Tag Archives: vegetarian

Radish Green & Potato Soup

It’s radish season! Raw radishes in salads, grilled with butter & salt, or sautéed with mint and onions—radishes take on completely different personalities depending on how you prepare them. The greens offer a whole different culinary perspective that is often overlooked. We had to adopt out our bunny for the sake of Kevin’s lungs (allergy-induced asthma), which has left us trying to find new ways to use up plant parts we used to feed to the bunny. Radish greens are one thing I am glad I learned how to cook with! They are so delicious, and have tons of nutrients. You can sautée them like you would other greens, or, you can make them into this crazy simple soup. It is simultaneously earthy, fresh and zesty.

Radish Green & Potato Soup

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients. (Not pictured: Hot Sauce,

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large bunch radish greens
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2-3 c. water (or broth) (enough to cover potatoes in pan)
  • 2 T. parsley
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • chives, parsley, mint, sprouts, etc. for topping

Directions:

  1. Chop shallot, parsley, & garlic
  2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallot & garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until shallots are translucent.

    Sautéeing

    Sautéeing shallots, garlic & parsley.

  3. Chop radish greens and add to pot. Sautée until wilted.

    Radish Greens

    Wilting radish greens

  4. Wash & dice potatoes. (You can peel them if using russets, but I used yellow potatoes with pretty thin skin & left it on. No need to peel red ones, either.)
  5. Add potatoes to pot and add water or broth to just cover top of potatoes.

    Simmering potatoes

    Potatoes in the pot

  6. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Remove from heat; purée with an immersion blender or in batches in the blender.
  9. Ladle into bowls. Top each bowl with a few dashes of hot sauce.
  10. Finely chop remaining herbs and place on top of soup.
Radish Green & Potato Soup

It may look like something from a swamp, but it is seriously good eating.


Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Believe it or not, despite the warm temperatures, it’s still root vegetable season (although I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel—Today is the second day of spring, and I’ve got some pea shoots!). Winter is at times the toughest season to be a locavore, but at other points, it’s so rewarding. Root vegetables & mushrooms are much more fulfilling on a cool day than a summer salad or bowlful of sautéed spring veggies. There’s a reason why certain foods grow at certain times—Because that’s when our bodies need the nutrients they offer! In this transitional period between winter and spring, heartier vegetables are still in abundance, but slow cooked stew and tagine just don’t seem as appealing when the temperature is slated to be in the 70s. So, I embraced the challenge of using the hearty offerings of the earth in a manner that doesn’t feel quite so heavy in the stomach or heat up the house so much. Plus, for my vegetarian & vegan friends, you can eat this too!

(P.S. Speaking of mushrooms, I can’t wait—Tomorrow I am picking up my very own shiitake mushroom grow log. Yes. Shiitakes fresh from the back yard. Mmm.)

Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Ingredients:
Note: You’ll notice that this post does not include the individual farm’s name next to each ingredient. From feedback I received, that made it more difficult to follow & print recipes. SO, I am working on a page that will list all of the farmers & local businesses I buy from, their specialties, and their contact info. Then you can see where all of the great spots to purchase ingredients are. I’ll still highlight specialty/exclusive ingredient sources in the specific recipe. I assure you, even though the name of the farm isn’t right there, it was all still purchased from local producers.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion (or half large)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of rosemary
  • pinch of sage
  • 4 white mushrooms
  • 4 cremini mushrooms
  • 2 c. broth (I used turkey stock, but chicken or vegetable would work, too)
  • 4 medium turnips (I used 3 golden, 1 white)
  • 1 c. couscous

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic and chop onion and mushrooms. Heat olive oil in large saucepan or dutch oven and add garlic & onion, sautéeing until onion is almost translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, chop mushrooms and crush herbs. Also, peel and dice turnips.
  3. Add herbs and mushrooms to onion mixture, cooking for two more minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly golden and herbs are fragrant.

    Mushrooms, onion, garlic & herbs

    Mushrooms, onion, garlic & herbs, a good base for many things!

  4. Add turnips and broth to pan and bring to a boil.

    Turnips & other veggies in broth

    A photographed pot never boils.

