Friday, December 30, 2011

Pulp Non-Fiction

My first pulp-waste-not-want-not experiment was a fail -- no, a hazardous debacle. I didn't take a photo (I was disappointed in the result, so -- grouchy), but the jungle photo of Curacao, above, looks pretty much like the bean soup I created yesterday from a couple of day's worth of juicing pulp, a whole box of veggie broth, an onion, some garlic and a can of beans. The soup tasted like a bland granny smith apple, and the texture was awful. But I am getting ahead of myself . . .

My idea was to transform the pulp into a smooth, creamy consistency, so I dug out my HealthMaster blender by Montel Williams that I received two years ago. This machine, able to turn a cinderblock to dust in the infomercial, has provided me with many satisfying soups, dips and smoothies, and I was sure it was up to the task of transforming pulp into soup. I knew I'd need to add plenty of liquid so as not to overtax the motor, so I did. I used the lowest setting for about four minutes as I sauteed the onion and garlic to add later. I began smelling smoke, so I went over to the stove, thinking I was burning the onion, but then realized the HealthMaster WAS ON FIRE! I ran back across the kitchen and pulled the plug as smoke billowed forth, filling my kitchen. My brave husband quickly picked up the smoking machinery and placed it in the middle of our driveway, away from anything flammable.

Defeated, I pulled out my old-as-the-hills food processor (it's at least 25 years old, and missing most of its parts) and attempted to improve the texture of the above mess. My ancient food processor did not burst into flames, so my mood improved a little. I put a bit of the mixture aside in a tupperware for future experimentation and put the rest of it in a pot on the stove. I added some shoyu. I added some liquid smoke. I added some salt. It still tasted exactly like a grainy apple. Finally I gave up on my initial idea and decided to turn it into chili. I added a McCormick's chili packet. It still tasted like a granny smith apple, but worse.  Sorry -- "waste not want not" didn't work this time. The soup went down the drain, to nourish the enzymes in our septic tank. The bit in the tupperware I will attempt to utilize in a tomato spaghetti sauce, but if that is no good I'm going to quit losing good food after bad, and go straight to plan C -- the compost heap.

Truthfully, the only flavorful part of the pulp was the apple. The kale, romaine, celery, even the carrot had lost every bit of flavor with the absence of juices, and likely most of the vitamins and minerals as well. So I don't feel I am wasting after all as much as I initially did.

Heed my cautionary tale, pulp aficionados, lest your HealthMaster also burst into flame.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Here's today's elixir of health -- two cucumbers, two organic gala apples and five stalks of kale. I wish I could show you the lovely pile of plantfoods before they were processed, but while I was photographing a lovely pile of veggies and fruits, my camera was seeing something else. The resulting photos turned out to be, um, not fit for general audiences. I'll be more aware of my food styling in the future.

I digress . . . This combination is more pleasing to my palate than yesterday's which was too sweet for my taste with three apples instead of two. I believe the organic apples are much sweeter. I like to taste a bit of green. My husband asked for some of this elixir, and grimaced a tad, but then he asked for seconds! He asked if it would dye his teeth green -- isn't this funny? I think we are programmed from childhood that saturated color will leave a permanent mark. There is no green dye number 7 here, and, aside from the odd bit of pulp between the teeth, he has little to worry about.

I've received a comment about wasting the pulp from the juicing process, and I'll be addressing that in the future as I try a couple of options. There are definitely copious amounts of pulp that result from the juicing process. Until I decide how to best utilize the pulp, I will be saving it in the freezer. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Thank you, sweet husband! Look at my wonderful Christmas gift from my hubby. I've coveted this Breville juicer since reading Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet. It's hard to jump in with both feet to Kris' plan without the necessary equipment. This thing is so cool. The first juice we made was carrot, celery and apple. The result was shockingly delicious! The next day, with no more celery, I made apple, ginger, carrot and kale. I tried one less apple (3) than the day before (4) and it was still delicious. After two days of juicing, I am actually craving the next juice. Yes, that's right, with a refrigerator full of decadent vegan meal items from our holiday fare, what I really want more than anything else is my next juice! I'm eating the holiday leftovers too, by the way, but am surprised by the swiftness of this new craving. My 14-year-old daughter and her friends giggle over how thrilled I am with this juicer. I'm so glad I can provide entertainment for the next generation!

Today I think I will make cucumber, apple, romaine and kale. Yesterday and the day before I used the only apples I had, which were not organic but well-scrubbed (I know, that's not good enough). Yesterday I picked up some organic apples: gala and granny smith. Obviously these will be nutritionally superior. I'll let you know about any flavor difference I detect.

Here's our Christmas Dinner table -- just for the four of us this time. Our extended family lives around the Washington D.C. area, except for my brother and his family in China and my husband's brother and sisters in Florida, so it was only us this time. I prepared a turkey breast for the omnis, but the rest was vegan: Mashed potatoes with tofutti sour cream, earth balance and fresh Italian parsley, Wynne's favorite pasta salad with sundried tomatoes and chick peas in a balsamic veganaise sauce and freshly sauteed leeks, collard greens and cabbage with a splash of tamari and plenty of earth balance. I love pairing cabbage with collards. Somehow the cabbage holds the flavor of the "butter" better than the other veggies, so it is a perfect foil to the more bitter collards. This was all delicious and we have plenty of leftovers.

