Saturday, December 30, 2006


So, we're making some changes up in here.

Here's where I'm at:

Posted to Blogger Help Google Group - How Do I?

Subject: access old blog (also, u/n and merge verification)
From: Mikaela
Date: Fri, Dec 29 2006 4:09 pm

I switched to Beta a few months ago, taking all three of my blogs along for the ride. I recently changes the address of one (from JAMintake to MDMintake), but my pre-beta version JAMintake blog now shows up at I want to direct viewers to the new URL, but I can't access the blog. How do I get into to make an entry? Or, even better, how can I have jamintake redirect to mdmintake?

Also, am I reading correctly that users cannot change their user names, nor can we merge blogs (w/o cutting and pasting and losing comments)? My primary goal is to combine my three blogs into one at, and delete the old addresses.

Thank you!
:) Mikaela

No response yet. Unfortunately, I've not had good luck in the past with Blogger answering my posts, so any support anyon has to offer would be great!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Chorizo Vengeance

In addition to the coolest girlfriends, I have the coolest coworkers. Ever.

Laura M. recently initiated Fun Lunch Day(R) at the office, where every two weeks, one of us brings in a lunch to share with the group. We all had the opportunity to opt-out of the program, but that would mean sitting at your desk, banished to eating your unfortunate, single-serving lunch alone, while the rest of the staff carried on very loudly in the conference room. I'm certain that the loud carrying-on would only be amplified on the opting-out person's behalf because hey, we're unforgiving like that. One colleague, Trish, did in fact, choose not to participate. She's new to the office. She'll learn. Besides, I have a feeling that we'll be forcing her to the table ;)

We all know Kelly - this blog's subtitle should read, "Now making Kelly feel famous on a semi-regular basis!" She's not only a great friend, but also a coworker. Her Veg*n Loveliness was first on the list for bringing in a Fun Lunch(R), and wouldn't you know that she received a copy of Vegan with a Vengeance for her recent birthday? High five!

The feature presentation of her meal was VwaV's Breakfast Veggie Chorizo (pg. 20), stuffed into cabbage and collard greens leaves. Woah, I know... it was freaking awesome! The meal inspired me to make the chorizo over the weekend. I just served it on an organic whole wheat tortilla, though :)

My favorite part of the recipe was collecting the ingredients from the kitchen, especially all of the spices, as one can see from the top photograph. The spices include sugar, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, coriander, cumin, fennel, chile powder, oregano and black pepper. Because I had tasted the meal before, I felt comfortable doubling it so that we would have some leftovers.

I decided to halve the sugar, which I'll continue to do when I make it again. However, substituting chipolte powder for the called-for ancho chile powder was not such a good idea. Luckily, brunch was for just Jason and me because it would've been too spicy for Avery. Ancho chile powder is made from the very mild poblano pepper; knowing this, I should've halved the quantity of the chipolte powder. Eh, live and learn, right?

Overall, the chorizo came out great and has continued to serve us well for lunches, heated up with a side of quinoa or kept cold on top of a green salad.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

McCooles skarpifny night

Some girlfriends and I recently visited McCoole's at the Historic Red Lion Inn in Quakertown. McCoole's is a great little historic place on the corner of Broad and Main in Quakertown. Their tag line is "Upscale atmosphere for the working person's wallet." That's definitely the vibe they have going. It reminds me of a place your parents would've taken you to celebrate a birthday or Father's Day. It's elegant, but not luxurious.

I've eaten in the dining room before, this time our primary mission was snacks and drinks, so we opted for the bar area. The inn was recently renovated and is quite warm, very welcoming and absolutely has that old, upscale saloon feel. The walls are all wood paneled in rich tones, the foyer is deep with layers of tile, plants and comfy yet period-appropriate furniture. Most importantly, the service is brilliant.

The bartenders and waiters are helpful and fun (besides the usual veg*n questions, we had celiac ones as well), and the service is quick. Our chef even came out to hand deliver one of our dishes. Do you know why chefs jackets have a pen-holder pocket in the sleeve, not the chest? Hmmm...

