Thursday, April 25, 2013

Down-to-Earth Vegetarian Gumbo

Quite a few people were surprised at my lack of celebrating Earth Day. To them, I’m this all-loving, tree-hugging hippy chick that has a gluten free blog. And while I do happen to love quite a lot of things (and yes - I have, on occasion, hugged a tree), I treated Earth Day like any other day. I went to work, rested from Sunday’s epic climb, and slept. Graduate school has me napping like a champ these days.

To be fair, I had planned on posting something in the name of Earth Day: a recipe symbolizing the coming together as a global community to work on the environmental issues we have today. But for some reason I have too tired to focus on anything but school and work this semester to do anything else. It was marked on my calendar and everything.


I remember early in the semester watching The 11th Hour in my Environmental Conflict Resolution class. We didn’t get to finish the film, so I left the room absolutely horrified by what the world has dealt with. True, the movie is meant to stress the consequences of pollution, overfishing, and taking more resources than we give back, but it definitely hit home for me. For the first time, this hippy was very angry at humanity… and feeling very insignificant in how she could make things better. How in the world could my attempts in using energy-efficient light bulbs or turning off the thermostat once in a while solve anything? That's the point, though, isn't it. We can't do it alone.

The reason why food has become my focus in conflict resolution has much to do with environmental awareness. I’ve become fascinated by the sustainable and “know your farmer” movement, which is why I’ve decided to devote a post every week to a farmers market outing starting in May. Each week will be a different market highlighting the amazing farmers that make them unique and delicious.

It may not save the world of all its problems, but it’s a start.

Vegetarian Gumbo

21 g Unsalted butter (or olive oil for a herbivore friendly dish)
21 g Olive oil
30 g Garbanzo bean flour
1 qt. Veggie broth or water
1 Carrot, finely diced
1 Celery stalk, finely diced
2 Yellow onions, finely diced
3 Shallots, finely diced
2 Garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
454 g Chopped bell peppers (I used a combination of green, yellow, and red)
794 g Canned whole and peeled plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp. / 7 g Dried parsley
1 tsp. Dried thyme
1 Bay leaf
1 tbsp. Coconut aminos (or gluten free Worchester sauce)
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 tsp. Ground pepper
283 g fresh/frozen okra (cut into 1/4-inch slices)

In a large pot on medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil until it begins to bubble.
Slowly stir in the garbanzo bean flour and once thoroughly combined and slightly browned (there should be a distinct nutty smell), followed by carefully pouring in the vegetable broth in manageable increments.
Add in the vegetables and spices to cook on medium heat for forty minutes to an hour.
Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf.
Ladle into bowls over rice while hot.

Makes 6 – 8 servings.

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