Tuesday, March 9, 2010

one part hippy

In my overanalytical fasion, I proposed to my sister once upon a time, that we should list our most definitive characters--basically, our "personalities" narrowed down to three. No, I was not searching for or offering a schizophrenic diagnosis, but basically, as women, the different sides that are strongest in ourselves (times when we are complete hormonal messes aside). Here's mine:

--one part feminine, lover of all things womanly, inspired by Sex in the City fasion and friends and lovers

--one part stress junkie, cant sit still or ever overdose on intensity and doings of somethings, even if this means simply walking while reading and trying to eat a sandwich, or balancing three jobs

--one part hippy, longing for simplicity, dirty hands, sunshine and green things

And when the latter is the strongest of the three strong mes, i feel like eating what honey and bread deems hippy chow. This includes things like whole grains, veggie meals, soy products, basically anything not from an animal or mere molecules away from plastic. If you opened my fridge, I may look like a bit of a health nut, and I cant deny a diverse collection of grains and rices and the like, in the same cupboard as all those dried up legumes. Prosciutto and various dairy products in varying degrees of high fat content are about all that reflect the other two sides of me--oh, and the frozen, just-in-case chocolate bar, albiet organic and containing dried fruit...oh boy, even my chocolate is grassy...

Last weekend I went to Vancouver and it took my love of hippy chow to a whole new level. My vegan girlfriend and I went to the Naam for dinner the night that I got there. It was nearly eleven by the time we got there, but the 24/7 vegetarian restaurant was still bustling--and for good reason. The atmosphere is chill, but the smells and incredible food warming. It is huge portions of deep flavours and textures that you just want to curl up with. Both of us had the special: a green bean and potato curry cooked long enough so that it mushed (in a good, good way) together into an unexpectedly spicy dish, a bowl of chickpea dal with plenty of oily more richly warm than spicy sauce perfect for soaking a warm from the oven peice of naan bread that, i kid you not, was the size of a steering wheel. There was so much food, and I was so full, yet I could not stop dipping and folding up beans into that bread. I dream of it...

That weekend I also expanded my vegetarian horizons, sharing Tempeh at the Naam and cooking and eating for the first time, Tofu. That was an experience in itself, perhaps to be relayed at another time. But now I am hooked. I cooked some last night (in a much more skilled and practiced manner), with my own attempt at red lentil dal, and homemade naan bread--the dreams had turned into a heavy craving. And fed my hippy self.

Red Lentil Dal with Kale
I fried up some tofu in sesame oil with this, but i imagine it would be good with feta cheese, or roasted tomatos. Curl up, tuck in, feel healthy, make love not war.

In a small saucepan, heat some oil and slowly soften:
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced

Using a mortar and pestle, blend together and add to the pan:
sm. pc each ginger and turmeric, peeled and finely grated
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1/4 tsp cumin seeds

Raise the heat and add in, stirring to coat with oil:
1/4 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 cup red lentils
2 fresh bay leaves

When the rice has become slightly translucent, cover with stock or water, and simmer gently for 30-40 mins. Season with s&p to taste. When its ready, braise chopped kale in a shallow pan with a bit of diced garlic and chili flakes. Mix together with the dal, squeeze a bit of lemon over and grab a steering wheel size flatbread for scooping.

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