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Are you doing vegan wrong? It depends on who you’re asking.
Sometimes, if you ask the wrong person, you get painted with the brush of Wrongness. It doesn’t wash off easily.
In our little vegan cult– er, community, the Wrongness rears its ugly head early and often. Even if you’re a 10-year vegan veteran like I am, consuming no animal products, there’s always somebody poised to tell you that you’re doing “vegan” wrong. Your tires aren’t vegan, your iPhone isn’t vegan, that little thing that hangs down your throat is a uvula and if meaty air accidentally touches it because you were breathing again, you are doing it wrong.
The tiny problem with “You’re doing it wrong” is that wrong is not always black and white. For example, what if the cheerleader is holding that sign for a lady hanging upside down on monkey bars? It could happen. So there needs to be context involved in the accusations of Wrongness.
However, if the ink on that sign is derived from monkeys in bars, she would be wrong. Maybe. We’ll get into that another time.
With veganism, our approach is always to educate and let people make their own choices. We rate “trying to be vegan” pretty high, because it’s at least taking steps toward being more conscious. Everyone isn’t equally successful, but you get bonus points for moving in that direction.
But all vegans aren’t, shall we say, tolerant. Some are downright militant. And scary.
Around the time we first went vegan, we went to a kid’s birthday party. The family wasn’t vegan, but they knew there would be vegans coming so they provided a pizza with soy cheese on it. Wasn’t that nice? We thought so.
Enter the militant vegan. Host confrontation in 3…2…
“Hey. You know this has casein in it, don’t you?”
If you don’t already know (and how dare you not know), casein (KASE-ee-ehn) is an element found in dairy. It does something like bind together the whats-it molecules with the enzymes in the… whatever. It makes cheese work. Some fake soy-type cheese products use the stuff, but it’s not truly vegan. Now you know.
However, our militant vegan -ahem- friend didn’t stop at educating the host. Nopity-nopity-no. She went full-on vegan rant monster to everyone in earshot. Message sent?
You’re doing it wrong.
You’re wrong. I’m right. You are being a bad vegan and I’m here to stop these evil proceedings. And don’t get me started on those goddamned balloons.
It’s Not the Message, It’s the Delivery
In this world, there are certain things you could truly be doing wrong. Jumping out of a plane without a parachute, for example. There’s not much wiggle room on that rule (try to trust me there). However, when it comes to things that aren’t particularly life-threatening, like starting a business or going vegan, there’s enough wiggle room to samba with Harry Belafonte.
That said, there are some widely accepted standards for what makes a vegan. I would say the overwhelming majority of vegans don’t consume any animal products whatsoever. If you eat eggs or fish, you may be trying to be vegan, but you’re not technically a vegan by widely accepted cult–er, community standards. But are you doing it wrong?
We don’t wear leather or fur, but Bill Clinton does (well, hopefully not the fur). Yet he’s still a vegan in our book, because he doesn’t eat food that comes from animal sources. His reasoning? His health. Do we care? Nope.
Some people would care very much about that distinction and say he’s doing it wrong – or for the wrong reasons. All we care about is that he’s going in a good direction for his health, animals, the environment, and his appearance – which benefits us all when we have to see him in the media. If we took our time and energy to focus on the negative aspects in his Wrongness of Reasons, we would lose any momentum in our cause. People would be afraid to approach us to ask any questions about being vegan, because they would be afraid of our Mighty Vegan judgment.
With our militant vegan acquaintance, we know she’s passionate about her vegan beliefs (so are we). We can respect that passion, but passion alone doesn’t change the world.
You Probably Aren’t Doing It Wrong, but What If You Are?
If someone calls you out on doing vegan wrong, hang up and then dial your operator. Seriously, do some research, call a friendly vegan friend, gather as much information as you can. Then make your choices. Your choices will vary from our choices. That’s what makes us individuals. If your choices come from being fully conscious and educated in what you’re choosing, then you can’t be doing it wrong.