This particular group of ladies are my first and only "girlfriends." I have girls that are friends, of course, but never had I, a complete set of honest-to-goodness girlfriends, until these four. You know that group of chatty, laughing, silly girls who talk about boys and relationships and sex, and now also about husbands and children and homes? The ones who go out for Girls Night? Yeah. Never had 'em.

That is, until I met these fine women when we worked together five years ago. They are the most intelligent, ridiculous, confident, honest, caring and passionate women I've ever met. Seriously, they rock. And they introduced me to what all this hubub about having girlfriends and a Girls Night is. It's just fun! :)

So, that's four of the five skarpifny ladies. Nancy, Stefanie, me and Emily went out and toasted our other member Ellie, who abanded us for a boy in North Carolina ;)

And what is this skarpifny I speak of?

It's our gang, yoh.


We had some dee-lish food including a Roasted Vegetable Salad that was chock-full of roasted vegetables (not just a couple thrown on top), a Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Napolean and duh, french fries :)

The menu is extensive, and the staff seemed more than willing to adjust any item to suit tastes and needs. You can check out the whole menu here: But honestly, brussel sprouts were the vegetable of the day and they have Spaten on tap. What else do you need?

McCoole's at Red Lion Inn
4 S Main Street
Quakertown, PA 18951

PS: After McCoole's, these vests were liberated by Emily and Nancy from the shadowy grips of Stef- er, ahem, someone's closet. For the record, would you please assure her that they will never be back in style?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Veg*n Thanksgiving

Aw, aren't they adorable? That's Kelly and Justin, the head chefs of Veg*n Thanksgiving 2006. Justin and Mikey started Veg*n Thanksgiving seven years ago with this is mind:

"It's that time of year again. It's getting close to Turkey Day, with it's focus on gluttony and family bonding/spiteful arguing. It's also that special time of year where we somehow manage to all get together before/instead of/after the family crap to commiserate and eat dinner and/or dessert."

Perfect :)

In years past, I've only been able to make it for dessert or not at all if I was in Rhode Island with the fam. This year though, after a visit with Jason's family, we were there promptly at 4pm.

I think there were ten of us for the actual dinner; over the course of the evening, there were about 20 lovely noshers, and just about everyone brought a dish or two. [We brought a green salad, apple walnut stuffing and a big bottle of Pinot Noir. Note, I did said bottle, not box. We wanted to do something special for the holiday ;) ] Here's Mike - er, M Fen preparing some drool-worthy risotto:

Of course, the obligatory Tofurky porn:

*Part* of the spread. Yes, this is only about 2/3 of the dishes, not including four pies:

My plate had green salad, canned cranberry sauce, Tofurky, M Fen's five year beans, carrots, corn, string bean casserole, apple walnut stuffing, the best yams ever and peas:

Me, Kelly and our empty plates:

I had every intention of taking some up and close sexy photos of each dish and a nice group shot, but I was far too distracted by lovely conversation and the anticipation of eating one of everything. Besides, a bit of yummy Thanksgiving wine had me nicely wrapped up in her arms and feeling just content enough to sit still for a bit and simply enjoy the amazing friends and family around me. Sigh...



PS: For the record, L farted on me. Twice.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Spaghetti Squash

I saw this recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Garden Vegetables from the Eat to Live newsletter online last month and immediately bookmarked the page. When I saw spaghetti squash at the Del Val Market a couple weeks ago, I knew just what I was going to do with it!

I almost didn't post this because the photo is poor, but the dinner was so good that I had to :)

This meal turned out to be a great family-cooking recipe; Avery, Jason and I all prepared and cooked it together. We followed the recipe almost exactly, just adding more vegetables (like extra Blooming Glen cabbage - yum!) and some crushed red pepper. We also microwaved the squash instead of baking it (pierce five or six holes in the skin and cook five to ten minutes rotating a few times, until the squash gives slightly when touched). It's yummy served with parmesan not-cheese, or a parmesan-like topping.

