Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Win Some, I Lose Some

Lately I've noticed there are some benefits to being the only specimen of one's kind, i.e. a midlife vegan in the deep south. I'm exaggerating, of course. There must be others in similar circumstances, but I've not yet met them.

The other day I was shopping at Kroger for a few items that cannot be found at Walmart, and I got a couple of freebies. I like to check myself out since I have a lovely reusable shopping bag the check out clerks tend to struggle with. I can more expeditiously do it all myself.  With produce, there is a procedure for typing in the name of the item while weighing it. The last time I did this, I found no radicchio (!) and no watercress. The attendant had to come over to assist me in finding the codes.

"Well, I guess we haven't gotten around to coding these yet, so just take 'em," she said.

This didn't feel right, so I suggested she just assign a fair price.

"No, that would mess with the system too much."

Okay. I left with my free leafy veggies. Still, there was an uneasiness in the back of my mind . . .

Do you believe in karma? I find that, whenever I receive something seemingly unfairly, an unsavory result will surely follow. On a couple of occasions in my life I have found $20 bills lying on the ground, unclaimed.  When I have kept them, both times the following days were pretty rough. It could be my imagination, but the result is the same. The photo above is what happened to my free radicchio. Isn't this sad? It's supposed to look like this:

You remember my "Yoda-food" as my son calls it. It has been the stuff I dream about -- so delicious with the mild, wilted radicchio, tofu cream cheese and truffle oil. Eye-rolling good. But the free radicchio was different. I recognize there is an element here of human error. Yes, I burned the pizza. It's the occasional collateral damage of a vegan cooking for herself and also a pack of carnivores. I've sometimes got too much going on in the kitchen. But here, after I trimmed and discarded the charcoal-encrusted portions, the radicchio was bad too. I had worried as I was removing the first few slimy leaves from the little head, and rightly so. I think it was just old. Radicchio is a bitter "green" (really purple) but shouldn't be this bitter. It was thoroughly unpalatable. I am sad it has quelled my craving for Yoda-food for the time being.

Sometimes we really do get what we pay for. But other times:

Here's my free watercress. Yes, you have seen this photo before. It is what became of the other free greens, and it was lovely and delicious. I am grateful for this portion of my free bounty.

To continue to wind down this post in a more positive vein, here are some recent yummy sandwiches:

This is marinated, baked tofu from the Natural Foods Warehouse, on eziekiel toast with vegenaise, avocado and a pile of arugula. Sublime.

And here is more of the aforementioned tofu, this time in a multigrain wrap with hummus, black olives and arugula. Delish.

There, see? There's always plenty for which to be grateful.  Mistakes are bound to happen (or karma) so gather ye watercress while ye may!


  1. Ahhh, shucks on your free radicchio.
    i need to try that recipe -- from The Kind Diet, right?
    But radicchio is always a bit too bitter for me.
    Can you try to describe the taste in this recipe to me?
    And, I wish I liked tofu, but I'm still not there. It has a strange after taste to me. Maybe I need to try it marinaded?

  2. Hi Emily -- It's hard to describe the taste of this. When it is sliced thinly and well-oiled with olive and truffle oils the bitterness mellows to a rich, full flavor. My burnt pizza was doomed anyway, I think. The crust is too thin so it burnt before the radicchio could get enough cooking. The idea was from the Kind Diet, but I was lazier. I used tofutti cream cheese instead of tofu cream. I'll try the real recipe someday. Good luck! Hope you like it! Use a naan or a pillowy flatbread of some kind instead of a tortilla.

  3. Instant Karma (according to Stephanie): When I say something bad about someone and then do something really stupid like spit out food while I'm talking or trip or cut myself. I think of it as the universe reminding me to be kind.

    But maybe you subconsciously felt guilty about it and purposely (subconsciously purposely) burned it?

    And trust me, friend, I live in California where you'd think there are vegan hippies all around and I still feel like a lone wolf. Going to Target--it's amazing how they just want to force those plastic bags on them and when I say "oh, i have my own bags" they don't save the one they already got out..they put it in the garbage!

  4. I am with Stephanie...I am in California also, and still feel like *somewhat* of a loner in my ways. I know a few people but thats it.
    Oh, so so sad for that pizza you workoed hard making! we have all been there!!

  5. Stephanie -- I think you're onto something! I'm pretty sure my subconscious was the culprit with my pizza! Morgan -- thanks, but that's alright, it's how we learn what not to do again! (note to self: tortillas don't work an inch from the broiler!)