This is a really simple way to do green beans and a favorite in our house. Until I was in my twenties, I had never had a crunchy-ish green bean—always the soft and soupy kind. I still like the soft ones now and then, but roasting is my go-to way to cook them, and the garlic, onions, almonds, and vinegar give this dish lots of flavor.
When I roast the beans and onions, I keep the onions all to one side of the pan so they can be easily separated. The kids won’t touch anything with a visible onion attached to it. They don’t eat the almonds, either. More for the grown-ups, right? The kids do like the flavor the finishing vinegar gives, though, and even my six-year-old, by far the pickiest, asked for seconds when I served this dish.
The Mollie Katzen recipe, from The New Moosewood Cookbook, is here. I just substituted sliced almonds for pine nuts, since I always have almonds on hand and pine nuts are crazy expensive.
For more of my cooking adventures, click here.
When I’m not printing t-shirts or wasting time online comparing Michael Jackson pre and post-surgery photos, I’m usually eating. I can eat a lot. And I do eat a lot.
I also travel quite a bit and find myself in situations where there’s catered food, or a group dinner at a fancy steakhouse. Because I’m vegan, organizers get the tangy zip of a challenge when finding stuff for me to eat. Which most of the time they do very well.
I’m not shy about sharing my dietary choices. I also don’t whine or complain if things aren’t exactly right all the time. That would leave them with the impression that vegans are fussy douchebags. Which I’m sure some are, just as other people pick their noses in glass elevators when they think they’re alone (Telegram to Man Across the Lobby: STOP IT). And some vegans have an obsession with celebrity plastic surgery. I’m digressing. My point is, we all have something in our nose.
Wait. No. My point is that when we eat differently than most of the population, we have a duty to educate. And event organizers have a duty to learn.
So if you’re a meat eater and you’ve been given the challenge of feeding one of those… vegans, I’ve crafted a short list of helpful hints for you.
Think of me as your vegan ambassador.
How to Feed a Vegan
Vegans are like vegetarians in that they don’t eat beef, chicken, fish, or squirrel. They do not eat anything that comes from an animal. That’s right. To be on the safe side, that means you should leave out:
- fabric softener (kidding)
- goat cheese
- ricotta cheese
- cottage cheese (no tabloid swimsuit photos, either)
- any kind of food that ends in “cheese”
There are cheese substitutes out there. Don’t try to track them down and replace it. Just let it go and don’t worry. No cheese.
I’ll just make a Salad
No. Look, I know that after the list above you’re probably thinking that the only thing left is iceberg lettuce. That may be the only thing left in your fridge, but come on now. You’re better than that. Here’s a short list of things you can feed a vegan that you can probably get at any grocery store:
- pasta with marinara
- pasta with pesto
- veggie burgers
- veggie dogs
- pizza (no cheese!)
- black bean burritos
- refried bean burritos (no lard)
- bean dip
- chili (no meat)
- stir fry
Okay, I tricked you with that last one. Yeah, salad is good. It’s just that you don’t want your vegan guests to be munching lettuce while everyone else chows down on something hearty. You don’t have to think like a vegan, you just have to think like somebody who is hungry… and doesn’t eat squirrel cheese.
The Secret Vegan Cookbook
There’s no secret tome locked away in Atlantis that describes the perfect vegan meals, but there are plenty of recipe books and web sites out there these days. It’s 2013. Use your magic Google machine and search “vegan recipes.” See what magic awaits you.
Choosing a Restaurant
Most good restaurants these days offer vegan options on their menu, or at least something that can be made vegan. A great favor you can do for vegans is to tip them off about the place beforehand. I like to look at menus online and prepare for what I might order in advance. Sometimes I’ll even call ahead and ask if they can make one of their dishes vegan. Again, good restaurants are happy to do this. I’ve even eaten at full-on steakhouses where a polite request has scored me some fantastic vegan meals.