(From Oct. 06 Eat to Live recipe of the month)
Serves: 6
1 medium spaghetti squash
1 1/2 diagonally sliced carrots
1/2 cup diagonally sliced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1 small zucchini, chopped into small pieces
1 16-ounce can pinto beans, no or low salt, drained
1 14-ounce chopped tomatoes, no salt, drained
1/3 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup garlic pasta sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Place both halves upside down on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cook carrots and celery in 2 tablespoons of water in a covered pan over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more water if needed.

Add garlic, cabbage, and zucchini and cook, covered, for another 10 minutes.
Stir in rest of ingredients, except for pasta sauce, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender.

When squash is done remove from oven and, using a fork, scrape spaghetti-like strands from squash into a bowl. Add pasta sauce and combine by mixing thoroughly. Mix the vegetables, beans & herbs with the squash/pasta sauce mixture and serve on a bed of romaine lettuce or place back in the hollowed out squash bowls.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bakers on Broad open hizouse

After sending off Awesome Miss L, Jason and I bummed around, straightening up a bit here and there until it was time to go to the baker's open house. Linda and Rafael of Bakers on Broad celebrated their first anniversary in business by inviting everyone in for a tour, conversation and snacks. It was a brilliant way to spend a Sunday afternoon after a busy weekend. Even better? Well, the wine of course.

Jase and I sat at the front window bar (a refinished slice of a very large tree), chatted with some fantastic people (bottom right), drank wine and nibbled on bread (duh) and local cheese from Hendrick's Farm in Telford before we went down a set of spiral stairs to check out the kitchen. I don't know what exactly we were expecting, but the kitchen is huge. There are three rooms, the most impressive one housing a gigantic oven (top left). Rafael went through the baking process, though, to be honest, I was half in the bag by the time we left and can't remember the delicate details of baking through which he walked us.

I do know however, that we were quite impressed.

Jase and I joked about how we pictured Rafael awaking at the break of dawn to shuffle downstairs into their regular ol' kitchen to bake bread in their oven. Then, as the sun rose, Linda would take over, moving the goods to the front room and working with the customers. Apparently, we aren't the only ones with this impression and that is precisely why they had this open house.

Their operation is quite impressive, and it made me realize just how much they must have scrimped and saved and researched and constructed in order to open a bakery of their very own. The tour also explained why it took them so long to open once they took ownership of the building - which happens to be their home, as well. Those two clearly worked very hard.

Jason and I were lucky enough to meet some of Linda and Rafael's super nice and very proud family (middle right). I'm pretty sure they were only being super nice so that we would finally go home. And yes, we were the last to leave.

We've begun our campaign to convince Baker's to have an event like this every Sunday. Hey, it could happen...

Join the campaign!
Bakers on Broad
503 East Broad Street
Souderton, PA 18964


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rooot Sooop

We had a ton of Blooming Glen root veggies in the fridge. Thankfully it's chilly enough to make a yummy "root soop." I made a gigantic batch on purpose. This is unusual.

I swear, I had twelve children in a previous life. Most times, although I have the intention to make one pot, it always ends up as two. When I chop the carrots, I think to myself, "oh, I'll throw a couple extra in." Then, when I add the beans, I think, "hmm, this will be a little more substantial if I add extra." Naturally, extra celery, parsnips, rutabaga follow. Of course, there's always something in the fridge that "should really be used up," so I add that, too. Before you know it, I'm in a panic on the phone with my mom, looking for another pot, because mine is overflowing. And I've only got through half of the ingredients.

I can't tell you the countless times I've done this. You think I would have learned by now, but without fail, every time I make soup or chili, it's the same story. So, I've decided to start this season out different. I began this recipe with two pots. See? I can be trained :)

We had a ton of roots on hand - carrots, celeriac (celery root), rutabaga, parsnips. The above is the "after" picture, this is the "before" picture:

And here's the recipe (adapted from a December - I think - 2005 Vegetarian Times recipe):

Serves: like, a bazillion

2 6-quart stock pots with lids
3 tbs olive oil
4 leeks, chopped
2 onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pearled barley
3 32-ounce boxes of organic vegetable stock (or 12 cups of water and 4 bullion cubes)
8 - 10 cups of scrubbed, but unpeeled* diced root veggie loveliness
1/2 - 1 cup of chopped fresh herbs (dill works well, but any one or two will work)

*Except the celeriac. Go ahead and peel those gnarly, dirty bad boys. Most of the nutrients in root vegetables live close to the surface; by peeling them you'll inadvertently loose the good stuff.

