Friday, November 27, 2009
I've noticed in my wanderings through Blogland that some bloggers do weekly themed posts. Like What Do I Know's "Friday Cow Blogging" (or sometimes "Friday Horse Blogging"), or rift's always delightful Photo Friday. (Is it a coincidence that they're both on Fridays, or is there a Blog Rule Book somewhere that requires it?) Anyway, since Fridays work for me, I thought it would be fun from now till Christmas to share posts every Friday on something I have an inexplicably passionate affection for - kitchen gadgets. Gadgets I've got and love, gadgets that I don't have but which intrigue me, gadgets you may never have heard of. Not big, complicated, electric gadgets, but simple stocking-stuffer sized gadgets. In order to have a better acronym to use for these posts, I'm going to call them implements instead of gadgets.
So here's your first Friday Kitchen Implement Stocking Stuffer post, aka your first Friday KISS!
For your first KISS, the Garlic Twist!
(Poetic and ironic, I know!) ;-)
I made this discovery in Jill Nussinow's cooking class. She was using one, recommending them, and - handily - selling them, so I snagged one for $15. We use a lot of garlic in our cooking and have a garlic press, a garlic peeler, and a perfect knife for smacking the skins off and releasing the flavorful garlic oil (you can also use the flat side of the garlic twist lid for this). For the past 2+ years that I've had this garlic twist (which comes in blue and red as well as clear). I almost never use my garlic press anymore because this is so much easier to clean. You do need to line the teeth up just right (not difficult) or it gets jammed, it helps to cut large cloves in half first, and if you put too many garlic cloves in it at once it can take some major oomph to twist it. But it does a great job of mincing. (And while it does make two pretty triangles of minced garlic for ease of scooping out, as shown in the corporate photo, don't expect the rest of the garlic twist to look that pristine!)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
This is how I like my turkey...
Wild and free and dancing the Turkey Trot...
wild turkeys in our back yard
Hangin' with their homies (not crammed together)...
Stuffing their faces (not stuffed with dressing)...
Boone enjoys a tasty morsel at Woodstock FAS' "ThanksLiving Celebration 2009"
(Photo by Derek Goodwin, used with his kind permission)
As the lively center of attention (not the slaughtered centerpiece)...
Rescued turkeys enjoy a banquet at Farm Sanctuary's annual
(click on pic for more photos of past events)
"Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity."
~George Bernard Shaw
as well as by sponsoring a rescued turkey at an animal sanctuary...
(Sponsor a turkey, or any of the other rescued animals, any time of year)
These are three of my favorite essays on Thanksgiving....
Another View on "Turkey Day" by Delisa Renideo
To Seek or Not to Seek by Rae Sikora
My Wish for the Turkeys by Cadry Nelson
Speaking of talking turkey,
listen in on this happy conversation!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Since I've got a bit of free time on my hands (though a library book I just got today does beckon!), I thought I should post something, you know, Mehitable Dayish. I considered telling you about our comfy new mattress that was delivered yesterday and the organic flannel sheets I ordered for it on Nov 13 that are still not here (hello, FedEx SmartPost, I could have driven to Ohio and picked them up myself, spent a couple of days visiting my Ohioan friend Spud, driven back home, washed and dried them and put them on the bed, and slept on them at least once by now!) But... nah. I could tell you how disgusted I am that our weather on Thursday is supposed to be sunny and near 60º, and rant about how that's hardly conducive to cooking our planned feast (Quinoa and Red Lentil Cutlets, mashed potatoes and gravy, butternut squash, peas, and homemade cranberry sauce) or snug and cozy for watching our ritual Thanksgiving movies (Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Scent of a Woman). So instead we're probably going to be extra unconventional and pack some "tu-not" salad sandwiches and take the dogs on a hike and have a picnic. But, well... it hasn't happened yet, so there's not much point blogging about it when it's still so nebulous! (And who in their right mind trusts the weather forecast?)
Clearly, there's nothing new with me lately that's interesting enough to blog about besides having bars of soap misnamed in my honor, and I already blogged about that. :-) So instead of it being all about me, I thought I'd share a few noteworthy posts from some of my favorite bloggers...
I've mentioned It's a Vegan Dog's Life several times lately, but I'm mentioning it again now because...
a) they're doing a special giveaway this week (the deadline's tomorrow), and
b) by blogging about it, I get an extra entry for myself. Because I guess that in the end,
Nyuck, nyuck. ;-)~ Now, I'm no math whiz, but I do realize that if even just ONE of you enters this contest now, it will negate the extra entry I got by blogging about it. But that's okay, it's a fun giveaway and I really do want you to enter, especially if you have a dog. Or know a dog. Or would like to bake vegan dog treats for your local shelter inmates. So go do it, quick, before the deadline. Then come back and read the rest of my post, because otherwise, you'll miss out on more fun stuff.
