Thursday, October 20, 2011

Because

OK, it's short essay time. I'm tired of repeating a well-rehearsed answer to an all-to-frequently asked question, so here's a blog about it.

Why I became vegan
By me

It was a natural progression.

I became a vegetarian 9 years ago when I refused to lose a bet. I was 18, angsty, and raised on a horrendous diet of animal fat and refined carbohydrates. My only characteristic stronger than my lust for fast-food chili-cheese fries was my perversely unyielding resoluteness. Someone said I couldn’t, so I did. But time passed, and I evolved in small increments. It quickly became by choice, rather than stubbornness. Then it went from being just a preference, to also being an ethical obligation and social responsibility.

That’s why I became a vegetarian. Why I became a vegan has to do with my husband. Up until a year and a half ago when I met him, I still maintained what I would consider now to be fairly disgusting eating habits. I wasn’t terribly concerned with or even cognizant of the adverse affects of what I was putting into my body. Top Ramen was a perfectly acceptable breakfast and a half-pound of peanut butter M&Ms seemed like a reasonable dinner. And then I picked up cooking, you know, real food. And we started making changes here and there -- cutting out high-fructose corn syrup, then partially hydrogenated oils, then this, then that, then eggs. Every decision has been in collaboration with him, often suggested by him. We made the choice to become vegan this spring, and it’s abundantly clear to both of us that it’s a lifestyle we’ll never choose to deviate from.

It should be noted that my husband was not a vegetarian when we met. He had a slew of health issues and most of his meals were procured at a Wendy’s drive-through and consisted of deep-fried flesh. Now, he rather enjoys walking with me 12 miles to try a new organic vegan restaurant. In a little over one year, he reached a state that I’d been slowly gravitating toward for almost a decade. He’ll credit me with this, but he’s mistaken.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Torts

Yes, I refer to tortellini as torts. These are delicious and contain ridiculous amounts of protein. They're filled with tofu ricotta, which I have deemed ricofu, and topped with pea pesto cream.

You need this stuff:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup semolina flour
Olive oil
Water
Salt, pepper
Basil flakes
Garlic cloves
Pound of extra firm tofu
A cup of raw cashews (blended to oblivion with a little water to make a cream)
½ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup pine nuts
Bag of peas

For the dough:
Mix a cup of whole wheat flour, a cup of semolina flour and a pinch of salt. Stir in 2/3 cup water and a drizzle of olive oil. Knead it into dough. Roll it flat, as much in the shape of a rectangle as possible. Cut it into 2-ish-inch squares.

For the filling
Mash the tofu in a bowl to the consistency of ricotta. Stir in half the cashew cream, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup nutritional yeast.

For the pea pesto cream:
Blend most of the bag of peas with pine nuts, garlic, a little oil, salt, pepper, basil, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, and the rest of the cashew cream. Stir in the leftover whole peas and heat through on low.

For the rest:
Fill and fold the pasta. YouTube how to fold it. It doesn't really matter if you do it right; I didn't. Boil for 7-9 minutes. Be gentle; they want to break. Fish them out with a holey spoon instead of dumping them to drain. Top them with the pea pesto cream and any leftover ricofu, warmed.