This way, when everyone sits down there’s no uncomfortable moment of panic because the menu is chock full of beef entrées. Which leads us to…
Under the Radar
My last little nugget is about etiquette. Suppose you had a weak bladder. You go to a dinner party and in front of everyone your host loudly announces, “Now, I seated you closest to the potty so if you have an emergency you just get up and go! Oh, and there’s a fresh towel on your chair.”
Vegans aren’t like the incontinent. But remember that most everyone just wants to hang out and fit in at social gatherings. So consider not complaining to the room that you had to go through hell and high water to feed them. Most people won’t notice, and conversations can be about scintillating topics like celebrity plastic surgery instead of dietary choices.
That’s all I have for now. What questions do you have about feeding vegans? Or Michael Jackson’s nose? Hit me up, I’m here to help.
The kids and I have made a list of fun things to do this summer, and one of them is to make popsicles.
This was our first batch, made with this recipe, from the blog Oven Love, found through Pinterest. I love that they’re non-dairy, made with coconut milk and real orange juice. They were a hit. Next I think we’ll freeze our favorite peanut-butter-chocolate-banana smoothies. With maybe a little coconut milk. Do you have any favorite popsicle combos?
Meg of elsiemarley.com suggested that readers share short posts about fun summer activities . If you’d like to play along, leave a comment on Meg’s blog and use the words “Summer Journal” in your blog title or as a hashtag if you’re instagramming or whatnot. While you’re at it, let me know in my comments, too!
For more posts on food, including recipes, click here. I like to cook with less meat and dairy, more veggies, and I do a lot of gluten-free stuff, too.
This is really more of a suggestion than a recipe. As I may have mentioned, I’m not doing wheat these days (long story), and in general I’m trying to eat more veggies and fewer grains. I miss my tabbouleh, though (usually made with bulghur wheat).
So, I changed up Mark Bittman’s tabbouleh recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Instead of bulghur wheat, I used a can of rinsed chickpeas, then added chopped cucumber and tomato as well. If you do dairy, you could add feta. Mmmmm…
As usual, the full-of-fresh-herbs dressing is the key ingredient, and it tied everything together nicely. Even got a thumbs up from the hubs. I planted a whole hedge of parsley this year and have been so, so happy to have it for salads like this. It’s really easy to grow from seed (basil, too).
For more of my recipes and cooking posts, click here. You’ll notice I seem to have a thing for chickpeas.
What about you? Made any interesting salads lately? My new herb garden is keeping me inspired.
I often feel compelled to buy summer squash even though none of us are huge fans of it. It looks so cute! So versatile! But then I get home and have to scheme to get anyone to eat it.
Truth be told, I still love the deep-fried squash I grew up with in South Carolina. Ilios Noche, a local restaurant, serves a fantastic updated Greek version of fried squash—with tzatziki!
But I may be onto something here with the basil puree. It definitely gave the squash a nice punch. And it was way easier than making pesto. Don’t get me wrong, I love pesto, but I hardly ever make it.
The basil puree from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is super simple, basically basil in the food processor with olive oil, lemon juice, a tiny bit of garlic, plus salt and pepper. I can see it with roasted veggies, potatoes, chicken, pasta…lots of possibilities. So glad we planted basil seeds. I had no idea it was so easy to grow from scratch, and now we have an overabundance.
What are your summer squash (and garden veggie) go-to dishes? I’ve also found that soaking the slices in Italian dressing before grilling is pretty yummy.
When you think of vegans, you might think of wimpy, lethargic, malnourished weirdos doing yoga while they drive their Priuses to the next Natural Spirit and Judgmental Diet seminar.
That might describe a few vegans, but that’s not a good definition by any stretch.
I’m vegan. I’m also kind of a sturdy fella, if you know what I mean.
At 42, I feel better than I ever did. I feel strong, I have plenty of energy, and I still fit in the same size pants I’ve been wearing since I was 20.
