Book Report: Living The Farm Sanctuary Life (+ Bonus Recipe!)

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Here it is! The latest book from Gene Baur, the founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, is called “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life.” 

If you don’t know who Gene Baur is, here are some quotes from his official bio:

“Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement”…A pioneer in the field of undercover investigations, Gene has visited hundreds of farms, stockyards, and slaughterhouses documenting their deplorable conditions…educating millions about the plight of modern farm animals.

Gene began his activist career selling veggie hotdogs out of a VW van at Grateful Dead concerts to fund farm animal rescues…and is currently Farm Sanctuary’s president. With shelters in New York and California, Farm Sanctuary provides rescue, refuge, and adoption for hundreds of farm animals each year, enabling visitors to connect with farm animals as emotional, intelligent individuals.

Gene believes these animals stand as ambassadors for the billions on factory farms who have no voice, and he has dedicated his career to advocating on their behalf.”

Gene is one cool dude. He even appeared on The Daily Show to promote his book! Watch Gene talk to Jon Stewart here.

If that doesn’t make you run out and buy the book, maybe this will. It is gentle but firm in it’s explanation of the treatment of animals, ethics around eating animals, and living a peaceful life.

It is full of heart warming stories about animals like Larry the cow and Monet and Matisse the ducks. It is full of life changing anecdotes about visitors to the farm who make the connection between animals and food and realize they can no longer eat them. People like Biz Stone, the founder of Twitter, and regular folks of all ages communing with cows, pigs, chickens and ducks, and realizing they are smart, emotional, friendly, and fun creatures that we should all get to know (and stop eating.)

It is full of startling medical facts and information around preventing and reversing many modern diseases like diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. And on top of it all, it’s got100 never-before-published recipes from some amazing vegan chefs.

I have read many books of this ilk and this is one that I thinks speaks to the masses in a non-preachy, matter of fact, and sweet way.

Gene’s major goal is to get the reader to consider Living the Farm Sanctuary Life. A life that is living in alignment with our values (love, peace, justice), engaging in a mindful connection with animals (not just our dogs and cats but cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, goats, and sheep and more!), engaging in a mindful connection with our food (knowing where it comes from, cooking it ourselves), eating plants for our own health (decreasing our risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer) and eating plants for the health of earth (the environment is depending on it!)

Check out this book right now! And because the folks over at Farm Sanctuary are so cool, they said I could post a recipe from the book. I am making these next taco Tuesday!

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Tacos with Salted Grilled Plantains, Salsa Verde, and Pepitas
Jason Wyrick, executive chef of The Vegan Taste
and author of Vegan Tacos

Says Jason: “If the tortilla is the soul of a taco, then the filling is the body, and fresh lime and spicy salsa are the life of it. It’s the fusion of all three of these components that makes tacos the perfect handheld meal. Because the traditional tortilla for a taco is only about 5 1/2″ in diameter, one serving is usually two or three tacos—or four if you’re hungry!”

Makes 12 tacos
Time to Make: 25 to 35 minutes

2 cups fresh masa (corn dough for making tortillas) or 12 small premade corn tortillas
2 medium semi-ripe plantains, peeled
1 tablespoon garlic-infused oil
Grated peel and juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 1/2 cups salsa verde
3/4 cup toasted pepitas
2 cups shredded red cabbage

Heat a grill, preferably using mesquite wood. If using a gas grill, bring to medium heat and add soaked mesquite chips in the smoking box.

(Lisa’s Note: we don’t have a grill. I will making these in my stovetop grill pan!)

While the grill is coming to temperature, make the tortillas. Bring a griddle or comal to medium heat. Lay plastic wrap over the bottom flap of your tortilla press. Take 2 to 21⁄2 tablespoons of the masa and form it into a ball. Lay this on the plastic wrap, just slightly off center toward the hinges of the press. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap at least the size of the tortilla press flap over the masa ball. Press down firmly until the masa is flat and you have a tortilla ready to be cooked. This takes a little practice, so if your first few tortillas don’t turn out right, simply re-form the dough into a ball and press it again. Make as many uncooked tortillas as your griddle can handle before laying them on the hot griddle. Typically this will be 2 to 4 tortillas. Make sure to press each tortilla in its own plastic wrap and keep them in the wrap until you are ready to lay them on the griddle. Remove the top layer of the plastic sheet. Flip the tortilla over and remove the other layer. Gently lay it on your griddle. Cook the first side for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until you see the edges of the tortilla change color. Flip the tortilla over and cook for 1 minute. Flip it back over one more time and cook it for another 30 seconds. Remove the tortillas from the heat, stacking them and keeping them covered so they don’t dry out.

(Lisa’s Note: I do not have a tortilla press (yet!) so I will make my basic corn tortillas or use sprouted ones.)

Brush the plantains with the oil. Grill them until they are heavily browned on both sides. Remove them from the grill and chop into bite-size pieces. Immediately toss them with the lime peel and juice and then the salt and chile powder.

To each tortilla, add the plantains, 2 tablespoons of the salsa verde, 1 tablespoon of the pepitas, and the cabbage.

Enjoy!

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