Musty & I both ordered "Chiles Nogada: a plate created by Puebla Nuns. Poblano peppers filled with (zucchini & mushrooms) seasoned with almonds, pecans, fine herbs, dried fruits, and topped with walnut sauce." Wow. I got mine vegan, although I have to say that I doubted the vegan-ness of the crepe on the plate. Too bad, because Musty said it was the best part of the meal. It was covered in a lovely rose petal sauce. There was a small cup of *spicy* salsa, saffron rice, a little salad, the crepe, beans, and the poblano peppers covered in walnut sauce & dried cranberries. It's usually made with turkey, but my peppers were stuffed with zukes & mushrooms, a very nice combo.
In all the review was a bit mixed... I quite liked the peppers, but doubting the vegan-ness of something on the plate always makes me a bit uneasy.. Also, the 20 minutes wait for a check was bit of a drag. Still, I'll check it out again. I did appreciate that he served my meal on a "Why I am a Vegetarian" plate! :)
With our bellies full we headed off to the Fairgrounds...
There was an interesting reptile barn with cool snakes and turtles and even an alligator that we could pet! These animals seemed well taken care of, and the handlers seemed very knowledgable and caring. That was nice to see. I took this picture because the tortoises were eating a giant zucchini for lunch - just like the zucchini I had in my peppers for lunch!
So, here we go... headed into the very sadly-named "Beef & Goat Barn." I'm sure that I am not the only one of us who struggles with the county fair. On the one hand, I love farm animals so much. I love to see them, and pet them, and love them, and even smell them... But the sad truth of their fate can be hard to take. Some years I avoid the animals altogether, but this year I was up for it.
This fellow was SO big, it was both impressive & insane. Right next to the cows & goats were a photo display of the "Open Carcass Carving Competition" and a giant barbecue booth. At first it seemed like a horrible disconnect to me... but on the other hand, I started thinking, at least this display gives people a poignant reminder of what they are eating.
All of the animals at the fair are from various 4-H programs in our county, where children raise farm animals and then exhibit them at auction for slaughter. To me, it just seems so incredibly weird and unfathomable to teach young people to raise these gentle creatures and then have them killed. When I was looking at this sweet goat, I heard a man say to his girlfriend, "Now, how could you eat one of those sweeties??"... about these two:
So, maybe it's a good thing? Aren't they cute?
Of course, "Goat Meat Cuts" was posted on the outside of their pen. !? It mostly just makes me speechless.
One small thing is at least a gratitude that these animals do seem to have a better lot in life than factory-raised meat animals. Still, I sure wish that they could just keep on having happy lives and children for friends.... When I was a kid, I used to go to a really neat farm camp every summer, where I got to help care for cows and pigs, chickens and goats, sheep and horses... it was quite specifically what turned me into a vegetarian, and I still feel a very special sense of comfort and spiritual calmness around farm animals. Even though most of these lovely creatures will be killed prematurely, I was touched to spend some time with them and appreciating their time.
After the animals, we headed over the various exhibition booths. One of my favorite things is to look at all the entries for the baking and canning contests. I wonder if they have a vegan category? Maybe they should make one! Or, I should just enter all the categories with things that just HAPPEN to be vegan - that's even more subversive! I will give it a try next year. I also love this weirdly patriotic & grandiose display technique, holding little paper plates with a few cookies or a slice of banana bread wrapped in saran wrap. Ha! it's all a bit weary looking by day 5 of the fair, ha ha!
You can see that they've used a similar display tactic for people's fruits and veggies that have been entered. People can enter almost anything they've grown that they are particularly proud of. The winning pumpkin was 728 pounds! Holy Pumpkin, Batman. This display had various winter squash varieties, hot peppers, and even some leaves of kale... I love the cute, hokey-ness of it all.
Lastly, this uninspired photo of one of my favorite parts of the County Fair... the collections! People can display their collections, regardless of what they collect (as long as it's not porno videos or whatever! : ) ) . This one won first place in the adult division, and for good reason. It was a beautiful display of 343 small glass vials of sand gathered from all over the U.S. & the world at large. Each jar was numbered, and you could look on the companion list to see where each one was gathered. There were some beautiful yellow sands from France that were quite amazing.
After all that, I made a light dinner - Chinese Long Beans (fun! - from the farmers' market even!) with Black Bean Sauce & sesame seeds...
As well as broccoli with sesame and ginger, from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. This was an easy, 5-minute method for making broccoli that turned out absolutely delicious! I could have eaten about 3 times this amount, and will definitely make it again. I reduced the total oil to about 1.5 tsp versus 3 Tbsp or whatever it called for. Very lovely...
Hope you had a good weekend too! How do you like the new look of my blog? I've been meaning to jazz it up a bit for quite some time.... :)