bless you, industrialization

Closely linked to and much like democracy, industrialization is also a protégé of Western politics. While I would probably say that democracy granted to developing countries is probably as bad as giving chocolate to a dog, it would be unfitting to say the same of industrialization. (Yes, hate to break it to you about democracy, but it’s sort of common sense. When you need to build a country and get stuff done, it’s better to have a single long-term vision than multiple parties putting on a talent show.)

Industrialization is sort of like pumping iron, it whips a nation into shape – it is impossible to achieve efficient production without order and discipline. For developed countries, it’s the tried-and-true steroid for jump-starting the economy.

Even for the average household, industrialization has worked its magic. That is, unless you still roast wild fish caught by wooden spears on scratch-made pit fires or, less appetizingly, bash the poor thing’s head on a rock then rip your teeth directly into the knocked-out animal’s less-than-tender flesh.

What we would call artisan or from-scratch today can hardly be achieved in the absence of industrialization.

Consider bread, the very edible incarnation of the word ‘rustic’. Made with yeast bred in incubators with machine-regulated humidity and temperature, and flour ground by furnace or electricity powered mills from commercially farmed wheat. Prior to industrialization, people sat around and waited for yeast to fall out of the sky (in the form of rain) into hollowed-out logs and grow into a usable amount.

As a student, oh my do I love industrialization for its gifts. Just think: no industrialization = no food processor = 3 hours to make hummus. I practically live off that stuff, and ain’t no UW student got the time to mash chickpeas for 3 hours a day.

Humans might have gotten many things wrong, perhaps more wrong than right, and industrialization in a hundred years may reveal itself as the dumbest crime man has ever committed,

but hey, it works handsomely right now.

Take millstones and grind flour.

Remove your veil,

strip off your robes,

bare your legs,

and wade through the rivers.

Isaiah 47:2

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If you’re any bit like me and simply cannot help but gloat at the sight of meatballs on a lush, creamy bed of polenta, then this is already, without a doubt, your next obsession. If you’re with me on the gloating despite your mild disapproval of polenta, then you my friend, have just found your next every-weeknight-dinner. Savoury spiced meatballs, caramelized with minimal effort right in the oven, nestled on a bed of buttery silken hummus, are finished off with an ingeniously vibrant and zesty parsley oil and plump sultana raisins. Make an extra batch of meatballs, freeze the extras, and you’ll have dinner served in under 20 minutes any day of the week.

Ingredients for the koftes, makes 24~30:

1 tsp each fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, oregano, and thyme

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

454 g ground lamb or free-range, grass-fed beef

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely diced

1 free range egg

1 tbsp olive oil

a generous helping of sea salt, to taste

To make the koftes, preheat the oven to 415 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

Place the all of the spices in a spice/coffee grinder and pulse until finely ground. Put the spice mix in a large mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix gently with your hands until the mixture comes together. Add a little cold water if the mixture seems too dry. Divide the mixture into 24~30 portions and shape them into balls. Place them on the prepared tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

Ingredients for the hummus:

1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and drained again

1 garlic clove

1 lemon, juice only

3 tbsp tahini

1 tsp honey or agave

sea salt, to taste

To make the hummus, place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add a little water at a time with the motor running to adjust to a lusciously smooth consistency. It should be slightly thinner than regular hummus.

Ingredients for the parsley oil:

80 ml extra virgin olive oil

1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 long strip lemon zest

To make the parsley oil, place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. It is best used immediately, but will keep, covered and refrigerated, for two days.

To assemble, spoon a large dollop of hummus into small salad plates. Splatter a bit of the parsley oil on top, then add a few koftes/meatballs. Finish with a small handful of sultana raisins and a round or two of freshly cracked black pepper.

Serve with pitas, lavash, or seeded crackers.

Happy noshing!

