Dirty. Cajun. Vegan.

March 28, 2010

It is rare that you read anything positive about Louisiana. Unless it’s about pure gluttony. We’re known for Mardi Gras. Alcohol. Good (i.e. fattening) food.

So it was with a bit of pride that I read this profile of a rice farmer turned organic rice farmer in the New York Times. Someone in Louisiana thinking about health? His phone number at the bottom even has my hometown’s 337 area code! He’s a man ahead of his time. Okay, on time with most of the world, but ahead of his local standard time:

“I started this because I could not see the future in conventional farming,” Kurt told me when I visited him last month. Back then, he and his brother were farming 2,000 acres. But “it got to where you could plow 100 acres and you wouldn’t find one earthworm.” As he spoke, he turned over the soil in his experimental vegetable garden, sending earthworms squirming back toward the ground. “And as I learned about the nutrition, there just wasn’t no stopping. You’re dealing with life!”

And how his business has grown:

A decade ago, he was selling 200 pounds of brown rice a month at the Red Stick farmers’ market in Baton Rouge. Now Unkel takes 1,000 pounds of jasmine rice from the grain bin near his house every week and mills it himself using a compact Japanese machine.

From 200 pounds a month to 1000 pounds a week? That’s awesome.

He includes a recipe in the article, but it is decidedly unvegan, so I thought I’d share something that Susan from FatFree Vegan Kitchen came up with instead.

May I present to you: Not-So-Dirty Rice!

So good. And authentic! I’m pretty sure Susan is originally from Louisiana, so she knew the taste she was after, and she did a great job of hitting it. In fact, she hits it so well that when I serve it, I don’t call it Not-So-Dirty Rice. I simply call it Dirty Rice. And in my household, it’s a given that it’ll be vegan as well.

Now I’ve tried it both on its own as a side and as a stuffing for baked acorn squash (which made a perfect autumn meal, and I recognize it’s March now, but hey, maybe someone in the Southern Hemisphere can make use of the idea now, and anyone else can simply bookmark the idea for a few months!).

But it would be the perfect recipe to try with some of Mr. Unkel’s Louisiana farmed, organic Cajun Grain rice. 🙂

As it happens, btw, I have had massive success with every recipe I’ve tried from FatFree Vegan Kitchen (wait, typing that out made me remember that I did muck up a bean burger from that site once, but considering I have yet to make a successful bean burger with any of the >5 recipes I’ve tried, I’m not really sure I can blame her for my failure), so I do recommend that you guys follow the link and poke around till you find more that you like.

Speaking of, I was just looking around for proof that Susan grew up in Louisiana, and I landed on THIS: Chickpea Gumbo!

That is so on my must-try list now. I love it because almost every vegan gumbo recipe out there relies heavily on fake sausage and the like, and I’m not really interested in items like that. And Susan mentions it as an optional item, but the recipe can stand alone without it.

If only I could find okra at my local g-store. Albert Heijn needs to seriously get with it.


One comment

  1. […] Friday: Indonesian Curried Bean Stew Saturday: Chickpea Gumbo (that I discovered while writing my last entry!) Sunday: Spicy Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn […]

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