Category Archives: vegan

Got CSA?

I’ve been inspired by Venessa and Adrienne to try and document a few of the meals I base on goodies from our CSA.

Last week was the first CSA, and since this is New England, it was greens, greens, a turnip or two, more greens and some rather anemic strawberries. No matter. This week already showed a bit more variety, which tonight’s kitchen reflects.

Got turnips? Got kale? Got no idea how to incorporate both into a meal? You’ve got Vegan Linda’s turnip and kale soup, with a twist. The twist in the form of slightly overripe grape tomatoes, paprika,a can of tomato paste, twenty something cloves of garlic and a liberal pinch of rosemary infused sea salt.

This is what it looked like before I stirred in some already cooked arborio rice.

We’re fortunate to have a fantastic little Italian market, Capone’s, at the bottom of our hill. Max and I have been shopping on foot quite a bit this week, and picked up the rice, and a bar of dark chocolate infused with earl grey tea earlier this afternoon.

Speaking of arborio rice, this week’s CSA also included a small head of cabbage, which I decided to use to whip up a make-as-you go batch of meatless stuffed cabbage. I happened to have a tube of Gimme Lean sausage style in the fridge, so quickly browned the faux meat in a blob of Earth Balance spread, olive oil and the last two garlic scapes from this week’s CSA. Next year, I may add garlic to my container garden–more on that later—simply to gorge on the delicate, flavorful scapes.

I steamed the cabbage until I was impatient enough to deem it tender, ripped off the leaves, and stuffed them with the Gimme Lean mix, and some of the aforementioned arborio rice. I briefly considered making my own tomato sauce, but a scan of my shelves unearthed a dusty container of Muir Glen chunky tomato sauce. I covered the cabbage, dug into the fancy sea salt, sprinkled some ground pepper and tossed the whole shebang into the oven.

Vegan Hater

Can the person who keeps visiting from the search string “I hate vegans” explain themselves?

Did some mean-spirited vegan tofu bomb your car? Dump soymilk in your coffee while you were not looking? Join you for dinner at a steakhouse and only order salad? Hand over a cruelty free lipbalm when your lips were chapped? Fill us in.

If you’re going to be filled with hate, other people’s dietary preferences seem an odd place to direct that emotion. Sure, I understand there are vegans with strong opinions with which you might disagree, but why the hate?

Queen of the Wild Frontier

Greetings from a small town in the middle of Texas, where the locals are friendly, yet slightly obsessed with Davy Crockett. The Lone Star State redeemed itself a bit on the drive from New Mexico with continued desert, mountains and the all important semi-clean rest areas, complete with large, blinking signs warning patrons to watch for snakes. Also, the speed limit in these parts is 80 mph. Fun!

We pulled off the highway and found a playground for Max. Unfortunately there were no kids for him to play with, but there was a purple dinosaur and lots of aging metal structures to climb and get tetanus on.

Speaking of tetanus, next to our hotel is a colony of feral kitties. Poor things. I walked over to have a look,crumbled up a few dog biscuits I had in the back of the car, and noticed half-a-dozen cats perched on rocks and garbage.

So we drove down the street and bought some water and a bag of cat food. As I walked towards the brush, I noticed the colony was probably closer to a dozen cats, most of them still kittens, wild-eyed gaunt and scared. This little grey tiger is a total sweetheart. His friend the black long-haired was also friendly, so I can only assume between their demeanor and the empty, open pizza boxes laying about that other people have left food for the cats as well. The other kittens hid in the brush behind the fence, and only came out to eat and drink when I backed away.

House on the Hill

Or rather house in the hill. Montezuma’s Castle.

Yesterday we went to Sedona. I was disappointed by the suburban mall-sprawl vibe–the first view as we drove into town was a Dress Barn sign marring the natural beauty–but the red rocks, and tasty tempeh burger from D’Lish made it worth the trip.

Little Rock On

I decided to take it easy today and so it was just a hop, skip and a bumpy jump down Route 40 from Memphis to Little Rock. Tennessee roads are well maintained and easy to drive, so the pothole puckered stretch of highway connecting these two southern cities caught me off guard. Heavy downpours and fog cemented the decision for a short day on the road.

Our first stop was the Rivermarket area of Little Rock. While waiting for the Arkansas Museum of Discovery to open, Max, Grunty and I strolled around the surrounding area, stopping for an excellent cup of coffee at The Boulevard Bread Company. After reading several disheartening tales of very limited healthy dining options in Arkansas, the Boulevard was a welcome find. Noticing that my coffee cup was green and designed to decompose, I decided the tattooed and pierced guy making lattes would not laugh at me if I asked for soymilk. Not only do they have soymilk for coffee–you need to ask–but they also have a clearly labeled vegan sandwich option. In addition, a local free magazine gives The Farmer’s Daughter Cafe a rousing write up. While the menu does not have specifically vegan options, several items look vegan friendly, and with a focus on locally grown, organic produce, I’m sure anyone who appreciates good food would be able to eat well there. Since we needed to stock up on a few road trip supplies, I programmed our GPS to find the local Wild Oats, which is quite small compared to what I’m used to, but has a nice salad bar, and plenty of vegan groceries. Prices are also noticeably lower here in Arkansas compared to other states we have passed through so far on the trip.