Sure, I could probably exercise more and drink less. However, I wouldn’t change the amount of chocolate I consume, unless it would be more. Always more with the chocolate. In other words, I’m human.
The main reason I feel this healthy is because of my vegan diet. Jenni and I are both vegan, which means we don’t consume any animal products at all.
I grew up on the standard American diet of Mac n’ cheese, Hamburger Helper, fried chicken and steak. I was accidentally skinny for a long time, too, which was deceiving because my bad cholesterol levels at 21 were well above 300. And I smoked. Along with my genetics, it was a great way to guarantee a heart attack in my future.
When I altered my diet to eliminate animal products (and cigarettes), my life and health changed forever. It’s been nothing short of amazing. I don’t get sick often, I heal quickly, and I’m stronger than I ever was.
In the past I haven’t been one to proselytize our vegan lifestyle, because I’ve always had a live and let live philosophy. While that hasn’t changed, I think that after ten years of following a vegan diet (20 as a vegetarian), its about time I started sharing.
In the past year, during many travels around the U.S., I’ve been getting a ton of interest and lots of questions about our vegan diet. Mostly people want to know how to do it. The food I eat always looks fresh and tasty and I have to guard my plate. It’s not easy to travel and stay vegan. It’s an adventure. But the interest in my food is, well, interesting.
So I’m going to start writing about this more. We eat really well at home and that gets us through long days and nights of running our screen print and design business.
I’ll start sharing. One thing I want you to know (this is hugely important) is that I don’t judge anyone based on their dietary choices. I’ll answer questions,I’ll guide, I’ll share. Ultimately what you eat is up to you.
If you have questions, toss ‘em out in the comments below. If you want to stay under the radar and follow along, stay tuned for more posts. We’ll share some recipes, tips, and ways to stay strong on a vegan diet. Adventure is out there!
The ongoing broccoli battle in our house is, I believe, finally won. No, it wasn’t over whether or not certain people will eat it. The kids don’t love it, but they’ll eat it without much of a fuss. The battle is over the best way to cook it.
Hubs prefers stir-frying with soy sauce, but I find that time-consuming and too hands-on to do all the time. For a long time my favorite method was steaming, then rolling in olive oil, garlic, and breadcrumbs. Hubs ate this broccoli dutifully but missed the stir-fry texture.
Enter Mollie Katzen’s vegetable roasting guide from Vegetable Heaven. I’ve used the roasting guide so much that the book naturally opens to that page. It’s great for many a veggie, but at our house, it’s helped us find the broccoli method that results in the perfect texture + flavor+ easy-ness.
Add a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette, and you have us battling again, over seconds.
So, here’s my adaptation of the original Mollie Katzen recipe. It’s less of a recipe, more of an idea for you:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice your broccoli florets in half. I find this helps things cook a little faster and more evenly.
Brush a cookie tray with olive oil, and arrange the florets on it.
I usually cook about 20 minutes, but check at 15 minutes to see how it’s going. Personally, I like the broccoli still firm but tender, with some brown edges.
Serve with your favorite vinaigrette. Here’s what we use:
In a jar or bottle, combine:
about an inch Balsamic Vinegar
about an inch and a half, maybe more, Olive Oil
a big squirt/ soup spoonful Dijon Mustard (you can use powdered mustard here as a substitute)
small squirt of Honey, to taste
freshly ground Pepper
dusting to half a handful freshly grated Parmesan (*optional)
I always taste the dressing and adjust seasonings to suit.
Enjoy! For more of my cooking posts, click here or on the “Food” category.
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I threw this together the other night when I needed something pretty quick and had to use what I had on hand. It was a perfect easy supper.
It’s inspired by Rachael Ray’s Calabacitas Casserole, which is yummy but more involved, with no beans. I once had it at my sister-in-law’s house, and was immediately sold.
My casserole is based on three main ingredients: black beans, salsa, and pre-cooked polenta. Anything else is icing on the cake.
Quick Black Bean and Polenta Casserole
Measurements are approximated. What you want is enough salsa to give the beans plenty of flavor.
