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Vegan

Minimalist Baker Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos

Spicy Plantain Black Bean Tacos

Of course, it’s Minimalist Baker

Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan
Serves: 4

Ingredients

PLANTAINS

Make sure your plantains are deep yellow with brown spots and tender to the touch. Otherwise, their flavor won’t be as developed and they can be chewy in texture.

  • 2 very ripe large plantains, peeled and cut on an angle into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp (18 g) coconut sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste) 1/8 tsp cayenne[/list]

BLACK BEANS

  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans (if unsalted, add more salt)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne (or chili powder)[/list]

TACOS

  • 8-10 yellow or white corn tortillas or taco shells

FOR SERVING optional

  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and sliced
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • Hot sauce / salsa
  • Lime juice

Instructions

  1. Add black beans to a small saucepan over medium heat and add spices. Once it reaches a low boil, turn heat to low to keep warm, stirring occasionally.
  2. Peel and chop plantains and heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add plantains to a mixing bowl and toss with spices.
  4. Once pan is hot, add coconut oil and plantains and spread into a single layer. Sauté on one side for 2-3 minutes, then flip and sauté on the other side for 2-3 minutes more. Turn down heat if browning too quickly. You’re going for a caramelized effect. Set aside.
  5. In the meantime, prep desired toppings and warm tortillas by wrapping in a damp cloth or paper towel and warming in the microwave for 20 seconds (or place tortillas directly on an oven rack for 1-2 minutes in a 350 degree F oven).
  6. To assemble, top tortillas with black beans, plantains and desired toppings. I preferred salsa, hot sauce, red onion, cilantro and jalapeño. Ripe avocado would also make a great addition.[/list]

Best when fresh. Serves 3-4 generously.

Minimalist Baker | Roasted Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad

Well, I definitely need to make this about 350 times.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

SALAD

  • 2 small (or 1 large) organic sweet potatoes (~200 g), sliced into 1/2-inch rounds with skin on
  • 1 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry (~1 1/4 cups drained)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) grape seed or melted coconut oil, divided
  • 2-3 Tbsp (14-21 g) Tandoori Masala Spice Blend*
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp (4 g) coconut sugar
  • optional: 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 large bundle (12 stems) rainbow chard* or kale*, chopped, large stems removed
  • optional: 2-3 Tbsp roasted lightly salted or unsalted pumpkin seeds[/list]

DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup (56 g ) tahini
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 small lemon, juiced (2 Tbsp, 30 ml)
  • 1-2 Tbsp hot water to thin[/list]

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Add chickpeas to a small mixing bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp oil, tandoori masala spice blend, salt, coconut sugar, and turmeric (optional). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, making sure they’re well-salted and thoroughly seasoned. Arrange on half of the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Add sweet potato rounds to the other half of the baking and drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp oil – toss. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and arrange in a single layer.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven to toss chickpeas and flip sweet potatoes to ensure even cooking. Return to oven and cook for 10-15 minutes more, or until sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown, and chickpeas are firm and crispy.
  5. In the meantime, add tahini, lemon juice and maple syrup to the mixing bowl you used earlier (for the chickpeas) and whisk to combine. Thin with hot water until pourable. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  6. Once the potatoes and chickpeas are done roasting, let cool for a few minutes. To serve, divide chard or massaged* kale between serving dishes and top with sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds (optional). Serve with dressing on the side.

Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep covered separately for 2-3 days.

Vegans are terrorists! They’re worse than Obama!

I really should be used to the sorts of idiotic misrepresentations of veganism and the animal rights movement that mainstream media traffic in, but I ran across THIS today…

Daniel Andreas San Diego, 33, who has ties to animal rights extremist groups, is wanted for his alleged involvement in two bombings in the San Francisco, California, area, according to Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers of the Boston Division. DesLauriers spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.  

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/11/fbi_fugitive_terror_suspect_da.html 

While conflating property destruction with “terrorism” – in violent actions in which no beings were harmed – is itself a bit of needless hysteria, it’s at least an unexceptional part of the conventional thinking; in capitalism, profit and property ownership “rights” trump even concern for human need, more often than not, so it’s not unusual that they’d unquestioningly swallow the “terrorism” meme. As usual, the anti-AR, anti-vegan brigade will want to jump on this; no, I’m not advocating property destruction, but no, property destruction in and of itself is not automatically terrorism, either – it depends entirely on what is being destroyed, and why. From MassLive’s updated report:

On August 28, 2003, two bombs exploded approximately one hour apart on the campus of Chiron, a biotechnology corporation in Emeryville, according to the FBI. DesLauriers said the second bomb may have targeted first responders. 