 

A Bit of Spring Cleaning

Get ready! Because you’re about to be hit by a blizzard , no it’s not winter anymore, I mean, explosion of recipes, all of which are vegan, super vibrant, fresh, and absolutely delicious! For those of you who are staying in touch via instagram (it’s on the right-hand-side, just click and follow to stay up-to-plate with everything I’m whipping up), you’ve probably been wondering why I haven’t put up the recipes to those pictures and I apologize!! Sorry, I truly am because sometimes I click on something that looks totally yum hoping to find its recipe but then it just turns out to be foodporn, and that makes me really disappointed.

I get that. So here’s a treat: a collage of recipes to kickstart spring!

Here I wanted to feature some of those under-acknowledged ingredients such as beet greens, parsley stems, green peas, and grainy mustard. Beet greens and parsley stems tend to just get trimmed off and thrown into the garbage which I find to be such a waste. Beet greens are actually loaded with all the great nutrients its roots has, but with more fibre and less sugar while parsley stems have even more flavour than the leaves, not to mention the nice texture it gives to the green falafel mash (recipe below!). Green peas and grainy mustard, on the other hand are like ugly christmas sweaters – you have them lying around not because they’re a kitchen staple, but because there was this one day when some magazine or trend convinced you to buy a bag/jar of the stuff (like how your friends convinced you of the sweater at Value Village). Then ever since that day it’s just been a shameful lump stuck in your pantry or fridge door.

It’s okay, it’s all good, literally. And I encourage you to really take this as a new starting point, see what poor miserable thing is your fridge or pantry that you’ve been wanting to get rid of, and cook dat thang!

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled,

and those who humble themselves

will be exalted.

Luke 14:11

Collage

Rice with Beet Greens (Top Left):

1 tbsp avocado oil

1 medium brown onion, finely diced

1 bunch beet greens, stem portion diced, leaf portion shredded

2 cups cold, cooked red and brown basmati or jasmine rice

sea salt

white pepper

pinch of cinnamon

To make the rice with beet greens, heat the oil on medium in a skillet or wok. Add the onions and let it sweat until translucent and fragrant. Turn up the heat to high and add the chopped beet greens, continue stirring until tender, then add the rice and season well to taste. Stir until the liquid is fully absorbed and mixture is heated through.

Serve immediately, with an earthy wild mushroom or nutty pureed squash soup.

 

Garlic Coconut Butter Grilled Naan

with Green Falafel Mash, Parsley Mango Slaw, and Sriracha Aioli (Top Right):

for the garlic coconut butter grilled naan:

2 fat cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp coconut oil

4 pieces whole wheat naan bread

To make the coconut butter, put combine garlic and coconut oil in a small bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds until fragrant. Brush the mixture onto one side of the naan and put that side down on a hot grill pan (it’s still pretty cold where I am, but if it’s summer wherever you are and you have the luxury of using a grill, by all means fire it up!). Lift up a corner to see if it’s nicely charred, once it is, brush the oil on the upper side and flip it over to get it grill-marked.

for the green falafel mash:

2 cups flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped (throw the stems in there!)

1 can (540 ml) chickpeas, drained

1 generous tbsp madras curry powder

3 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

sea salt, to taste

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a coarse puree forms. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with some more EVOO and set aside.

for the parsley mango slaw:

1 large mango, ripe but firm, thinly sliced

1 cup finely shredded flat leaf parsley

Stir together the mango and parsley in a bowl and set aside.

for the sriracha aioli:

2 heaping tbsp good quality mayonnaise, feel free to use your favourite vegan mayo or cashew cream!

1 tbsp sriracha hot sauce (don’t tone it down, go beyond if it’s your thing!)

1 tbsp lime juice

In a small bowl stir together the mayo, sriracha, and lime juice, adding a bit more sriracha or lime juice to get a nice drizzling consistency. To assemble, spread the falafel mash onto the grilled naan, top with the mango slaw, and drizzle with the sriracha aioli.

Serve immediately with a minty cooler : blend together frozen yellow watermelon cubes + fresh mint + lime + coconut water!

