Monday, February 27, 2017

"This is Her Broccoli Face"

--That's what my daughter said as she shared this photo she took of Ellie, our veggie-loving dog.  This little old sophisticated lady instantly morphs into an eager pup when she hears the crisper opening.  Then, she's under foot, with that big smile, batting those lashes, until I toss a chunk her way and she leaps to catch it out of thin air.  Broccoli, kale, celery, romaine . . . as long as it's green, she's all in.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Nurturer

I love it when our sweet, vegetarian daughter comes home from college for a visit.  She insisted on making us dinner and then we sat and listened to music with her.  She's always been this way -- an intuitive caretaker.  She knows I don't eat dairy, so she only served cheese on the side, making this dish vegan.  She's becoming such a great little veggie chef, experimenting with subtleties of flavor.  This Italian vegetable melange was delicious, and it was great not to have to think about what to make for dinner, but I best loved the chance to watch her in her element, and to have time to learn about what matters most to her.  She's a pretty amazing person.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Edible Flowers

This pretty salad has already been featured on A Midlife Vegan+, but it's worthy of another look.  In our neck of the woods, Spring seems to be coming early, putting me in the mood for fresher fare.  Edible flowers, such as pansies, roses and nasturtiums, are beautiful and delicious in salads, imparting a peppery tang.  It's imperative that the flowers are organically grown, since we don't want bug spray in our salads.  I grew these beauties myself from seed.  They were lovely on a pile of watercress and avocado.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


This is not gluten free, but this delicious plateful is an example of how we can eat delicious, vegan food without a plan.  I sauteed 3 chopped garlic cloves in olive oil and then tossed boiled gnocchi, a drained jar of pimientos and a couple of forkfuls of capers into it.  This took 5 minutes and I didn't have to go shopping.  Stock your cupboards! (I had a giant green salad on the side) 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It Might Be Time to Plant This Potato

I've never been one to shy away from eating a tuber with a few eyes sprouting.  I've just rubbed them off in the wash and prepared the potato as usual.  In this case, when I neglected the root bin and found these lovely sprouts, the process had gone too far.  Not only has this plant now likely sapped much of the flavor and nutrition of its benefactor, I just don't have the heart to kill this willful, spunky little thing.  I'm debating now whether to keep it inside and give it some water for a while while it warms up outside (it's had no water thus far) or put it right into the ground. Hmm.  I'll keep you posted. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I Did with a Rutabaga

Have you cooked one of these?  With its beaten-up, thickly waxed peel, it was a bit daunting.  The thing was the size of a small pumpkin.  As I was pronouncing it out loud in the supermarket, the produce department employee chimed in, "They are very popular!"  Hmmm -- wish I'd asked him to elaborate.

I decided to put it in a lovely stew.  Based loosely on a recipe I found in a Martha Stewart cookbook, I added my own spin based on what I had on hand.  Utilizing spices common in Morroccan cooking, I researched "harissa" and invented one of my own, using dried chipotle chiles instead of the sharper, hotter varieties.  I also mashed garlic, cumin, coriander, caraway and dried mint.  I didn't have the saffron the recipe called for, so I subbed a little smoked paprika.  Carrots, a parsnip, and lots of sauteed shallots rounded out the vegetables, and I decided to add a couple of bay leaves and also a couple of star anise pods because I knew they would complement the warm spices.  Finally, I decided to use a little cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  The recipe suggested serving the stew over the larger Israeli couscous, but I couldn't find it so orzo worked just fine.  Fresh cilantro on top was perfect.  Delicious!

Garden Inspiration

Our weather has been so mild this winter, but not warm enough to garden.  Still, finding this pretty photo of a 2011 harvest is inspiring.  I'm looking forward to planning.