I will eat them all until I do.
After Luca complained that we weren’t being creative enough with our meals, and that everything “tasted American” because of all the butter I use, we decided to try making rice burgers. We didn’t use any recipes, we completely thought this one up on our own, so I thought it could be good to write it down (if I remember what we did).
I started by cooking the rice in some vegetable stock and added some curry powder to the mix. In the meantime I chopped some yellow onions quite finely and tossed them in some oil (not butter this time) with a handful of bean sprouts. I didn’t want to cook them too much because I like to retain the flavor and I didn’t want the sprouts to get soggy. When the rice was done I added it to the bowl of onions and sprouts and grated some cheese in there as well so everything would stick together (that’s what Luca thought it was for, but I just really like cheese). I used Gouda but I guess any kind that will melt would work. We decided its best to let the mixture cool a bit before we try to make patties so it sat there for five to ten minutes as we were preparing the rest of the process. We ended up with four stations. First Luca would form the patty, then give it to me where I dipped both sides in lightly-beaten egg and then put it in a bowl with bread crumbs (we made the crumbs by smashing up skorpor and added salt, pepper, and sesame seeds) and then transferring to the original pan with some more oil in it. We had no expectations, but when they were finished I thought it was one of the best meals we have ever prepared! Extremely delicious, I can’t want to make them again!
It’s what Luca said when he saw my Spinach-Artichoke hot dish. I actually adapted this from a vegan recipe and added real cheese, and also some eggs to make it quiche-like. Actually the only thing I got from the recipe I think was adding breadcrumbs on top. Good idea, that part was delicious! I’m not very good at following recipes!
Well, I haven’t really been blogging lately. I have instead spent my free time thinking about life. Maybe if I come to a conclusion I will post it here. I’ve mostly been thinking about cynicism and the balance between open-mindedness and integrity. Anyway today I took a break from philosophy and so I will catching up on posts that have been building up. A lot will be food-related. Here is my first for the day, about wild rice.
I used to really hate wild rice as a kid. Really hate. To the point where I would have to close my eyes during Uncle Ben’s commercial so I don’t get sick. But I was a kid, who can blame me? I have always been known for pushing boundaries so I decided to acquire a taste for wild rice. I grew up on a Native American reservation in Minnesota so wild rice is abundant. Here in Sweden it is a different story. Last year I was looking for some volunteer work so I was set up with an Art Professor from a university near my home who was coming over with a group of students on a study abroad trip. I wanted to help and in return she surprised me with a bag of local wild rice. What a great opportunity! She also supplied me with her family’s recipe, which I will not share here in case it is special… I was able to make three meals with the amount in the bag, and it was very delicious and easy to like! Acquiring the taste was no trouble at all. Now that I’ve used up the bag I am even craving some more! I will have to buy a huge bag during my next visit to Minnesota.
I can say a useful tidbit about preparation. I normally do not plan my meals in advance, so when I have a craving for something I want to eat it RIGHT NOW which is not a good quality for food that requires soaking. With the last batch I made instead of soaking it overnight I put it in a bowl (see above) and poured boiling water into it and let it sit like that for a couple of hours. When I finally cooked it the grains were still a bit crunchy but I didn’t mind and I actually preferred that kind of texture to mushy-normal-rice. This week however I planned all my dinners so if I keep along this same behavior I could enhance my dinners with more dried food that can also keep longer.
Today in the grocery store I had a revelation, but I will get to that later.
I am in the transition phase of being an omnivore to a vegetarian. I have never really eaten much meat, and some of it I find to be really disgusting. I never cooked much meat for myself and usually chose the vegetarian option when there was one. This wasn’t because of ethical reasons, but simply for my own taste. Recently I have been studying about world development and have been surrounded by people who encourage ethical choices when purchasing food: eco, fair trade, vege, etc. I really admired these people for having the courage and dedication to make such a change in their lives. I partly wanted to be that kind of person and partly wanted the admiration from them in return. I don’t want someone I admire to think I am immoral for the choices I make. I have successfully given up all caffeine from my diet, so I thought it could be easy to simply cut out the meat I rarely eat anyway.
I started with giving up ground beef. I liked the idea of doing this anyway because I have always been paranoid of getting E. Coli and I usually try to nearly blacken my hamburger before I eat it, and all the flavor runs out by then. Also I guess that ground beef is just all the leftover parts of the cow anyway, which could be……ANYTHING!! It agrees with my philosophy to not waste, but it doesn’t agree with my gag reflex.
