Two weeks into university and the new people I’m meeting have already thrown at me a stupefying sum of questions.
What’s your name?
Jen, but you can call me Ann, whichever works.
Why did you choose this program?
Well, for the longest time I wanted to be a plastic surgeon, but then one day Jesus told me to go into ActSci and PoliSci so..
Are you vegetarian?
Um, I’m actually closer to vegan (and wheat-free) since I don’t consume dairy, but I do eat meat on occasion.
Then what are you?
(**What kind of question is that!?**)
Well, it’s not that I’m contre-cruelty or pretending to be a health fanatic, because I do thoroughly love food and the rich stories that go along with it. So basically, I’ll eat with respect.
For example, if it’s a piece of local, organically farmed short rib, carefully and patiently cooked with the most simplicity such that the natural deep earthy flavour of the marrow and fat permeates every fork-tender strand of flesh, then yes I do. I do very much want to consume that piece of meat.
So in the end, I guess I found my answer.
I don’t have a problem with “meat” – the concept.
Rather, I am appalled by inhumain farming practices, and the greed for money that is the root of this evil.
After all this, it’s only fitting that I dish up some heart-warming breathing space.
Ingredients for the thai basil pesto:
30 g thai basil, woody stem trimmed
2 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
handful raw whole almonds, roughly chopped
generous pinch of sea salt
60 ml avocado oil, or other mild oil
To make the pesto, put all ingredients in the food processor (a small one will work better, or use a mortar and pestle) except for the oil. Pulse until evenly chopped and mixed, then slowly stream in the oil until incorporated. Store in a small glass jar and pour an extra layer of oil to seal, then cover and refrigerate until needed, up to two weeks.
Ingredients for the curry:
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp minced ginger root
1 small onion, chopped
3~4 cups cut-up vegetables of choice, such as broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, carrots, mushrooms, asparagus, green beans, water chestnut, etc..)
3 tbsp thai basil pesto (above)
1 can coconut milk
ground chili pepper, optional
sea salt, to taste
lime wedges, to serve
To make the curry, heat the coconut oil in a hot wok or large saucepan. Add the ginger and onions and saute on medium heat until fragrant and the onions are softened. Add the vegetables and stir in the pesto. Saute for 1~2 more minutes. Add the coconut milk, chili, sea salt to taste, and enough water to barely cover the vegetables. Turn the heat to high and cover, until brought to a rolling boil. Check the seasoning, and the vegetables should be tender but still vibrantly colored.
Serve as is or with brown jasmine or basmati rice, and a wedge of lime should bring the whole plate alive with its fresh brightness.