Vitruvian DharmaFood ethics has always been an important topic to me, and my solution to the ethics of my sustenance has been a paleo/primal approach.  This may surprise some, as paleo’s reputation for being “all meat all the time” might seem counter-intuitive as a response to the question of nutritional ethics.  Aside from the “all meat” image of primal eating being 100% false, the thinking that advocates “ethical vegetarianism” is, I believe, deeply flawed.  I started giving serious thought to my eating (not to mention the larger question of carving out an ethical place in the world for myself) about ten years ago.  Throughout that journey, I’ve been guided by a desire to improve the world for all creatures, human and animal alike.  I believe that the paleo model is the best way to do that.  Here’s why:

2500 years ago, the Buddha taught a philosophy based on one simple notion: do no harm.  He advocated vegetarianism Read the rest of this entry »

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Vitruvian DharmaHello all!  Yes, I’ve been out of touch for a while, but don’t worry: I haven’t forgotten you.  I have been insanely busy (such is the life of an actor with a day job) and have spent a lot of time going from work straight to rehearsal, straight to bed.  Let’s not forget about the importance of sleep, after all.  I have, also, been wrestling with a number of issues in my personal life, and have made some progress on those fronts.  I’m looking forward to a possible shift into a different job at the same company that will offer me a bit more flexibility, but, more importantly, will make me happier and less stressed out.  All of that, of course, means I will have more time and energy to devote to projects like this one.  Everyone wins!  Yay!

At any rate, I wanted to check in and write a little something.  I’ve got some formal recipes coming up, but in the meantime, I’ll be offering a food porn gallery of stuff I’ve been cooking since last we visited, and offering a few thoughts on the pictures that, hopefully, will help all of you improve in your own kitchens.

Speaking of self-improvement (which, as you know, is a favorite topic of mine), the other thing that’s been keeping me busy is self-development through games.  Anyone interested in language acquisition should check out Duolingo, which makes a social game out of language study while also translating books and the internet for free.  Anyone interested in cultivating resilience and general well-being should visit SuperBetter, which game-ifies self-improvement more generally by making a sort of RPG of your own life.  Complete with “quests,” activities based on scientific research into resiliency (your ability to bounce back from hardship, and a predictor of satisfaction with life), you can set your own goals and improve across physical, mental, emotional, and social categories.  Awesome stuff.

Without further ado, here are some photos (courtesy of Vani, except for the last one).  Click them to see larger versions.

Thai Scrambled Eggs with ginger, garlic, cilanto, sriracha

Thai Scrambled Eggs with ginger, garlic, cilanto, sriracha

Close up!

Close up!

Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_7211Oh.  My. Sweet. Goodness.  It has been six months since my last post.  So…that’s…ya know…my bad.  Seriously.  I’m trying to get back on top of this blogging thing, I am.  But: real life.  Sometimes, it gets in the way.  I’m not trying to make excuses, but I’ve been busy at work, and I’ve been doing theater auditions (and rehearsals, etc.), making use of my degree (it’s in theater!).  I have also been making some new recipes, so I’m going to do my best to find time outside of rehearsal and work schedules and roll some of those out soon, even if they don’t have photos.  To make up for it, this one has lots of photos!

So: here’s a new recipe.  It’s really easy.  It’s really tasty.  And, to top it all off, we get to talk about knife skills, too!  Here’s what you’ll need:

IMG_7169

2 lbs chorizo                                        oregano, to taste

2.5 lbs sweet potatoes                      smoked paprika, to taste

1 large yellow onion                          cayenne, to taste

1-2 cups pecans                        apple cider vinegar, to taste

4 Tbsp butter, optional

Some thoughts on the ingredients:

  • Get good pecans, if you can.  The best pecans are from Southern states.  If you’ve only ever had Yankee pecans, these’ll rock your world.  I got mine for Christmas from my grandma in Alabama.
  • Smoked paprika and sweet paprika are NOT the same thing.  Get smoked; thank me later.

So that’s what goes into the recipe.  BOOM!  Look good?  Good.  Now let’s talk about how to turn those ingredients into a meal.  Here’s how to prep onions, video-style!

After the onions, you can prep the sweet potatoes like this:

That’s the basic process for chopping some common vegetables.  Remember, too, that whenever you’re working with a knife, you really want to make sure your fingers are running vertically, not horizontally.  They should look like this:

See how my fingers on my left hand stay up and down?  That makes it hard to cut them.  If you stick them out flat, you can easily take the tip of your finger off.

See how the tips of my left-hand fingers stay up and down? That makes it hard to cut them off.  Not so if they’re lying flat.

Now that you’ve prepped the ingredients, you’re halfway there.  So, fire up the oven to 400, roll up your sleeves (probably a good hygienic move) and let’s finish this thing.  You can pretty much just toss the pecans, onions and sweet potatoes into a big roasting pan, like the one here.  It should look like this:

IMG_7209

Now, all that’s left is to deal with the chorizo, season it, and pop it in the oven.  For the chorizo, we’re just going to be making meatballs:

¡Albondigas gigantes!

¡Albondigas gigantes!

But seriously, make meatballs about the same size as the sweet potato and onion pieces, and add them to the pan.  Be forewarned: your hands will get sausage-y:

Yeah, buddy!

The sausage goes on top, of course, so that as it cooks, it will render its fat over the veggies.  This can sometimes be a slow process, so if you’re the cautious type, here is where you’d add the optional butter.  Just cut a few pats and put them in the pan.  You can see them in the picture above; there’s basically one in each corner.

Now, the seasoning!  Get out those spices we mentioned earlier and go to town.  Turn your inner chef loose and just start sprinkling away.

If you're not having fun, why do it?

If you’re not having fun, why do it?

Your other option, of course, is to go the artistic route:

AKA the "Chef Makes It Rain" technique.

AKA the “Chef Makes It Rain” technique.

All right.  Now that the dish is all seasoned up, just throw it in that 400-degree oven for 45 minutes, tossing it every 15.  That’s it.  See?  Told you it was easy.  Just chop, mix, season (make it rain!), and roast.  When it comes out of the oven, it should look like this:

Aww yeah.  Eat up, friends.

I know, I know.  This post got a little food porn-y.  You’re welcome.

A sweet potato dish like this makes a great post-workout or post-sprint meal.  It’s also good as a serve-yourself (or “grab’n’growl”, as my family called it when I was growing up) side dish.  Sharing good food, good company, and good spirits. It doesn’t get much more primal than that.

Popeye had his spinach.  We have that, too, but this time, we have chorizo.

Popeye had his spinach. We have chorizo.  Well, we have spinach, too, but not this time.  This time, we have chorizo.  Stay strong, everyone!