In one of the pots, heat the oil over medium heat. Add leeks and onions and cook until softened (about five minutes). Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Remove half of the mixture and place it into another pot, over medium heat. Stir half of the barley into pot one, the other half into pot two. Do the same for the vegetable stock. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low, skim off any froth, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add root veggie loveliness; half in one pot, half in the other. Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes more, or until barley and vegetables are tender. Just before serving, stir in herbs. Salt and pepper to taste.

We had bowls of soup with some fantabulous grilled not-cheese sandwiches - made with Bakers on Broad complet bread, of course ;) Yummm!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

CSA crop share 25

So. Sad.

The last Blooming Glen CSA pick up of the season :(

It just doesn't look like it's finished, does it? That's a big, yummy, colorful share. Heck, it's bigger than the the first one we got in May.

You know, if Tricia and Tom really loved us, they would've slowly weened us beginning a month or so ago, so that by this week we would have each received a half rotted onion, a couple rabbit-chewed heads of lettuce and a handful of gnarly carrots. Instead, they continued to give us huge, beautiful lots of produce up until the last week.


We'll be waiting not-so patiently BG - have a great winter!

PS: You all voted today, right?!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Benedict Arnold

Look, ma! No party mix! :D

My girl, Miss L visited us last weekend. In addition to feeding our brains and spirits with wisdom from don Miguel Ruiz, we fed out bellies with some fantastic spicy green curry at a Thai-French place in Lansdale called Nadia, some to-die-for vegan treats at... er, Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, and some Strongbow at our local pub, the Reliance in Telford. Miss J was along for most of the ride, too :)

And, I cooked! Woot! That's L's bon voyage breakfast: chopped kale, collards, green tomatoes, sweet red peppers, leeks and onion (all Blooming Glen) stir fried/steamed in a bit of olive oil and crushed red pepper, on top of a Food for Life organic 7-grain sprouted wheat english muffin, and drizzled with Knorr hollandaise sauce (the powder mix is not vegan, but we did make it with soy milk and Earth Balance). Jase was on "keep the kitchen clean" duty, I did the veggies and L took care of the sauce (Mr. Avery was with his pops). Yummm!

The weekend was incredible :) I'll post more on my other blog, but feel free to check out the evidence here:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CSA crop share 24

Sisters are the best :) I did the pick up (check out Tricia's ghost - spooky!) and Brookie did the splitting (and took the photos of the goods).

Is that a pizza box hiding behind those veggies... ;)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I bet you guessed this is how things have been...

I had Chex Party Mix and a sugar-free Redbull for dinner tonight.

Please, send help.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CSA crop share 23

Hey! Where is the photograph of the CSA board? You know, the one that records the quatities?

Hm, maybe my SISTER would know. I'll check :)

Edit: Here it is!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Smashed potatoes + kale

Don't you hate when you've talked a dish up? Maybe you mention it early in the day, kind of arbitrarily, perhaps prompted by an image in a newspaper or in a commercial; something like, "Oooh, wouldn't that be good?"

All intentions were that the person to whom you were speaking would say, "Oh, yeah... yum," to which you could get some points by saying half assed-ly (yes, it's a word. I looked it up. Not really.) mentioning that you had a bunch of potatoes at home and that you could make them as soon as we got home, knowing full well that it'd be hours before you actually got home, and chances were that by the time that happened, he would forgot about it? Did that ever happen? Except that it kind of stuck? And, two and four and five hours later, you were still talking about it?

Yeah. That was me and mashed potatoes and Jason today. I can't even remember where Jase and I saw the potatoes, but it was early. All day we talked about them.

Dood. We left the bar so that I could go home and make them.

Seriously. Look:

That's boiled and smashed Blooming Glen red and white potatoes; mixed with chopped and sauteed BG leeks, thyme, cilantro and sage our own rosemary; a bit of veggie broth and butternut squash soup (again, it's what was in the fridge), salt and pepper. To the left is steamed purple kale. My dish is served with hot sauce, Jason's had horseradish sauce.

