Vegetarian For 8 Days

17 Sep

Think Thursday

9 Sep

I decided I was going to make sure this blog had a weekly column/video that would convince me (and eventually you… or, whatever) to become a vegetarian year round because, come on, so far BACON wins – am I right?!?   I had it all planned out.  It was going to be called ‘Think Thursday’ and I was going to come up with an article or video that I thought was absolutely ridiculous would give me some justification for becoming a vegetarian.

All I can say is… if you EVER look at the following video the same way and continue to eat poultry… God… well, I’d love to retaliate but… I’m starting a trend of running out of things to eat, aren’t I?

Nuba – Authentic Lebanese Cuisine

8 Sep

There are three basic food groups in our home:  Red meat, Red Wine, and Sauces (we’re not fussy).  At work the situation is entirely different.  I work with some granola types (non-lesbian, even!) that require meatless alternatives when it comes to lunch at the office.  I’ve got to say, I have eaten at an authentic Lebanese joint called Nuba many times and loved it, not even realizing that I wasn’t eating meat.  If you live in Vancouver, you need to go.  You won’t be disappointed, vegetarian or not.  I’d even tell my redneck uncles to put down their guns, leave the carcasses in the back of the truck, and come on over (I would also tell any men wearing skinny jeans and girls with tattoos to exit immediately if this ever happens.  You will know when it is happening and believe me, it is for your own safety).

The menu has about 33 items, not including beverages and their fresh juice bar.  22 of those are strictly vegetarian and you freak vegan people will also be able enjoy being able to opt between several choices.  I usually go for the Najib’s Special Pita which wraps a warm tortilla around crispy cauliflower, sea salt, lemon, and tahini.  I’ve also had their Falafel Pita which is delicious.  Apart from that, I really haven’t strayed because I haven’t had a need to.  You can get either option as a pita or as a plate, including rice or potatoes.

They have several locations but their Seymour Street location (at Davie) is about a 1 minute walk from work so we’re usually there.  The only negative I can say about this place is that you will never find a seat if you arrive after 11:45 a.m. and the staff have no problem taking their time in making your dish.  There are times when we’ve had to had to start a meeting waiting for our takeout because we had been there half an hour.  Here are there other locations (equally as busy):

Cafe Nuba:  1206 Seymour Street (at Davie) 778-371-3266

Nuba Restaurant:  207 West Hastings (at Cambie) 604-688-1655

Cafe Nuba:  146 East 3rd (at Main) 604-568-6727 (This location just opened and I’ve never been but I’m assuming it’s as much or a gong show as the other two).

Even if this wasn’t close to work, it would be a definite staple.  So good and definitely a hit with everyone in the crowd.  Best part is, you leave full and it cost you under $10.

Day Number 1, Vegetarian Meal Number 1

7 Sep

I’ve got to say, this vegetarian thing might not be so bad (did I mention it’s day 1?).  Since I really didn’t have any reason to stray from the recipes suggested by the website I spoke of in my last post, I decided to make Tomato-Curry Lentil Stew.  Now, I need to come clean.  I didn’t complete the grocery shopping like I said I was going to do yesterday.  I did, however, make good on going out for lunch with my partner and ordered a massive burger topped with short ribs at Romer’s Burger Bar.  No I’m not kidding.  Cover your eyes animal lovers!  The deliciousness of the next picture will burn your retinas!  Oh, RELAX!  The beef is ALL NATURAL!

Anyway, I found a recipe that I could make with the food we had in the house.  The only problem I ran into was that we had a Costco amount of cans of diced tomatoes but no stewed tomatoes.  After looking up the difference, I learned that stewed tomatoes were cooked with onions and peppers while the diced tomatoes were, uh, diced.  We had a green bell pepper in the fridge.  Problem solved.