Today my friend Robyn told me that her daughter Ashley made these Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache from Mary's Mitten Machen blog for Thanksgiving, and that they were so absolutely incredible in their moist deliciousness, they wouldn't even need the ganache. In fact, Robyn sounded a bit faint just talking about them. (Those of us who eschew oil, like Robyn and me, merely sub unsweetened organic applesauce). If the name alone hasn't sent you scurrying to check out the recipe, go now and see if that photo doesn't have you drooling on your keyboard! Just don't drool enough to short it out so you can't come back here, because Marla from Vegan Feminist Agitator has written a very witty Thanksgiving post (my favorite ever) and you don't want to miss it!
And speaking of pumpkiny baked goods and Thanksgiving, I just made this Pumpkin Bread last night. My favorite quick bread of the season (another favorite recipe from FatFree Vegan), and probably my 5th or 6th loaf already this year. I add about half a cup of fresh cranberries (halved) to mine, use organic whole wheat pastry flour, and use a cup of sucanat instead of 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and sprinkle some demerara sugar over the top before baking (it adds a lovely sweet crunch and a pretty sparkle). This bread is just heavenly. I didn't take a photo of it, but Susan has a photo on her blog so just picture it with cranberries embedded in it and sparkly sugar crystals on the top, and you'll have the idea. Oh, and picture at least 1/4 of it gone already. ;-)
And speaking of sugary sweet stuff (best segue I could come up with on such short notice), here's an amusing piñata cartoon by one of my favorite cartoonists, Dan Piraro of Bizarro...
Okay, after all that sweaty competition, sloppy salivating and wry chuckling, I know you'll need to regain your composure by gazing in Zen-like fashion at an adorable guinea pig. And, more specifically, at her exceptionally adorable pooty bottom lip. So here's another photo from rift of the enchanting, winsome Boo and her cute little lips.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Ah, the lovely kale, one of the many foods we'd never eaten before becoming vegan, and now a favorite. Available in several colorful varieties, it's been called the most nutrient-dense food on the planet, the "queen of greens," a food superstar. A powerhouse of phytonutrients, kale is especially high in vitamins A, C, and K, and rich in calcium, iron, folate, and manganese.
Unconscionably, kale currently ranks #8 on the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of produce contaminated with residual pesticides, so buy organic whenever you can - or better yet, grow your own!
If you've never eaten kale, or know it only as a beautiful garnish or ornamental plant, here are some recipes and ideas so you too can hail the mighty kale!
Steamed Kale with Walnut Dressing & Brown Jasmine Rice
I was introduced to this walnut dressing (a recipe by Anne Esselstyn, Dr. Caldwell's wife) at "Camp McDougall" two years ago, and have to restrain myself from making (and snarfing) it too often! It's fantastic on kale and other raw or cooked veggies, delicious on tossed salads, and sublime on baked potatoes, especially when mixed with vegan sour cream.
Another recipe from Dr. Caldwell and Anne Esselstyn, we just made this for the first time recently. It was messy but very good. I used my own hummus recipe (with tahini), because I think tahini really takes hummus to a higher level. I didn't have fresh cilantro so I used parsley, and whatever "Mestemacher bread" is, you can bet it's not something I can find in East Cowflop, Wyoming. So I used what we had on hand, organic oat bran bread, which was just dandy. BW and I agreed after making and eating these sandwiches that we would leave off the lemon slices next time, or at least peel them first. They really have to be sliced paper thin in order for the rind to not be too chewy to deal with, and with all the lemon juice and zest, we found them pretty, but somewhat redundant. We agreed these open faced sandwiches both taste and look very fresh and summery, though kale is generally a fall/winter crop. Good way to get a nice burst of Vitamin C during cold and flu season, along with all those other great nutrients in kale!
And here's Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of Compassionate Cooks, making a pot of Garlic and Greens Soup (kale is perfect for this dish!)...
Garlic and Greens Soup
I've made this soup and think it's great with cooked white beans and/or brown rice added to it. I made it with buckwheat groats once, too, which gave it an intriguing flavor.
Here are a few more ideas and recipes for kale...
Kale Chips (This recipe is from VegWeb, but there are many others out there, all pretty similar and all with rave reviews).
Polenta Lasagna with Portabellos and Kale from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen blog (do a search for "kale" on Susan's wonderful site to find more delicious recipes!)
And though we haven't made this (and won't, it being too high in fat), I'm compelled to include it here because it's definitely one of the more creative and unusual uses of kale I've ever seen...
(But I just might try throwing some kale leaves into a batch of mint banana ice cream next summer!)
There are so many ways to prepare kale, if you don't already I hope you'll include this nutritious, delicious regal queen of greens in your repertoire!