2-3 cups canned or pre-cooked black beans, drained (I used up leftovers I had cooked the day before)
1/2 to 1 jar chunky salsa (I used Herdez salsa, which was great, but would’ve been better semi-drained. I think semi-drained Ro-tel would also be excellent, and maybe even Mexican-style stewed tomatoes)
1 tube prepared polenta, sliced into 1/3 inch rounds (you could also cook your own, then chill and slice)
Optional add-ins: diced scallions, cilantro, chopped veggies, spinach, cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F. I made a smaller version of this (since it was just for me) and cooked it in the toaster oven.
Place the beans in an oiled casserole dish (maybe 8 x 8), and add enough salsa to suit your taste. You want a little less salsa than beans, but enough salsa to add lots of flavor. Lay the polenta rounds on top and brush them with a little olive oil.
Bake for 35 minutes or so at 375 F, then add, if you feel like it, a handful of spinach and chopped scallions, and turn up the heat to 400 F. When the spinach is wilted, the polenta is getting crispy, and the beans are bubbling, it’s done.
The polenta adds structure and has such a great creamy/ crispy texture that I really didn’t miss having cheese. This one will definitely go on my repeat list. I think I’ll add more spinach next time and maybe cilantro. Hmmm…what about sweet potato?
For more of my recipes and recipe trials, click here.
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I’m on a cauliflower kick, what can I say? I seem to be eating a lot of it, roasted, with various toppings. I think it’s because my friend Laurel mentioned it, then it was in the paper (something about a cauliflower trend—yes I still read a paper paper) and then I just couldn’t get it out of my head.
Besides cutting out wheat, I’m avoiding large servings of grains in general, so the idea of something mild and non-grain that takes flavors very well —–a sauce depository, if you will—-is very appealing. I was never a huge fan of cauliflower in the past, but I think, as with many veggies, I just had to find my favorite cooking method. Roasting wins.
First, preheat the oven to 375F. Slice the cauliflower into pieces about 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thick, brush with olive oil and roast for about 20 minutes (just like the broccoli here). If you’re going to make the vinaigrette below, throw in a clove or two of garlic and roast them while you’re at it.
When the cauliflower is tender but still firm, with browning on the edges, it’s done. At least, that’s the done-ness I like.
At this point you could serve it with any number of sauces or toppings: peanut sauce? bread crumb/ nut topping? curry?
I made this vinaigrette in homage to a bread dipping sauce from a favorite restaurant, Passion8 Bistro in Fort Mill. Charlotte area friends, seriously, you MUST go there. It’s this funky little farm-to-fork place in the middle of nowhere. Besides great food, it has loads of character.
But I digress.
The vinaigrette is a loose combination of:
Roasted Garlic, minced
Chopped Olives (I used green ones but kalamata would be excellent)
a spoonful of Capers
a judicious amount of red pepper flakes (I’m addicted)
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
I usually do a little more olive oil than vinegar and just add however much I like of the rest of the stuff, to taste.
Charlotte friends, I feel compelled to mention a couple of places we’ve eaten recently that, in addition to Passion8 Bistro, were just outstanding.
- The King’s Kitchen (which is owned by the same guy that owns Roosters, which I also love) is outstanding—-sort of re-imagined upscale meat and three, and btw it’s non-profit, which is totally fascinating and you should read about it on their website. I had the hangar steak. Yum!
- Doan’s Vietnamese Restaurant: try the hotpots!! It’s like a Vietnamese broth fondue. So excellent and fun. Best tomyum broth I’ve ever had.
- And one more: Zeitouni’s Mediterranean Grill at Toringdon in Ballantyne. Seriously, how did I not get a clue about this place earlier? The falafel is TO DIE FOR!
Okay, that’s a lot of exclamation points, but really, it’s been good dining lately. What about you? What’s got you inspired in the kitchen/ out to eat lately?
