rants & recipes

Blog Action Day and Vegan Mofo

Posted by ataraktos on 2009-10-15

The topic for this year's Blog Action Day is Climate Change. What's this have to do with a primarily-food-blog, you may wonder? Well, in one sense - not a lot. I'll admit my veganism has very little to do with climate change and environmental issues - as far as personal reasons for choosing not to exploit animals. Animals are the reasons I don't exploit them. However, veganism has this wonderful side effect of being one of the best things anyone can do - right now! - to help the environment. Our food choices are so mundane that we often overlook them entirely, don't think too much about them or the power we have to be compassionate AND reduce our carbon footprint with every bite of food we eat.

I follow Vienna Teng on Twitter. She has recently tweeted a few questions about "what's worse for the environment - chicken or cheese?" and made some references to trying to go vegetarian for environmental reasons, as an effort to reduce her carbon footprint. It's funny, how, even as we get closer to caring about an important issue, like climate change and our environment, it's still so easy to overlook the primary players - I'd answer that the cheese is worse for the dairy cow, chicken is worse for the chicken and neither are good for our environment. The great thing is, by going vegan, everyone's stake is considered! And it's a mistake to think of veganism as a list of things you can not eat - although, don't get me wrong - I'm not going all flexitarian-Peter-Singer or anything. But I mean that a vegan diet is not in the least depraved and no more difficult than trying to cook and eat a healthy diet. You'll learn about lots of delicious foods you'd likely never encounter otherwise. Is it a little more effort than bellying up to the drive through? Well, yes. But that's a good thing - good for your health, good for the animals AND good for the environment.

Besides, climate change and warmer oceans cause sea snot, and who wants that?

So, on to the Vegan MoFo part of this post -

Today, I picked up a new-to-me product from WholeFoods - So Delicious Coconut Milk. I have the hardest time getting a truly plain, truly unsweetened, no-hint-of-vanilla-at-all soy milk. And nothing sucks more than not realizing you have even-slightly-vanilla-flavored 'milk until *after* adding it to mashed potatoes or some other savory dish.

So, this 'milk was on sale today and I picked up a carton. I tried it with some cornflakes and a tad of splenda because that's a pretty good test for 'milk, in my opinion. And, to be honest, this 'milk had a really weird, hard-to-describe after-taste. It was "open" and "fresh" taste, and not in a good way. Almost chemical-like - I mulled over it, for a while, wondering what was wrong. And then I realized what it needed - salt! And sure enough, salt isn't listed on the ingredient list, although I think it's added to most commercial soy milks? Just the tiniest pinch cut the weird taste out completely.  (It should be noted that I have a super-strong sense of smell and this weird taste may not be detectable to anyone else everyone.) This 'milk hould be great for cooking with. And for cereal, too, once a pinch of salt is added.

For dinner, I was craving something simple and familiar. And something that used some of our newly arrived 10 pounds of sun-dried organic tomatoes (from the best-ever store for sun-dried tomatoes and other tasty stuff). And yes, in case you're wondering, we can eat 10 pounds of sun-dried tomatoes long before they go bad.

We had eggplant, onions, tomatoes, tofu and rice.

Eggplant may very well be one of my favorite vegetables. Old folks frequently ask me what I'm going to do with eggplants, when they see me buying them. Or if I'm going to fry it. Perhaps it's because I'm usually buying so many, maybe they think I'm doing my own Close Encounters re-enactment or something.

Oh, and if you're wondering about cooking tofu, be sure to check out this page about dry cooking. I typically dry-cook my cubed tofu until no more liquid comes out when pressed. Then I fry a little more with added oil, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powders. Yum.