Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Johnny Rockets

Tonight I ended up at Johnny Rockets, not by my choice, but at least they have a vegan Boca Burger. Unfortunately, when you order it if you want it vegan you have to request that there be no butter on the roll. In my case, our waiter brought one out with butter anyway, and it's a good thing I checked.

Passive aggressive waitstaff..... grrrrrr.....

Anyway, I won't be cooking for a few days.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Favorite Garlic Sesame Sauce


This marinade from Starport Foods is what I use for all my recipes with a sesame sauce. It's the best stir-fry marinade around.

Sorry it took so long, Starla!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Cooking Eggplant

To answer Lisa's question, I have two ways that I cook eggplant:

1) Oven -- Pierce the eggplant several times with a fork, coat in olive oil and place in the oven at 450 degrees for 45 minutes. Let the eggplant cool. Then, slice it in half and use a fork to comb the eggplant out. It will be soft and stringy.

2) Stovetop -- Keeping in mind that eggplant takes longer to cook than other vegetables, I add it first. I cut it into small pieces and sautee in oil, wine, marinade, or pasta sauce for about 15-20 minutes.

Pasta with Eggplant



I know it looks funky, but remember, I'm just a vegan girl with a full-time job....

Last night, I decided I felt like making baba ganoush. Unfortunately, though, after roasting the eggplant, I realized that I have no tahini and was feeling way too lazy to drive to the grocery store. So, I saved the roasted eggplant in the fridge to do something with it today.

I sauteed the eggplant in canola oil with some frozen spinach, garlic, pepper, and cumin, then added some Prego traditional spaghetti sauce.

The final product tasted good, but I'll freely admit that the sauce looks kinda nasty.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Vegan Firefighters



Today's New York Times includes an article about a team of five vegan firefighters in Austin, Texas. One found out at age 37 that he had high cholesterol, and through a vegan diet he's been able to bring it down to normal levels.

I think it's a great piece. It is a terrific reminder that being hearth-healthy isn't all about pills and angioplasties, and that our lifestyle and habits are crucial.

In case you can't pull up the article, here's a link to the Engine 2 Fire Company's home page.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Meat 'n Potatoes


For dinner, I had Gardenburger Riblets, broccoli stir-fried in garlic sesame sauce, and a twice-baked potato. The potato is something my grandmother liked to make us -- you bake the potato (or, in this case, pierce it with a fork and microwave on high for 6 minutes), slice it in half, mash the insides with a little butter, and then put it in the oven.

Note the ratios of food groups on the plate -- one quarter lean protein (riblet), one quarter starch (potato), and one half vegetable.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Vegan in a Brazilian Steakhouse

I did not cook today. Instead I went to the local young Jews' happy hour. However, I'll share my most recent uncomfortable vegan story.

In Atlanta last week, I ended up at a place called Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse. It's a place where men dressed as butchers move through the restaurant at a frenzied pace slicing meat off of a skewer for diners. And, they have a salad bar. But, unfortunately, there was constantly one of these butchers/waiters dropping a slab of meat in front of me, because the 100-pound girl next to me could definitely pound down meat.

Fortunately for me, our waiter was very accomodating. He told me the few items off the salad bar that were vegan: lettuce (but no dressings), chick peas, mushrooms, asparagus, and tomatoes. And he brought me polenta faster than I could eat it. So, I ate well and enjoyed my food, though I was clearly grossed out by the carcass-like skewers of meat around me.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Veggie Stew


I made a veggie stew from a recipe that I adapted from Linda Haynes's The Vegetarian Lunchbasket. What I love about this book is that the recipes are easy to make and don't include exotic ingredients.

I sauteed organic cabbage, peas, corn, cannelini beans, and baby bella mushrooms in canola oil for 5 minutes, then added 1 cup of vegetable broth and simmered for 20 minutes. Then I added 1/8 cup of whole wheat flour, two packets of soy sauce, salt and pepper, and simmered for 5 more minutes.

I enjoyed this stew with a toasted whole grain english muffin coated with Earth Balance Buttery Spread (vegan margarine).

Monday, March 20, 2006

Groovy "Chicken" and Noodle Stir-Fry



My most recent creation was adapted from a Wegman's recipe that included chicken. I boiled 8 oz of vermicelli and set aside. Then, to three tablespoons of hot vegetable oil, I added one chopped onion and two cloves of minced garlic. I added a 16-oz bag of frozen vegetables -- any veggies will do, but I chose a mixture with cauliflower, lima beans, carrots, and zucchini. I let this mixture heat, then added 2/3 of a cup of water, 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons of soy sauce, and four teaspoons of corn starch, allowed this to thicken while stirring frequently for ten minutes. Toward the end of this time I added a bag of Morningstar Farms Chik'n Strips. Finally, I added the cooked vermicelli.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Greens n Beans



I blanched the escarole in boiling water for one minute, drained it, and squeezed out much of the water. I heated one garlic clove and one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, then added the escarole, one can of cannelini beans (undrained), and a bit of veg soup powder mix, and sauteed it covered for about 5 minutes.