After going for a week or so without ground beef I just took the plunge. It went okay, I didn’t really crave any meat. But the problem was that I have a husband who loves to have meat at least once a day, and in order to cook meals to satisfy both of us I had to cook a supplement meat thing for him, and pick it out of the food that he cooked for me. Then I decided to change my rules a bit. Whenever I make something for myself, I will not cook meat. But if some meat is offered to me I may not reject it. Is that a lazy vegetarian? Or just an undemanding one? I mean, no one likes to feel bad when they invite a vegetarian over for dinner only to know such a fact after they’ve prepared the best prime rib they’d ever made. And my father lives for hunting and fishing…. I could not disappoint him by refusing to try the new thing he just proudly caught (which is something that has really bonded us in the past…. and actually I think I get a freebee with this one because the animals were free-range). Or to go to Luca’s home and be an even further picky eater than I already am when his family offers me anchovy paste and raw ham (at least now I could have an ethical excuse not to eat it).
So, I guess I concluded I am an easy-going vegetarian. Anyway, I have been looking at some vege and vegan blogs to find some recipes, because I often look for recipes anyway, and now I can be sure there is no meat. I came across one website that listed all the reasons why one should be a vegan. Including: its bad to eat eggs because of this horrible thing, its bad to drink milk because of that horrible thing, and so on. It really made me feel sick! When I was finished I almost gave up everything for good. But then I started to think critically about it, and came back down to reality. Can I imagine myself not baking any more delicious quiche or having my daily bowl of cereal? And then I remembered a thing that settled it: the best cheese I have ever tasted sold out of a van by a charming man behind a church in the Alps. Sounds skeezy, I know, but I worry it has ruined all other cheeses for me, and that this man has driven away into the distance and I will never taste this fantastic cheese again….. that is how delicious it was. I could never give up cheese. I can’t even imagine the thought of it. So there you go, I won’t be a vegan.
Now we get to the point, my grocery store revelation. I was strolling for dinner, and I came across some meatballs. And in that moment my mouth watered and my heart sank at the same moment. Something I used to eat all the time, and trust me here in Sweden even the frozen meatballs are fantastic. I walked past them and went into the next area to buy a new block of cheese, when I saw the cheese of Sweden’s famous brand Arla … now if you don’t know this brand, they put a cartoon cow on just about everything they make. In that moment I remembered the website I read about how milk cows are kept pregnant and their babies are taken from them and after some years they are killed when they can no longer produce and etc. and then I thought, what is the difference between me buying this cheese and me buying the meatballs? Either way a cow is suffering. What is so noble about giving up something but supplementing it with something else that is arguably just as bad? Even if I buy only cheese from cows who are treated ethically, then I go on about this wasting thing. Should the ethically treated milk cows (if there is such a thing) just die of natural causes and be buried instead of eaten? I know that’s not how it works and blah blah unfortunately the world isn’t really like that yada yada…. but really if I’m going to eat cheese then I shouldn’t have a problem with beef, or leather, or cow tongues, or whatever.
But in the end I left the store with this cartoon cow instead of the meatballs, because I decided I still can’t stand the idea of eating whatever leftovers are in that ground beef. But I did buy a steak.
My new favorite food is ginger. I have used it on and off for the past few years, but only recently have I discovered how much I really enjoy it. Now I will share some of my favorite ways to use it.
I used to really dislike the taste of ginger, then a friend of mine bought me a jar of candied ginger
which I nibbled on over time that got me to associate the taste with something good. They last for a really long time, I actually think I still have some in a jar at my parents’ house, but it is probably about time to throw them away….
Now I have been using fresh raw ginger. I bought a root, peeled it, sliced it very thinly, and put it in a plastic bag in the freezer. Once they were frozen I just smashed them a bit with my fist and they broke apart nicely and I also got some into little pieces in which I can conveniently add to meals. A few nights ago we had dinner at an Indian restaurant and we got yogurt on the side, and it inspired me to use some Indian flavors in yogurt. I used plain Greek yogurt, grated some ginger to add to it, and then added some honey and a touch of curry powder. Delicious!! Then I decided to try some ginger in the yogurt with some frozen berries which wasn’t as good, but I accidentally left it outside overnight on the back of my bike and realized I could freeze my own yogurt to fulfill an ice cream craving!
Today my husband made me some tea, which for me is just hot water and some lemon since I do not drink caffeine (and can’t really fathom spending so much money on herbal teas) and I decided to throw a few pieces of the frozen ginger in there as well, and it was really great! The flavor didn’t seep into the water so much, but you could definitely taste it, and once it was finished I had a yummy surprise at the bottom to make me alert again.
Above all, my favorite use for ginger is to chew on it when I am on an airplane. I get really nauseous in the air, especially when we are on the descent, and whenever I try to take an anti-motion-sickness medicine I feel so out of it that there is no way I can navigate myself around an airport. So I usually suffer. But One day I bought sushi at an airport and decided to save the gari for the ride and I don’t know if it was the placebo effect or what, but my nausea was reduced. Not completely gone, but it seemed to have helped. Now I haven’t tried raw ginger yet but my next flight I’m going to pack some of the frozen pieces and give it a try.