After making a mean stew or two in my time (of the carcass variety), I thought it best to cook it the night before.  Basically, you throw everything in a pot, cook the hell out of it, and eat it.  I tasted it a few times just before putting it in the refrigerator for the night.  OK, a few things.  First, if you plan on making this the night you are going to eat it, you are going to be PISSED.  It tasted like ass and needs the night for the flavors to marry.  Second, it is dying for some acid.  I squeezed half of a fresh lemon into it and that seemed to do the trick.  Third, quadruple the amount of spice it calls for.  Good lord, are vegetarians not allowed to eat food that tastes like something?  It was still pretty weak when I went to bed but at that point, my belly was still full from the roasted chicken and mashed potatoes we just ate for dinner.  No, I’m not kidding.

After work today. I threw it on the stove and warmed it up.  It was pretty damn good.  A bit of sour cream and some freshly ground pepper made it even better.  I asked my partner whether or not I should make it again.  The answer was “Sure.”  People, we have a winner.  Not amazing by any stretch of the imagination but easy and nice to come home to after a day of work when you don’t feel like cooking.  Mind you, I’m not sure if my partner’s critique has any merit.  Here is a picture of our bowls side by side.

That mountain you see in the background is a pile of leftover chicken.  No, I’m not kidding.  Oh, and now is as good a time to introduce you to a permanent fixture in the kitchen whenever something is being prepared.  Our piece of shit that just chewed off the back of my $300 shoes little nugget, Walter.

Getting Started

6 Sep

I mean, what’s the problem?  He’s ASKING to be eaten.

Every meal of my adult life (until now, I suppose) has consisted of opening the freezer, selecting a frozen body part, slathering it in Bullseye and throwing it on the BBQ.  I mean, seriously.  I am really green (no pun intended) when it comes to vegetarianism.  The hard part isn’t getting rid of what you can’t have are choosing not to eat.  The hard part is figuring out what the hell to replace it with.  All that’s going through my mind right now is emaciation (good thing I’m 50 lbs. overweight) and lettuce.  I literally Googled ‘Vegetarian’ and ‘Recipes’ to figure out how to start.  The very first hit was a website that listed everything you need to make 20 vegetarian meals.  Hey, if you’re rolling your eyes at me why don’t you go brew yourself a cup of ethically grown, organic coffee, spray on some patchouli, slip on your Crocs, check your PETAFOREVER Twitter account, and come back to this post with some recipe ideas.  According to the site, the essential items you need to become a vegetarian are as follows:

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Tahini
  • Garbanzo Beans (Canned)
  • Black Beans (Canned)
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato Puree
  • Celery
  • Raw Jalapeno Peppers
  • Spinach (am I wrong, or do these ALL sound like accompaniments so far?!)
  • Onions (Red, White, Green)
  • Garlic
  • Bell Peppers (Green, Red, Yellow)
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • White Rice
  • Eggs
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Cheddar Cheese

Right.  Seems doable although I can’t imagine what the hell I’ll be eating, unless of course they are expecting that each of these items consist as a meal.  I kept reading and learned that OBVIOUSLY I had the following items in my pantry, which I would also need if I was planning to cook the 20 recipes:

  • Bread Crumbs
  • Baking Powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Sugar
  • Oil (Peanut, Olive, Canola)
  • Vinegar (Red, White)
  • White Wine (OMG… if I was Catholic, I would TOTALLY make the Sign of the Cross right now!)
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Soy Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Curry Powder
  • Curry Paste
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin (Seeds, Ground)
  • Parsley (Dried, Fresh)
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Oregano
  • Dried Thyme
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Ground Turmeric
  • Dried Red Pepper Flakes
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Bay Leaves

Still not sure what I’m going to eat but I was impressed that of the 48 items from both lists, we have 30 in our kitchen.  Amazing (and white wine isn’t even one of them, thank you very much.  For you information, we finished all three bottles last night).  Time to go to pick up the ingredients we don’t have and figure out what what to make for our my (I just noticed a filet mignon thawing in the fridge.  Looks like this will be a solo venture) inaugural dinner tomorrow and I think I just might swing by HERE on the way home.  What?  A guy can have his ‘Last Supper’ can’t he?