I don't know if it's just because I'm from Rhode Island or what. But me and kale? We get along when it's just the three of us: me, kale and vinegar. Yeah, man. Chop it, steam it for a few (four? five?) minutes, spill a few drops of vinegar on it and serve it with some starchy goodness. Perfect.

By the way. The hot sauce? I heart the Louisiana bred Crystal hot sauce for its flavor. It's not the hottest sauce, but it's the sauciest, if you know what I mean. Nothing against Cholula's mind you, but the only reason why we have it on tap, is because Crystal is still suffering from Hurricane Katrina. It's been produced in New Orleans since 1928, and is determined to stay there. They've had to identify a new location, as their pre-Katrina one was destroyed, and have plans to re-open any minute. If you have a moment, would you send some good hot-sauce loving vibes to the company and it's families? I know it's just one company in one city, but dang... trust me when I say that the whole world will be a much better place when this particular one is back up and running :)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sexxxy Focaccia

Bow chica bow wow...

It's been far too long...

I need some focaccia porn up in here...

Aw yeah.

Jenn came over the other night to work on our window project (it's a work in progress, just like me), and we needed a snack to sustain us through the creative process. I had picked up a "blank" focaccia from Bakers on Broad earlier that day and when I did, the owner Linda went into the back (read: her house) and cut off a slab of some maytag blue cheese she got from a friend. I paired the bread and cheese with apples from Del Val , leeks from Blooming Glen and rosemary from our garden.

I preheated the oven and sliced up the cheese, apples and leeks. I use some the green parts of leeks too; it seems unfortunate to toss the lovely greens into the compost. I lightly sauteed the leeks and apples (maybe five minutes), adding a dash of black pepper.

After lightly oiling the bread crust, I layered cheese first, then apples, then leeks, and sprinkled rosemary on top. I baked it for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

So sexxxy.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

CSA crop share 21

Jase took the camera to go look at a used pellet stove after work. That means I went to pick up the share without the camera. So, here's what I've been able to recall from my memory:

1 bok choy
2 onions (I think we were supposed to only get one, but when Avery and I went through our respective halves, we each grabbed one)
1/2 pound sweet peppers
1 celeriac (celery root) (we grabbed an extra from the sharing table)
1 winter squash
3/4 pound swiss chard and/or collards and/or kale (we chose kale and swiss chard)
2 pounds sweet and/or red potatoes
3 leeks
1 pint strawberries (yes! strawberries! still!) (pick your own)
1 bunch thyme (pick your own)
1 bunch oregano (pick your own)
1 bunch basil
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch dill

And, here is the awful photograph we took late tonight. After football practice, after dinner, after finishing homework. Not very pretty photos this week, but still:

Check out the celery root, yoh:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dinner for one

Left on my own for dinner a little while ago, I had the above. Baked Blooming Glen sweet potato with a smear of Earth Balance, short grain brown rice cooked in a mixture of veggie broth and butternut squash soup (hey, it's what was in the fridge), and Nanny's Green Tomato Relish (scroll down) made with Blooming Glen onion, green tomatoes and red and green peppers. So pretty, so nutritionally balanced, local, organic and veg*n. Yup, that's me.


Honestly, usually when left to my own devices at meal times, I chase pieces of chocolate from the fridge with red boxed wine in front of the computer. Then I feel bad about my poor nutritional choices, put the wine down, remove myself from the interweb, walk back to the kitchen and tell myself that I'll heat up some leftover stir fry.

Once the refrigerator door is opened again though, the chocolate jumps back into my mouth as I grab some type of spreadable or dip-able or melt-able object (hummus, salsa, cheese) and make my way over to the pantry for crackers or hardtack or bread or blue corn tortilla chips. Then, I head over to the counter near the sink and eat out of the containers for a minute or two. Packing everything back up, I usually realize that I need a little sweet to finish off that salt, so I grab a big spoonful of ice cream (no bowl needed) to eat on my way back to my wine and computer.

