Monthly Archives: January 2011

meatless monday: veganize this!

The GirlieGirl Army blog (a resource for fierce vegans and feminists and activists of all kinds) posted this recipe with a long name (and long list of ingredients and directions). Tofu scallops? Intriguing! From the cookbook Veganize This! by comedienne Jenn Shagrin, Coconut Vinegar-Cured Tofu Scallops with Lemongrass Basil Cream Sauce and Cilantro Garlic Coconut Rice.

wednesday wisdom

You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and all you have done…you are fierce with reality.
– Florida Scott-Maxwell, The Measure of My Days

meatless monday: smashed pumpkin soup with mascarpone

We are neck-deep in winter and the only way out is to eat soup til April. I took the dog out this morning (-4 degrees!) and on our stoop, today’s Wall Street Journal‘s Cooking & Eating section blew open to reveal this gem. Soup that you eat with a fork! With a quick modification to make it meatless (veggie broth instead of chicken broth), we’ve got ourselves a great soup from the world-renowned River Cafe in London.

photo by Christopher Baker for WSJ

Ruth Rogers’ Smashed Pumpkin Soup with Mascarpone
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more oil for finishing
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
7 whole canned San Marzano tomatoes, drained
1 1½-2 pounds pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾-inch cubes (yields 5¼ cups)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
1¾ cup vegetable stock
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup mascarpone cheese

In a medium pot set over low heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil with garlic and fennel seeds. Squeeze the tomatoes over the pot so as to break up the flesh and catch all juices in the pot. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until tomatoes begin to turn dark red. Turn the heat to medium-high and stir in squash and potatoes. Add enough stock to just cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking that the vegetables are just submerged.Once vegetables are tender, remove pot from heat and mash with a potato masher. The soup should be thick and creamy, the consistency of risotto. Ladle soup into four shallow bowls. Garnish with grated Parmesan, a few dollops of mascarpone cheese and a generous drizzle of good olive oil.

wednesday wisdom: all you need is a can opener

Thanks, Tom.

meatless monday: the MLK edition

Meatless Monday: there are a number of reasons why we do it, and we’ve discussed many already. We’ve got the obvious and innumerable health benefits of a plant-based diet. We get to reduce our heavy impact on the planet by choosing thoughtful foods. We’ve got a way to honor our rich U.S. heritage by participating in an initiative that began as a war-time effort.

But we haven’t touched on a pretty big, pretty controversial (and pretty darn important) reason for going veg: reducing the harm caused to animals. It’s hard to stay blissfully ignorant of the inhumanity of this issue if you: a.) live in the United States and b.) have access to a limitless variety of food (The Grocery Store).  As consumers, we may think we don’t have a voice on this issue, and that there’s nothing to be done: cruelty, injustice wins. I tell you, if Martin Luther King Jr. felt this way, we wouldn’t be celebrating him today. If nothing else, his legacy is one of change, radical justice, and hope, or what my teacher and mentor said to his students in an email: “Always inspiring, always relevant, always deserving of its place in the American canon.” Dr. King’s accomplishments during the Civil Rights Movement in his era can be mirrored for the animals of ours. ( SL NOTE: animal activism has been called Generations X and Y’s civil rights movement). You can watch Dr. King’s famous speech here.

Today I leave you not with a recipe, but with a thought, from Jonathan Safran Foer’s compelling book Eating Animals: “However much we obfuscate or ignore it, we know that the factory farm is inhumane in the deepest sense of the word. And we know that there is something that matters in a deep way about the lives we create for the living beings most within our power. Our response to the factory farm is ultimately a test of how we respond to the powerless, to the most distant, to the voiceless — it is a test of how we act when no one is forcing us to act one way or another.”

wednesday wisdom

For concentration is better than mere practice, and meditation is better than concentration; but higher than meditation is surrender in love of the fruit of one’s actions, for on surrender follows peace.

– from the Bhagavad Gita

meatless monday: green olive gnocchi

I love olives. And not just a little bit. I mean it, I love them. I have friends who can bear witness to this. In high school, I would speed over to Safeway and eat an entire can of olives before cross-country practice (I kept a can opener in my trunk for just such occasion). I have a scar on my right hand where I once cut myself on the edge of an olive can, dipping in a little too greedily. At family holiday meals, everyone wondered why the little bowls of olives went missing as soon as they were laid out (I wonder where they went…).

So it is without further ado, I give you Green Olive Gnocchi, courtesy of Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.