Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meat Misogyny: Sexual Politics of Meat Chic?

Over at I respond to four recent images that have been sent to me. I write: So many images, references, newspaper articles and other manifestations of the sexual politics of meat have been flooding in, that we need a moment just to see them all in one place. Warning: be prepared to be depressed or outraged or that strange combination of both that results from living in opposition to the dominant culture! (I include the links as they were sent to me.)

One of the things I notice is the recurrence of structuring dominance into the images in one way or another; blatantly or subtly, it's there.

The sexual politics of meat just keeps circulating. See the full blog here: 
Meat Misogyny: Sexual Politics of Meat Chic?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Vegan Y'all/Shirley's Moussaka

Let me confess at the start: I didn't expect to like this recipe. I vaguely remembered moussaka pre-1974, and I didn't think potatoes would work in it. So, I postponed trying this recipe. And I waited too late. Now I can't ask Shirley about a few things in this recipe.

But, oh my gosh, my friends who still eat dead animals LOVED this recipe. I cooked it one day and served it the next so that all the flavors intensified.

Shirley writes, "Moussaka is a Greek signature dish with many variations.  Typically ground lamb, eggs and cheese are used.  This recipe calls for veggie ground beef but it can just left out entirely, if desired.  While potatoes were not used originally the potatoes in this recipe make it really good but you could use zucchini instead or in addition.  Even people who think they don’t like eggplant will like this recipe.  

"If you do not a have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender, you will need to soak the cashews for an hour or up to overnight before blending.  

"Read these directions through before starting."

Shirley advises to allow time for salting eggplants slices.  But then she says, "This is not an absolutely necessary step but is recommended to take bitterness out of eggplants." I hate salting eggplants and I didn't do it. 

Note that she calls for 3 medium to large eggplants. I had two large eggplants and there is no way my casserole dish would have held anything else! This is something I would have asked her about. The other thing I changed was that I used a pound of mushrooms instead of half of a pound.

The seasonings are wonderful!

Greek Moussaka
Serves 8-10

salt and olive oil
3   medium to large eggplants, stem end cut off and sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch
6 - 8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1  tablespoon extra olive oil
1   cup chopped onion
1   medium red bell pepper, chopped
8-oz. package mushrooms, chopped or quartered 
1   14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2   tablespoons tomato paste
1   package ground beef style veggie meat, optional (Boca crumbles, Yves, Light Life)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
1   teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon salt - or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon each: cinnamon  and nutmeg

Béchamel Sauce:
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 & 1/2 cups water
2  tablespoons cornstarch
1  teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1.  Sprinkle salt on eggplant slices and allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour in a colander, then rinse and pat dry. Or ignore this step.

2.   Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place eggplant and potato slices on an sprayed baking sheet and brush them with oil.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  You will probably have to use two baking sheets. (Note--it took four baking sheets for both potatoes and eggplants!)

3.  While eggplants are roasting, sauté onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or so.

4.  Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste until mixed.  Add veggie ground beef and parsley, cumin, salt and pepper and cinnamon and nutmeg. 

5.  Spray the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.   Add a layer of eggplant slices, then a layer of potato slices.  Add veggie ground beef mixture then cover with potato slices, then the rest of the eggplant slices.

6.  Make Béchamel Sauce:  Blend Béchamel ingredients together and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. (Note: you don't have to do this over low heat, which can take a long time.) Pour sauce over eggplant.

7.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 30 to 35 minutes.  Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Leftovers are good the next day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Vegan Y'all/Southwestern Corn Salad Olé

Of this beautiful dish, Shirley wrote, "This colorful, delightful low-fat salad is perfect for pot lucks, picnics or a summer luncheon or even a Thanksgiving dish.  It keeps well.  It is worth the trouble of all the chopping to get it together."

I don't think enough is said in favor of chopping. Chopping is a very rhythmic activity, and, it's been found that when writers feel stuck, they should go do something rhythmic. Somehow the rhythm of the activity (walking, sweeping a floor,  ironing, and, of course, chopping!), helps to unblock the mind. I like to think that the rhythm connects the left and right sides of the brain so that they start working together. 

Maybe, we all need in our lives the kinds of rhythm that chopping provides. In fact, I got so carried away chopping the veggies, I didn't use half of each of the peppers, I chopped all the peppers and once chopped, well, I thought, I'll throw them in, too! And I probably used more cilantro than Shirley suggests.

Once you start chopping you really make a recipe your own!
Serves 8 - 10

1   16-oz package frozen corn, defrosted
2   cups quartered cherry tomatoes or seeded and diced tomatoes
1   can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 
1   cup chopped red onion
1   cup diced peeled carrot
1/2 each red, green and orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sliced black olives
2   avocados cut into 1/2-inch cubes - use firm but ripe avocados - not too soft and mushy
1   fresh jalapeno, seeded and diced
2   cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1   teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

Put defrosted corn into a large bowl.  Add tomatoes, kidney beans, red onion, carrot, bell peppers, cilantro, black olives and toss gently.  Add avocados, jalapeno, garlic, cumin powder, salt, black pepper and lime juice.  Toss gently again and cover.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: serve individual servings in lettuce cups