Archive for November, 2009

Another Conscious Cook

And a good one too…

Tal Ronnen has a new book called The Conscious Cook I just got a look at it and wow! Great layout, easy to read format, informative sections, delightful photos. If you are looking for just the right gift for a vegan this one looks hard to beat. Another favorite book of mine is the Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Judy Krizmanic. (Since she doesn’t have her own website, I included the link for her book sold at an independent bookstore called Powell’s Books).

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“Auntie” Linda’s Beet Salad

Auntie Linda isn’t really our Auntie. But rather she’s adopted. For her beet salad.

"Auntie" Linda's Beet Salad

She can be found at the farmer’s market finding the perfect beets- sometimes they are Golden beets, bright magenta (Bull’s Blood) or even targets when sliced (Chioggia beets). She scrubs them, steams them, and then dices them with fresh herbs, salt and fresh squeezed lemon juice. When I asked her how to make it she said, “You can figure it out, beets, some fresh herbs, garlic, lemon juice.”

Here is one version with fresh cilantro, parsley, green onions and mint.

6-8 large beets, scrubbed, steamed and cubed
1/2 teaspoon fresh crushed garlic
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3-4 green onion stalks, chopped fine
1 cup mixed herbs cilantro, parsley and mint (after measuring chop the bunch finely)
3-4 Tablespoons of high quality extra virgin Olive Oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Toss cooked cubed beets with the herbs, lemon juice and oil. Chill. Serve over a bed of greens.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup is simple to make yet the flavors of oven roasted squash are wonderfully complex. And Dave likes it- and Dave doesn’t like squash.

1 large butternut squash
4 cups vegetable stock
2 inch piece of fresh ginger root
1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, minced green onions, diced tofurkey slices, (or fake bacon) to garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Fill a large baking dish with 1 inch of water. Cut up the squash into large pieces (quarters) and remove the seeds. Place the squash face down in the water. Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour until the squash is soft and peels away from the skin easily. Allow the squash to cool enough to handle (I often skip this step and use a potholder to hold the scalding squash), scoop out the flesh. Puree flesh with some of the vegetable stock. In a large soup pot, saute the garlic in 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and grate the ginger into the pot, add the stock, blended squash and simmer until heated through. Serve hot garnished with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, minced green onions, diced tofurkey slices, (or fake bacon).

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Dried persimmon

Persimmons are my grandfather Yates. He sliced them sideways, which, like an apple, leaves a star. With his favorite knife wired together and stained from years of use, he sliced them so thin that after drying the fruit looked like stained glass windows. He dried them on wire racks attached in a spiral staircase around the wood stove pipe. His own pipe he gripped between his brown pier stump teeth.

This time of year he must have been picking them before the birds and settling them into their 12 step drying program. Around December, each family member would receive the fruits of his labors: dried apples, quince, and the most coveted, translucent persimmons. The jars in which he sent them once held pimentos, or pickles, or marinated artichoke hearts. But now thanks to a new masking tape label, the contents were clear: love, in the form of persimmons, smelling faintly of the sea, tobacco smoke and winter chill.

Jesse Ball gave me an Opinel knife the year my grandfather died. I had his original, wire tied and stained, but it seemed as if grandpa himself insisted I have my own knife, new. I offered Jesse a dime in exchange for the sharp object along with some unexpected tears and the story. I followed the proper Danish tradition: the coin promises the giver that even though a sharp object is received, it will not cut the friendship.


Fuyu Persimmon Tree

Today, my love and I, picked persimmons from the two trees in the back yard. The Opinel knife is just as busy, the food dryer is humming and the slices of stained glass persimmon fruits sport their orange stars. The persimmons stand next to a pomegranate tree.

Pomegranates are my grandmother Cobain. But that’s another story.

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Thank you to everyone who participated in the Vegan Month of Food. It got me started and working on the Conscious cooking blog. Here is more to come: orange almond granola, date shakes (Chocolate and vanilla), cinnamon rolls, zucchini bread, mousse, lasagna, stuffed shells, peanut noodles, red lentil dal, savory cereal, tofu/rice bird, sweet potatoes and grapefruit, pumpkin pasta, vegan pesto, jam thumbprint cookies, nut crust, sweet potatoes and coconut, lemon seitan chicken and potatoes, spicy cajun seitan, handmade pasta and ravioli, Barbara Kingsolver’s soup, Chinese Almond cookies, chocolate goo, veggie soup, miso soup, marinated tofu salad, hollandaise souce, fried tofu english muffin asparagus, soy chorizo breakfast scramble, chili with mushrooms, Biscuits, the couscous with cinnamon tangine, red potato salad, dill yogurt dip, french onion soup,  spicy cabbage soup…etc.

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