Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

Great vegan/vegetarian recipes from this month’s Food & Wine

Not eating meat and subscribing to Food & Wine may seem like a bad idea.  Most of their recipes tend towards “chicken stuffed with beef wrapped in bacon.”  Hell, just a few months ago the magazine devoted the entire issue to the “not so humble anymore!” hamburger.  But I have to say, they have been trying lately… or something.  May it’s just a coincidence but I’m noticing a whole lot more vegetarian and even vegan recipes.  Mind you, they never label them as such but it’s nice to get recipes from really great chefs that you don’t have to alter to suit your tastes.

This issue is particularly great, because of the 4 recipes Joe Bastianich offers (yes, as in Lydia’s son and owner of a dozen high end Manhattan Italian restaurants, including Mario Batali’s Babbo), 3 are fully freakin’ vegan (as long as you make the easy sub of agave for honey in the desert.)

I am particularly psyched to try this soy milk rice pudding.  They’re all available online. And even though I cringed when I read the last line of that story (“Still, Bastianich eats steaks and lardo often. “Running so much makes me worry about getting enough calories,” he explains.”), I’ll take his recipes and eat them, too.

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Chickpea-Ricotta Gnocchi

You’re probably wondering why there is no photo accompanying this post.  Well, let’s just say that these gnocchi are not particularly attractive.  Nor are they tasty.  Frankly, this is a terrible recipe and it’s not that I made it wrong.  I don’t even know how I let myself get convinced that this would taste good.  There’s absolutely nothing redeeming about mushed up boiled chickpeas and not even ricotta can salvage it.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Ingredients I Used

3 cups rinsed and dried chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), I used canned this time

1/2 cup ricotta (mine was homemade, more on that later)

about 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

freshly ground black pepper

How I Made It

Set a large pot of water to boil.  Pulsed the chickpeas in the food processor until they resembled crumbs.  Stirred in the cheese and nutmeg.  Added half the flour and kneaded.  That wasn’t enough so I added a little bit more until the dough started to hold together.  Rolled dough into a rop about 1/2 inch thick (between my hands, not on the board) and cut into 1-inch lengths.  Added the gnocchi to boiling water, half at time.  Once they floated, counted to 20.  Removed.  Tossed with some pesto.  Tasted.  Threw into the trash.

Making It Vegan

Umm… don’t make it.  Seriously.  It’s a waste of good ingredients.  That’s half a nutmeg I’ll never get back.  It looked like…  dry dog food at best, what comes out the business end of a dog at worst.  It tasted like your finest wet cardboard.  OK, maybe I don’t like it but you will.  But I doubt it.

For the love of cheese!

I was in the middle of composing a post about our dinner last night (which included cheese) when I read this on SuperVegan.  It’s all about how the only thing that there aren’t decent vegan substitutes for is cheese.  Well, the author writes about Daiya, which is apparently a really great vegan cheese substitute and I plan on trying it as soon as I can get my hands on some. Specifically, I want to try the cheddar blend because that is the kind of cheese I would miss the most.

I want to go on a little rant about vegan cheese for a second though, because the issues I have with it aren’t really addressed anywhere.

My problem with vegan cheese isn’t that it doesn’t taste like cheese.  It’s that it tastes like the wrong kind of cheese.  It seems that vegan cheese makers aspire for their products to look and taste like the milk-based stuff Kraft peddles pre-shredded in the dairy aisle.  I understand the desire to market based on familiarity but come on!

I’m a pretty sophisticated eater.  I would never eat Kraft.  The cheese I do eat is artisanal and tastes that way.  Why not make vegan cheese that tastes this way, too?  Stop appealing to lowest common denominator!  (I’m not saying Daiya tastes that way, I haven’t tried it yet but that is usually the situation with vegan cheese).

Back… with a cookbook

I started this blog what seems like eons ago and my little foray into chronicling my entry into vegetarianism lasted all of 2 (two) posts (the foray, not the vegetarianism, that’s going strong).  I guess I did a little Googling and found all the answers to all the questions I am wont to ask about becoming a vegetarian and therefore it was no longer interesting to me.  But recently, with all the hoopla about Julie/Julia, I came up with a concept.  Well, actually the concept arrived from amazon.com in the form of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  It’s a giant tome, and while it doesn’t have Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking cult status, I thought it would be an interesting project to try to cook through it.  And then maybe pick up Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Veganomicon?

I won’t post Mark’s recipes in full, because I’m not entirely clearly on the copyright issues involved (lawyer self rearing ugly head).  But I will discuss which ones I did, what page you can find them on and what I thought of them.  Deal?

I’m not looking to get a book deal out of it, or a movie (although while we’re on the topic, I suggest that Zoey Deschanel clear her schedule to play moi), I just need a blog in my life.  That is all.  Enjoy!

Summer Tomatoes

Let’s get something straight first.

I. LOVE. FOOD.

A lot.  Whenever people ask me about hobbies, I tell them it’s food.  They look at me funny, agree that “well, everyone likes to eat” and ask me for my other hobbies. They don’t get it.  My whole LIFE is food.  I explore the world through food.  I improve myself through food.  It is that important to me.  You may eat but I know everything I’m eating, try to make the best possible version of what I’m eating and then find a new way to eat it differently because I’m already bored with the previous version.

So what is a girl, who loves food so much, doing giving up such a huge, delicious part of it for good?  A girl, who has eaten foie gras pebbles at WD-50?  A girl who once said that she could never stop eating beef because how can you when you live within blocks  from the greatest steak (Peter Luger) and the greatest burger (DuMont) in the world?

Yup, that’s me.  And I’m not going to get all preachy about why you should go vegetarian.  There are plenty of people out there who will do that for me.

Farm Sanctuary

Compassion over Killing

HSUS

They’ll tell you why.  And if you’re being honest with yourself, and you think you can’t morally justify eating animals if this is how they’re being raised and killed, then you’ll wonder how.  And that’s what I’m here to tell you: how to go from ordering the best steak in the world to not eating meat at all.

Because no one told me what it would be like.  And I think if someone told me what I’m about to tell you, I would have done it a long time ago.

P.S.  I am NOT YET vegan.  I still have leather shoes, and leather bags.  I sleep under a down comforter.  And I feed my cats chicken.  But you know what?  I’m trying.  So no judging.  As Confucius said: “It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.”