Tag Archives: vegan

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

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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.

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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.

Prunia Walnut Bread

gl P1030442My primary motivation for creating this loaf was to use a big bag of prunes that was taking up space in the fridge. Plus I wanted to make some kind of bread I could keep eating when (Orthodox) Lent arrives, which is soon. When I saw a recipe for a prune bread using buckwheat flour, I saw another opportunity, to incorporate some of the many kinds of flours and grains I have stored up and haven’t been using.

I took ideas from that recipe I saw online and made my own version. The name Prunia comes from joining prune with chia (seeds), another item I had on hand and that figures prominently in the bread, as do walnuts. I love walnuts, especially when they have been toasted, and their flavor may be the most dominant one here.

The picture of honey at the top puts the brightest ingredient forward, color-wise. We have many jars of honey around here lately, the most wonderful being the quart of golden sweetness from Kit’s own bees, whom she had to leave in Oregon on The Farm, when she came here. I often buy honey from the nearby monastery, or receive it as gifts from friends… it all adds up to our being a household rich in honey.

Unfortunately, the other ingredients that the beautiful honey gets mixed into are very drab. Buckwheat flour is gray, gray, gray, and chia seeds and prunes are pretty much black. Walnuts are brown… When I look at a loaf like this:

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…it makes me remember a Garrison Keillor spoof on health food in which the high-fiber cereal being put forward as so essential for regularity was called “Raw Bits.” My loaf does look rough on the outside. It is fairly high-fiber, too, as well as being gluten-free and vegan — with what I consider just the right amount of sweetness.

Prunia Nut Bread    gl P1030440

 1 ½ cups buckwheat flour
½ cup coconut flour
3 cups walnuts, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cardamom
1/3 cup chia seeds soaked in 1 cup water
30 large pitted prunes, divided
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups plant-based milk

First toast the walnuts, 300° for 40 minutes, stirring once.

While they are toasting, put 10 prunes in a small bowl and pour on boiling water to cover.

Mix the chia seeds with the water in a small bowl.

Chop the remaining 20 prunes, sprinkling a little of the flour over them as you do, to keep them from clumping up again.

Into a medium-large bowl sift the flours, salt, baking powder and spices together.gl P1030441

When the walnuts are toasted and cooled, chop 2 cups coarsely and set aside.

Grind  the remaining 1 cup of walnuts in a food processor. Add these to the dry ingredients – but don’t wash the processor bowl yet.

Put the prunes and water in the bowl of the processor and purée.

In a medium bowl melt the coconut oil with the honey, then add the milk, the chia seeds and the prune purée.

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Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing in the chopped prunes and walnuts.

Put into oiled medium-sized loaf pans – or one very large – and bake for 50-60 minutes at about 350°. Cool on racks.

The bread comes out very moist and dense. I’ve made it three times in order to perfect my recipe, but each version was well worth the eating, which tells you that this recipe is still pretty tweakable. You might leave out the bit of coconut oil and I bet it wouldn’t be missed; or you could increase the amount of spice if you like more intensity. As it is it is a mellow loaf.

If I wanted to spend more time on the project, it would be to figure out how to use fewer cups and bowls in the mixing of the batter, and to do without the food processor altogether. For one thing, that little bit of prune purée is probably dispensable. But for now, for this Lent, I think I have plenty stashed in the freezer; the kitchen has been cleaned up, and I have a little more room in the fridge.

If anyone tries the recipe, let me know if you made any changes and how it worked.

Bon appétit!

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