The Rivermarket.

Grunty enjoying the Museum of Discovery.

Max. He has these gears at home and was thrilled to see a section of the museum devoted to gears and magnet letters.

The Rivermarket Trolley.

Interesting restaurant sign. Note the outboard motors recycled as lights on the right side of the building.

After the Museum and lunch, Grunty and I braved the wilds of a Little Rock Chuck E Cheese, to let Max burn off some more rainy day energy. This may be additional proof that all the long days of driving powered by Sonic limeades are draining my mental abilities, but I actually enjoyed myself shooting hoops and helping Max scoop up plastic bumblebees at the CEC. Scary!

Now I need to make a decision of whether to risk driving through Oklahoma tomorrow, or detouring further south on our way west. Any advice?

Tofucky

I just realized I was supposed to allow the damn Tofurky to thaw for 24 hours before cooking.

The entire box is plastered with warnings to KEEP FROZEN, so I wrongly assumed that meant until you pop it in the oven.

The first time I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, back in oh, 1989 or 1990, I made the same mistake.

Little giblets of history repeating itself here. At least we have plenty of pie.

ETA: It turned out pretty well in the end. Picture of my dinner here, if you’re curious.

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival: What I Could Stomach, That Is

Yesterday Max and I went to the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. Next year, I think we’ll pass.

The venue was packed to capacity, and the crowds were pushy and rude. I had envisioned a laid-back and friendly atmosphere, but the swarms of people crawling down Tremont Street, and the already filled to capacity parking lot at the Reggie Lewis Center should have clued me in to the madness inside the Festival. James asked if there was an entrance fee, which I think is an excellent suggestion for the BVS to consider for future events. Raise money for a good cause or two, and maybe trim the freeloading throngs just a little, and I’d be willing to give the Festival another chance.

Immediately after entering the hall, I heard the people staffing the Larabar booth plead with onlookers to only take one of each flavor. Rather sad commentary on our society that a crowd of healthy-seeming, mostly middle class appearing adults feel the need to push past one another to grab handfuls of free samples. Whole Foods gave away large, paper grocery bags near the front doors and it seemed the majority of attendees were there to pack as much free shit as they could into their already overstuffed bags. (For the record, my own haul consisted of a trick-or-treat sized chocolate Larabar, and a sample tube of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste.)

The vendors and organizations we were able to talk with were mostly super friendly, which almost made up for the push-and-shove of the crowds. Max prompted more than a couple of smiling people to dart out from their table and hand him a lollipop or other sweet. When we reached The Boston Vegan Association, to my embarrassment Max reached over and helped himself to a finger-full of icing from a BVA decorated cupcake. The combination of letters and frosting was too much of a temptation for him to ignore. So, if anyone reading imagines me forcing sprouted lentils and steamed tempeh on my toddler, rest assured that he receives plenty of fat and sugar in his not-so standard American diet.

Next stop: Disneyland. Since our renovations have been delayed once again, we’re going to California to worship the Mouse. But not until December.

An Afternoon in Brattleboro, Vermont

Packing your child, husband and half-a-dozen Emergency Cliff bar rations into the car at the crack of dawn almost seems worth it when this is the view from your first traffic light. (Somerville, Massachusetts.)

Our trip to the Sunapee Region of New Hampshire, and divorce court in Brattleboro, Vermont was whirlwind, exhausting and stressful. Finding vegan nirvana in the well-stocked, clearly marked deli counter of the Brattleboro Food Coop made the trip worthwhile. After stopping for breakfast at a dive in Claremont, New Hampshire, where I was able to order a semi-brown banana, I devoured spinach sauteed with garlic and gomasio, spicy peanut tofu and steamed vegetable dumplings in the Coop’s cafe. My sister and Max split a chicken and cheese quesadilla with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. We finished our lunch with steaming mugs of fresh ginger tea.

After lunch, Max enjoyed hunting for leaves and playing King of the Mound-of-Dirt on the Brattleboro Common.

Brattleboro is home to a pedestrian friendly downtown, and several interesting shops and restaurants. Unfortunately on this visit, we did not get a chance to do much more than window shop. If you go, be sure to stop by Beadniks (crafts,unusual gifts and postcards), and the three independent bookstores clustered along Elliot and Main street: The Book Cellar, Brattleboro Books (used), and Everyone’s Books.

We spent the night at the Best Western Sunapee Lodge. The Lodge is rather rundown, the mattresses lumpy and soft, but the staff was friendly and the swimming pool clean, warm and well-maintained. Breakfast was about what one could expect from a standard chain hotel in a semi-rural area. Max was entranced by the large plastic container of “O’s in funny colors” (Froot Loops), and picked the chocolate chips out of a large, greasy muffin. James downed a breakfast sandwich made with American cheese, and I took a few bites of Rice Krispies covered in soy milk from my secret stash, before realizing they did not taste very vegan. The coffee, thankfully, was freshly brewed and fairly strong.