PHOTO: Sun-dried tomatoes join forces with pumpkin seeds in a simple dip featured in Gene Baur’s new book. | From LIVING THE FARM SANCTUARY LIFE
From his earliest years, Gene Baur had a strong affection for and curiosity about animals. But what set him apart from the other kids was the accompanying deep concern he had for their welfare. Even as a child he wanted to do what he could to make sure people didn’t harm them.
So, as he freely admits, anyone who knew the young Baur isn’t surprised by the direction his life has taken. Today Baur is the co-founder and president of what’s considered the largest refuge for farm animals in the world, Farm Sanctuary. The organization works tirelessly to put an end to abuses in factory farming and promote animal safety.
Now Baur, along with writer Gene Stone (“Forks Over Knives”), has written “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life” (Rodale, $29.99). It’s equal parts memoir, lifestyle guide and cookbook.
Baur tells of the early experiences with animals that solidified his commitment. He shares how Farm Sanctuary got its start. He and co-founder Lorri Houston weren’t exactly sure what they wanted to do for farm animals, only that they felt they had to do something. It’s interesting reading how the movement evolved. (There’s a very humorous story about what they discovered to be their most successful way to fundraise.)
Sprinkled throughout are ideas on how people can become more mindful of what they eat. Sometimes people offer very pie-in-the-sky ideas how others can similarly follow their consciences. Not Baur. There’s no righteous finger-pointing here, either. He gets that these ideas might be new ones to embrace. He knows people are busy. He understands their economic concerns. So the suggestions he makes throughout the book are very practical and doable. (Baby steps such as substituting plant-based milks and creams, for example.)
Throughout “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life” are stories about personal encounters with different animals. The portraits the book’s words paint make the animal’s personalities so vivid. (And, like people, they all have names — really cute ones, in fact: Shotzie, Hilda, Matisse, Opie.) You see by the way Baur describes his experiences with them that each is an individual with its own personality. Oh, and the photos! They are so delightful.
Taking a nibble. | FROM LIVING THE FARM SANCTUARY LIFE
Then there are the 100 recipes to help people enjoy meatless meals. Every mealtime of the day is covered in the recipe selection. The 100 come from a wide variety of sources including chefs, cookbook authors, activists, nutritionists and others (Moby contributed his Improvised Chili). The recipes aren’t complicated, and the instructions easy to follow. (There are a few that are lengthy, but that doesn’t mean they would be difficult to master.)
Sprinkled throughout the book also is advice on growing your own food, including, for instance, a list of vegetables that grow easily. (Kale!)
Here’s one of the recipes included in the book. It’s from Matteo Silverman, executive chef of Chalk Hill Cookery in Sonoma, Calif. Now that the warmer days are here, we’re getting together with friends and family more often. Silverman’s easy dip is perfect when entertaining.
TOASTED PUMPKIN SEED DIP WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES
MAKES 3 CUPS
2 cups pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, halved
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated in water for 15 to 20 minutes
¾ cup water
¼ cup lime juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 jalapeno chile, diced, or red pepper flakes, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place pepitas on a baking sheet and roast for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they just begin to turn brown and start to pop. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, grind them in a food processor until they are powder-like. Place in a large bowl.
Place the onion and garlic on a baking pan and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned.
In a blender, combine the roasted onion and garlic, tomatoes and water. Puree until smooth. Add to the bowl with the ground pepitas, along with the lime juice, salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and thoroughly combine. For a little heat, add the chile or pepper flakes to taste, if desired.
From Matteo Silverman in “Living the Farm Sanctuary Life”