Since I have become a vegetarian, oh, just over ten months ago, I have avidly been seeking new and exciting recipes to try because, face it, one can only eat beans a few times per week. Unless, of course, one is in prison and is served beans EVERY meal EVERY day. Seriously, folks, no lie. I used to work in a prison in an unnamed southwestern state that shall remain anonymous to protect the innocent. Hell, it’s a prison; nobody is innocent. Perhaps it’s just anonymous southwestern state prisons in general because of the demographics. Or maybe only in privately-run prisons because of the excessive focus upon cost-effectiveness and the bottom line regardless of the fact that the entire inmate population has severe gas and Beano is not on the commissary list. (I always wondered about that one.) But I digress, as usual. Get used to it folks.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled article. Well, not exactly regularly scheduled because there was no rhyme or reason as to the time I am writing this. (If you really care it is currently 9:26 p.m. MST, or 21:26 hours if you are in the military or prison.) There’s that digression thing I mentioned. My apologies.
What was I talking about? Beans? Inmates? How ridiculous daylight savings time is? Oh yeah, food. Vegetarianism. And just for the record, fish is NOT a vegetable!! OMG, the people who say, “I’m a vegetarian. I just eat fish,” drive me CRAZY!!
So, I search Google almost daily looking for interesting vegetarian meals to make. But they have to be dairy-free because I am lactose intolerant. I guess I should have mentioned that earlier. Now I hear you thinking, wouldn’t that mean you are a vegan? Um, no. Vegans do not consume ANY animal products whatsoever. I eat eggs. I love eggs. And I can have aged cheese like Parmesan which has very little lactose and doesn’t harm my tummy.* Thank goodness for almond/soy/cashew milk, sorbet, and veggie cheese which my mother is convinced has no nutritional value whatsoever.
OK, I’m back. Vegetarian, lactose-free meals. Just makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?
I have found myriad interesting dishes which have been surprisingly good. I particularly like the faux chicken salad curry chickpea salad with mashed chickpeas (or garbanzo beans as I used to call them). Yum! Into the chickpea mash I add beaucoup curry powder, coriander, slivered almonds (walnuts are good too), celery, onion, mayo, salt, pepper, garlic…whatever you like, really. Radishes are good. Granny Smith apples provide a little tart crunch. Seriously, anything smallish and crunchy. No, not M&Ms (although I really haven’t tried those. Who knows?)
What actually prompted me to write this little vignette was that one of my mother’s co-workers asked for the recipe. I told her she could just look it up online. She also asked for my roasted poblano and tomatillo posole recipe (which is actually Rachael Ray’s recipe.) I was told that I should write a cookbook. I thought for a moment. I am a writer, after all. A wordsmith, an author, a grammar nerd. However, I am also an academic researcher and the most important rule when composing scholarly stuff is to not plagiarize because plagiarizing would make one guilty of plagiarism. Welcome to the United States. A ‘z’ in the first word and an ‘ism’ in the second. Of course, my mum, being a Brit, has emphasized that the Queen prefers plagiarise. And probably emphasise. Whatever. You know what I mean.
By the way, the chickpea salad is rather monotone in its colour; however, it is not very labour-intensive and can be made in less than a fortnight. It is brilliant, really, very scrummy and you can share it with your mates. Even the wankers.
*My daughter, who has been a vegetarian far longer than I, has informed me that in order to be classified as true Parmesan cheese, rennet (the lining of a calf stomach) is used. Bye bye eggplant Parmesan. I will now be making eggplant veggie cheese.
**I am no longer a vegetarian as I missed fish, chicken, and turkey too much.
“Vegetarian – that’s an old Indian word meaning lousy hunter.” ~ Andy Rooney