Now for some juice!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Food

Hello my dears -- how I've missed you! Here is the promised post featuring what we ate at Thanksgiving. This is easy, delicious food that would also be nice for Christmas dinner.

Above is my colcannon, but instead of sliced cabbage I used halved brussels sprouts. I liked this better than the cabbage, actually, since everything was of a similar size and shape. I've posted my colcannon recipe before, so here's a quick recap of this version:

24 oz. new potatoes, halved (I used baby yukon gold here)
about the same number of pieces of halved brussels sprouts (the amounts don't really matter, I just like to have roughly equal amounts)
1/4 purple onion, slivered
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance
1 Tbsp. Veganaise
2 Tbsp. Liquid Smoke
1 Tbsp. Bragg's liquid aminos
Fresh ground pepper

Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes. For the last five minutes, add the halved brussels sprouts on top of the potatoes and boil/steam them covered until bright green. Drain the potatoes and sprouts and transfer them to a large skillet over medium heat with the melted earth balance and the onions. sautee the veggies, stirring occasionally to allow them to brown a bit. during this process, add the liquid smoke  and the Bragg's to deglaze. Take the veggies off the heat and finish by stirring in the Veganaise.

Debby's "Tender Green Bean with Mushroom and Lemon Peel", from her wonderful blog, "The Health Seeker's Kitchen" made an encore appearance since it was such a hit last year.

Alicia Silverstone's "Scarlet Roasted Root Vegetables" from The Kind Diet were featured again this year as well.

Here's the table, full of my vegan offerings as well as my Dad's famous Sage Dressing (secret recipe!) that he was sweet enough to veganize for me. Dad also insisted I not bother to buy a turkey. He got one himself since he knows raw flesh gives me the willies. He actually roasted it almost all the way, chilled it and packed it in a cooler for the trip to the deep south from the D.C. area where they live. Once they arrived, my Dad roasted the turkey for another couple of hours. I didn't partake, of course, but the others enjoyed it. So basically we had a vegan feast plus a turkey, which was fine with me! Thanks Mom and Dad!

I'm wishing all of you a peaceful, joyous season!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ode To Yoda (Hallelujah!)

There it is again -- That luscious, decadent, mouthwatering concoction whose appearance only a mother could love -- The Radicchio Pizza. Here I've created two small pizzas from an Eziekiel English Muffin, split, spread with a lazy tofu cream I whipped up from tofutti cream cheese and a few drops of Ume vinegar, and topped with fresh, mild radicchio marinated in truffle oil and broiled. Sublime -- I'm not kidding.

The marinated radicchio I was unable to fit upon the muffins was placed atop a pile of arugula for a fresh salad. No additional dressing was needed.

Regular readers of AMV+ may recall my disappointment earlier in the year with radicchio pizzas, which I had heretofore adored. Yes, there was the pizza I'd burned that I unwisely made from an Eziekiel tortilla (don't do that -- a tortilla has no chance under the broiler), but in early summer I just could not turn out an edible radicchio pizza. I blamed my tastebuds, surmising my system was out of whack. How disappointing it was to me -- I gave up on my most favorite food for half a year.

Now, after admiring some lovely radicchio at the market and bravely giving my prize another try, I get it. Duh -- radicchio's back in season again! I'm smart enough to know that in 90 degree temps my bitter greens in the garden become too bitter to enjoy. I don't know why I didn't make the connection with the radicchio. It truly tasted awful in the summertime. Now it's again amazing, with the bitterness only a recessive note, rounding out a more complex flavor.

You're wondering why this is an "ode to Yoda" -- well, it's because my son, Hans, calls this "Yoda food" when I make it. He says it looks exactly like what Yoda would scoop up out of his swamp to consume. I'm not offended. Any little thing I can do to entertain my progeny is a win. Incidentally, I've recently enjoyed seeing my two, ages almost-18 and 14, begin to bond over the Star Wars movies. When Wynne, my daughter, first saw Yoda, she flipped out, saying she loved him and wanted to marry him! The fact that Yoda is attractive to a 14 year old girl may be surprising to you, but you don't know my Wynne. She's also crazy about Uncle Iero (sp?) on Avatar (not the blue-people one, the animated one with Aang as protagonist). Old, wise and animatronic seems to be Wynne's thing. Fine with me.

I was tempted today to share my wonderful Thanksgiving spread, but there is so much of that on the blogosphere right now I'll give it a few more days. It's not too different from what you've seen here before, but the holiday was truly a magical, sustaining experience, thanks in large part to my AMAZING parents, about whom I cannot say enough good things. After a little while I'll share and if you see anything you like, maybe you could employ it for Christmas or your next holiday of choice.