Tag Archives: Cooking

For the Vegetarian On the Go

A frozen, boxed Tofurky roast

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Between not finishing my novels, being a lawyer on a Star Trek simulation, not doing homework and kvetching about the treatment Helen Thomas received (yes, I am still angry about it and no, I will not let it go) I don’t always have time to cook up carrot ginger soup or some other wonderful vegetarian meal so I like to turn to some quick and easy and still delicious vegetarian pre-cooked meals. Here are some of my favorite:

  • Tofurky Vegan Loaf: A lovely tofurky loaf stuffed with fantastic stuffing and with its own mushroom gravy this is the complete package for a not just vegetarian but also vegan dinner. From Pangea Vegan Products.
  • Annie’s Certified Organic All Stars: Delicious stars of David in red sauce, Annie’s has once again produced a delicious lunch product.
  • Annie’s P’sghetti Loops with Soy Meatballs: If you’ve got a slightly bigger appetite then just the “All Stars” I’d recommend these. The soy “meat”balls are really delicious and even my anti-soy friends are big fans of these.
  • Quorn Chik’n Nuggets: I’ve written about these before and my loving words still stand today. A lunch standard for the past few years (I think that I’ve eaten at least one box every school week for the past year and a half) this is one of my favorite microwavable foods ever. I love Quorn!
  • Amy’s Vegetable Pot Pie: Sometimes it’s nice to be able to unwrap a block of ice, toss it into a preheated oven (we’re living in the 1940s and still don’t have a microwave) and pull out a piping hot, delicious vegetarian pot pie. Amy’s is a bit pricey (as most delicious things are) but well worth it.
  • Amy’s Rice Mac & Cheese: When I’m feeling classy but not too classy there’s nothing I like better then orange cheese on macaroni noodles. And once again Amy’s satisfies. Yum.

And of course, if you’re feeling a bit ambitious but still crunched for time make some English muffin pizzas and put some sliced tofurky on it (I’d recommend putting it between the sauce and cheese to stop it from crisping). Tasty, low maintenance and you’re still getting your protein.

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Thar She (the Gnocci) Blows!

boiling water

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I’m hunting. Whaling actually. And it’s thrilling. I have my harpoon in my hand as I stare down into the clouded ocean, trying to spot that one last whale. The knife of hunger is giving my senses a keen edge and… and there she is. The white whale! She surfaces but my attacks force her back into the opaque waves. Another stab and I’ve hooked her. Fat. White. Glistening. Delicious.

On my cracked wooden spoon rests that final pearl of gnocci. Beneath it the boiling water, cloudy from the starches, begins to come to rest and I realize how hungry I truly was. Hungry Lady Jane is Dramatic Lady Jane.

And so with a resolve to go back and finish Moby Dick I drain the gnocci and drop it into the empty bowl. A few final stirs of the boiling sauce (from a jar but still delicious) before it’s dumped from the orange pot and my main course is complete. It’s gorgeous, the white of the gnocci peaking through the earthy red sauce (I’m suddenly reminded of the tiles in my grandparents’ old house) surrounded by the porcelain with blue bowl. Next to it on an old tiny plate rest two slices of super-quick improv garlic bread.

Sometimes you need to cook a meal for one to be reminded why you fell in love with cooking in the first place.

Super-quick Improv Garlic Bread

You’ve probably made this yourself but just in case you haven’t here it is. Give it a try when you want something garlicy, bready and easy.

Preheat your oven to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a clove of garlic (this is assuming you’re making two slices of bread and have a strong enjoyment of garlic) and cut it in half. Now dice it up and set it aside. Toast two slices of bread (I used a very thick version of a baguette) before lathering butter on them. Take half of the diced garlic and push the pieces into the butter and then repeat with the other. Place the two pieces of bread (butter side up!) on a tray and then put it in the oven for just a few minutes (maybe two or three). Take out when the butter has melted in and the bread it really crusty on the outside. Eat it.

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Me: 1 Sugar: 1

You know what makes a great post-dinner snack? No, not chocolate chips… not chocolate chips… chocolate…

Right, great snack. Toastable, organic, multi-grain waffles with local apple butter (made less than a mile from my house, how much more local can you get?) I was skeptical about the quality of the waffles since pre-cooked foods tend to scare me (yes, I am still afraid of penicillin, indoor plumbing and opposable thumbs) but they seemed fine coming out of the toaster and covered in nutmeggy-appley-creamy goodness they went down like a treat.

I think this is beginning to represent a changing point in my relationship with food. When hunger struck I didn’t rip the door of the cabinet off for chocolate instead I walked like the modern hominid that I am to the freezer and opened it calmly and then attacked the waffle with apple butter. It seems that I really just need to surround myself with good food. When clementines and whole-grain breads are within reach I don’t need to shove sugars into my system.

Yeah, it really is that simple.

