Thursday, January 29, 2009

I (heart) Leftovers...

A casual conversation at work today started me thinking about time. Not in a profound 'What Is The Nature of Time?' or 'Are We Living a Post-Temporal Reality?' kind of way, but ruminating more along the lines of how chronically busy people are and how they seem to have little time to actually cook.

And, unpopular as this observation may prove to be, it seems to me that time is not really the issue - motivation is. Let me explain....

My friend at work was saying she was pushed for time to actually cook from scratch but was uncomfortable relying on frozen/canned/packet foods. She is a busy person, works full-time and hard, has a life and myriad responsibilities and is probably pretty typical in this regard. Anyways, she'd noticed my lunch (leftovers from last night's dinner) and made flattering comments on how good it looked. And so I launched into the talk about how cooking fresh food does not necessarily have to be more time consuming than eating convenience foods.

But it quickly became apparent to me that actually this is not necessarily so.

And thinking about it all a little more, I realised that I am fighting a losing battle trying to convince someone in this argument. It will *always* be quicker to stop at McDonald's on the way home or throw an oven-ready pizza in the microwave than to put together a home-cooked dinner - whether vegan or otherwise. But as the light dawned, it also hit me that the question needs to be reframed. It should be positioned not as 'Do I have time to cook something for dinner tonight?' but rather as 'Do I have time to be sick later in life?'.

Because every vegetable I chop, every leaf of spinach I wash, every bean I rinse is an investment not only *of time* at that moment but an investment *in time* for my own future.

And that is motivation for me.

Oh, and food like this too....

Nava Atlas' Seitan and Polenta Skillet with Fresh Greens.

It starts with these:

1 tube polenta, sliced and quartered
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 lb seitan, cut into strips (actually I used a couple of fauxsages instead)
4-6 stalks of bok choy, sliced
5-6 oz baby spinach
4 scallions, sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

And it's simpicity itself!

1. Saute the polenta wedges in a little of the olive oil and set aside.
2. Heat the remaining oil and soy sauce and saute the seitan for about 5 mins. Add in the bok choy, spinach and scallions.
3. Cover and cook until the greens are nicely wilted.
4. Spinkle the vinegar over the greens mix and fold in the cooked polenta and sun-dried tomatoes.
5. Season with salt and pepper if you like and serve.

Like this:

I added a few small red garlicky potatoes and the meal was complete. Plus there was enough for the now somewhat celebrated 'leftovers'.....

Bon appetit!
....and stay vegan, friends!