Saffron-Infused Spring Vegetables with Basmati Rice

I used to be into handbags.

I used to think nothing of spending several hundred dollars on a tiny little purse in which I could only fit my ID and a couple twenty dollar bills for the club.

It's hard to believe it now. Now that I live in a world of utter disdain for the excess of designer fashion. But, there was a time when I didn't bat and eyelash about the various forms of exploitation at work in the designer subculture.

Sometimes, I still yearn for a little decadence in my life. Cruelty-free decadence, that is. Not often, because the high I used to get from hanging expensive animal carcass off my shoulder has been replaced by the high I get from living like a cheapskate. A compassionate cheapskate. Really, I couldn't be more different than the person I was seven or eight years ago. And I suppose as a vegan blogger I should pretend that I was always interested in the rights of animals - human or otherwise.

But the truth is, I wasn't. Not at all, actually.

I don't really like who I was back then.

But the nice thing about not liking yourself is the fact that it falls into that coveted realm of Things You Can Change. Any second of any day is an opportunity for change. There are so many things that happen to us and around us every single day that we are powerless to control. Who we are and what we stand for is not one of those things.

As for me, nowadays I get excited when it is socially appropriate to wear trackpants somewhere and I tend to groan a little too much when an event calls for heels. I have one purse that I use everyday. It's not made of animal.

All the same, the yearning for the Fancy is not all gone. There is still a little fancy in my life, now and again.

Usually in my food.

Oh, yes. The enthusiasm I once reserved for designer handbags is now channeled into expensive spices and speciality vegan products that I spot in and around town. The girl I was in 2005 would not believe that the girl I am today gasped as she clutched a Tofurky pizza with all her strength at Full Circle Foods in downtown Kitchener. But that's me. Now.

I have wanted a bottle of saffron strands for a very, very long time. So fancy, so expensive, so hardcore that they not only come in a bottle, they come in an envelope-within-a-bottle.

Actually, they come in an envelope-within-an-envelope-within-a-bottle.

That tiny amount you see in that envelope there? $11.00. ELEVEN FREAKING DOLLARS.

I may have had a tiny aneurysm in the spice aisle of my neighbourhood supermarket. A tiny one. I'm still fully functional, but since I handed the cashier those eleven dollars something has felt a bit off.

You bet your tiny little vegan butt that I used the most miniscule pinch possible in this dish. These strands are going to have to last me until my unborn children graduate college because I am never going to pay that much for so little again.

Saffron is pretty cool though. You put it in water and it immediately gives it this funky yellow/orange hue.

I made sure that there was pretty much nothing else in the dish but the saffron because if I am paying that much for something I better damn well taste it.

Just vegetables, mostly. On a bed of basmati rice.

I'm pretty sure that I'm the last food blogger on earth that hasn't tried saffron. Especially since I make paella all the time, leaving the saffron out. Meaning that it isn't really paella at all, just a paella-like essence created out of a desire to be able to pay the gas and water bill each month. I'm excited to make it now that I did splurge on a bottle, though, knowing it will completely change the taste.

The recipe for this comes from Fresh and Fast Vegan, the newest edition to my cookbook shelf. It's not one of the big vegan cookbooks on the market so it will be difficult to find digital copies of recipes. But for this one, what you see is what you get. Yellow "summer" squash, leeks, grape tomatoes, carrots, and green onions for the vegetables. Parsley for garnish. Two servings of basmati rice. A pinch of saffron disolved in a couple tablespoons of warm water. Vegetable stock. And parsley for garnish. A nice light meal for spring!

P.S. As a follow-up to my last post's rant, this makes me very happy! We here at TIV are all about offering second chances, as long as someone is sincere about wanting to make things right. VegNews made a huge, offensive monstrosity of a mistake. Part of the rage that arose out of the vegan community revolved not around the use of non-vegan photos but the fact that the magazine first lied about it, then tried to silence the community by deleting Facebook posts and then issued a statement that was not only not an apology, but was an attempt at justifying misleading thousands of readers and subscribers. However, earlier this week they owned up to this error and promised better for the future. I'm so over divisiveness in the animal advocacy community and I think this circumstance presents an opportunity for us to not only come together but move forward together too. Also, the nice thing about controversy is what rises up from the ashes of it - in this case, vegan food porn all in one place!


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