Here’s something to muddle over this week:
Is it possible to be passionate about a cause and keep a sense of humor about it?
While you ponder that with your own passionate beliefs, here’s our story. Jenni and I are both vegan. We care about things like animals being tortured and our water being polluted. While we’re at it, we’d love to see every person in the world have enough to eat.
Our efforts toward these causes are serious and dedicated. For example, here are just a few things we do:
- We eat a plant-based diet.
- We use environmentally-friendly products and practices in our screen print shop.
- We buy from companies that support our values and ideals
- We get involved with events and organizations that support the causes we believe in
In all of these activities, we interact with people who care about the same things we do. Some of these people are serious, too. Very serious. Very… very serious.
Here’s a quick self-check guide to see if you’re getting a little too serious about your cause:
- Have you ever thrown red paint on anyone (frat parties don’t count)?
- Have you ever crawled into a grocery store meat case and snuggled the packages, whispering, “You didn’t have to die for us?”
- Do you have any tattoos of Al Gore’s face? Anywhere?
- Have you angrily shouted the words “bone char” or “fracking” more than once this week?
- Do you get tweets from Alec Baldwin telling you to lighten up?
If you said “yes” to more than one of these, you may be too serious. And, you may actually be hurting the causes you’re trying to promote. For example, there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about rescuing animals from slaughter. If your end goal is to convince someone that slaughtering animals is wrong, getting up in their business with a few choice accusations probably isn’t going to do it. And they’ll go away convinced of only one thing: Those damn animal lovers are freaks, man. Message lost, mission unaccomplished.
I read somewhere that if you can get people to laugh, you have their attention. I read a lot of things “somewhere” and then forget the source. It sure sounds like somebody said it. Lucille Ball? Dale Carnegie? Hannibal Lecter? Let’s say I made this up and move along.
Sometimes when people find out I’m vegan, I instantly become a target for teasing and animal rights jokes – not to mention dissecting my whole way of eating and thinking. I get it, I’m weird. If people realized truly how weird, they would forget about my diet. So it’s good that I have that to distract them.
In those situations where people are testing me, it would be easy to get angry and put up my dukes to defend myself and my cause. I could get all huffy (or Schwinn) and whine, “You just don’t understand the kind of evil the meat industry perpetrates! Your food is shit! You are gonna die! You’re assisting in the mass slaughter of cuddly critters and the careless destruction of the Earth, you non-caring animal-wearing meat whore!”
Instead, I answer questions and deflect “testing me” questions with humor. Then I let it go. It’s not that I’ve changed my beliefs or even hinted at agreeing with them. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. And yes, I just advocated the use of honey for catching flies. Double-bad vegan-whammy to me on that one.
Surprisingly, what typically happens is that those testing people approach me when I’m alone and start asking more earnest questions about how to make vegan meals (which I then hand over to Jenni because I never remember how to cook anything).
When we decided to launch a line of vegan t-shirts and totes, it took a few months to sort out what the designs would be. My initial sketches all had some sort of serious “We are all one world” kind of message. Which is fine. I’m not knocking the sentiment. But jeez looweez, don’t we see that everywhere? After a while we get desensitized to the ubiquitous messages of love all, serve all. We start branding people who sport those messages by saying, “Those damn hippies again.” I’m guilty of this myself.
So we went the other way. We went the weird cartoon humor route by creating some goofy t-shirts. In fact, we even have a bacon shirt (a bacon-destroying video game). Plus, we’ve got more vegan and non-cause-related t-shirt designs on the drawing board. See? We’re so serious about our health, animals, and the Earth that we can’t help smiling about it.
Woop-dee-do and yippy-kay-ayy, we’ll be at WorldFest this coming weekend!
So if you’re in the Los Angeles area, come out and join us on Sunday, May 19th. This is us officially inviting you to hang out in a beautiful park for a day listening to live music, sampling tons of vegan food, plus a beer and wine garden hosted by Lagunitas Brewing Company. Um, beer. Yes? Beer. Yes. The event is all about promoting health, environmental, humanitarian and animal welfare issues. No reason we can’t have some fun doing it!
