a Jewish beer. I atoned for this...

...with bagels like a true mensch should.

We rang in the new year with a dinner of alligator gumbo, paired with a local Alabama pinot grigio. The pinot wasn't the best local wine I've had so far. For that, y'all better go to Morgan Creek. They love their muscadines.

And I tried my hand at chicken wings for the first time. Never been a fan of buffalo wings, so the sauce is inspired from South African cooking, using periperi chili, and a lot of lemon juice, butter, honey, ginger, and garlic.

Anyways, hope this is a sign of things to come. Looking forward to keeping y'all updated on all sorts.