Saturday, April 18, 2009

The vegetarian side of things

I know it seems like it's all meat all the time around here. It's not.

I get these fabulous whole chickens and ducks or a pound of ground pork or goat steaks or other meat once a week from our half share in a meat CSA, but that's pretty much it. With the exception of a bit of salami or bacon.

We choose to go for the high-quality meat—and happily pay extra for it—and eat less of it overall. Cheaper, healthier, faster.

But the meat gets a lot of play on the blog. It just seems more exciting. These are the meals I have to plan for, look up recipes for. The bean/tofu/veggie stuff? Easy. Comfortable. Delicious.


Can anyone benefit from knowing that we ate cheese and crackers for dinner the other night? On the patio, without plates?

Even a salad seemed too labor intensive. I brought out the salad spinner and a bowl of olive oil, vinegar, and salt and we dipped our token greens. (This is actually a fantastic way to get a two year old to eat salad. Try it. You can thank me later.)

And a lot of our meals are based on a giant pot of beans. Mary Beth of Salt and Chocolate found making a pot of beans and mess of grain each weekend too labor intensive. I agree, if you're doing this for lunches only. Around here, work lunches are leftovers or peanut butter sandwiches. Period.

But I make this pot of beans for three meals and subsequent lunches. Streamlined indeed.

A chickpea week could look like this.
Sunday night: Dump a lot of beans in Crockpot with water to cover generously. Soak.

Monday morning: Drain beans. Rinse. Put back in Crockpot with bay leaf, dried red chile pepper, smashed garlic clove, a halved onion, plenty salt and pepper. (The picture above shows sliced onion. That's just because we had leftover sliced onion from making pizza the night before.) Turn on low and cook until someone gets home.

Monday night: Salad and bread dinner with lettuce and whatever CSA vegetables/cheese/nuts are in the fridge. This week was blue cheese, radishes, onion scapes, and edible flower mix. Past combos have included black beans, avocados, and Swiss cheese or white beans, marinated artichokes, boiled potatoes, canned tuna, and onion.

Tuesday lunch: Another salad with leftovers from Monday dinner. Olive oil and vinegar dressing carried separately in a small Mason jar to avoid sog.

Tuesday night: My fast, off-the-cuff pasta with chickpeas and greens.

Wednesday lunch: Leftover pasta.

Thursday night: Channa masala (chickpeas warmed again with onion, water, and a spice powder I get from our farmer's market). Bottled chutney and Trader Joe's naan. Raita made with yogurt, cucumber, salt, pepper, and a bit of crushed garlic.
If there are any beans left, they go into the freezer in plastic freezer bags. I don't overfill the bags, just put in enough beans for one meal and some cooking liquid. I tip the bags over slowly while still open to release any air and seal the zip locks when the bags are flat on the counter and empty of air. Then I put the bags on cookie sheets in the freezer to make flat, easy-to-stack rectangles. Does this make any sense? I don't have a photo, but it's such a great way to store liquids in the freezer...

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Oh chickpeas, they are my constant these days!