  5. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until turnips are fork tender.
  6. Add couscous to pan and stir. Immediately remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.
Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

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Root Veggie Stew with Herbed Whole Wheat Dumplings

Root vegetables are great. They’re filling, available in the cold winter months, nutritious and inexpensive. But boy, will I be happy to see tender spring vegetables again soon! We’ve eaten sooo many turnips in the past couple of months and have burned through our frozen reserve of green beans and tomatoes. I am finding myself dreaming of tomatoes and garlic scapes as the weather gets warmer and I can’t wait to have the first cookout of spring! The 60 degree weather outside is certainly playing into my spring fever, leaving me anxious and distracted as I am stuck in an office all day, wishing I was hiking or planting …

Anywho, root vegetables are where its at for the winter, and they really are delicious! This root veggie stew is kicked up a bit by the addition of whole wheat herbed dumplings. I’ve listed the specific root vegetables and greens that I used, but you can use a comparable amount of any combination of root vegetables and any dark, leafy greens.

Root Veggie Stew with Herbed Whole Wheat Dumplings

Stew Ingredients:

Stew Ingredients

Stew Ingredients

Dumpling Ingredients:

Dumpling Ingredients

Dumpling Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Peel rutabagas and sweet potato. Chop all root veggies into 1″ cubes.
  2. Chop onion and mince garlic. Heat olive oil in dutch oven or large pot and add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is just tender.
  3. Add root vegetables. Cook and stir for 5 minutes.

    Sautéeing Veggies

    Sautéeing Veggies

  4. Chop or crumble sage (depending on fresh or dried) and add sage and herbes de provence to vegetables, cooking until just fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add broth and water. Bring to a boil.

    Simmering

    Simmering

  6. Chop greens and add to broth & veggies.
  7. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare dumpling dough. First, whisk flours, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.
  9. Chop herbs and add to flour mixture, stirring well.
  10. Lightly beat egg. Add egg and milk to dry mixture and stir until stiff dough is formed.
  11. After 15 minutes of simmering, remove lid and drop dumpling dough on to stew by heaping tablespoonful.
  12. Replace lid and allow to cook, undisturbed, for about 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender and dumplings are puffy.
Root Veggie Stew with Dumplings

Root Veggie Stew with Dumplings


Sausage-less Gravy for Biscuits

Last weekend, we were taking a break from our usual Jumbars breakfasts to let them deal with the restaurant week crowds, and my husband asked for sausage gravy and biscuits (a favorite of his from when he lived in NC). Unfortunately, breakfast sausage is not a staple in our home (we really only eat breakfast on Sundays), so I told him he was out of luck. Well, dedicated as Kevin is when he knows what he wants, he found this recipe and asked me to make it. Of course, I can’t just follow a recipe, so I added some mushrooms and garlic and some different herbs, and the result was amazing! The mushrooms gave the sausage a nice meaty texture, and the seasonings totally allowed it to taste like sausage. I don’t know that I’ll ever make sausage gravy using sausage again!

Sausage-less Gravy for Biscuits

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 clove garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 4 mushrooms (Pure Sprouts)
  • 1/2 T. dried sage (my garden)
  • 1/2  T. dried rosemary (my garden)
  • 1/2 T. dried thyme (my garden)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1.5 c. milk (Keepsake Farm)
  • 2 biscuits, english muffins or toast

Directions:

  1. Dice mushrooms and mince garlic.
  2. Melt butter in deep skillet or saucepan.
  3. Add mushrooms and garlic to pan. Cook and stir until mushrooms are slightly browned.
  4. Add sage, rosemary and thyme, plus salt & pepper, cooking for a minute until just fragrant.
  5. Sprinkle flour over butter and mushroom mixture and whisk until it reaches a paste-like consistency.
  6. Add milk all at once and whisk constantly until mixture is thickened and creamy.
  7. Serve over split biscuits, english muffins or toast
    Sausage-less Gravy & Biscuits

    Sausage-less Gravy & Biscuits

    .


Mushroom & Root Veggie Shepherd’s Pie—It’s What’s for Dinner!

We’ve been eating a bit less meat than usual, trying to save money so we can make up for Irie’s vet visits. Kevin works manual labor out in the cold all day, so a warm hearty meal tends to be in order for the evening in the cold months. Since I started eating mushrooms last year, we’ve grown to enjoy using them as an inexpensive substitute for meat pretty frequently—You hardly notice the difference! Fortunately, the root vegetables that grow in our area at this time of year are also inexpensive and nutrient packed, so we were able to put together this awesome, filling dish for pennies per serving.

Mushroom & Root Veggie Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Peel and chop sweet potatoes and 2 of the turnips. Place in pot and cover with water. Add one whole, peeled clove of garlic.
  3. Boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mince remaining garlic and chop leek or onion, celery and jalepeño, if using.
  5. Sauté garlic, leek, celery and jalepeño in olive oil in large skillet until onion is translucent.
  6. Peel and chop remaining turnips and carrot, then add to skillet. Continue to cook and stir until turnips have begun to soften and turn golden.
  7. Slice mushrooms and add to skillet. Sauté 1-2 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to caramelize.
  8. Add 1 can beer, applesauce, thyme and sage.
  9. Bring beer to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until reduced by half.

