Necessity Is the Mother of Invention And Surprise – So Is Laziness!
December 2, 2007
(photo coming soon)
It is 12:30pm and I’ve just realized that I feel like eating lunch. But what to make? This is one of those days when it feels like I have nothing in the fridge, and I almost give up and decide to make a gas-guzzling, energy draining trip into town when I decide that surely there must be something here for me to lunch on.
I dig around in my fridge and come up with about a cup of cashews, a cup of walnuts (which I instantly decide to save for carob brownies later on tonight), some sun-dried tomatoes, carrots, about a handful of baby spinach, celery, a few sprigs of cilantro that will go if I don’t use them today and some random spices. I always have nori sheets so this is what I’ll be having today: some sort of cashew carrot pate with veggies rolled into nori sheets. Considering I almost took the trouble to get in my car to get something, this felt like manifesting loaves and fishes. Or, hmm. Something like that. Anyway, it rally put my laziness to shame, darlings. So here we go:
I’ve put about four sun-dried tomato halves into a small bowl of warm water, along with the full cup of cashews, and two teaspoons of hulled sesame seeds to soak for an hour while I write up this post. I’ve pulled out the spices I’ll use in advance: some onion powder, some garlic powder, (yes powder, that’s right, because I’m lazy today, so thank you for your understanding patience), chipotle powder or chili flakes (I’ll decide which – in the moment of creation) and maybe some dried green herbs like dill or sage depending on how I feel.
One of the reasons I felt like I had nothing in the house is because while I actually didn’t have much, (no fresh green herbs, or full bunches of greens); I did have just enough and it is in just this situation that I would normally go shopping and sadly, lose the moment of opportunity to use lots of odd bits of what could have been a perfectly creative and decent lunch like this one! Because when I return home with a load of fresh produce, I naturally want that instead of the old stuff in the fridge. Terrible, I know. I really must begin to compost and to make a garden. I have the perfect space for it too. Soon, soon!
I am pulling the carrots and celery out and while I normally detest chopping vegetables in the processor (I prefer them grated as there is just something about the texture or the vibe, I don’t know what it is precisely), today I am feeling so uninspired that I am going to process them right now in preparation for the cashew soak mix when it’s ready. Be right back…
Another surprise: I found the perfect amount of already prepped carrots (washed and cut into manageable sizes) from the other night in the fridge, along with a bit of red onion so I grabbed those and whirled them with a pinch each of onion and garlic powder and some paprika. It is now a very fine dice and awaits the softening of the sundrieds, which should be ready within the next 20 mins or so.
So meanwhile, let me share a tip about the best way to handle all your vegetable clippings instead of just throwing them straight into the trash where, unless you empty your trash every day, it can make for an unnecessarily smelly situation. (This if for those of us without sink composters or whatever that machine is called). Now most of us should be recycling and composting at this point, but without a composter of my own, (and this is another post entirely so, more about that later) I have a simple system. I save plastic produce bags and keep a stash of washed and dried ones just for this: when prepping a meal, I’ll grab an empty produce bag and toss all of my scraps into in and knot it loosely until I’m done with food for the day. Then it goes into the trash bin tightly knotted so that it neither smells nor is wet and messy, which is a huge peeve of mine, espcially since I am the only one here to take out the trash! If I have an especially large bag of scraps, which I usually do, I’ll walk over to the neighbors composter, but I really need to just get my own going.
Once I get a composting situation set up, I’ll probably use a quart sized plastic bucket with a lid and empty it daily. That’s what has worked best in the past. I’ve learned that I prefer the tiny amount of extra work it takes to add washing out the compost bucket to my daily ritual over dealing with the fetid, slimy mess that over a day of sitting around will generate. I live in the tropics and so it’s an issue. But even people who live in air-conditioning generally neglect their kitchen compost buckets and it is a pet peeve of mine. That cleanliness is so much easier in the long run is merely one of the benefits. End of rant.
So the tomatoes should be ready now and I am going to drain and blend everything up together into a nice carrot cashew pate. I’ve spent periods in the past that lasted months where variations of this was my preferred lunch. It’s old hat for most raw foodies, but sometimes I forget to simply use what I know, especially when I am feeling lazy and any effort is too much.
I added a few tablespoons of tahini just to give it some added body and nutrition, a few tablespoons of water and choose the chili flakes as I decide I feel like surprising little bursts of flame instead of a solid wall of fire that is cayenne. And here it is just before I am about to wrap it up. It looks uninteresting, but not too bad for scrounging around in the nearly empty fridge. And…
…it tastes so worth not driving to the store for! The carrots are a bit over-processed – very close to mush, wah! – so their flavor is slightly lost in the other ingredients but it is still very good. Maybe I’ll use the processor a bit more with carrots during inevitable lazy moments to come and I’ll get it right, which will improve the appearance too. What I’ll do next time is make a sort of romesco with the cashews, tomatoes and seasonings, THEN add the carrots so that they retain their identity and their carroty sweetness is able contribute to the whole!
This was moist enough so that it didn’t really need a dipping sauce but I made an easy one anyway of nama shoyu and real wasabe paste from a tube. If I were in the mood I would try a lemon cashew sauce or an avocado lemon cream. That would be mild and flavorful enough to highlight the carrots. I think that would be quite good.
Ahhhh…I had two wraps and I feel so satisfied now. Amazingly I have enough pate left for lunch tomorrow if I pick up some more spinach or sprouts to go inside. And I will do that and wrap them up at work for a nice light, perfectly fulfilling lunch.