Keep Stove Off & Carry On
As a farmer, I know not to complain about the weather.
We live in a temperate climate zone which means that generally winters are cold and summers are hot.
When the weather doesn't follow my prescribed notions of what is needed to grow food, I try to remind myself that it could always be worse.
And while I don't have a say about what tomorrows' weather pattern may bring, I do have control over what to make for dinner.
Something that does not involve the oven.
Eating fresh, plant-based meals is the perfect way to stay cool during the heat of the summer but it also does way more than that.
It means that cleanup is simpler, and that I didn't have to remember to take something out of the freezer. And because meat protein is often so expensive, eating plant-based often ends up being more economical.
If you are eating raw, you can also save on energy by not firing up the oven. Win-win-win.
Vegan cookbooks like "Oh She Glows" and the Moosewood Cookbook used to intimidate me. I would flip through their gorgeous pages, revelling at the composition and promises of tasty meals, but fearful of actually trying anything out.
Now that I have a few recipes under my belt I realize that the fear that I held had everything to do with my upbringing. Having been raised on a cattle farm, a part of me held a bias against raw vegan meals. I somehow saw them as incomplete and confusing.
Cue the Vegan Bowl, the perfect gateway.
I started with what is basically a small mound of quinoa topped with a few different vegetables and a killer dressing. Nothing complicated, and nothing short of delicious.
It can be made with whatever vegetables you have on hand making it the ideal summer meal.
No avocado? Use raw zucchini or cucumber instead. No coriander? Basil can be the perfect substitute. No spiralizer? Just grate your carrots with a regular cheese grater, or if you have one, a mandoline slicer.
So while I am still reluctant to try making my own cashew cheese, I am building a culinary repertoire that includes delicious, nutritionally complete, vegan meals.