Since we run an environmentally sustainable screen print shop – not to mention being vegan – we couldn’t think of a better way to participate than with our goofy vegan t-shirt designs. Naturally, we’ll be exhibiting our super soft vegan t-shirts at our booth. We’ll also have stickers, window decals, tote bags, and prizes to give away. So aside from the beer, food, and Ed Begley, Jr., you can score some very cool stuff from us!
We’ll also be educating people on what it means to run an environmentally-conscious business. Especially in the screen printing industry, there are a lot of chemicals that are used for preparing and cleaning screens. We only use drain safe, biodegradable, citrus and soy-based cleaners in our tiny little shop. There are a lot of things we plan to do as we grow (we’d love to be 100% solar-powered), and we’ll be learning about some options at WorldFest.
We hope to see you there!
David & Jenni
Consume it. Just don’t sit on it.
Agave: Pointy. Vegan. Delicious.
Okay, so maybe just gnawing off a hunk of agave from your neighbor’s yard is not so delicious (or cool). You have to do stuff to it, like distilling, which is my favorite way of enjoying agave.
When you combine distilled agave (also known as tequila, people tell me) with limes and ice, magical things happen. I like to call it a “margarita.” Don’t steal that, I’m already working on the trademark.
Jenni and I have sipped a plethora of margaritas between designing, printing, shirt-folding, and child rearing. A few things we’ve decided:
- Tequila. If it’s not 100% blue agave, it’s crap.
- Expensive does not necessarily equal awesome (see above).
- Throw away the mixes. They’re crap.
- Margaritas are a valid source of vitamin C.
Don’t forget your margaritawear!
Jenni’s Superifico Margarita Recipe
Combine in a blender:
- 1 cup tequila (100% blue agave)
- 1/4 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1/3 cup agave nectar (we like Tres Agaves)
Blend it up. Serve in ginormous margarita glasses.
Technically this makes four margaritas. But who’s counting?
Do you do ‘ritas? What’s your secret recipe? Favorite tequila? Share with us in the comments!
I was craving a rice salad, but without the rice. Something that’s all about soaking up a good sauce. Roasted cauliflower has been my recent go-to sauce-soaker-upper, and I was really happy with what I came up with. Here’s the skinny:
1 head Cauliflower, finely chopped
2 or 3 handfuls Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic
Red Wine Vinegar
1 T Dijon Mustard
tiny drip of Honey (or something else if you’re vegan)
a few tablespoons or more Minced Chives
a few tablespoons or more fresh Oregano, chopped (basil or parsley would be good, too)
1 T Capers
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped Walnuts (optional)
Oil a baking sheet and throw the cauliflower on it with a couple of garlic cloves. Roast at 375F, for about 20 minutes. Halve the tomatoes and roast them for about 20-30 minutes as well. This brings out their flavor like crazy.
I’m not really a measuring kind of person when it comes to dressing (or, let’s be honest, for a lot of things). If you really want measurements, you could use a basic vinaigrette and add the extras. I think I’d add even more herbs next time. I really wanted something that was so green it would color the cauliflower, but my herb garden wasn’t quite in full swing when I made this.
Chop up the roasted garlic and whisk it together with the other dressing ingredients.
Toss the cauliflower with the dressing and tomatoes. Add walnuts. Yum. I realized later that the dressing flavors were inspired by the broccoli gribiche recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day.
What are you cooking this summer? I’m always on the lookout for interesting salads. Hope you had a great weekend and a happy Father’s Day.
This isn’t so much a sauce as a topping, and boy does it deliver. It’s on the must-repeat list. The ingredients are pretty simple: pine nuts, bread crumbs, red onions, with a couple of surprises like capers.
Recipe here (I didn’t use the tomato variation though it sounds good, too). Yes, it’s from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian again.