Then, on September 26, 2003, one bomb strapped with nails exploded at Shaklee, a nutritional and beauty products corporation in Pleasanton. San Diego was indicted in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, in July of 2004.

Sounds scary, right? If bombs are exploding at biotech and cosmetics firms, it must be terrorism, because, well, we can’t let the freaky animal rights movement actually interfere with turning a profit on animal exploitation to ‘test’ cosmetics or animal experimentation, now can we? Even the updated report doesn’t claim that the events (now) cited caused harm to any sentient beings, and it’s possible that both acts are intentional acts of monkeywrenching. But the second bomb at Chiron targeted the first responders, right?

So says the FBI, and they have no interest in misleading anyone about this, now do they?

Monkeywrenching isn’t terrorism. It’s not a tactic I advocate or think is useful, but it’s lazy, hysterical nonjournalism to blindly accept the state’s claims of terrorism without actually digging any deeper. 

But, of course, it gets better.

San Diego is known to cook, bake and follow a vegan diet, eating no meat or food containing animal products. In the past, he has worked as a computer network specialist and with the operating system LINUX. DesLauriers said he may make his living with these skills. 

If he has continued his vegan lifestyle, San Diego also wouldn’t wear anything made from animals, such as leather.

So, let’s unpack, shall we?

If you see somebody  from a distance wearing pleather (which you’ll be able to distinguish from regular animal skin by magic, or something) and you psychically discern that the veggieburger he’s eating contains no meat, dairy or egg, and he announces his Latin sounding name – which will immediately set off alarm bells, since he’s light-skinned, and won’t have a regular American name… he … MIGHT … BE … A … VEGAN … TERRORIST!  Maybe just be wary of anyone in hemp shoes with a Latin sounding name, who fits the general description of…

San Diego is white with a light complexion, six feet tall, 160 pounds, wears eyeglasses…

Because, well, you know. PETA. Gives money to the ALF. Or something I heard, somewhere.

Fomenting bullshit hysteria counts as reportage? Really?

Dharma, nonviolence and vegansim

In a not-unexpected turn of events, I ended up in a back-and-forth with one of the many Gary Francione citing vegan advocates on twitter who seem hell bent on misappropriating every eastern religion they can find in order to claim that faith traditions thousands of years older than the modern animal rights movement inherently require veganism. I’d love it if it were true, but, of course, it isn’t, and all of the cherry-picking of the dharma in the world to try and make this claim won’t make it true. Things started here:

@wchanley There’s no moral justification for anyone, particularly Buddhists, to continue the violence of animal use. Veganism is the answer
http://twitter.com/#!/LiveVegan/status/82433912810385408

While I obviously have no issue with vegan advocacy, as an animal rights, social justice issue, I did take exception to LiveVegan’s characterization that there was some special vegan onus on Buddhists. I tried explaining that the monastic rules required that animals not be killed specifically for the consumption of monks and nuns, and that working as a butcher would be wrong livelihood, and that taken to its conclusion, dharma tradition could create a vegan future, as a result.

This seemed to fall on predictably deaf ears, as LiveVegan apparently googled for a few passages from some cherry-picked sutras that suited his/her taste and decided I was unaware that the Lankatavara Sutra among some other mahayana sutras criticize meat eating. But that’s the very point he/she was missing. Some mahayana sutras criticize meat eating; they do not imply or require veganism, and these sutras have not traditionally been used as a foundation for ethical veganism within Buddhist communities.

The problem, here, and it’s especially galling among GLF followers, is that folks don’t ever seem to know enough about the faith traditions they’re citing; some mahayana traditions encourage vegetarianism on some canon grounds, but they do not – as of yet – require veganism, no matter how much I’d like it if more people went vegan.

LiveVegan then decided to chuck his/her religious justification altogether, claiming that it was irrelevant what any religion had to say on the matter (which rather begs the question why single Buddhism out for special criticism in the first place). Trying to have it both ways instead of admitting you don’t actually know what you’re talking about is annoying, to be sure, but alas, unsurprising.

The whole exchange is on my Twitter feed if you’re interested, but the basic point is this: vegan advocates, do you really need to misappropriate Buddhism, Jainism or some other faith tradition in order to advocate veganism and animal rights? Are your arguments for animal rights not strong enough to stand on their own, without trying to claim that some religion you (very likely) don’t actually practice says things you want it to say (regardless of the facts) about veganism? Why eastern traditions in particular? Because Western religious chauvinism paints them as incense-waving, “exotic” pacifists?