 

Roasted Aloo Gobi (Bottom Right):

1 head cauliflower separated into bite-sized florets

1 large baking potato, diced into 1-inch pieces, boiled for 12 minutes

8 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 cup shelled green peas, frozen is fine

3 tbsp madras curry powder

2 heaping tbsp grainy mustard

1 cup crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

sea salt, to taste

2 tbsp honey or agave

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine all ingredients besides the honey and place into two large baking trays. Bake for 1 hr, stirring every 10~15 minutes. Drizzle with honey and bake for another 10~15 minutes until vegetables are tender and caramelized.

Serve with coconut steamed basmati rice or garlic coconut butter grilled naan (above).

 

Lemon Butter Bean Tartines  with Spring Sugar Peas, Butter Lettuce, and Radishes (Bottom Left):

for the Lemon Butter Beans:

1 can (540 ml) white or butter beans, rinsed and drained

1 heaping tbsp grainy mustard

zest and juice of 1 small lemon

2 tsp honey or agave

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, you might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Set aside.

for the tartine assemby:

few slices toasted baguette or spelt or dark rye bread, really anything goes

1 head Boston or butter lettuce, leaves washed and patted dry

1 cup shelled sweet peas, frozen ones are fine, just let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes

2 scallions, thinly sliced

4~5 radishes, thinly sliced

Spread a bit of the bean puree onto the toasted bread, then put the lettuce on (that way the lettuce will actually stay on the tartine). Fill the lettuce with more of the puree and garnish with the peas, scallions, and radish rounds.

Serve  with a strawberry almond milkshake: blend together frozen strawberries + almond milk + agave + vanilla extract

Happy spring cleaning your body, mind, and pantry!

 

They were white, then yellow, and finally brown

Winter is forcing me into a corner slowly. But it’s not annoying or boring – almost as if it’s challenging me. Its eyes, with the shimmer of an icicle dangling from the edge of a roof and its tip catching a bursting ray of sun shooting past, catches mine. In a sort of playful intimidation it draws me in. I’m reluctant to get too close, but a part of me tells me to brave the cold and step outside the door instead of admiring the rolling white mounds piled cheerfully on the other side of the window.

Why don’t I lace up my boots? Why don’t I put on my mitts?

Why, am I afraid? Afraid that after I’ve made up my mind, the snow would melt when I touch it? Am I afraid, that as soon as I wake up to it, winter would retrieve into its deep slumber? Perhaps I am afraid, that the sun tricks me, and the bird’s sing mockery. Or maybe my heart tells me that winter’s coldness will defeat me, and my pride will not allow for that.

Winter, what are you doing?

I’ll figure you out, you just watch me.

Such love has no fear,

because perfect love expels all fear.

If we are afraid,

it is for fear of punishment,

and this shows that we have not fully

experienced his perfect love.

~1 John 4:18

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Ingredients for the roasted cauliflower and broccoli:

1 big head of cauliflower, cut into florets, with the very big ones quartered

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

2 tbsp madras curry powder

1 tsp fine sea salt

3 tbsp avocado or grape seed oil

To roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 435 degrees F, with the rack place in the top third of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with foil.

In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients until all the vegetables are evenly coated. Spread them out on the baking sheets without crowding. Turn each piece so the cut side faces down – this allows the “blooming” top to get really crispy and golden brown. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly charred on the bottom and caramelized on top. Let cool slightly.

Ingredients for the lemon tahini vinaigrette:

4 tbsp tahini

1 large lemon, zest and juice

1 generous tbsp liquid honey or agave

pinch salt, to taste

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl.

Ingredients for the assembly:

1 can chickpeas, drained

1/3 cups sultana raisins (regular is fine too)

2 cups torn flat leaf parsley

To assemble the salad, stir the chickpeas and raisins into the big bowl of the  vinaigrette, then add the roasted vegetables; mix them in gently as they are quite tender.  You can now chill this overnight or up to 2 days if you’re making this ahead, and simply stir in the parsley just before serving.