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Oct. 21 - Vicki's Vegetable Ventures

Posted 10/21/2011 10:20am by Vicki Phillips.

On vegetarianism

Vegetarians intrigue me. I simultaneously admire them yet feel a bit sorry for them for missing out on so many wonderful dishes. I’m always curious as to whether they stopped eating meat because of animal-rights issues or health issues. If the situation is appropriate and it doesn’t seem rude, I ask.

Both my sisters have had on-again, off-again relationships with vegetarianism. They don’t like the idea of eating meat, yet feel awful without it. Two of my good friends are vegetarians: Helen and Marsha. For Helen it was a gradual thing. Over time she slowly began eating less and less meat, decided she felt better without it, and ultimately quit altogether.

Camping pouches

Marsha has been a vegetarian for ages. I gave her some of my vegetables recently when we went out of town. For dinner one night she made breakfast tacos with spinach, jalapeno peppers, red onion and cilantro. Throughout the week she made smoothies with spinach. She concocted a marinara sauce using parsley, oregano and basil. And in a final display of eco-chic, Marsha prepared “vegetarian camping pouches” with carrots, herbs, tomatoes, kale and red peppers.

"It’s a great meal for camping," she reports. "You chop up veggies, tofu, herbs, olive oil, soy … whatever you like. Wrap them in aluminum foil so nothing leaks and throw them over the campfire. They can be prepared well ahead (days) of a camping trip. You can use anything that’s in the fridge that won’t spoil in the cooler."

I do admire Marsha’s commitment. But still, I don’t think I could ever become a vegetarian. As much as I’ve enjoyed all these fresh vegetables this summer, I would miss meatballs, roast pork, grilled lamb chops, fried chicken … and on and on.

On the other hand, I know that the CSA experience has indoctrinated me to a different way of meal-planning. I think of what vegetables we need to use up, then figure out what meat to serve as accompaniment. Seems like a simple tweak, but it has significantly altered mine and Ray’s diets. We’ve even lost a few pounds over the summer!

Freezer surprises

My freezer is stuffed to the brim. Over the past few months, so many dishes had to be frozen because I knew that even more produce would soon arrive.

This past weekend I attempted to take inventory but found the task difficult because some items are labeled and some are not. In my haste to get something in the freezer, I’d throw it in a freezer bag and say, "Oh I’ll remember what this is; no need to label it." Thus, some surprises are in store. But everything will be tasty – that much I do know!


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