I don't know what came over me on this particular night, but I actually made a decent meal and SAT AT THE TABLE WITH UTENSILS to eat it. I still drank my boxed wine, though. And, I maybe had a piece of chocolate, too. Hey, let's not get crazy here :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Montgomery Theater date night

Being the clever and wonderful and sweet girlfriend that I am, I naturally gave Jason an equally clever and wonderful and sweet gift for his birthday last year. I would like to note that the gift is even extra super special because his birthday is on 31 December. As in, NEW YEARS EVE. Had I known this before I fell in love with him (I should have requested a thorough inspection), I would have made him change it. But, whatever. We're here now, AREN'T WE?

So anyway. This year, I bought a season subscription to our local playhouse, the Montgomery Theater in Souderton. This, in and of itself, is an awesome gift. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The theater just rocks. The building is gorgeous, the staff is dedicated and passionate, the programs are inclusive, the shows seem to be handpicked and parts singularly crafted for the actors that play them, it has a perfect, central location and every seat in the house is good. It's a great, local establishment.

For Jason's birthday, I bought the season subscription, but made it sweeter by actually picking the dates out on the calendar, and creating five Date Night packages. Each package is really a bottle of wine (Pinot Noir, Red Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon) that has a handmade tag listing the date, time and show tied around top, a certificate good for a dinner (homemade or at a restaurant, his pick), and a description of the play from the theater's program.

See, it's the birthday gift that gives all year. And, it's insanely caring and thoughtful. I know, I know, I'm just good like that.

[Please, don't mind that nagging thought in your head. The one that's saying something like, "Heeey... wait a minute. Mikaela's the one who likes the theater so much...she's going to the plays, too...hrmmm." I am selfless and goddess-like. I did it for Jason. It's all for him!]

We've enjoyed three shows so far: Psychopathia Sexualis, The Drawer Boy, and Butterflies are Free, We went to our fourth show, The Last Five Years (by Jason Robert Brown), over the weekend. Jason's dinner choice was sushi from Kira and the wine was Ravenswood Red Zinfandel.

After dinner, we walked to the theater. Luckily we got there a little early and had time to visit the Sharon Moore Gallery across the street. Sharon just moved her gallery from a crowded store front on Broad Street, to this newly renovated, high-ceiling space in one of Souderton's famous old cigar factories. You must visit!

I purposefully don't read the descriptions of the plays. A fun effect of this, is that there's always something that surprises me. Like The Drawer Boy is a drawer, like with markers and pens, not like, his parents couldn't afford and didn't have the room for a crib, so he slept in the dresser drawer as an infant. It was an honest misunderstanding, people! One can imagine my surprise - In my mind, I had built a gritty story about a down-on-their-luck, young couple living in Brooklyn, who had a baby, but no money and little space in their one room apartment.

The Last Five years, was surprising as well, but not quite in the same way. I knew it was a love story (by seeing the logo), and was surprised when it turned out to be un-sappy, and rather brave. And also when I realized it was a musical. I'm not a big fan of musicals. It was hard for me not to groan and tell myself that we could leave at intermission. Which, of course, we didn't. Because the play was fantastic.

The format was brilliant for this story of unfortunate timing and missed opportunities for understanding. The woman's point of view (Jessica Edwards) starts in the present and works back to the couple's first meeting, while the man's (Michael Philip O'Brien) begins at their first meeting and progresses to the present. The couple's stories intersect only at the mid-point of their relationship, the wedding.

Date Four was definitely a winner :) Our next and final date is The Desk Set and a bottle of Barefoot Reserves Pinot Noir (our favorite). Stay tuned - or better yet, go see the show!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Veg*n Lasagna even Garfield would love!

Oh, yumminess comfort food :)

Veg*n Lasagna
Serves 12!

olive oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves chopped garlic (we always use more)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped fresh seasonal (local) vegetables
1 jar or can of tomato paste
1 jar of tomato sauce (homemade if you got it!)
1 - 2 cups TVP, depending on how thick you you like your sauce
2 boxes of organic whole wheat lasagna noodles (I used Hodgson Mill's)
2 containers of extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
1 - 2 handfuls of chopped fresh garden herbs (this time, I used basil, chives, cilantro, rosemary)
2 packages of shredded veggie cheese (mozzarella and/or cheddar)

Chop and saute onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil, until onions are translucent and soft. Add veggies and stir fry/steam until soft (about 10 minutes). Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste and TVP. Lightly simmer, covered, about 10 to 30 minutes, adding water as needed.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. I usually cook them about 3 or 4 minutes less than the box instructions so they they hold up better while baking.