    Mushroom Mixture

    hearty mushroom & root veggie filling

  10. When sweet potatoes and turnips boiling in water are tender, strain them.
  11. Add 1/2 can beer, a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt & pepper, then mash sweet potatoes and turnips until smooth, adding more beer if necessary.

    sweet potato & turnip mash

    creamy sweet potato & turnip mash

  12. Transfer mushroom mixture to 8×8″ casserole dish.
  13. Spread mashed sweet potatoes and turnips over mushroom mixture.
  14. Brush top of sweet potato mixture with olive oil.
  15. Bake for 15 minutes or until topping is golden and filling is bubbly.
  16. Serve warm with hearty bread and salad.

    mushroom and root veggie shepherds pie

    Mmm. We enjoyed this with some Apple Ridge Farm dinner rolls.


Polenta Stuffed Peppers—It’s What’s For Dinner!

My husband has never been much of a bell pepper fan, but we both committed to eating every vegetable we received from our CSA this year. In the weeks where we just got one or two peppers, I snuck them into sauce or sautéed them for fajitas. But one week we received four peppers—2 red and 2 green—and I knew it was time to make stuffed peppers. I mentioned this prospect to my husband who mumbled a lackluster agreement and said, “As long as they don’t have that rice and beef filling everyone uses. I don’t like rice in vegetables.” So, I had a challenge, which I love in the kitchen. I decided to go the Italian route since that is his favorite cuisine, and he cleaned his plate of the result!

Polenta Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Slowly add cornmeal, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
  3. Stir until thickened and creamy. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Chop onion and garlic, then sauté in olive oil over medium heat until onions are translucent.
  5. Chop tomatoes, add to onion and garlic mixture. Sauté 4 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cut tops off peppers, remove ribs and seeds, and chop herbs.
  7. Stir tomato mixture into polenta.
  8. Add herbs to polenta mixture.

    Polenta Filling

    Polenta Filling

  9. Spoon polenta mixture evenly into peppers and place in baking dish.
  10. Top peppers with cheese.
  11. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until peppers are tender and cheese is bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

    Rich & Creamy

    Rich & Creamy


No Pasta Lasagna—It’s What’s for Dinner!

Whether you are trying to cut down on carbs, eat more veggies, change up the standard lasagna or are simply out of lasagna noodles, this recipe is for you! In a lighter twist on hearty classic lasagna, I substituted zucchini and eggplant slices for noodles and layered them with a fresh tomato sauce. It’s a rich taste of summer. I am pretty sure this would hold up in a slow cooker, too!

No Pasta Lasagna

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Thinly slice eggplant and zucchini the long way. Sprinkle both sides of each slice with salt and set on paper towels to rest.
  3. Chop onion, garlic, pepper and tomatoes.
  4. Sautée onion and garlic over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add pepper, sautée 2 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes and red wine.
  7. Simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

    Tomatoes Simmering

    Tomato Sauce Simmering

  8. Meanwhile, chop basil and oregano and mix with ricotta cheese in small bowl.
  9. Add egg to ricotta cheese mixture, stir until smooth.
  10. Spread 3/4 c. sauce over bottom of 9×13″ baking dish.
  11. Evenly place zucchini and eggplant slices over sauce.
  12. Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over vegetable slices.

    Assembling the Lasagna

    Assembling the Lasagna

  13. Top with 3/4 c. sauce.
  14. Repeat layers until all components are used up, ending with sauce on top.
  15. Slice cheese and place evenly over top.
  16. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cheese is browned on top.  Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

    A twist on the traditional!

    A twist on the traditional!


Girls’ Night Gnoshing: Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Each Wednesday a group of my friends and I get together for a night of testosterone-free hanging out. Sometimes we head to Roosevelts (if they are not having an obnoxious DJ) for gravy cheese fries & $4 mixed drinks and sometimes we gather at someone’s home for a BYO night. Either way, it’s sure to be a night of laughter, booze and good food.

A couple of weeks ago, girls’ night was going to be at a friend’s home, and I realized I didn’t have anything to bring! A quick survey of the kitchen didn’t turn up any prepared snack food, and I was out of alcohol. All I had were vegetables! I was pretty well stocked on eggplant, so I thought of making baba ganoush, but I didn’t have any tahini on hand. So, I pulled out what I could find and figured if my friends didn’t like it, we just wouldn’t eat it. Well, all of it was gone by the end of the evening, so I take that as a good sign. Bring this Italian dip with you next time you need an easy snack and you’ll be all set!

Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Ingredients:

[My husband was kind enough to roast the veggies for me while I was running errands, so I don’t have a picture of everything raw.]

Simple ingredients for a complex-tasting dip.

Simple ingredients for a complex-tasting dip.

  • 1 large eggplant (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 1 large onion (Jett’s Natural Produce)
  • 1 large tomato (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 2 cloves garlic (Heritage Farms CSA)
  • 12-15 fresh basil leaves (our garden)
  • 4 sprigs oregano (our garden)
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. lemon juice (I didn’t have any, so my dip darkened a bit, but was still tasty)

Directions:

  1. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and sprinkle with salt. Let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Cut onion into thick slices.
  3. Cut tomato in half.
  4. Place veggies cut side down on cookie sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until eggplant is soft. Let cool enough to handle.
  5. Meanwhile, chop garlic in food processor.
  6. Add basil and oregano to food processor, pulse until finely chopped.
  7. Scrape pulp out of eggplant skins and add to food processor.
  8. Add tomato and onion to food processor.
  9. Process until smooth.
  10. Slowly add olive oil while processor is running until dip is desired consistency.
  11. Let sit at least 1 hour before serving with crackers, toasts or pita chips.
Italian Roasted Veggie Dip

Italian Roasted Veggie Dip


Veg Fest & Feast

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Weekend Hodgepodge, this Saturday was spent enjoying vegetables, plain and simple. I am an omnivore, and a locavore, no longer vegan or vegetarian, but I love vegetables and was happy to be able to see them in the spotlight this weekend.

Jaime K

Jaime K of Save the Kales!

First of all, let me say that Bethlehem Vegfest was a knock-out success and I hope to see it continue for years to come. Many thanks to the Downtown Bethlehem Association,  Jaime K of Save the Kales! and everyone else who contributed for bringing this sort of festival to Bethlehem. I heard rumor that 10,000 people attended the fair, which stretched for several blocks down South Bethlehem’s Greenway. I arrived at 12:10, just ten minutes after the festival began, and a large crowd had already amassed. I had never actually visited the Greenway before and was quite happy to see such a well maintained rail-trail through the heart of the city! I had heard of the trail before, but tended to stay away from the area due to its previous reputation as a skeevy part of town before the tracks were paved.

Vegfest Entrance

The start of Vegfest

Emeril's Booth

A chef from the local Emeril's restaurant serves samples.

The festival grounds were divided into several themed areas (think platzes from Musikfest, but without the sausages and obnoxious people) housing about 200 vendors. There was a pet area, a farmers’ market, a food court, a sustainable energy area, a lecture tent, cooking demo area, and music stage, among others. Vendors peddled goods, services and wares while entertainers put children inside huge bubbles, and vegetarians could eat free samples without having to ask “Is there meat in that?”

Local Dub

This band, Local Dub, played some chill reggae music, and even used the word "irie" in their PR for the gig! Irie is our cat's name, meaning the ultimate positive, powerful, pleasing, all encompassing quality. I've never heard anyone else use it.

Cooking Demo

While catching a few minutes of this cooking demo, I got to taste grilled watermelon. Mmm! Definitely keeping that in mind!

Smart Juice

Bethlehem-based Smart Juice company

I was on a pretty tight budget since Vegfest fell between paydays, but I did indulge in a bottle of yummy organic no-sugar added peach-apricot juice from Smart Juice, a Bethlehem-based company that I first encountered when they donated juice for the Iftar dinner I attended (read about that here). This juice made me feel like I was James in a giant peach, that’s how real it was.

I also found a book that I must purchase, From Asparagus to Zucchini. It is a comprehensive guide to produce, listing nutritional information, storage and cooking techniques and recipes. One of the best parts, though, is in the back, where it lists recipes using seasonal ingredient combinations. SO, when you get your CSA share and wonder what to do with a bunch of eggplants, a tomato, and several ears of corn or something, you can just check the book! Wishing there was a book fairy right now …

Vegan Treats Display

My sister-in-law works the Vegan Treats table.

Vegfest didn’t carry any hints of the pompous attitude vegetarians are sometimes unfairly labeled with. Instead, it exuded a warm community vibe, inviting people of all sorts to take a look and try something new.

