Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour was great!

We spent two hours in the dark last night, enjoying a candle-lit meal and a board game with my wonderful sister. It was great. Maybe we should do Earth Hour once a month, just because it's lovely.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Honoring our ancestors

Taking a break from the rigors of being sick (I've pretty much been in bed since Thursday, although I did make it in to work for a couple of hours today), I made a little green dinner for St. Patrick's Day.

Now, St. Patrick's has always been one of my favorite holidays. I've always loved the fun of wearing green (and pinching those who forgot). Food, of course, in our family really makes or breaks a holiday, and I have fond memories of two favorite foods my mom would treat us to, every year: Green SnoBalls and Corned Beef & Cabbage. Corned Beef has to be one of the all-time greatest foods known to mankind. There's nothing better than biting into a salty pink chunk of goodness and letting the greasy brine drip down your chin. I love to get a thick slice with a nice fatty rim and frost it with a tasty mixture of mustard and horseradish. Wow. And the heavenly marriage of fat, salt and cabbage! The sweetness of the vegetable comes through, mellow and heady.

However, as a vegetarian, the spotlight has shifted a little. No dead animal parts means no corned beef and no marshmallows. But in some ways, it's nice. I can remember why St Patrick's Day really means so much to me. It's because most of us are the descendants of people from far distant countries, who worked hard to come here. March 17th is a holiday created by one group of folks to remember those ancestors. In this modern era, that's a pretty rare thing.

So tonight I made us a mess o'pottage--a stew of split peas and vegetables--with rye bread, saurkraut and hot mustard as accompaniment. Dried peas were one of the primary foodstuffs of the Northern Europeans, long before the beans of the Americas arrived, or before the lentils and garbanzos of the Middle East had caught on. Rye is one of the hardiest grains, far more cold tolerant than wheat. And cabbage is the quintessential food of the poor. I tried to honor the ancestors of my little family, a mess of Scots, German, Irish, English and Polish farmers.

Sometimes changing your food habit lets you change your feelings about a holiday. And sometimes it lets you see it in a whole new, beautiful light.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sour Kale

With nobody feeling 100%, we haven't been doing a great deal of good cooking around this place, and let's face it, nobody wants to hear about boxed soup and orange juice. So yesterday marked my first good and healthy meal in about a week and a half.

It was pretty simple. I just marinated some cubed tofu (in pineapple juice, Bragg's amino acids, two pressed garlic cloves, a tablespoon of tomato paste and sherry) overnight and then baked it about 40 minutes. Then I quickly steamed a bunch of kale with about a cup of leftover sauerkraut and salt & pepper. All of that together over rice, with a little green onion sprinkled over the top for that crunchy touch.

But wow! Who knew sauerkraut could take kale such new and fantastic places? It was zippy, zesty, cheerful, and tummy tingling. And super energy-filled, too. The tofu-marinade, which reduced as the tofu baked, was a sweet sauce that harmonized with the sour really well.

Sometimes, even when you're lazy, you get lucky.

Friday, March 07, 2008

So many great thoughts ...

... so little posting.

Sorry there's been a bit of a drought on this site. Unfortunately, Wednesday afternoon I pulled a muscle in my neck and typing makes it even worse. You should have seen me leading kids' yoga that day ... "Bendy Wendy," my butt!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cauliflower is cool!

Tonight I made pasta with a creamy sauce made from mashed cauliflower and white beans, with some vegan mozzarella, lots of garlic, and some chopped spinach for color. Yum! Who knew cauliflower could impersonate junk food?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What a beautiful morning!

In an attempt to cut down on our car usage, I have been getting up early and walking down to the train station instead of mooching a ride off John on Sundays. I've always felt a little guilty about the extra car trip, and now that I'm trying to get more exercise, this is the perfect opportunity. Oddly enough, I find myself really excited about it. I'll wake up, bouncing around, ready to go, go, go, go!

This morning waking up early was a little tough, but completely worth it. There was a wispy fog all over the city and the birds were talking their little lungs out. Just as I turned the corner on Ivon, I saw a hump-backed shadow stalking across the street. It snuffled back and forth, stopping on the sidwalk to watch me approach. A raccoon! It waited until I was within about 6 feet of it, then disappeared into the grass and the fog.

Sometimes we forget that nature isn't just out there, somewhere. Even the city is nature.