So, I haven’t updated since Christmas. A lot has happened. On the up, I made the decision to embrace veganism just a few short weeks into the new year. My transition to this move has been very gradual that after adding mostly food politics and social justice documentaries to my Netflix queue and spending too much money on vegan cookbooks (aside from books, okay that part hasn’t changed about me… AT ALL.) to supplement cooking for fasting days and for education eventually gotten me thinking…why don’t I just take the plunge? In the spirit of my resolutions this year, this is after all my year of “try and do.”
On the down, I lost my job a few short days into the New Year. It was a sudden move and no one around me including myself saw it coming. In fact, it was among one of my worst nightmares. Some people would tell me that a job is just that – a job. While that’s true, I have taken it much harder but I usually do because I become closely attached to things I care about. This job was also my passion and I excelled at it. There’s very few things I can excel at because I’m not highly skilled or highly educated if it just doesn’t fit my beliefs and values. When I lost this job, I was heartbroken for the first week basically. How cool was it that I was gaining a sense of security doing something I loved? It’s hardly easy to obtain both so quickly in this position. I knew what I had to do but didn’t have the strength or the energy. I didn’t want to do the adulting thing. I grieved. I cried. I threw anger outbursts to loved ones and anyone who will listen (thank you. you know who you are ) …and you should be allowed to do that for no time limit. Love is them knowing you act a little crazy at times then going, “okay, but I’m willing to work with that.” I’d be stunned at anyone who could just remain stoic and hold it all in.
It’s hard to come back. But it’s necessary in the long term. Believing in yourself, sticking closer to others who share your valueset and getting back to doing what you love. For me, that’s cooking a saag paneer that’s pretty darn close to how my usual Indian restaurant does it. Spices on point as well.
And just when I thought that Indian cooking was laborious and took a great deal of time…this can be ready in 30 minutes!
Saag paneer could appear as palak paneer on an Indian restaurant menu but they are actually different. Palak paneer is spinach paneer while saag paneer can mean any type of greens are used. My favorite is palak paneer but as I rely on farms for my groceries, I was faced with what’s available and what was available was a very fresh bunch of Lancaster County Swiss chard. So, this will be a saag paneer today. Swiss chard is a near excellent stand in for spinach. (Making either isn’t too much different, by the way!)
Swiss chard gets overlooked but it’s actually a nutrient powerhouse. Over 700% of Vitamin K, 214% of Vitamin A and 53% of Vitamin C in addition to magnesium and potassium make up one cup of these sweet greens. They blend really well in this recipe too.
Yes, I haven’t forgotten about Crumbs which prompted me to write once again. For starters, lots of new recipes on the horizon to make cooking a delight again!
Saag Paneer (Vegan, Soy Free, Gluten Free)
1/2 cup yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups of Swiss chard
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 block of firm tofu, cubed (Use firm tofu. You never want to use silken tofu. Silken tofu is better for desserts. Firm tofu holds nicely in cooking.)
2 tbsp of coconut oil
1 tbsp of turmeric
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of curry powder
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 cup of low sodium organic vegetable broth (If gluten-free, try a organic or low sodium version. Swanson’s brand is not gluten free as it contains wheat as of this time.)
2 tsp of xylitol (sugar substitute. Check health food stores.)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup coconut milk (I use the plant milk from the carton, works beautifully!)
1. Drain tofu and allow to chill for twenty minutes. Tofu is pretty chill. It will listen to you, I promise.
2. Combine onion, garlic, Swiss chard and ginger in a Vitamix/Ninja or high speed blender and process until greens are blended to smooth.
3. Cut tofu into cubes. Or squares. That may cramp some people’s styles but remember, were all about that tofu here. Now heat coconut oil in pan and add tofu and cook on medium heat. Brown.
4. Add in turmeric and toss to coat. Next, add in greens mixture, spices, xylitol, salt and vegetable broth. Mix. Simmer until broth absorbs a bit. Add in coconut milk. Cook for one minute.
Eat just so or with basmati rice and naan.