Sunday, May 3, 2015

Back to a Beginning, with a side of Pickled Radish.

 As always, my timing is off a bit-- it's been a few months over a year since I took a year's hiatus, and no doubt I've lost any momentum this blog might have had. But in the words of Stuart Smalley, "that's-- okay," because I'm ready for taking on challenges, and I'm also thinking of altering this blog, in future; perhaps changing the location, and somewhat of the outlook as well.

 My goal for this blog was always just to share foodie experiences, past and present, through the lens of my eclectic, home-based vegetarianism-- for me, that means recipes, along with ideas about food and eating and their importance in our lives. Family related food issues, seasonal and daily rituals, tweaking recipes, restaurant visits, all rolled into one blog that is sometimes a straight ahead review, sometimes more meditative, but always focused on telling the story in words, and hopefully, in graceful prose.

 As I've been told, this is not to everyone's taste. I am not a photographer, do not have a model kitchen, and those are two reasons I have generally eschewed the common practice of documenting each step of a recipe with a picture here, but there are other reasons. For one, words & thinking are my thing, the part of blogging that truly excites me; for another, if I never see another blog pic of KitchenAid beaters dripping beige batter into a big blue pottery bowl, it'll be too soon.

 I'm not meaning to put down those who blog out of sparkling, gorgeous kitchens and like to show a step-by-step process of every single blessed recipe they make, but I frankly don't need it, and I'm not interested in being another such blogger. There are plenty of them, some who do it so wonderfully (and with fantastic writing, too) that I would be ashamed to try, even if I had the will, the time, the camera and the kitchen. I would rather emulate their enthusiasm, their attention to detail as cooks, than to bother flooding this space with pictures of my odd little throwback kitchen and its contents.

 For those who have never read about it before, my kitchen is just retro enough (circa 1968) to be a pain in the ass without having any magnificent fun vintage qualities, unless you think that silver & gold reflective wall paper on every kitchen wall is charming. What the hell, it goes with the Harvest Gold appliances that are all more or less dysfunctional at this point, though they were clearly top-of- the-line when first installed 40+ years ago; and the wavy gilt stuff gives off a vaguely hep Hugh Hefner vibe in the early summer evenings. I'm serious-- you can't look at it too long without getting dizzy.

 That's what I cook out of, until I can afford to redo the lot, but trust me, you don't want to see it often. Right now, the dishwasher pipes need major repair, and the sinks and countertops have hit critical mass, laden with extra bowls and glasses I haven't bothered to do more to than rinse out and stack-- my dryer is also unwell, I've been sick a lot in the last year, and I just can't keep up, with two important appliances down until who knows when.

 Still, I'm determined to eat well, better than well, but more simply for a while. I've taken on the Vegan challenge that starts today, May 3rd, hosted by the VT through sponsorship of the Ancient Grains brand. Vegan is not necessarily more simple, but for us it will be this month, as I'm using the challenge as a great way to lower our sodium intake (no cheese!) and also incorporate more raw fruit and veg into our everyday diet.

 If you've read this blog in the past, you may know that I've been trying to get up to 50-60% raw for some years. Family life has gotten in the way, as has being a sickly chief-cook-and-bottle-washer. If you're the one chopping all the food, you can't be ill for weeks on end and still get it done. To this end, dropping the cost of our few remaining animal foods has had the added benefit of allowing me to buy the occasional pre-chopped squash or pineapple, and some frozen entrees for emergencies. Thank goodness we have a Trader Joe's here now!

(If you haven't read this blog in the past, here are some posts to start with:

 So, I'm taking the household into Veganist territory (having read Veganist some months back), partly in order to go more raw for good. I received a couple of lovely new vegan books last year, too: Vegan on $4/Day, and The Veggie Lover's Sriracha Cookbook. Last year, while on hiatus, I read at least a dozen raw or vegan cookbooks, learning the modes, methods and ideas that make for a successful transition. And as I've been leaning towards the change for ages, now seems a good time to experiment more fully, as we head into Spring, assured of finding more local fresh veg in the markets. I'm looking forward to eating more fruit than usual, and making my own soymilk yoghurt in the crockpot, and I'm going into it all with a sense of adventure and a light heart, not a veil of judgment. It's my hope the blog will reflect these sentiments.

 Today has been a good, gentle warm day so far. Our breakfast was old-fashioned oatmeal with many nuts and seeds, some sliced banana, a sprinkle of chocolate, and our usual unsweetened coconut milk. Lunch was a hummus sandwich with some quick-pickled radish** and grilled arugula on whole wheat Tuscan pane bread, and organic strawberries. Dinner will be red sauce and pasta with field roast sausage, and a many-greens salad. We have Soy Creamy mini nice-cream sandwiches in the freezer, for a sweet. A good balance of whole food and time-savers, for this first day of the challenge, and the screen door of my office is letting in the light breeze and sunshine.

 Not exactly deprivation, is it?

 Have a delicious Sunday evening. Peace,

**The easiest pickled radishes you can find-- just thinly slice cleaned radishes into a jar of your favorite pickle liquid after the last pickle is gone, add a couple of extra tsp. of salt and a shot of extra vinegar ( I like red wine vinegar for this but any type will do), stir, cover, and refrigerate as usual. In an hour or two, you will have nice radish pickles, and by the next day, they'll be addictively delicious.

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