Tag Archives: vegan

How I saved my greens.

I’m ashamed to think of how much cilantro has gone bad in my fridge over the years. I love it, and so I buy a fresh bunch from time to time, which isn’t usually that pricey, but still, when it goes into the trash slimy and blackening, it’s a sad waste. ūüė¶

Today I was busying myself cooking up vegetables that came in my CSA (community supported agriculture) box, and I came to the bunch of cilantro… Hmm… Maybe I had planned to combine that with tomatoes and peppers to make more Indian Egg Bhurji. But — No tomatoes were in the house, and I didn’t want to spend time de-stemming cilantro anyway. (I must need a special prayer to pray while I am doing that perfectly lovely job that seems so tedious. That’s what Kate told me to do about my boring floor exercises.)

An idea came to me when I saw the bag of arugula I’d bought yesterday — also something that I love, which I probably thought I’d put in a green salad, if I could get around to washing the lettuce… When I was a child, the task of preparing the large, leafy-green salad that without fail was part of our evening meal always fell to us children. I always wonder if I am harboring a childish rebelliousness deep in my psyche, that makes me resist salad-making, too.

The thought that occurred was, Could I make a sauce or pesto by combining arugula and cilantro? I’m not confident enough as a chef to go right at it, so I looked online and found that many people had done just that, with great variations. I customized mine to be fast-friendly (vegan) and not too lemony, and to use more arugula than cilantro, because I had a lot more of that leaf on hand. I kept the ingredients list short, and didn’t add garlic or pepper because the greens are both pretty flavorful already.

Here is what I came up with. All the amounts below are approximate. Many people like their pesto less thick, and will add more oil. Before washing the cilantro, I cut off the longest stems while they were still tied together in a bunch, but left the rest of the stems for the food processor to deal with. No de-stemming by hand!

SAVE the GREENS PESTO

3 cups packed cilantro
4 1/2 cups packed arugula
1/3 cup sunflower oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup toasted walnut pieces

Grind the walnuts in the food processor and then add the other ingredients to make a paste, adding more oil or salt or lemon to taste.

Until today I never paid much attention to all those “pestos” made from everything but the classic basil-olive oil-Parmesan combination, but recently I learned how to make Tarragon Salsa Verde from Jo, and found it very adaptable and always delicious. (I have planned to share my results with you but this recipe pushed ahead in line.)

I think its versatility gave me the hope that other green things could work together the same way. And they did indeed form something easy that saved us, greens and human, from possible shame, and added another tasty and healthy item to my menu options. Now I can spread my salad on crackers!

In the Glad kitchen.

gl half tsp 4Because of the strange and wonderful arrangement of me having two housemates to share my big house, my kitchen is a warmer and livelier place than it would be otherwise. Kit has her favorite mugs and her red teapot that she frequently fills, and a collection of tea that has swelled my original holdings to bursting.gl kitchen scene 4-16

The tins are mine, special because they used to sit on my grandma’s kitchen shelf. I don’t remember what she kept in them, but I keep tea.

Mrs. Bread gave me a cape violet, which has blooming offspring now, bgl violet P1030899(1)ut this flower is on the original plant, which is not a frequent bloomer for me, but because of that each flower is even more exquisite and precious. Every kitchen should contain something growing, and at least occasionally blooming, don’t you think?

We women all like to cook (though I must admit to cooking much less than I find myself eating what Kit cooks), and Susan seems to like to¬†clean up — at least, she¬†does it a lot. One thing I made recently didn’t require cooking: a vegan chia seed pudding which I found on Minimalist Baker. I’ve made it¬†twice, and the second time I also created a pumpkin-spice version that has yet to be perfected. We really like the chocolate one, but variety is nice.

While concocting these nice jars of breakfast or anytime-food, I used measuring spoons from different sets, and noticed a discrepancy in the size¬†of the half-teaspoons.¬†gl half tsp 3The one on the right above is Oneida brand, and it is almost a whole teaspoon, as I found out with the agl half-tsp measure cupsid of a medicine cup. The one on the left is new and relatively inexpensive, and it seems to be just right, while the one in back is probably a hundred years old, and it seems to be a little less than a half-teaspoon. I often have wondered if the really old measuring spoons have had their edges worn down over the decades…. But what am I¬†to think of this overall lack of standardization?

Kit says she has been semi-consciously avoiding that bigger spoon when she needs a half-teaspoon, and now we know why it — it isn’t what it purports to be! Are even our measurements getting supersized?gl pudding 4-16 chia

P1030842(3)

We seem to be focusing on brown and orange foods lately. The chocolate pudding is brown, of course. And the light and crispy sesame flax crackers that we’ve made three batches of. That recipe comes from a library book, Food 52: Vegan by Gena Hamshaw. Moving on toward orange, Kit made carrot-ginger soup with cashew cream for a topping.

But for sheer elegance, I present one of my favorite foods, whose presence in the kitchen is to me always either promising or comforting. It takes so little effort to cook, and is versatile and healthy. It is what I call a yam. If you do a little research on what is a yam and what is a sweet potato, you might go a little crazy with the impossibility of being both botanically correct and a non-weird member of your local culinary culture.

gl Sweet_potatoes,_Padangpanjang wiki

So, my recommendation is to just call it what you always call it. I love all the sweet potatoes I’ve ever cooked and eaten, but for some reason I buy this Garnet Yam more often. Here is the last piece of yam from the recent batch I baked. It’s time to put a few more into the oven, to make this rainy day warm and nourishing.

gl yam apr

Eternal Memory

gl P1030780 koliva 3-24-16With my family and friends I have memorialized my husband in many ways in the last couple of weeks. The evening of the day that we decorated the grave, we had a short memorial service for him at my church. Ivy stood right by me holding her candle straight and steady for the whole fifteen minutes. After we sang and prayed together, we ate koliva together in his honor. “Eternal Memory!”

