Tuesday, January 25, 2022

GREEN RIBS: A Vegan Poetry Cookbook

I was working on a vegan cookbook that was also (Soma)tic poetry rituals for a few years. It was fun making it, a different ritual for writing poems with each recipe. Then my diet took a radical shift a couple of years ago, removing all sugar and gluten and all highly processed vegan cheese and butter, knocking 90% of those recipes out of my life. If I no longer put these foods in my body, the book needs to evolve with me.

Note: Out of respect for the greenest of the queens, we will capitalize Celery.

Back in the 1990s, I considered opening a food truck selling my Celery rib recipes. Each plate would have three Celery ribs with delicious vegan fillings packed into the grooves. I had my homemade tofu cheese, my faux fennel sausage, and lots of luxurious fruit creams. I had several kinds of beans and rice; also, mac and cheese with olives and tempeh bacon. One of my favorites was Celery stuffed with spicy marinated seitan, dipped in batter and deep-fried, with its own tangy peanut sauce for dipping. YUM! 

GREEN RIBS is what I wanted to call my food truck! And I was going to paint it a VERY Celery GREEN, HAHA! Why not!? I would serve most of the Celery crisp and ice-cold, while I would char others on the grill for my barbeque soy chicken. Charred ribs also were perfect for my salty caper and red onion mashed potatoes, topped with melted parmesan.

Starting over, I want a Celery chapter in the cookbook. I’m working on this recipe: Celery brushed with sesame oil, dusted with spices, and flame-grilled quickly for a nice sear, then topped with Celery prepared three ways: smoked, creamed, and pickled. Celery on Celery on Celery is so Celeriac! 

My favorite new recipe is unsweetened 99% dark chocolate, melted with almond butter, cardamom, white pepper, and crispy fried matchstick-sized pieces of burdock root, topped with thin shavings of my pickled red pears. That rich, earthy quality of burdock in the arms of almond butter, chocolate, and spices with the acid and sweetness of pickled red pears is my new Valentine’s Day dish, served on a chilled and crunchy thick rib of Celery!

My hope is for another good snowstorm this winter. One recipe is snow mixed with cayenne and toasted walnuts. I tried this with various kinds of crushed ice, but it’s terrible. It has to be FRESH snow, and it has to be made by the sky. I’m watching the weather, and as soon as they call for SNOW, I’m toasting walnuts and setting them aside!

Enjoy some Celery today!