Combine tofu with fresh herbs, one package of shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste. I use my hands to smoosh everything together. I suppose you could use a food processor, but that'll just leave you with more dishes to wash :) Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place a layer of noodles in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish, add one-third of the sauce, another layer of noodles, then half of the cheese mixture. Repeat. Finish with a layer of noodles and sauce on top.

Here, you can either refrigerate or freeze for future use (or for giving to the neighbors who just had a baby/surgery/breakdown), or bake it for immediate consumption :)

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover, spread remaining package of shredded cheese on top of lasagna and bake until melted (5 to 10 minutes).

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CSA crop share 20

Adorable turnips? You bet!

Herbs! Thyme, cilantro, oregano, dill.

Winter squash, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with you.

Purple! Kale, beets, basil.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

One big happy veg*n family!

Jeff asked about the term veg*n used in this blog. At the risk of sounding naive and/or having tomatoes (organically and locally produced, of course) thrown at me and/or committing an herbivore faux pas, I've decided to answer him. As opposed to avoid the question with a vague, non-confrontational answer and a quick, "Oh, look! Is that a peanut butter chocolate bomb over there?!" Not that I've ever done anything like that before, of course.

In my writing, veg*n is used to mean vegetarian or vegan. So why don't I just say "vegan" or "vegetarian?" Because, while vegetarian is pretty easy to define, vegan gets a little tough sometimes. There are fundamental similarities in all types of veganism, such as no dairy and no eggs, upon everyone agrees; however, there are many, many, many tenuous variations to what a vegan diet is to an individual. It is because of these varying definitions, that I hesitate in labeling anything “vegan.” What can I say, I have an irrational fear of offending people :)

Of course, I'm not saying that I agree that someone can be a vegan, but still eat cheese. Just as one can't claim to be a vegetarian, but still eat fish. What I am saying, is that beyond the no cheese, no eggs, no casein, no brand new leather Barcalounger, things get a little fuzzy.

I know vegans that strictly adhere to an organic diet, as the use of pesticides and insecticides does not reconcile with their definition of vegan. There are others that will not buy new products made from leather and suede, but will pick up a pair of secondhand leather boots at the thrift or from their neighbor's trash. Gasoline comes from fossil fuels, which come from dead animals. Additionally, the process by which oil is retrieved is quite disturbing, if not deadly, to animals' habitats; so driving a car may not be the vegan thing to do for some people.

Personally, I struggle with the organic argument, and that's where I find safety in labeling dishes as veg*n. Pesticides and insecticides not only kill bugs, but also leak into the waters and grounds on which an even greater variety of living things (people too, even!) depend for their lives.

As far as I’m concerned, none of these vegan definitions are wrong. If you're making some kind of effort to eliminate some kind of unjustness from your plate or from your closet, then rock on. Compassionate and conscientious consuming on any level is never wrong. Besides, we all know that the old “that’s not vegan because _____” could go back and forth for a long time, and could get pretty tedious, time consuming and technical, right? “Hey, the french toast isn’t vegan because on my walk to the bakery to buy the bread, I bet I stepped on and killed some bugs.” Ugh. No thanks :)

I’ve been a vegetarian/sometimes vegan (I like the term veggiesaurus) for 17 years, which has given me many opportunities to learn and meet all kinds of veg*ns, very few of which had the exact same ideals as another. Simply, I prefer to use the term veg*n because I feel it is inclusive of all the wonderful and crazy veggie, animal, environment and health loving brothers and sisters out there. It really is better if we stick together, don’t you think?

Clearly, this is my opinion and mine alone. What's that they say, "Opinions are like... nostrils: Everyone's got 'em" ;)

I love hearing what others have to say, and lucky for that, veg*ns are a lively bunch: