23 February 2009

Slightly Embarrassing Anecdote About Spinach, And A Salad

I love spinach and always have, even as kid. Embarrassingly enough though, until fairly recently (sometime in my adulthood, < 23) I had the subconscious and illogical idea that spinach is a seaweed. I didn't talk about spinach as a seaweed, or consciously make the connection. It was just a subconscious association I had. I can't explain why - blame Popeye. I know it's something from early childhood (but really, what falsely held beliefs and complexes don't date back that far?). Anyway, thinking of spinach as a seaweed made it more exotic and seemingly tastier. I think that maybe my parents weren't too keen on correcting my misunderstanding because I was actually eating the nutritious leafy green and they didn't want to undo a healthy food obsession. Well, today I know the truth and that is that spinach is a wonderful vegetable rich in iron and calcium and it makes a great salad. Pictured above is one such delicious salad. I made this as a late night snack recently and was quite satisfied. Upon a bed of baby spinach, I sprinkled some fried onions (found on the Asian/ethnic isle of the grocery store - not the French's variety) and on top of that drizzled Annie's Naturals Papaya Poppy Seed Dressing. The salty-savory flavor of the fried onions played well with the sweetness of the dressing and earthiness of the spinach. This is a new favorite salad.

16 February 2009

A Compassionate Commitment

My little sister decided to go vegetarian recently after watching "Earthlings". Of course, I have completely supported her decision and am so proud of her! We celebrated her 15th birthday yesterday. I made vegan cupcakes, but she made this: tofu inari. She found the recipe online and adapted it a little to use what was available in the house. The tofu is deep fried and then little bowls were scooped out of the tofu chunks and filled with the rice mixture and then it all goes in to the oven. Isn't it pretty? It was really tasty, too!

It can be so challenging to go veg*n as a teenager; you're dependent on someone else to provide your food and often can't be too "picky" about it. And then, there is the issue of school lunches. The schools are required to give each student a serving of meat on their tray if they eat a school lunch - even if that student requests not to have it and ends up just throwing it away or giving it to someone else.

However, if you have the desire, determination and compassion, you can go veg*n at any age. There are a ton of resources on the web (I won't list them here, as a quick search of the key words will generate numerous information), and several books on the issue. I heard about a book called Generation V on a Vegan Freak Radio podcast a little while ago. I haven't read it, but it is all about going vegan as a teenager. And it was written by a teenager.

I'm just so proud of my sister's compassionate commitment - and her cooking skills!

09 February 2009

Curried Split-Pea Soup

I love soup. I also love curry.

So, one of my co-workers subscribes to about five different magazines. She brings them to work and leaves them in the lunch room with a few of those trashy celebrity magazines that someone else likes to read. What's my point? Well, since the mega-corporation that I work for decided that a subscription to the newspaper is an extravagant expense for our office, I end up reading a lot of home and garden magazines on my lunch breaks. In the Jan/Feb issue of Country Home, I came across this recipe for Curried Split-pea Soup. I was so excited to find a recipe in a main stream magazine that was already vegan! We tried it a week ago at my mom's house and it was a big hit. I changed things up a little because I don't follow directions well. I have a problem with authority. But that's OK. Baking is a science; measurements and method are important. Cooking, on the other hand, is an art. So be creative!

Here is a comparative list of ingredients called for in the recipe and my substitutions. (Follow the cooking instructions found in the recipe.)


2 14oz cans vegetable broth/32oz vegetable broth (Imagine aseptic package)
1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk/SAME
2 1/3 C dry split peas/SAME
1 bay leaf/2 T dried sweet basil
2 medium sweet potatoes/SAME
1 LB shiitake mushrooms/1 LB cremini mushrooms
1 medium red sweet pepper/SAME
3 green onions/SAME
1 T soy sauce/omitted
2 t curry powder (add more to taste)/SAME
1/4 t crushed red pepper/1 bulb fresh roasted garlic
1/4 C fresh basil/1/4 C fresh cilantro

02 February 2009

food-related goals for 2009

1. to grow my own soy beans

2. to procure a soy milk maker

3. to make wine - my step-dad is in on this one!

4. to experiment more with gluten free baking (from scratch!)

5. to eat/buy more local and organic produce

6. to get myself some good kitchen knives

7. to make my own tofu!! (and soy milk, of course)

i'm a little nervous about the wine and tofu making. i'll keep you posted as i work toward my goals. (also, i promise not use a wine necklace when drinking my homemade wine. promise.)