Friday, April 1, 2011

Rustic White Beans with Leeks and Mushrooms and Cheese Grits with Corn

I thought I might do an "I gave up veganism because seriously, you can't get enough protein without teh meatz!!!!" April Fool's post but this morning I had trouble contacting the pre-vegan portion of my brain that most likely once upon a time adhered to a similar and ridiculous miseducation.

Instead, one more time for the cheap seats in the back, I thought I'd elaborate on my favourite vegan-friendly protein - a big pot of beans slowly simmered (never canned) with a light seasoning, some mushrooms (oh my GOD, more protein!?) and leeks.

Leeks are an often neglected produce aisle delicacy but are a fairly convenient alternative to the traditional onion. Provided they are stored properly, they can last up to a couple months in your refrigerator.

Combined with the simmered beans, some cremini mushrooms, thyme and tarragon this becomes a hearty but light bean dish. The recipe is from Veganomicon and you can find a digitial copy by clicking here.

Now, vega(wo)man cannot live on beans alone, and Nava Atlas' recipe for Cheese Grits with Corn from Vegan Express (sorry, no digital copy - buy the book!) makes a wonderful accompaniment. Although I am fairly certain that I used the wrong kind of grits.

Here in the Great White North, we aren't all that up to the happenings of southern cooking. I searched high and low for standard issue grits and found nothing (and by high and low I mean I went to two stores, got frustrated, and gave up). Instead, I used "corn grits" which are always in abundance in Kitchener stores and, as an avid polenta enthusiast, my kitchen cupboard.

If you haven't tried mixing Daiya into your polenta/grits/heaven in a bowl yet, you are missing out!

While they may have been the wrong kind of grits, I think that for those of us living in northern towns, corn grits are a fine substitution, especially since you are mixing corn kernals into the final product anyway.

So, there you have it. Beans are where I get my protein, and grits/polenta are where I get my joy.

And if you're still looking for a prank to pull today, might I suggest some Gardein, some Daiya, telling your favourite omnivore that they are eating meat and cheese and then surprising them with how EASY and AMAZING and FULFILLING la vida vegan is?!


Mushrooms Canada said...

Mushrooms and Leeks are the perfect match!
- Brittany

Bliss Doubt said...

I'm glad you didn't do that "I gave up veganism" post. I hate April Fool's day, seriously.

Plus, I'm seeing a lot of vegan blogs doing "I'm not vegan any more" for real, and wondering if it's vegan fatigue of always being judged, always being asked hostile questions about your choices, having to pass on party and wedding food, having to order carefully in restaurants.

I don't judge anybody. I'm not vegan, but I try to always make the most humane choices in my diet. For example, I don't eat bananas because they are a slave crop in the world, the subject of multinational fruit corporations being involved in the control or even the overthrow of foreign governments. There's no point in using up space here to talk about that, but I read a lot (and drive myself nuts). Think of the recent weird coup in Honduras, where Zelaya was taken from his bed and removed from the country.

I read vegan blogs for inspiration, recipes, ideas, and just because it always seems like the vegans are living better, more conscious, more purposeful lives than I am, and yours is one of my favorites.

Mary said...

Mushrooms - definitely!

Bliss - Thank you for your constant support of TIV! I always love getting your comments and hearing what you have to say about what's going on in my kitchen. :)
Vegan fatigue is a very, very real thing. Activist fatigue in general, I think - knowing that while you are doing a lot you are still not doing as much as you want and on top of that you feel like everyone is watching you, just waiting for you to slip up and carrying a lot of guilt if you do make a mistake or you hear of a new social problem that you weren't even aware of and subsequently not knowing what to do and how much more change you can make in your life. The truth is that as long as we are on this earth, we are a detriment in some way - it's sad, but it's true - there is no way to be absolutely one million percent ethical in every decision you make. Unless you decide to abandon mainstream society altogether and even then, it is difficult to not ever act in self interest in every single circumstance. Self interest isn't necessarily a bad is a primal reflex that all animals are programmed with however the difference is that humans take it to a whole other level and self interest becomes less about necessity than it does about desire. For me, it is all about conscious intent...wanting to be and striving to bethe most ethical person you can possibly be and knowing that you aren't perfect and there is more out there to be doing but not using that as an excuse to do nothing. It took me a long time to accept that there are unethical components to my life and there most likely always will be, despite my more sincere and conscious efforts but just because that utopia most likely will never exist it doesn't mean I should stop working towards it.

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