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Eating When You Can’t Taste Your Food

San Pellegrino

I want to marry that star. Or any cast member from the Harry Potter films, I'm not picky. Image via Wikipedia

I have a cold. My mother has a cold. We got this cold from my family over Thanksgiving. We now hate that side of the family. (And there goes me ever being invited back again. Which is a shame as I really, really like that side of the family.)

One of the troubles of having a cold is that not only do you have zero energy to prepare a meal you also can’t taste anything that you eat. For someone who enjoys food with a passion this is bloody annoying.

Tonight- Miracle of Miracles!- I had a lovely dinner and could taste every bite. For your reading pleasure here’s tonight’s menu:

  • San Pellegrino Limonata. This delightful sparkling beverage is sharp and lemony and one of my drugs of choice. I have four empty cans in my room right now.
  • Garlic Bread. Lots of garlic and melted butter spread over toasted slices of homemade bread. Did I mention that the bread was homemade? And only two hours out of the oven? And delicious?
  • Matzah Ball Soup. For some reason people seem to regard Matzah ball soup as bland (maybe it’s just North East Kingdom Vermonters) but the truth is that as long as you put in enough seasonings from the packet you can taste it just fine. Matzah balls are my other drug of choice (they’re readily available and easy to snort.)
  • Apple Sauce. Homemade apple sauce. From the trees in our (neighbor’s) back yard. Jealous yet?

Good heavens that was a fantastic meal. Much better than last night’s meal (a non-vegetarian sandwich from the Amtrak cafe car) and strong enough to taste from miles away. And the best part is that tomorrow I get Matzah balls for lunch. My life is just about complete. Now all I need is to hunt down Daniel Radcliff’s street address…

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Things I Liked In September That You’ll Like In October

”]Family watching television, c. 1958

Drawn from all my September posts here are my recommendations (fun fact: clicking on each item will take you to the post I referenced it in):

Books:

  1. “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks”
  2. “To the Lighthouse”

Television:

  1. “Bones”
  2. “The French Chef”

Blogs:

  1. After I Quit My Day Job

Food:

  1. Annie’s Mac and Cheese
  2. Seitan
  3. Quorn Chik’n Nuggets

Margaret Warner:

  1. Margaret Warner

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Protected: Some Cathartic Writing

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A Bit of a Confession

Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian Natio...

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I’ve always considered myself a smidgen of a foodie. A young foodie with time to mature and expand my palate. I’ve read MFK Fisher, Judith Jones and Julia Child. My most recent podcast was The Splendid Table with Lynne Rosetta Casper. My bedtime reading has been “The New Larousse Gastronomique“. Curnonsky is a love of mine. I just tore a hunk of a locally baked baguette and shoved it my mouth and quite nearly orgasmed.

My confession is that up until 7.30-ish this evening I had never seen an episode of The French Chef.

For quite awhile I’ve been in awe of Julia Child (I’ve watched Julia and Jaques and another show from the ’90s where she cooks with guests, I’ve seen clips of her online, I’ve read her book, I’ve cooked from Mastering, I’ve advocated just cutting Julie out of “Julie and Julia“, I’ve seen Dan Ackroyd’s sketch many times) but for some reason I’ve never gotten around to seeing her original show.

Tonight I finally lived a dream and combined Julia Child with a date. Alright, so the date turned out not to be a date (we’re just friends, yada yada yada) but I finally got to see The French Chef. It was everything I’d hoped it to be and more, The French Chef that is and not the date, though you probably got that already.

It was beautiful to see Julia Child in her kitchen, so comfortable and so chummy (on the chummy note: I sincerely feel like it’s just me and my not-a-date that Julia talks to when she looks out through the television screen to us.) Watching her cook gave me the same chills down my spine that I get when I see deer in the woods and photographs of J.R.R. Tolkien writing, it’s the chills of seeing someone exactly in their element.

When I think what would have happened if Julia (I feel comfortable calling her Julia in the same way that Benjamin Franklin is Ben and Patrick Leahy is Pat) had not taken Paul’s advice (and the advice of others) and decided to not go into television I get chills of another kind. Just imagining a world without that smile and tooting “Bon Appetit!” Go on, imagine it, I dare you. You just tried to imagine it, didn’t you? And you’re currently curled up in the fetal position with feces stained undergarments and tears running down your cheekbones, aren’t you? You saw the boils in a bag and bland potatoes with flaccid meat and processed food passing through your intestine. Go ahead and sob some more, I understand.

I’m not trying to say that Julia Child single-handedly revolutionized food in America (James Beard, Judith Jones and many others played very important roles) but she certainly seemed to have brought it into the main stream. (Fun fact: Her show was also the first to be adapted for the deaf, according to Wikipedia.)

Where was this post going again? Oh yes:

  1. I don’t know how I lived before watching The French Chef
  2. It’s best to have minor details such as “Is this a date?” cleared up before you watch Julia Child together and go for a moonlit walk in the woods together.
  3. Julia Child is, to quote Satchel Pooch, “The treat giver to my heart.”

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