And, just for kicks, here's Crooked Still playing my fave tune of theirs at the moment, "It'll End Too Soon."
I have a friend who is quite brilliant. We'll call him PV&J (as opposed to "PB&J", and it stands for Podcaster, Videographer & Journalist). Anyway, PV&J is a vegan-an actual, living vegan. In New York too! How untrendy of him. We're having dinner tonight, after I scoured the net for vegan eateries within a couple blocks from where we're going to hear music afterwards, and it made me reflect on my vegan/vegetarian past. I went back to eating meat in January of this year, after returning from summer in SA. The decision was pretty easy to make and based on assessing how I physically felt being on a veg diet. My body seemed to be craving animal protein-definitely red meat since my iron count has always been very low. And I have to say it's made life considerably easier having more protein options. It's different for every person-based on one's beliefs, genetic make up, and taste. I am still very aware of the marriage between the treatment of farmed animals and the meat that ends up on our plates, but I'm trying to be a conscious carnivore.
I've gotten into the habit of doing vocal warm-up exercises while sitting in bed and reading food blogs. It's quite meditative, therapeutic and a good use of time. My food blog bookmark has grown from about 3 favourites to 12 of them. I've mentioned Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks before. Another new favourite-his writing is just delicious-is pastry/ice cream dervish David Lebovitz's blog that recounts his daily involvement with food-everything from sampling croissants at a new neighbourhood bakery to his food travels, to a lonesome failed recipe for granola bars. It's honest and humorous and delicious (did I already mention that?). I knooooow that this is a blog for children-focused food, but Catherine has such a nice energy to her and great recipes/ideas that Weelicious has become a firm favourite (note: you should DEFINITELY try her potato fans-I had these at a dinner party over the summer and my sister and I literally finished off the Le Creuset serving platter-my mother was not proud but aghast. It must take a freaking long time to prep, but if you're on the eating-end, there's little else that's yummier. OMGeee.)
I seldom cook from Sprouted Kitchen, but I love ogling her pictures-awash in white, bright, clean light-and reading the recipes. Delicious veggie ideas. The same goes for My New Roots-a little too "clean living" but still beautiful visuals. Despite having jumped ship from veg to cow, I still like to have one meal a day, and one day a week be meat-free. It's better for this world of ours and, I believe, better for me. So, due to the impending vegan dinner with PV&J at Zen Kitchen, today seemed like a good day to go green. I also stumbled upon a recipe so simple and delish that I had to make it. Smitten Kitchen is no secret to food-blog enthusiasts round the world. The recipes are both visually mouth-watering and doable. Deb's recipe for smashed chickpea salad also got me thinking about the popular American dish of "chicken salad" or "tuna salad". Those dishes are basically chicken mayonnaise, or tuna mayonnaise, or a lot of mayonnaise plus chicken or tuna, throw in some chopped celery, and devour. I've never been a big mayonnaise person-I just find it too rich and rather unappetizing. I'll always be the type of person who makes potato salad with a pesto/mustard dressing, or a tomato/tahini dressing instead of using mayo. I'm just not into it. So, the Smitten Kitchen recipe made me think how the chickpea salad is a great alternative for any vegetarians or vegans out there. Here it is:
Smashed Chickpea Salad
Inspired by ‘wichcraft
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons pitted, halved and very thinly sliced black olives
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Zest and juice from half a lemon (if you’ve got one of those sad, juiceless lemons, use both sides for juice)
Couple good pinches of salt
A few grinds of black pepper
A few glugs of olive oil (the original is quite oily, like bread-soaking oily, I went a little lighter. Both ways are delicious)
Mix everything but the olive oil in a small to midsize bowl. Very lightly smash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork or a potato masher. You’re not looking for a hummus-like puree but something closer to a coarse chop with a few smaller bits to hold it together. Add the glugs of olive oil, mix it lightly and enjoy.
This is also awesome as a sandwich on toasted bread, and it needs nothing else on it. But, if you want to doll it up, here are some ideas: A slice of roasted red pepper (as they do at ‘wichcraft), watercress (ditto), a slice of pickled garlicky red pepper (our way). We schmeared the bread with a tahini dressing, which was just tahini, lemon juice and a minced garlic clove thinned with water, but if you’ve got some harissa, I bet that would also be delicious.
I'm not a big sandwich eater, so I gobbled up the chickpea salad on a bed of green leaves, with half an avocado and a hard-boiled egg. Super yum. AND the salad will store well in the fridge and work well with quinoa, rice, another green salad, etc.