I’m not going to post a picture here every time I make one of these bowls of ceremonial boiled wheat, but this first anniversary was the Big One for me, so it bears telling about. I wanted to use blue Jordan almonds to decorate, but they were not to be found in the usual candy stores, so I put M&M’s instead, along with white almonds. Maggie helped me with the tricky job of placing candies on a bed of powdered sugar.

On the following weekend the agape meal I had committed to was accomplished. When I mentioned it two weeks ago, in the same post I put a photo of a big pot of soup I’d made, which I think was confusing; that soup had nothing to do with the agape meal that was to come. My menu for the meal that needed to feed about 100 people was: (What I call) Greek Beans, Cottage Fried Potatoes, Cabbage Salad with Tarragon and Toasted Almonds, and vegan Chocolate Carrot Cake.gl P1030804

I used about 15# of cabbage and 50# of potatoes, 20# of Great Northern beans, and about 10# of carrots for the cake. Six dedicated and necessary friends from church helped me both Saturday and Sunday, out of love for me and for my late husband. It was the first time I’d ever organized something like this, and the project filled my mind for many hours over the preceding weeks, as I scribbled my recipes and math problems and gl P1030815 Greek Beansshopping lists on a sheaf of papers I tried to keep all together.

Several things didn’t work exactly as planned – when dealing with large quantities not only the quantities have to be adjusted, but cooking times and methods. Now I know!

Too many finely grated carrots were¬†accidentally put into the cake batter, we couldn’t tell exactly to what degree, so I just gave the four sheet pans longer baking time and we had delectable brownies instead of cake.

In the morning before we started cooking I was jittery, and glad the day was finally here when I could start this last big effort. As I expected, once I got to the church kitchen and my crew began to execute my plans, the whole event was a lot of fun. The food got rave reviews, too!gl P1030833crpAnd now the big One Year milestone has passed. These various commemorative events and tasks have helped me so much to focus my grief and prayers in a community-oriented and practical way. Can you believe that I had joy as well as grief? I didn’t have a minute to spare for brooding, but at the same time I was not distracted from the anniversary, but rather able to keep it in the most satisfying way — I’m very thankful.

What to eat during Lent.

gl P1030688During the Vespers of Forgiveness last Sunday, the vestments were changed to purple. We began this season of the year — approximately a tithe? — that seems to convey the heart of Orthodoxy, because it calls us back to our First Love and to real Real Life. As someone reminded me this week, Normal Life is what Adam and Eve had in Paradise, when they walked and talked with God in the garden. It can take a lot of effort to put aside the usual cares and concerns for a season, and to do whatever is necessary to reach an awareness of our great need for Christ, and to receive His love and forgiveness, which is the healing of our souls.

My heart has been full-to-bursting, or to weeping, especially in the extra services that we have during Lent, and extra-extra during this first week. I’m learning more about kairos, that time that is timeless, and that gives us a taste of Heaven. This is my view when I look up. I can read, in the circle around the icon of the Savior, “He hath looked out from His holy height. The Lord from Heaven hath looked upon the earth to hear the groaning of them that be in fetters.”gl dome clean week

I’ve never been able to attend the services of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete as much as this year, and it has been the greatest blessing. On Thursday evening I arrived early enough to get a picture before the service began, and then another toward the end, during Great Compline. I wish you could hear the choir, who sang like angels.gl P1030689gl P1030693

Along with my heart, but in the chronos kind of time that won’t stop ! my to-do list is full-to-bursting as well. The garden is ready for me to plant some spring vegetables, and every day is a new scene out there. I’m behind as usual, and glad that the flowers and sprouts don’t wait for me, but they go on springing.¬† New miniature Dutch irises emerged in the pouring rain, because they didn’t want to be late in showing their own Lenten vestments.P1030674

Three of the children and their families are coming a various times in the next week, starting this very morning. I can’t wait to see the grandchildren, and I hope they can play in the garden without having to play in the rain.

I made about twelve quarts of satisfying soup yesterday, and next weekend I’ll be preparing an agape meal for 100 as a memorial to my husband. I’ve never done that kind of event before, and I’m glad I’ll have some helpers.gl soup 3-16

So there is much to ponder and write about, but not much time (chronos), it seems, for the writing part.

I will post some links from my files to a few Lenten recipes, at the bottom of the post, but first I want to share something that has been going around for a couple of weeks, but bears repeating, a message from Abbot Tryphon reminding us about the kind of feasting we can enjoy during Lent:

FAST from self-concern and FEAST on compassion for others.
FAST from discouragement and FEAST on hope.
FAST from lethargy and FEAST on enthusiasm.
FAST from suspicion and FEAST on truth.
FAST from thoughts that weaken and FEAST on promises that inspire.
FAST from shadows of sorrow and FEAST on the sunlight of serenity.
FAST from idle gossip and FEAST on purposeful silence.
FAST from problems that overwhelm you and FEAST on prayer that sustains.
FAST from criticism and FEAST on praise.
FAST from self-pity and FEAST on joy.
FAST from ill-temper and FEAST on peace.
FAST from resentment and FEAST on contentment.
FAST from jealousy and FEAST on love.
FAST from pride and FEAST on humility.
FAST from selfishness and FEAST on service.

Thank you, Father Tryphon! Now, as to earthly food, some recipes I have posted in the past that are suitable for Orthodox fasts are these:

Italian Flag Soup

Indian Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Vegetable Bean Soup

Turkish Green Beans

Korean Kale Salad

Yams Roasted with Coconut and Curry

Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake

Pat-in Pie Crust

God bless you all, my Dear Readers. And to those of you who may be celebrating Western Easter soon, may you have much grace during Holy Week.