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Vibrant and Veganfull (V&V) provides vegan recipes to support health and contributions to sustainability.  V&V also explores ideas and concepts to provide you informed choices for living more sustainably.


With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

Fresh Vegetables in Basket
 

Curry Spiced "Crab" Cakes Over Spinach with Roasted Garlic Drizzle

When I was young (up till choosing a college major), I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I formulated Science Fair projects around whales, my favorite animal was a sea turtle, and I begged my parents for anything "marine" related. I relished aquariums, fed sting rays, met dolphins (though an conservation program), and eventually volunteered at a highly-rated aquarium; all to be around marine life.


Why didn't I become a Marine Biologist? Simple - not enough job projections for all the college graduates for that degree = not enough care for the oceans to subsist a job, let alone an impactful career. Up till the day I declared my university, I was 100% sure I should go into a program for marine biology and I was convinced I could be one of those that successfully completed the degree, and found a job. But...what does it say about conservation and our overall opinion about being stewards of the Earth if the job projections for careers involved in studying, researching, and managing biomes and their creatures is dismal?


So, I decided instead to enter environmental sciences which (at the time) had a job outlook of over 30% projection based upon the "need" for scientists, engineers and sustainability managers. I thought, yes - this is how I will help save the world.



Sustainability Spotlight: As of today's date, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that over the next 10 years, "employment of environmental scientists and specialists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 9,400 openings for environmental scientists and specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire." (https://www.bls.gov).


About as fast as other jobs....all other jobs from all areas of focus from lifeguards, fast food workers, office managers, janitorial services, mechanical repair, builders, entrepreneurs, executive direction of a movie / TV show, to corporate CEOs. Does that seem "right" to you? That environmental science and sustainability careers are just as important as someone directing a TV show? Look I like TV shows too, but it's just as important as how we define our impacts on the planet? I hope you said "no!"


Does it seem like over the next decade, humans have much thought or care about how they (and the corporations they work for) have for the impacts to the environment when sustainability careers are not expected to outpace every other career? It doesn't to me and certainly not when in 2020, "the World Meteorological Organization released its decadal survey, which included dire predictions: there is a 90 percent chance that one of the next five years will be the hottest on record, and a 40 percent chance that we will experience a year with a global average temperature 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels." (smithsonianmag.com). We should be accelerating these careers to find solutions; not just replacing retirees.


These statistics and facts are all underscoring the most important sustainability narrative in our world today - we simply don't care enough. We don't invest enough, we don't put enough value into our future or future generations, we simply just keep going...on the same path, doing the same things - endlessly.


Through this blog and through these words, I hope to remove the blinders that are on each and every one of us. The world is rapidly ending because of human interactions; no that's not a dramatic statement - it's true based upon all the science, facts, data and information available from the most reputable resources.


Yes, we have invented "better" sustainability practices for certain aspects of our lives, but none are great (if you think it's okay to define "better" as not doing anything at all), and none (I mean NONE) are enough at this "End Game" stage of how much we have impacted this planet to tip the scales.


We have to do even better than the limited investments we have made into sustainability. For example, I made "crab cakes" vegan because even while pot crab fishing is more sustainable than net fishing and there are regulations that promote quotas and ensure over-fishing does not occur to maintain stable crab populations, a vegan version of the crab cakes does MORE for this planet than eating a crab; despite it's position on the "sustainability" scale compared to other fish / fishing practices.


My point to all of this is that perception is reality and reality creates more perception in many cases. To really be a sustainable world, we have to invest in ourselves. Invest in the science, research, and stewardship of our impacts to this planet. Consider the world as one giant cycle (which it is!) for how our interactions as humans can and will continue to promote either degradation or rehabilitation. As consumers, as people, as environmental scientists (in practice or at heart), demand the world do better.


Make the discussion political, make it capitalistic, make it a requirement of what companies you support, who you work for, and who you vote for; change the outlook for the "need" for environmental science and sustainability jobs. When that starts to shift, and the sustainability job outlook changes from 8% to 12% to 20%..you will know we all made a difference in the reality and perception of sustainability.


Ingredients:

  • "Crab" cakes:

  • 1 package buffalo tempeh

  • 1/4 red onion (coarsely chopped)

  • 4-5 garlic cloves (chopped)

  • (1) 1 x 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)

  • 1 large handful cilantro

  • 1 tbsp siracha sauce

  • 2 tsp Hot Madras curry powder

  • 1 lime (juiced)

  • 2 tsp agave syrup

  • 3 tbsp garbanzo flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • Roasted Garlic Sauce:

  • ~12 roasted garlic cloves

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo

  • 1 lemon (juiced)

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tsp stone ground mustard

  • 1/4 cup water

  • Fresh Spinach Leaves (to serve)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

  • Add all ingredients of "Crab" cakes above to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse to chop the ingredients (~20 times), and then blend till the "dough" comes together; ~30 seconds or so (you should still have texture!)

  • Remove processor bowl and with a large serving spoon, scoop portions of your "crab" cake dough into our hands to form a patty (~1 inch thick by 3 inch diameter or so) and place each cake on a silpat lined lipped baking sheet - you should have enough for 6 cakes; if you made them too large, redistribute evenly.

  • Slide pan into oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven (carefully, it's hot!) and using a spatula, flip cakes (gently - they make still be a bit sticky). Slide pan back into the oven to bake another 15 minutes (they should be slightly browned).

  • While your cakes are cooking, add all ingredients of Roasted Garlic Sauce above into a personal blender and blend until smooth (adding more water as needed to thin - you want a thickness that nicely coats the back of your spoon).

  • Once the cakes are done, remove from the oven (carefully, it's hot!) and let cool a few minutes.

To serve, add a handful of fresh spinach as a 'bed' for your cakes on individual plates. Top spinach with some garlic drizzle. Nestle two cakes onto each plate and finish with more garlic drizzle; serve immediately.


With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

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