In her vegan cookbook, Isa Chandra Moskowitz writes an eloquent homage to the elements of a bowl. “Anyone who has been vegetarian for any amount of time,” she says, “will be familiar with ‘The Bowl’–an upside-down hard hat filled with some combination of veggies, grains and beans plus a sauce or two.” When I read this I realized that indeed “the bowl” is the vegan/vegetarian equivalent of the typical North-American omnivore’s plate: a piece of meat, a starch, and a vegetable.
The bowl is my favourite type of meal to both prepare and to eat…and not just because cleaning up is so easy. This evening’s meal was something I read about on the E2L members’ forum. A member posted her plans for dinner: something she was imitating from a local vegan restaurant called “The Jerusalem Bowl.” It sounded so good that I decided to make it myself (with a few additions and substitutions). It turned out to be delicious! The original recipe, as posted, was simply brown rice topped with diced tomato, cucumber red onion, steamed spinach, with a generous spoonful of hummus, topped with sunflower sprouts, cilantro and paprika and a squeeze of lemon. I didn’t have sunflower sprouts, but I’d just grown some lovely alfalfa sprouts, so I used them instead. And, as I said, I felt compelled to add a few things. Here’s my recipe:
Layer in a large bowl in the following order:
1/2 cup brown basmati rice cooked in vegetable broth
1 roma tomato diced
1/3 English cucumber diced
1/4 red onion diced
1 cup steamed broccoli
a sprinkling of sesame seeds
a layer of alfalfa sprouts
cover with the juice of 1/2 a lemon
sprinkle with 1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
On top of the salad in one quadrant place 1/4 of a sliced avocado, in the second quadrant place 1/2 a mango sliced, in the third quadrant place a couple of TBS red-pepper & olive hummus, and in the last quadrant a small handful of cashews.
I must say, I was a little worried it would be tasteless because, other than lemon juice, there’s no sauce, but it was delicious–very fresh tasting, likely because of the freshly picked cilantro. I actually did include the steamed spinach called for in the original recipe, but I wouldn’t include it again–the broccoli is enough.
I discovered another rather amazing thing today: something called Mestemacher Bread. It contains no fat and no preservatives, just organic whole kernel rye, water, organic whole meal rye flour, organic oat, organic barley, organic linseed, sea salt, organic apple powder, organic sesame, yeast. The slices are long and thin, so you can cut a piece in half to make a nice little sandwich. I usually buy Silver Hills’ Squirrelly Bread, which is very healthy (and which you can buy just about everywhere in BC). I’ve just checked the ingredients, and they’re just as healthy as the Mestemacher bread: organic whole sprouted wheat, raisin nectar (raisins, water), sesame seeds, water, sunflower seeds, vital wheat gluten, barley malt, yeast, sea salt. However, the Mestemacher is a bit moister and slightly sweet, so it makes a nice change, plus, all of its ingredients are organic (not that I really care, but I know I’m supposed to). I’ll have to remember to compare prices. I found the Mestemacher at an amazing health food store in downtown Courtenay yesterday. It’s called Edible Island, and they have every obscure health-foody-type ingredient you could ever imagine. I could spend hours in there.
On our weekly trek into town yesterday, we ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant across from Edible Island, called Tita’s. They had quite a few vegan options, and they even had a menu item that I’ve ordered at other Mexican places by putting together a series of side orders: a plate with Mexican rice, black beans, guacamole, salsa, and crunchy cabbage (though I don’t usually order the cabbage….it was delicious though, and added a nice crunch). It was called “Cena Mexicana.” It was so good, I’m going to make a version of it for dinner tomorrow. It was a lovely evening, buuuuuut, I ended up indulging myself a teensy bit. I decided to have a glass of wine because we were out, which turned into three, followed by another when we got back home. We were sitting on the balcony with a fire in the Turkish bowl, and it just seemed wrong not to join J in another glass. I really have no excuse because the house wine at Tita’s was a rather dull Mission Hill merlot. Four glasses of wine. Really.
Actually, I’ve often done much worse damage than that, so I should be grateful for small improvements.
Here is another bowl recipe I’d like to try–The Whole Bowl–I’ll leave it for next week though.