Monthly Archives: November 2013

Vegan Cookery


Heh. I love the word “cookery.” It just sounds so … bad-ass and blasphemous. Last night I was asked to share some of my favorite vegan recipes. Since I get this question often enough, I figured it was time to do a blog post. I’m going to rec some of my favorite cookbooks and then point out specific recipes that I love from them. This is in no way comprehensive, but just what came to mind. If the cookbook is out of print and you can’t get it, let me know and I will share the recipe you would like.

Without further ado:

Cooking with PETA
You can say what you want about the organization, but if it hadn’t been for this cookbook, I don’t think my girlfriend would have stayed vegan very long.

  • Crispy Tofu Cubes (we add green bell pepper)
  • Golden Vegetable Noodle Soup
  • Beefless Stew (we use seitan instead of TVP)
  • Tofu Scrambler

Vegan With a Vengeance
Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero really changed things in our house. We particularly love:

  • carrot bisque – add a squeeze of lime juice!
  • make your own seitan!
  • raspberry blackout cake
  • scones
  • I make a pesto recipe that is very close to the one here, except mine has a little bit of miso in it instead of nutritional yeast
  • gnocchi
  • peanut sauce

Madhur Jaffrey’s Spice Kitchen

  • Make your own garam masala!
  • broccoli with garlic and mustard seeds
  • spicy kebabs (we use seitan instead of lamb – serve in a wrap with baked yam, squeeze some lime on top, yum yum

Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian

  • Mock Lamb Curry (I just sub soy sour cream for the dairy)
  • A chickpea curry recipe from Trinidad and Tobago

Sundays at the Moosewood:

  • Ethiopian Lentils
  • Veggie Pot Pie
  • Biscuits (to make buttermilk, I just put ~1tsp of apple cider vinegar in the soy milk)

The Candle Cafe Cookbook has THE BEST spanikopita recipe, vegan or no.

And we have one recipe that we LOVE from Ron Pickarski’s Eco-Cuisineseitan burgers. Do yourself a favor and skip the hazelnut cheesecake with the whole wheat couscous crust, though.

We also have all three dessert cookbooks by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Pie in the Sky. You can find all three here: Post Punk Kitchen: Vegan Baking and Cooking.

I have a few recipes that I just acquired. This is one of my favorites. It’s fairly easy and will wow your friends: Green beans and tofu in a Thai coconut sauce

Would love to hear what some of your favorite cookbooks and recipes are. Please share!

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Week 30: On My Way

This week, for 52 Photos, the prompt was On My Way.

One of the things I observed during my trip to Japan was the groups of school children taking trips. We often came across them in the train stations, where they would sit quietly in the middle of the floor. Sometimes we saw them on the platforms, waiting for a train. There was even a group of high school students at the airport the day I left. Turned out, they were on my flight!

But my favorite picture that I snapped was this group of children with their bright yellow hats the day we went to Miyajima. They all had buddies and walked in neat rows. This small bunch had gotten separated, and they looked like ducklings to me. They were on their way.

school ducklings

I thought I’d throw in some actual ducklings:
Mother duck and ducklings

And the famous Make Way for Ducklings in Boston:

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Passion and Suffering

For Jill - keep writing

Last month I saw someone ask on Twitter, “What are you willing to suffer for?” My knee-jerk response was, “Nothing. I’m not willing to suffer for anything.” But let me unpack this more.

The root of the word “passion,” from the Latin pasi, means “to suffer.”

After I returned from my 3-month trip to SE Asia in 2011, I realized that I wanted to change my orientation from alleviating suffering (which is predicated on the notion that suffering has to continue) to increasing joy (there can never be too much joy). This was profound for me. I started a “more joy” project, to increase my own awareness about what created more joy for myself.

And in the couple of years since I started exploring this idea, I’ve discovered something along the way, which was made abundantly clear to me when I was walking around Kamakura, Japan last month. I was beyond exhausted, and yet, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep experiencing what there was to see. And it was one of the best days I spent in Japan.

When there is something I feel passionate about, when I am enjoying myself, even though there is discomfort, I am not distracted by it.

I have been searching for a long time, looking for my place, my people, where I might fit in, where I might lose my self-consciousness, but I’ve also been hiding. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve started to be honest about what gives me joy, to say it’s okay to enjoy life, and to follow the things that bring me joy. Other than my relationships, the only other things I’ve lost myself in is the process of writing.

I have a long way to go to improve my craft, and there are definitely things that are difficult and challenging, but always, always, is the feeling of enjoyment. And now that I think of it, anything that is sustainable and long-lasting for me has to have the element of joy. Otherwise, what’s the point?

What brings you joy? What sustains you through the dark times?

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Week 29: Round

I decided to feature a few images from my recent trip to Japan for this week’s prompt, round.

