I tried being a vegetarian once. I also tried riding a motorcycle naked but I didn’t stick with that either.
Okay, that’s a lie. I haven’t tried riding a motorcycle naked. But I’ve seen others do it and it looks damn uncomfortable. I’ll keep my lady bits pleasantly and safely tucked inside their clothes while straddling a vibrating, rolling, thick hunk of machinery thank you very much.
….Hm. This naked motorcycle riding thing is sounding kind of good right now.
Vegetarianism. I tried that once. And while I’m not a veggie anymore, it was an interesting, enlightening and bacon depriving experience. It was also a knee jerk, head turning, visceral reaction to the horrors of the industrial food industry. After 365 days of careful thinking and burger cravings I made the choice not to be a veggie any longer.
I won’t lie. Sometimes we make choices we think are the best choices – the only choices – for us. And then it turns out later that what we really wanted was bacon. Err, something else. And you know what? Fuck it. That’s okay. It’s okay to change our minds, sound like indecisive hypocrites and and falter on our plans. You know why? Because I god damn said so.
I know we’re taught we shouldn’t quit. I know there’s pressure to feel like we know everything. I know we’re supposed to have an idea as to what we want to be when we grow up or which choice is the right choice. But despite what our math teachers taught us (hey Mr. Carlson!), there is no one correct answer. Life is a liberal arts program with multiple correct answers bitches!
Does that make you uneasy? Not the fact that I called you bitches. I mean the fact that any answer could be the right answer. That you’re allowed to and will change your mind about a lot of things. And so will everybody else. Is that scary to you? It’s scary to me.
Whoa. I’m a bit ranty today, aren’t I? Far too ranty for something as simple and delicious and pleasurable as breakfast.
17 Other things I’ve tried and haven’t stuck with:
1. Cooking. No seriously. I worked one full day in a professional kitchen and I was absolutely terrified and totally grossed out. Between the overwhelming fear of losing a finger to the industrial sized mandolin and the congealed vat of mass-produced chicken wings, it just wasn’t for me. So I finished my shift, showered 3 times and then promptly called the kitchen manager to say thank you for the opportunity, but I definitely wouldn’t be back.
2. Getting wasted. Contrary to the amount of cocktails on the blog, my cocktail column in Edible Vancouver, the boozy jokes I incessantly make and the fact that I have a very dirty martini after work each day, I rarely binge drink anymore. At 34 years of age, it hurts too much.
3. Remembering how old I am. I am 34, right?
4. Waiting for permission. With the exception of touching people I don’t know, I generally don’t ask for permission. If I want something I usually go get it. The same goes if I want to quit something. I stop. This is my life. If I waited for someone to give me permission to live it, it wouldn’t happen.
5. Reading the classics. I want to love them. I just don’t. Give me a good YA novel any day.
6. Restricting myself to alcohol only on Saturdays. Every once in a blue moon I think this is a fabulous idea. Silly girl. It rarely lasts longer than a day or two and I’m back to nursing my bourbon night cap. Despite the detrimental effect on my ass size.
7. Learning Spanish. I took a good few courses and used to be able to conduct a fairly decent conversation en español but I haven’t practiced in ages and I haven’t been to Barcelona since 2010. So, yeah.
8. Eating pickles naked. This was something I used to do and highly “relished” when I was single. Once I started living with a man it just seemed oddly erotic and kind of gross at the same time. So, like motorcycle riding, I now enjoy my pickles at least partially robed.
9. Rollerblading. I’m sorry. It’s like skating but with wheels. And I look neither cool nor awesome with wheels strapped to my feet. Even I wanted to kick my own ass.
10. Making excuses for my bad behavior. I think Tony Robbins was the one who told me to “call bullshit on yourself”. I own my choices, for better or for worse. So if I react poorly to a particular situation or am too lazy to make the healthier meal choice or I’m too preoccupied to write a blog post or I don’t follow through with something, I claim it, evaluate how that affects me and/or others and if necessary, apologize. Making excuses takes too much time and we only get so much.
11. Working a Monday to Friday 9-5 schedule. Two words: Hell no.
12. Laundry. Seriously. I haven’t done it in 7 years.
13. Waitressing and bartending. You see some of the very worst parts of humanity doing that job. And I loved almost every minute of it. But onwards and upwards. Please tip your server.
