I do not recommend eating dinner as the clock ticks toward midnight. Often called The Witching Hour, midnight is when good boys and girls should be nestled in bed, perhaps even knocking boots with a loved one. While such an early bedtime is anathema to most of the country’s city dwellers, here in San Francisco, we turn the lights low before our Chicagoan or New Yorker counterparts. The streets crawl with urban raccoons, nary a tram tolls its bell, and watering holes suddenly dry.
In a city known as much for its licentiousness and debauch as its world-class restaurants and sparkling views of the Bay, San Francisco’s early bedtime came as a shock when I first relocated to the area four years ago.
That said, it was an atypically late evening at the studio (where I work as editorial director), followed by a several-hour-long jaunt up Bernal Hill to scope out the skyline from on high, followed by an adventure to the 24-hour market…to buy toilet paper. Once home, the coziness of the kitchen–with its dim lights and happily chattering housemates–lured me in. And, despite the late hour, I heeded its call.
While zeroing in on some of my homemade vegan applesauce cornbread might have been the path of least resistance–just slice and binge on savory-sweet carbs–I took a cue from my vegetable-crazed roommate and whipped up a late-night treat fit for a queen (of a scrappy, Mission-Street apartment)!
As Jason and I visited Rainbow Grocery Coop only two days before, we had a stockpile of organic, seasonal produce sourced straight from the Bay-Area foodshed. Unless you’re growing your own vegetables, this mode of sourcing food is the single most effective means of minimizing your carbon footprint.(Alas, I haven’t ramped up my hard-core quotient yet, and still don’t even have planter boxes!)
I tossed coined broccoli stalks and full florets into the shallow cast-iron pan, along with red bell pepper, purple onion, and–a summer favorite–zucchini. Broccoli is my favorite food of almost 10 years, and, until recently, I’ve been a stalk snob…tossing it out with the compost and relishing in the bright green florets. Now, as I’m making a more conscious effort to cut out needless waste (thanks in no small part to my summer roommate, Anita), I’ve come to love the sweet, vegetable crispness of the broccoli stalk…and have quickly come to prefer it over the florets.
A splash of water over the fresh vegetables, a lid on top of the pan, and a high heat flame results in a perfectly steamed meal in mere minutes. (To retain that satisfying, crunchy vegetable snap!, I keep cooking time to a minimum.)
Into a cute, earthenware bowl, I spooned the vegetables, along with half an avocado and a generous sprinkling of unhulled hemp seeds.
My miracle food of the month, hemp seeds make sense. Like flax seeds, high protein hemp seeds contains all nine of the essential amino acids and a balanced ratio of omega-three and omega-six fatty acids. Omega-three fatty acids can prevent heart disease and stroke, and omega-six fatty acids help lower cholesterol and promote healthy skin!
So, while I ate dinner immediately before hitting the sack (again, this isn’t recommended), I stayed the course and munched (contentedly) on body-nourishing foods.
Bon appétit! (er, sweet dreams!)