I wonder if it would be good with almonds or walnuts or pecans instead of pine nuts. I’m guessing yes. I served it on top of pasta, but I think it would also be good on top of veggies of any kind. The crunchiness has an almost bacon-like quality.
Make sure to check out the comments in the last post for a special surprise. Sarah Towle has offered a promo code for her most excellent Paris travel app for the first five responders. She’s celebrating the release of the bilingual version. Merci beaucoup, Sarah!
This would be my less-meatarian version of Foster’s Market’s Chicken Chili with Navy Beans. Yeah, I just left out the chicken and used more beans. Rocket science.
I know you thought I was Johnny One Note with Mr. Mark Bittman. I know, I talk about him ALL. THE. TIME. But I do have other cookbook crushes.
Foster’s Market recipes are not what I’d call weeknight friendly (too many ingredients) but nearly every single one has been a must-repeat. Especially the soups, salads, and cakes. I believe there are a few Foster’s Market books out now, but this is from the first, The Foster’s Market Cookbook.
A few notes on this recipe:
#1 It has a nice kick, but the kids thought it was too spicy, so they wouldn’t touch it past the first bite. I might crank down the spice next time. If I feel like sharing.
#2: As with the other Foster’s Market bean soups, I’ve found that, while excellent, the spices and flavorings can get a little overwhelming. I think I’d lessen amounts on all the spices, the salt, and especially the Worcestershire.
#3. My beans took way, way longer to cook than the recipe calls for.
#4. Obviously, if you want to be strict vegetarian/ vegan, you would use veggie broth for this soup instead of the chicken broth it calls for and sub veggie Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.
I may have to less-meatify some more Foster’s Market recipes, since they are all so good. What’s the vegetarian answer to chicken salad, ’cause it’s got some awesome versions?
I sent hubs to the store the other Saturday and asked him to buy some vegetables for dinner the next day. He came home with brussel sprouts. Really? Yes, really. Does your husband ever come home with brussel sprouts? Didn’t think so.
I had never, ever cooked brussel sprouts. I always thought of them as something kids on tv were forced to eat. I had never even knowingly seen them in real life until eating them a few years ago at a fantastic restaurant in Charlotte, NC (Rooster’s). I dreamed about those brussel sprouts for months (no, seriously, I did! Scout’s honor!) but never tried to recreate them. They were cooked in bacon fat, I’m pretty sure. Sigh. Oh bacon fat, I love you, but sadly, you are not an everyday food.
We didn’t have any bacon in the house anyway, and the stores were closed for the weekend by then, so I pulled out my trusty How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman, and sure enough, there were three brussel sprouts recipes.
This is the one I had the ingredients for: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic
Yum! Winner! The kids wouldn’t touch them, but they were pretty curious about them.
One note on the recipe. Though the sprouts are supposed to be browned in the end, I would check them several times during cooking to see when they get tender. They can get too brown, and it’s hard to judge from the recipe instructions. The ones you see here are actually a little bit too brown, and this is when they start to get a little bitter. I actually made the recipe twice last week, and the second time I cooked them for a bit less time on a bit lower temp, and they were even better. Our convection oven makes things a bit tricky to calculate, as it cooks faster and the temps usually need to be adjusted.
Like I said, they should be brown, but take them out when they’re all the way tender. The balsamic vinegar really makes it here. I think they could use even a little more garlic, since you’re really just using it to flavor and not eating it (at least we don’t eat whole cloves—-maybe you do—no judgment. I love garlic).
I’d like to try the other sprouts recipes, too. And I’m thinking this nut topping would be awesome with the sprouts since it has a wonderful bacon-y like crunch and flavor. Mmmm…here I am dreaming of brussel sprouts again. Good thing they’re in season right now. Thanks, hubs, for the inspiration.
Here they are in the pan in step 1 of the recipe. Aren’t they cute?
5 Comments on Brussel Sprouts by Request (?!), last added: 1/24/2012