14. Pants. Pants off, life on I always say. Though I do tend to wear a lot of dresses which people think look like I made a lot of effort but it’s really just one big swatch of clothing covering the important parts.
15. Running. Stick me on a bike, ask me to climb a mountain, give me a paddle – I love being active. But I don’t run. Not unless there’s a cougar behind me.
16. Waxing. Ouch.
17. Taking life too seriously. I try to enjoy my blog, my design business and my life. Sometimes that results in me making an ass of myself but whatever – at least I’m laughing. And chances are you are too. If not with me then at me. And I’m okay with that.
So you see? It’s okay to quit. It’s okay to change your mind. To do something different. Because I said so. And I’ve turned out pretty okay for the most part. Right? You know, except for the relentless cursing and incessant need to wear my jammie jams every day. But I’m self employed so I can get away with that.
And if I hadn’t been a veggie, I wouldn’t have come up with this vegetarian breakfast recipe for fava beans, kale and sweet potatoes on bread because I would have never gotten off the bacon wagon. And that would have been a freaking Greek tragedy because this dish is probably my new favourite breakfast, brunch, lunch, lupper, supper, and snack.
I recommend preparing the fava beans the day before because they’re finicky little beany bastards. But oh so worth it. I had them for the first time in Barcelona with Jamon, garlic and wine. And have been hooked ever since. Every Spring when they show up at the farmer’s market I do one of those not so serious dances and giggle like a fan girl on crack. Yes, fava beans are my crack. Which is also why I toss them in pasta with chilies and shaved Parmesan, scoop them into risotto with fresh peas and lots of Italian parsley, serve them on ricotta gnudi with homemade tomato sauce, and slather them on toast. Bean fiend? I think so.
Vegetarian Breakfast: Poached Eggs with Spring Fava Beans, Kale and Sweet Potato on Bread
- 2 - 3 Lbs fresh fava beans
- 3 Leeks, halved cleaned and sliced
- 1 Bunch of kale, stems discarded and leaves roughly chopped
- 1 Large sweet potato or yam, peeled and chopped into 1" pieces
- 1 Garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1 Lemon for juice
- 1/4 C shaved Parmesan cheese
- Lil butter
- Good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper
- 4 Pastured eggs
- Crusty bread, to serve
To Prepare the Fava Beans:
- Snap off the top end of the bean and gently peel off the seam (like fresh peas). Then gently wiggle your fingers inside to open the pod. Pop out the beans and discard the shells to the compost.
- Now here's the time consuming part: the beans are tricky and have a second shell. You'll need to bring a large pot of water to a boil, dump the beans in, boil for about a minute to loosen the second casing and then immediately drain and run cold water over the beans to stop the cooking process and maintain the brilliant green color. Now you can carefully made a tear in the outer coating near the "bum" of the bean (when you see them you'll know what I mean) and just gently pinch the bean out of it's casing. Tada! Bright green broad beans! Again, discard the shell.
To Make the Dish:
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the peeled and chopped sweet potato or yams into a baking dish and drizzle generously with olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Cover and bake in the oven for about 30 - 40 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- As the sweet potatoes or yams cook, prepare the rest of the meal. Drizzle some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once shimmering but not smoking, add the leeks and dust with salt. Stir regularly until soft and beginning to show some colour.
- Add the kale and season well with salt and pepper. Cover and allow the kale to wilt, continuing to stir often.
- Once kale is tender, add the garlic, cook a further minute and a half. Take care not to burn the garlic or you'll end up with a bitter flavour in the finished dish.
- Toss in the prepared fava beans. Saute about 5-7 minutes or until beans are tender.
- Add a blot of butter, the lemon juice and season to taste, topping with the shaved Parmesan.
- Dump the contents of the pan onto a serving platter and cover with a lid or foil to keep warm. Wipe the pan out and fill with 3 inches of water. Bring to a very light boil/gentle simmer. Gently slide the eggs into the water and allow to cook about 2-3 minutes for soft poach, 3-4 minutes for medium, or 4-5 for hard. Lift carefully with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste while hot.
- If desired, toast the bread. Serve all up on a table and let everyone build open faced sandwiches.
Cracking the eggs into individual bowls ensures you'll slide them into the water gently and at the same time so they keep their round shape. A bit of vinegar in the egg poaching water also helps. Be gentle with them as you drop them in to make sure the whites don't disperse too much and only allow the water to come to a light simmer
The fresher the eggs, the better the whites will stay together.