While I will openly admit to being a breadophile, I tend to hesitate when aligning myself with more mainstream categories of eating habits. For about 3 years I was “technically” a pescetarian (someone who does not eat meat, but eats fish) – which some people still consider a vegetarian (I do not, for the record). I always found myself qualifying my status as one who abstained from eating land-roaming animals by responding with a,”but I eat fish,” to anyone who would call me a vegetarian outright. I felt like I was lying about vegetarianism if I left that part out, but for the sake of brevity it worked for communicating that I would prefer not to be served chicken, please.
This is not something I think about anymore because these days I eat meat, (which I started to do again after 3 years because I got a very persistent craving for a medium rare steak) but my awkwardness around such labels persists. Slightly reluctantly, I stamp the brand of vegivore on myself because I like what it stands for, even if I don’t like the labeling itself.
As anyone who has spent a day eating with me could tell you, I love vegetables. I love making fresh salads, stir fries, curries, soups, burgers – really anything I can pack a combination of fresh veggies into, I am a fan of eating and cooking. While I enjoy learning about nutrition and do take my caloric intake and overall health into account when preparing meals for myself, I choose vegetables for their taste first and the good feeling I get from eating them (not the self-righteous kind of good either, the physically energized kind of good feeling). Plus, I like a bright colour combination.
For me, vegetables are the stars of most of my meals. I love incorporating meat (and fish too, of course) into my meals, but most of my meals throughout the week tend to be vegetarian, vegetable-based meals. I would rather save a good piece of beef or pork for when I am really craving it. Or else I will use very small doses of extra-tasty meat, like chorizo or prosciutto, to bring rich flavours to vegetable side dishes and salads.
This is my 3rd week of receiving fruit and vegetable delivery from Box Fresh and I feel as though it has brought my vegivore-ism (still awkward) to a new level. I am always excited to discover the contents of my delivery and comb through magazines, cookbooks and websites for meal ideas incorporating my rotating selection of produce.
This week I have made a few dishes that really showcased the fresh, seasonal ingredients I had.
Roasted Corn and Potato Soup (makes 4 servings)
- olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 3 sprigs of thyme, picked
- a dash of crushed red pepper (optional)
- salt & pepper
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 4 or 5 small chat potatoes, diced
- 3 ears of corn, roasted
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Place corn in their husks on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool until they are easy to handle. Peal back the husks and remove the kernels.
2. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil inside a large pot until onions are translucent. Add celery, thyme, salt&pepper and crushed red pepper.
3. Add stock and bring to a boil, then add potatoes and cook for about 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are nearly cooked.
4. Add roasted corn kernels and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
5. Allowing the soup to cool for a few minutes first, put 2/3 of the soup through the food processor. You will have to do this in batches if your food processor is on the small side like mine is. Add puree to the remaining soup and bring back up to a simmer.
6. Garnish with a little grated aged cheddar and ideally, avocado (mine wasn’t ripe yet).
Zucchini Patties (makes 4 servings)
This recipe is adapted from The Greengrocer by Leanne Kitchen. Where she called for parsley and mint, I used basil. I also pre-cooked my onions which she does not do, but I prefer the sweeter, sautéed onion.
- 3 medium zucchini, grated
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp self-raising flour
- 4 tbsp of Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- 2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
(I used 3 tbsp of chopped fresh basil instead of the above two herbs)
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 3 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- olive oil
1. Sauté onions until they are just beginning to turn golden. Put the onion and grated zucchini in a paper towel or clean dish towel and wring out to remove all the juices.
2. Place this mixture and all other ingredients into a large bowl and mix with your hands to a stiff batter.
3. Heat olive oil in a medium sized pan. Place 2-3 tbsp of batter in the pan and press flat. Fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until browned all over.
Ms. Kitchen served these with a yoghurt sauce, but I decided I was more in the mood for a dollop of fresh ricotta, cherry tomatoes and a couple of crispy pan-fried pieces of of chorizo instead.
Below is a quick veggie fry up. I started by sautéing onions and a few pieces of chorizo in paprika and garlic-infused olive oil and then I added cooked chickpeas, fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes and shredded carrot. I cooked covered over a medium heat for a few minutes until warm. It’s a quick and easy concoction that makes a nice lunch with a cup of soup or some crusty bread.
For more on vegivores, check out this New York Magazine article: Vegetables Are the New Meat