This was a side dish, not my entire dinner. It went well with some vegetable sushi from Wegman's and tofu in sesame sauce. And four Fig Newmans for dessert.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Reversing Heart Disease

I just returned from a trip to Atlanta for the American College of Cardiology annual conference. It was a great experience, and my favorite part was learning about the late-breaking clinical trials.

One such trial is the ASTEROID trial, presented by Dr. Steve Nissen from the Cleveland Clinic. The study found that rosuvastatin (Crestor), a cholesterol-lowering medication, when given at a high dose, can safely lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol to an average of 60 and reverse heart disease. As Dr. Nissen pointed out with a loud round of applause in response, this is the first cholesterol-lowering medication trial that showed a reversal of heart disease. It was a well-done study and emphasizes that lower is better when it comes to LDL cholesterol.

That's terrific, but I kept thinking, there is one way of reversing heart disease: The Ornish Lifestyle Program. The Ornish Program includes a very low-fat vegetarian diet, exercise, meditation, and group support, and though it was a small study, it led to improvement in symptoms of angina and mild regression of coronary artery disease.

I think that the medical community focuses too much on pills to solve our problems. We assume people are too stupid and lazy to be responsible and live a healthier lifestyle. But, living healthfully is the key to longevity. I think that as health care providers that we need to focus more on empowering our patients to take better care of their bodies and not just give them pills.

Meeting the Garbanzo Bean... and enjoying some great Vegan dining!

Garbanzo Bean and I first met online about 13 years ago when we were both planning on attending USC for college. We were even going to be roommates! At the last minute, I changed my mind and attended another school. However, we somehow managed to keep in touch, and met for the first time yesterday while I was in Atlanta! It felt like we were old friends, and we had an awesome dinner at Cafe Sunflower, a vegetarian restaurant. I had "meatloaf" with mashed potatoes, gravy, and asparagus, and for dessert a slice of chocolate raspberry cream pie (and some of the Bean's peanut butter cream pie). Mmmm was I stuffed!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lentil Controversy

After all the posts suggesting that I don't need to soak or cook lentils that long, I checked the package. Indeed, that's what it suggested, and my recipe came out ok. They're brownish green lentils, and they are labeled "Lentils". I'm not sure why. When I've done yellow lentils, a soak for 4 hours and cooking for 20 minutes was ok, but these required so much longer.

I'll be on a blogging hiatus for a few days, so have a terrific weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lentils



Ok, I've never cooked lentils from scratch before. I had no idea that even if you soak them overnight that they still take an hour and a half to cook! But, they came out good. A little olive oil, one cooking onion, one roma tomato, then the lentils, with a little water on top.

In the meantime, though, I was hungry! So, I had some Whitewave Wheat Meat and leftover chole. The lentils will be dinner tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Chole


Chole (pronounced "cho-LAY") is a traditional north Indian dish with chick peas and spices. As I leared from Lisa's friend Vani, all good Indian food starts with mustard seeds. Perhaps this is an over-simplification on my part, but her advice works, and when I move to Boston in July, I plan on tracking her down for more lessons in Indian cooking.

Anyway, start with about a tablespoon of olive oil and some mustard seeds on medium heat. When the mustard seeds start popping, I turned the heat down to low and added one chopped cooking onion, and shortly thereafter a can of drained and rinsed chick peas and two chopped roma tomatoes. On top of that, I added some sea salt, ground pepper, and spices: turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, and garlic. I heated the mixture on my stove for about 15 minutes, then ate it with a couple slices of whole wheat pita bread.

Monday, March 06, 2006

One Year as a Vegan!

This week, I'm celebrating one year as a vegan!

I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian at age 16, about 14 1/2 years ago, probably most motivated by my younger brother's committment to the cause. The literature from PETA that he received helped too. One day, it just hit me, that I couldn't eat a poor animal who lived in suffering only to become my chicken sandwich.

Then, I read more about how egg-laying hens suffer, crammed into crates without room to stretch their wings or roam, and how poor dairy cows have their babies taken away from them only to be confined for their miserable brief lives. And "cow pus" from the multitude of infections that dairy cows' nipples suffer from due to the machinery that milks them, that grossed me out.

But it took me a year and a half from that point to become a vegan. I had no idea how to live without dairy or eggs -- how do you dine out at restaurants? What about birthday cake? My (now ex) husband loves making me French Toast -- wouldn't he be disappointed?

I realized that going vegan was the right thing to do. For the animals, for my health, and for the environment. There are more dining out options than I ever thought; a birthday cake can be made vegan, and so can French Toast.

I've never regretted becoming a vegan. I only wish I'd done it sooner.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"Natural" Chicken?

Arby's has a new ad campaign for their "All Natural Chicken sandwiches". What I don't get is, All Natural as compared to what???

Another reason I'm glad I'm a vegetarian.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bean Dip


Lisa gave me this recipe that she used recently for a bean dip. It came out good, and I used about half of the suggested amount of olive oil (in other words, 1/4 cup instead of 1/2).

2-15 oz cans black beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic
Salt
½ cup olive oil
¾ cup (to taste) fresh cilantro leaves

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Eggplant and Tofu on Couscous


In my wok, I sauteed eggplant in olive oil, balsalmic vinaigrette and tamari sauce, then added some extra-firm tofu.