Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sometimes I feel sorry for Vegetarians

I totally respect vegetarians.  Especially after this adventure in eating locally, I understand how hard it is to really notice and keep track of everything you are eating.  Lunches at work are especially hard.  Even before this, I tended to just take yesterday's dinner leftovers for lunch, but what if there are no leftovers?  What if I don't have time pack something?  Trying to find local lunch restaurants that I can eat at is impossible, but even in just looking I notice the minuscule amount of vegetarian options out there.  I feel very strongly about eating locally.  It's better for the environment, the economy, and my health.  And it straight up tastes better.  But I cheat.  I don't think I've done a single recipe yet that was 100% local.  It's just too hard.

Vegetarians don't cheat... at least most of them I know don't.  You don't say, "this is too hard.  I'm just going to give up today and eat this ham sandwich.  Then, tomorrow, I'll be back on track."  I couldn't do it.

Which isn't to say that I would want to be a vegetarian if I could.  I'm sorry.  I know a lot of my friends - especially my belly dance friends - are vegetarians.  I don't want to insult you.  I respect the choices you've made.  But I don't agree with them.  There's a flip side to everything.  Health, moral, or religious, I could give you a counter to your reason.  I won't, because I don't want to fight, but I could.  Not that I'd expect vegetarians to agree with me - it's just that nothing in this world is that black and white.

This blog, it has been pointed out to me, has not been vegetarian friendly.  That is not intentional.  Before starting my locavore diet I was probably eating one meat free meal per week.  The thing is, there hasn't been enough vegetables to support that.  I promise, there will be vegetarian posts in the future.

Not today, though.

Dinners like this one make me feel sorry for vegetarians.  Because you do not know what you are missing.  Or, maybe you do and have willpower of stone.  But there's something about a rib that is melt off the bone tender - sweet, savory, spicy...  And, for those of you who are buying your pork in the grocery store because it's cheap, you also don't know what you're missing.  As a child, I did not like pork at all, and now I do.  I wonder if it was because of the pork I was getting.  I just bought a new cookbook called "Good Meat," about sustainable farming and butchering, and the forward states that the pork you buy at the grocery store basically comes from a different animal than the pork that you buy from a farmer's market.  I'd believe that, because it tastes completely different.  I pared this with a "weed" salad - dandelion greens, sorrel, mint, and radish greens all from my back yard.  It was spicy and crunchy, the ribs were tender and melted in your mouth.

The only thing I might do differently was save up all the cooking juice, reduce it down, and serve it over mashed potatoes.  I feel like it got wasted, and it was just too good for that.

Slow Cooked Pork Ribs with Rhubarb Braising Sauce:
(should have made 3 servings, but the two of us demolished the whole thing!)

  • Spice Rub
    • 2 tbsp garlic powder
    • 2 tbsp onion powder
    • 1 tbsp sea salt
    • 1 tbsp white pepper
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp cloves
    • 1 tsp thyme
    • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 3 half racks pork ribs (country, or baby back if you have the $ to spend on baby back) (L)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Large shallots, sliced and roughly chopped (L)
  • 1/2 garlic clove, chopped (L)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or rose.  I thought a rose might make this "pink-ish".  It never does!)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (L)
  • 3 cups rhubarb (L*)
Mix together spice rub and rub onto ribs.  

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan until hot.  Brown ribs on both sides and transfer to a crock pot.  Add shallots and garlic and saute briefly.  Add wine and deglaze pan.  Transfer to crock pot, along with chicken stock and rhubarb.  Cook on low for 10 hours.

Weed Salad:

  • 4-5 sorrel leaves(L*)
  • 1 large bunch dandelion leaves (L*)
  • 10 mint leaves, chiffonaded (not sure that's a word...) (L*)
  • 4-5 small radishes, with tender leaves (L*)
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese
Wash everything VERY well.  Shred first three ingredients and combine.  Remove tender leaves from radishes, and add to greens.  Slice radishes thinly and add.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Dress with rhubarb dressing
      Yes, this is a pile of weeds that I washed.  And then I ate it.
      And it was good. 

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