Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Chicken Vegetable Stir Fry

Another recipe made with plant-based meat. We used to call it fake meat in our family, but we stopped because it's not fake—it's real food, just made from plants instead of the bodies of dead animals.

Chicken Vegetable Stir Fry

2 T canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, sliced paper-thin
1 inch fresh ginger, sliced paper-thin
1 package Gardein Mandarin chicken (sauce discarded), or 1 to 2 cups other plant-based chicken
1 chopped onion
1 chopped fresh bell pepper, or about 1 c frozen
2 10-oz packages mixed stir fry vegetables (sometimes called Stir Fry Mix, Oriental Vegetables, or Vegetable Medley: contains vegs such as sliced carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower)
2 t cornstarch
1 c boiling water
1 vegetarian bouillon cube
1/4 c reduced sodium soy sauce, or other soy sauce or tamari to taste

Warm oil in skillet or wok on medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook until slightly browned, 3 or 4 minutes. Add chicken and cook around 5 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until soft, 3 or  minutes.

While other things are cooking, put cornstarch and bouillon cube in a bowl. Pour 1 c boiling water over slowly, stirring with a fork, until combined.

Cook frozen vegetables in microwave about 3 minutes, or until warmed though.

Add vegetables and bouillon mix to pan, along with soy sauce. Cook until everything is cooked through. Serve over rice.

Henri Matisse, Vegetables, 1952

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Kim Davis, Fishing Licenses, and Pigs

A friend recently posted this on Facebook. It was shared from the wall of Occupy Food, where it has over 14,000 likes. In case you've been living under a wifi-blocking rock, this is a reference to Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who, citing religious and moral principles, refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even though federal law now requires her to. It's meant as an anti-Kim Davis, and anti-vegan, joke: See how crazy the world would be if we all followed our idiosyncratic beliefs instead of the law? The comments at Occupy Food show this; and the internet is full of different memes and cartoons making the same point. 

The truth is that what is moral and what is legal are not always the same. The founder of Toronto Pig Save has been charged with trespassing for giving water to dehydrated pigs in transport trucks on the way to the slaughterhouse. She's a Christian. Being told it's against the law won't stop her because she believes it's her moral duty to bear witness to their suffering (her organization posts photos and videos of the frightened pigs in the trucks) and try to alleviate it. So what's the difference between someone who ought to follow the law and keep their beliefs out of it, and someone who ought to break a law they think is unjust?

I believe the question to ask is: are they trying to widen or contract the circle of compassion? Are they trying to prevent suffering, or are they increasing suffering by denying rights they themselves enjoy to those they classify as "other"? The latter is what Kim Davis did. But it is also what our society does when we deem it legal and acceptable to harm and kill beings we classify as inferior, as not worthy of the right to life or freedom from harm.

Getting in trouble with the law on account of your beliefs is not, in itself, proof that you're right (see: Kim Davis) or wrong (see: Jesus, Ghandi, etc.) But that doesn't mean there's no way to tell right from wrong. Are you trying to spread compassion and kindness to those who have been left out, or keep it from them? I say: soldier on (probably fictional) vegan county clerk! And everyone else who stands for the disenfranchised "others" whose suffering our society would dismiss or condone.

"I love swimming, I feel so graceful in the water." Photo courtesy of Esther the Wonder Pig.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Chicken Pilaf Casserole

Most of the recipes here are pretty lean, protein-y, and free of processed foods. They feature lentils, beans, nuts, and protein-rich grains such as quinoa. But now I'm going to post a few that contain plant-based meat.

It can be nice to use sometimes to re-create comfort foods, and though it is processed, it's a heck of a lot better than meat made out of dead animals, which is full of mystery corpses, antibiotics, salmonella, feces, and suffering of all kinds. Don't say you can't be vegan because you'd have to eat processed foods. You certainly don't have to (see: most of the other recipes on this site), but if you're missing meat, do yourself a favor and have a Gardein burger or chicken casserole once in a while. 100% shit- and misery-free.

Vegan Chicken and Pilaf Casserole

Fatty, carb-y, salty goodness.

5 T dairy-free margarine, such as Earth Balance or Organic Smart Balance
4 T flour
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1.5 c nondairy milk
1.25 c veg broth (you can just use water + a veggie bouillon cube)
1 package Gardein Mandarin chicken (discard sauce packet), or 2 c of any plant-based chicken
1.5 c cooked pilaf, such as Carolina brand
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
1 green and 1 red bell pepper, chopped
small handful chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Put the chicken in the microwave for two or three minutes so it's at least partly cooked. (It will get thoroughly baked shortly, so exact timing doesn't matter now; you just don't want to add it to your dish while it's frozen solid.)

If you have a casserole dish that can go on the stovetop, melt the margarine in it. If not, use a saucepan. Add garlic and cook for 3 min. Add flour and mix thoroughly until combined. Add milk and broth slowly (at least at first) while stirring, to avoid lumps. Raise heat, bring just to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

If mixture is not yet in casserole dish, transfer it to one now. Cover dish. Bake in oven for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

Ohara Koson, Hen and Two Chicks in Grass, c. 1927
Leave chickens alone.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Baked Goods

All baked goods here.

Vincent Van Gogh, Woman Cutting Bread, 1885