"Let your food be your medicine
and your medicine be your food."
~Hippocrates, 431 BCE
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Lookee here! I'm not only loved... ah'm FAMOUS! (Squeaky-clean, too!)
Gosh, I had no idea somebody's grandma had named her soap after me. That's so sweet, I'll forgive her for misspelling "Laloofah," because her heart was obviously in the right place. Why, it's even Vegetable Based... just like I am! ;-)
Reclining Salad by Greg Brown
Thursday, November 19, 2009
My little fuzzy fashionistas do enjoy parading around in bandanas, especially when they go to town and can really show off their latest fashion statement. So when I saw a giveaway for two canine bandanas at It's a Vegan Dog's Life last week, I had to enter, natch. And lo, I won! O Happy Day! The bandanas arrived earlier this week (they're very cool, they have a "sleeve" that slips over the collar), so my sassy supermodels had to get to work and do a couple of fashion shoots. Here they are, struttin' their stuff in their bodacious new accessories. Eat your hearts out, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models!!
Sweet, angelic Willow models a bandana
emblazoned in skulls and crossbones with barbed wire accents.
(The contrast just kills me!)
Tessa shows off a lovely floral look,
along with an ear position we like to call, "Helicopter Head."
Willow finds it all so terribly amusing!
Josie's contract stipulates that she perform all modeling jobs
whilst lounging on the back deck.
No exotic locales that require arduous traveling
(like down our driveway!) for this prima donna!
Many thanks and enthusiastic tail-wags to Molly, Mike, Emma and Rowan of It's A Vegan Dog's Life for the great giveaway! Do stop by their very fun, informative and sweet blog (one of my favorite blogosphere haunts), and be sure to wish Emma a happy 4th birthday on Saturday!
And while we're on the subject of adorable fur-covered companions, check out Boo, guinea pig extraordinaire whose human is my friend rift. Major cuteness alert!! Those fuzzy little pursed lips are just too precious!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Nature's beauty, changing seasons, eloquent quotes,
and the generous talent of a photographer
who let me share his gorgeous photo...
all make me grateful. :-)
photo by Ken Smith (used with permission)
Winter is an etching,
spring a watercolor,
summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all.
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
This headline in the BBC news caught my eye today...
Teeth Grinders are in for a Shock
Click on the title to read the full article, but here are what were, for me, the notable bits (italics mine)...
A chain of private dental practices in Hull is trialling a device which delivers a tiny electrical impulse when it detects grinding is about to begin.
Teeth grinding - or bruxism - is a common and usually harmless habit induced by stress. It can, however, cause headaches and stiff necks... Traditional treatments involve wearing a plastic device at night which prevents the top and bottom teeth from meeting.
With this new device, Grindcare, developed in Denmark, a small electrode is placed on the temple which then monitors the movement of facial muscles. When it detects tension mounting, it delivers a tiny electrical impulse - or biofeedback. This is not consciously detected by the sleeping patient but still serves to relax the muscles.
The device is said to reduce grinding by as much as 80% within two months.
"Further research will be necessary to establish the technology's true potential."
I'm not a teeth grinder but I'm an occasional teeth clencher. I don't know if it's the result of a stressful day or a bad dream, but I can always tell when I've clenched my teeth in my sleep because I wake up with a very sore jaw, and the headache and stiff (and achy) neck they mentioned in the article. I sometimes end up with a full-blown migraine, and I even clenched my teeth so hard one night during a particularly stressful time that I chipped a little piece off one of my molars! So since then, I've worn the plastic device and though it helps, it hasn't eliminated the problem entirely. So I was intrigued with this article, but disappointed that the device isn't already being sold. I told BW about it, and when I told him it had to undergo further testing before it might be made available to the public, he said, "Maybe we could rig up a homemade one in the meantime, using the electric fence charger!" Ha, my husband. Funny man! ;-)
In other news... due to a measuring malfunction, we ended up soaking more than twice as many organic soybeans than needed to make a batch of soymilk today. So I looked through all my cookbooks for a recipe we could use the excess soybeans in, and came up with one for soyburgers from the New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook (which, by the way, has the best French Toast recipe... though sadly, it doesn't call for a cup of soaked soybeans!) We cooked the soybeans in the pressure cooker and made a half batch of the soyburger "batter." After sampling a test patty we added some liquid smoke and tamari (because we can never-ever-not-ever leave a recipe well enough alone, ever!) and fried up a couple in a dry non-stick skillet. They were pretty tasty, especially on toasted bread with mustard and pickles! I took no pics of them, but since this post is in need of some eye candy here's this entirely irrelevant but amusing picture!
- INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
- MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
- MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
- ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
- QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
- THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
- THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
- THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
- THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.
~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"