Mike Map

View Mike Map in a larger map

Friday, July 16, 2010

Breakfasts of Champion

Up until now, my breakfasts have mostly consisted of oatmeal (cooked in the winter, raw in the summer) with fruit (raisins, prunes, jujubes, bananas, persimmons, whatever else is around), nuts (peanuts and almonds), ground flax seed, cinnamon, and some soy milk, black bean milk, or home made bean milk yogurt.

Tasty? For sure. Healthy? Pretty good. Food miles? Leaves a little to be desired.

As always, I've been thinking about other ways to reduce my footprint, and have been thinking about trying to cut down on eating imported foods. Part of me says "I already eat vegan 99% of the time, buy organic as much as I can, buy local when it's available, don't have a car, ride my bike around, and almost never buy any non-food items. Isn't that enough?" But, for some reason, no, it isn't.

I noticed that my lunches and dinners mostly contain local stuff and that breakfasts are the big killer. Oatmeal, almonds, prunes, and raisins from the states, bananas from the Phillipines, soy milk probably from China. But I didn't really know what else to do. I didn't really want to bother with tofu scrambles and all that morning vegetable chopping hassle.

But the I went to Vipassana and had awesome vegan Korean cuisine every morning for 11 days. No way to tell how local everything was, but anyway, all of it can be procured locally. Surprisingly, I didn't really miss the almonds, fruit, or richness of my standard breakfast. Instead, I enjoyed a different variety of rice porridge every morning, along with rotating side dishes. Various varieties of salty or spicy Kimchi, some crunchiness provided by fried peppers, and sweetness from sugared peanuts or beans.

So, since the Vipassana course, I've been trying to do similar stuff for myself. I biked over to the market with some tupperware, visited a banch'an (side dish) lady, and stocked up on black beans, lotus roots, and kimchi:

The long green ones are young radish, the thicker ones are cabbage.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, the lotus roots had lots of mini-shrimp in them. I couldn't handle the taste and tried to give them away, but my friends couldn't handle the taste either, so they wound up getting tossed. Poor guys.

Here's a tour of my week:

(Plated side dishes, peppers just for decoration. Also, I made that plate!)

(Black rice and other mixed grain porridge, with pumpkin seeds (not recommended) and sesame (pointless))

(Mixed grain and split-pea porridge)

(Put the sesame right on the sides! This one also has some stir-friend kimchi from a friend)

(This morning's read bean and mixed grain porridge.)

Funny story about the red beans:
I bought them a long time ago at a local organic shop. I made a few rounds of burgers with them, then stowed them away and forgot about them. When I next looked, there were little flies inside of the sealed bag; I suppose there must have been eggs on the beans or something. I didn't want to throw away the beans, but I didn't want to let the flies out, so I just left it there. Then when my parents came, my dad suggested I just throw it in the freezer. The flies would freeze and then I could pick them out. Crafty! With some apologies to the bugs, I gave it a try.

Result, after a good 30 minutes of picking through:


thesnowleopard said...

Hey howabout some recipes posted on the blog? and I'm glad to see the yogurt maker working out for you.

AZ said...

What?! You made the plate? I'm impressed (and by the food as well)

sarah said...

A few months back I switched from my regular oatmeal (usually sweet - with fresh or dried fruit or pureed sweet potato) to savory fare. It was actually really hard at first because I was so accustomed to eating sweet food for breakfast. Was this a challenge for you at all?

Now I wake up in the morning psyched for my kimchi.

Mike said...

Recipes? I bought the banch'an from a grandma at Dong-Daegu market, so I haven't a clue. As for the porridge, though, I just soak and cook the beans first, then cook the rice with twice as much liquid as usual. Using soup stock rather than water adds a little to the taste. I have a pretty sweet pressure cooker setup that I'll post about once I'm home.

And the plates? Yeah, that was one of the first things I did when I got back to Korea. I had a friend take me to a ceramic place to make some plates and cups and my bean sprout sprouter. Excellence.

The transition to savory wasn't too tough, but that's largely because it was out of my control. Like I said, it started at the Vipassana course, when I wasn't even allowed to open my mouth to complain (not that I wanted to.) When I got home, I didn't have any fresh fruit around, since I had been gone for 10 days, so it was just a matter of buying kimchi etc rather than heading to costco. It would've been pretty tough if not for the Vipassana help, though. I assume that's why I didn't get around to it before.