Veganism as a moral position, and animal rights, as a social justice issue, are worthy enough to stand on their own merits. They don’t need your flawed claims about the dharma in order to be valid on their own.

“Weekday Vegan” as a commitment to animal rights?

Over on www.thisdishisvegetarian.com I ran across a new-ish pseudo-vegan rationalization in this (I’m sure) well-intentioned piece by Elizah Leigh, in which she purports to show all she’s learned being a “weekday vegan.” This makes about as much sense as Mark Bittman’s “vegan before six” construct, which is to say none at all, but the thing that jumped out at me were Leigh’s stated reasons for her “vegan” transition: 

My motivation for test driving weekday veganism involves so much more than a concern for my own personal health and well-being. The first issue that weighs heavily on my mind is the factory farming industry’s utter lack of regard for the countless living creatures that are perceived as ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ commodities.

http://www.thisdishisvegetarian.com/2011/01/10-things-ive-learned-about-being.html

How this squares with being non-vegan on the weekends is anyone’s guess, but it still makes no sense at all. As Leigh herself allows, she’s only “test-driving” her own version of semi-veganism. This totally ignores the ethical position that underlies veganism itself. We have to oppose this if we’re ever to have any chance of communicating that ethical position itself. If veganism can be “test driven” (and part-time, at that) then it’s just another diet. The ethics don’t much matter, here. 
Think it through: would we applaud this construction on any other sort of social justice claim? Can one claim to be opposed to racism or sexism “part-time?” Can one claim that the treatment of animals weighs heavily on one’s conscience and then that moral concern can be discarded on a whim, when the almighty tastebuds win out, but hey, we’re limiting it to the weekends, so let’s all join hands and call this progress for animal rights…and make no mistake, Leigh would like folks to think at least part of her concern is, indeed, animal rights. 

I know that I am not presenting a model view of veganism, but as someone who is incredibly moved by health, environmental and animal rights issues, I want to make a sincere effort to change my lifestyle habits.

Then why not make a sincere effort? Does your need for milk chocolate or whatever your trigger food really is justify animal consumption so long as you tell yourself you’re making “progress” by limiting your consumption to Saturdays and Sundays? Are you really committed to the RIGHTS of nonhumans you exploit for your trivial tastes? Can you really rationally make this claim? 
Of course not.
Now then: if the folks at This Dish had called the piece “Weekend Vegetarianism” or something similar, there wouldn’t be much point in objecting. Given that “vegetarian” has become so diluted as to be meaningless, I’d have (regretfully, perhaps) left it be. But words matter. Meaning matters. An ethical consideration that animals are not ours to eat or wear was why Donald Watson coined the term vegan in the first place. Veganism is not a diet. It’s not about eating healthier, or living in a smaller ecological footprint or even reducing factory farming. It may incidentally include those things, but ultimately, veganism is a moral commitment that animals do not exist for us to exploit for food, clothing and trivial, easily avoidable human conveniences. Any claim to “part time” veganism removes this ethical consideration and makes veganism just another fad diet that one can try on for size when one wishes to lose some weight or “get healthy” or “live green” or other such ego-fulfilling cliches…but ultimately it simply means that the folks promoting this notion haven’t fully considered animal rights ethics, no matter how much they may claim to support those ethics. 

Isn’t it about time you reconsidered eating animal flesh?

From the PETA Files:

A meat processing plant in British Columbia found itself in deep doo-doo after a whistleblower let it slip that the company had covered up test results that found dangerous E. coli in a product sample. E. coli resides in animals’ intestinal tracts and ends up in meat when—and there’s no nice way to put this—their guts are ripped open during slaughter and their feces spill out onto their flesh, contaminating it.

Isn’t it about time? Go vegan.

NPR Says “Vegans Take America”

NPR affiliate OnPointRadio just posted a show on veganism. Looks like a great panel:

Kim O’Donnel, journalist, chef and author of The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook. Her food column for USA Today is Family Kitchen.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of the “Post Punk Kitchen” blog and author of the new book Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. You can read an excerpt.

Mollie Katzen, best-selling cookbook author. Her books include Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

Susan Nitzke, chair of the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Wisconsin, where she also is a researcher in diet and nutrition. For nutritional information on vegan diets, she recommends going to the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.

See the show page: http://www.onpointradio.org/2011/01/vegans-america

(Via Vegan Soapbox)