Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Eating out of season

First—don’t forget to head along to the Fatfree Vegan Kitchen to drool over all the entries in the Vegetable Love competition, and to vote for your favourite!


Living in the tropics, I expected to have a vast array of fresh, local produce to choose from at all times of the year. And most of the year, that’s the case. But alas, summer in Townsville is far too hot and far too wet for most fruits and veggies. The number of stalls at the farmer’s markets dwindle, and the variety becomes sparse. Sure, we could supplement with things bought from supermarkets, but they are transported pretty far—which is often reflected in the price.

Still, there are a few veggies which are available even during the hot and wet season. Potatoes and pumpkins are easy to get your hands on from the market. We supplement those with our pantry and well-stocked freezer—a few weeks ago, tofu and soy sausages were reduced to clear for $1 (a savings of $4 on soy sausages and hot dogs!), so we bought a buttload and we’re slowly making our way through them.

Here are some of the meals we’ve made during the off-season.

Green curry. Chunks of tofu, kabocha pumpkin, and potato simmered in coconut milk and curry paste.

An out-of-season risotto. Dried shiitake mushrooms, frozen green peas, carrot, and green beans (which were surprisingly cheap at the shops).

Since it is the rainy season, some days it gets cold. Especially after a wet trip home from uni. Granted, by cold I mean 25 or higher, which most people think is hot, but compared to 34 it’s chilly! I’ve even broken out the sweatpants a few times in the past several weeks. Yesterday was one of those days. Rain bucketing down, jeans all wet from walking between the office and the car, I came home and immediately changed into my favourite red sweats. After dinner, the power went out, so we lit some candles and huddled around a battery powered radio, sharing one pair of earbuds, to listen to Australian Story on the ABC, featuring Ben Potts--the guy who boarded the Japanese whaling ship, and wasn't allowed off. Later, we went for a walk around the very dark block and marvelled at the branches and palm fronds that had fallen on powerlines and houses, and watched the wind through the wires and the trees. It probably wasn't the safest decision, especially since we weren't wearing shoes, but luckily we didn't die.

Sweatpants weather calls for comfort food. Like mashed potatoes and gravy. More specifically, a mixture of mashed plain and orange sweet potato, topped with a gravy made with soy sausages and one leftover seitan burger.

Instant falafel mix is a quick and easy meal. Since we had the oven on one afternoon, Andy baked his balls. Then at dinner time we heated them up in a frying pan and they were fantastic.

At least February is the last month of summer, and avocados (and many more veggies) will be back in season soon!


Pleasantly Plump Vegan said...

yeah for avocados!!!!
that green curry looks really, really great.

Vegetation said...

Mmmm I second the green curry looking great (and the mash and gravy, I LOVE mash and gravy!!)

Yowch! Hope Andy's baked balls are okay :P

Liz² said...

ooh, I applaud your conviction to eat local and in season. your comfort food looks awesome! (and does rainy season sound a bit romantic with the cuddling and the red sweat pants or is that just me?)

urban vegan said...

Teh curry is my favorite--but I'd eat any and all of it with abandon.

Vegan_Noodle said...

Would have never thought that summer would be a poor growing season! Looks like you are eating well regardless!

Ashasarala said...

The curry dish looks delicious. :)

There's really nothing better than comfort food. My comfort food is anything with a crapload of carbs.

And is it immature of me to admit that I teetered a little at the 'Andy baked his balls' bit? ;)

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Out of season or not, that food looks delicious!

Nacho seems to have good taste in food, as museli is so yummy. I wonder if Molly and Henry would like oats... they probably would, as they aren't picky eaters AT ALL! (They only dislike lettuce and raw onions.)

DJ said...

You work those storecupboard staples, girl! And there's nothing like mash and gravy for making you feel all snuggly...