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Humble Food: Late-Night Rice Bowl

Posted Apr 16 2010 4:57am

Sometimes it seems as though all possible forms of everyday drama assemble and present themselves simultaneously. Yesterday progressed innocuously enough, with a pleasantly busy workday followed by a drive home in the sunshine, knowing that an appointment to have my eyebrows done was awaiting me in cheerful anticipation of the weekend. Arriving home, I strolled down the street to our neighbors house, where I've been caring for her dogs while she's out of town. My first hint that something was amiss occurred when I heard ferocious howls through the door as I turned the key, yet neither dog was waiting by the door to greet me... Instead, I tracked the roaring barks and yelps to the dining room, where my eyes fell upon scattered broken crockery, and a ghastly pool of blood. For some unknown reason, one of the usually sweet, docile dogs was literally trying to kill the other, smaller dog. Unfortunately, the perpetrator is a huge dog who probably weighs more than I do, and I screamed at him, pulled on his collar, and shoved him in vain. In sobbing desperation, I finally started throwing dining room chairs at him until he at last released his grip on the other dog! I'm sure I would have made a comedic sight, shouting and throwing chairs about, but at the time the comedy of the situation escaped me, as I found myself being a dog nurse instead of a human nurse for the night. By some miracle, I had arrived soon enough that the little dog's wounds weren't too serious, just very much in need of cleaning and bandaging. I spent the next few hours stopping the bleeding, wrapping up his injuries (side note - a figure-eight bandage is far more challenging on a dog than on a human, who doesn't have extra appendages such as tails...), and then, finally, cleaning up the mess so our neighbor wouldn't find her house mimicking the set of a horror movie when she returned home from her business trip. After coaxing the injured puppy to eat a specially prepared bowl of soft, tempting puppy-food, establishing the big dog, with his food, in a separate part of the house where he couldn't cause any more damage, and assuring myself that the poor little puppy seemed to be stable and comfortable at last, I walked tiredly back to my house, grateful that the situation had been navigated and I was at least now returning to a quiet, nonviolent household... Only to step inside our house and discover that one of the cats had apparently consumed an entire jar of foam earplugs and subsequently vomited them all over the carpet. Honestly. I know I'm a nurse, but really, vomit and blood are supposed to stay behind at my workplace, thank you...

By the time I was able to think about dinner, or even realized I might have an appetite, it was 10PM! Something simple, nourishing, easy to digest, and utterly soothing was definitely appropriate... I briefly toyed with the idea of leftovers or some Trader Joe's soup, but with one inspiring glance at my favorite fleur de lis bowl a very comforting rice dish began to emerge...

The flavors are subtle, the textures are wonderful, the vegetables are abundant, and, I do believe, this rice bowl can make everything right in the world again! Or at least in my corner of the world...

Super-Comforting Late-Night Rice Bowl

* This recipe makes one serving - feel free to multiply as needed!

1/4 cup sliced zucchini
1/4 cup green beans, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
2 oz baked tofu or MorningStar Farms "sausage style" tofu crumbles
2 tsp nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, such as SmartBalance Light
1/4 tsp dried basil

~ Steam the vegetables according to your preferred method - I use a microwave steamer. Alternately, if you don't have a steamer handy, you could just simmer them in a little bit of broth until they're tender.
~ Stir together the brown rice and baked tofu/tofu crumbles, then warm the mixture in a small saucepan or microwave just until heated through.
~ In your favorite bowl, combine the steamed veggies along with the rice and tofu mixture. Gently stir in the vegan marg until melted, along with the dried basil. Season to taste with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Curl up in a cozy spot, and enjoy!

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