First is the Daimon Gate in Koya-san. I couldn’t get far enough away from it to get it all in my camera. And then I saw this mirror on the road, to enable drivers to see around the corner. I ran over to snap the picture and was more than satisfied with the result:

Daimon in the mirror

After a morning in Kyoto, my parents and I visited the Nishiki Market. It was a hot day and these three cups of tea were offered to us after we bought a rice cracker. They were cool and refreshing, most welcome.

Kyoto adventure - three cups of tea

And finally, I was charmed by this row of red pails at the Ryoanji Temple. We saw red buckets everywhere, many of which said they were to collect water to extinguish fires.

rain barrels

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Around the World in 40 Years

My friend H asked me some questions about travel on Twitter:
“How do you decide where you wanna go? Do you have a bucket list?”

hand of the buddha

I couldn’t respond in 140 characters, so I’m over here. Ruminating. I was first thinking I should make a list of all the places I’ve traveled. There are the places I’ve been that I didn’t choose and the places that I did choose. I’m going to go with the latter, since that list is smaller and I can remember all of them (I think).

  • 1987: Israel
  • 1999: Ireland
  • 2000: Italy (although it wasn’t my first trip, but first time on my own
  • 2003: Big Island, Hawai’i
  • 2005: Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 2006: Paris, France (not my first time to France, but first time on my own)
  • 2011: Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia

Looking at this list amuses me, because it seems so random and full of holes. It doesn’t show all the traveling I’ve done with my parents, which in many ways prepared me for the trips above. But that doesn’t answer H’s question, either.

How do I decide where I want to go? It comes down to four things: do I have the time? Do I have the money? How willing am I to make the journey to get there? And does my sweetie want to go?

The trip to Israel is a little bit of a outlier, because I was in high school and went on a program. In many ways I was not on my own. BUT, it was the first place I heard about and I remember having long discussions with my parents, trying to convince them I was ready. There was a boy who was a couple years older than me, and he talked about the program. I remember he said something about how powerful it was to go visit a place where all this history he had learned in school happened. I was very drawn to that idea, that I could go visit a place with history. It would be many, many more years before I was to learn how much history about America had been elided and erased from my education.

Ireland because it was the only place my girlfriend said she wanted to go (outside the US). I could work with that. Italy because it was the second place my girlfriend said she wanted to go. I could work with that, too. Hawai’i because my parents had been there 20 years before. When I was a kid, I had a shiny, metallic hibiscus sticker that I had plastered on my dresser drawer that my mom brought back. Hawai’i sounded like the most exotic place in the world. And this is coming from someone who grew up in SW Florida! Oaxaca because we had friends living there for a year and the best places to visit are the places where you know someone. And we went for Dia de los Muertos, which was fantastic. Paris because pourquoi non? It was my birthday and I love France. It was everything I wanted it to be, except that dumb song, “Springtime in Paris” is dead wrong. It’s fucking cold. And then my epic trip to SE Asia, because I’d been wanting to go for years and no one else wanted to go. I was tired of waiting for them. I’d heard fantastic things, and I couldn’t spent another damned winter in Seattle without losing my everloving mind.

Do I have a bucket list? No. I have a rough list of places I want to go, and then there are the places that are possibilities, if conditions ever changed. I’m afraid of getting sick, so the entire continent of Africa is out (I realize this is ridiculous, but that’s fear for you). Except Morocco. I didn’t go to Burma when I was in SE Asia because of the political situation at the time, but I want to go back now that it’s changed. I realize I could just as easily get sick there. I still want to go back to France, to see the Black Madonna at Rocamadour (which I learned about in college) as well as the cathedral in Reims. Also want to go to northern Europe – Denmark, Holland and Scandinavia – at some point. I have friends there, who I met while traveling in SE Asia.

Next on my list is Belize. Why? It’s warm and sunny, it’s supposed to have fantastic birds/wildlife and snorkeling. When it’s up to me, I will always go where it’s warm and sunny. I guess that’s really the only requirement at this point in my life!

How do you decide where you want to go?

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52 Photos: Celebration

To be honest, I thought I had missed the deadline for the celebration prompt. I just wasn’t feeling it, as my friend Rebecca said so beautifully. But seeing her post gave me the tiniest glimmer that I might have a picture somewhere in my vast archive that captured a celebration. And then I found this treasure:

yippee - Catholic for Marriage Equality

Yippee! A Catholic for marriage equality!

This picture was taken almost a year ago, but the moment it was celebrating was the triumph at the polls on election night. For the first time, marriage equality measures were passed IN THREE STATES. BY A POPULAR VOTE. I like the symmetry, because today is election day. And the legislature in Illinois just passed a marriage equality bill. And Hawaii is on the cusp of passing marriage equality in their state as well.

Even though there is still so much work to be done, we can pause and celebrate our victories, too. There are now 15 states that recognize the legality of same-sex couples’ love. Before the election last year, I think there were 10? Plus the District of Columbia. So here’s to love!

Love wins!
love wins with roses

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