Later that evening, my in-laws came over for a very belated Christmas gift of a dinner & game night at our house. My mother-in-law recently began moving in the vegan direction, so I wanted to prepare a meal that honored that decision. However, my husband and I are fairly opposed to many of the “fake meat” and “dairy” products on the market. A lot of those products are so highly processed and full of genetically modified or laboratory-created ingredients that I cannot justify eating them. So, I made a meal highlighting vegetables, with no meat, dairy or egg substitutes. It’s also very important to me to use local ingredients, so everything in this meal is from this area with the exception of cooking oil, salt, pepper, cornstarch, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and polenta. Nothing on this menu will require a trip to the health food store or a large amount of money.

Normally, I leave the vegan meals up to Save the Kales!, but I will share this one with you.

A Vegan Feast:

Vegan Meal

An all-local vegan meal, with no "fake meat": salad, roasted tomatoes with garlic & herbs, tri-color potatoes & beets, polenta & beet green stuffed zucchini, and pear crisp.

In the interest of avoiding carpal tunnel, I am going to list the vendors I purchased ingredients from once, here, instead of immediately following the ingredient: Heritage Farms CSA, Apple Ridge Farm, Bechdolt’s Orchard, Jett’s Natural Produce, Cardamom & Curry, and Jumbars.

Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic & Herbs

Roasted Tomatoes

The contrast between the slow-roasted flavor of the tomatoes & garlic and the freshness of the herbs balances wonderfully.

Ingredients:

  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 6 or so basil leaves
  • a few sprigs oregano

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut tomatoes into 6-8 wedges each and place in glass baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Chop garlic cloves and sprinkle over tomatoes.
  4. Remove thyme leaves and sprinkle over tomatoes.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and begin to turn golden.
  7. Chop basil and oregano and mix with tomatoes before serving.

Tri-Color Potatoes & Beets

Rustic & colorful

Rustic & colorful

Ingredients:

  • 5 potatoes of different colors (I used purple, red and white)
  • 10 small beets (or 3-4 large ones)
  • 1 red onion
  • few sprigs thyme
  • few sprigs rosemary
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Wash potatoes and cut into 1″ chunks.
  3. Peel and trim beets, reserving greens for zucchini recipe or to sauté on the side. Cut into 1″ chunks.
  4. Cut onion into thick slices.
  5. Combine potatoes, beets and onion in 9×13″ baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle with thyme leaves, rosemary, salt & pepper.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
  8. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Polenta & Beet Green Stuffed Zucchini

Polenta and Beet Green Stuffed Zucchini

A hearty vegan entrée

Ingredients:

  • 2 big zucchinis
  • 1/2 c. coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1.5 c water
  • 10 small beets’ worth of beet greens (or 3-4 large beets’ worth)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • few sprigs thyme
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut a v-shaped opening, going the long way, into each zucchini, removing in one piece and setting top aside. Scoop out insides, discarding large seeds but reserving pulp. Scrape pulp from removed top, too.
  3. Salt hollowed zucchinis and tops and place, cut side down, in greased baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring water to boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low. Slowly add cornmeal, stirring with a whisk. Stir until thickened and creamy looking.
  6. Add thyme leaves to polenta and stir.
  7. Dice onion and garlic. Sautée in olive oil over medium heat until tender.
  8. Chop zucchini pulp and add to onion and garlic mixture. Cook for 4 minutes.
  9. Chop beet greens, removing tough stems, and add to zucchini mixture. Cook until greens are wilted.
  10. Remove zucchini from oven and spoon thyme polenta into zucchini boats.
  11. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly over polenta.
  12. Place cut out tops of zucchini over filling.
  13. Bake 20 more minutes, or until zucchini are tender.
  14. Let sit 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Pear-Granola Crisp

Pear-Granola Crisp

You can make this dessert ahead and serve at room temperature or pop it in the oven when guests arrive and serve warm.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium pears
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger (I ended up using some turmeric tea (with ginger in it) from Cardamom & Curry that I had already steeped a few times instead. It’s a great way to get the most of your tea—Use the leaves to make 2-3 cups of tea, then add them to a dish you are cooking—They still have flavor!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c. granola (double check that it is vegan)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar, divided
  • 5 T. canola oil (walnut or coconut oil would be even better)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Peel and slice pears. Place in deep, square baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle pears with 1/4 c. sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger (or tea leaves!).
  4. Add vanilla extract and 1/3 c. sugar. Stir until evenly mixed.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, remaining 1/4 c. sugar, and granola.
  6. Add oil and stir until mixture is wet.
  7. Spread topping evenly over pears in baking dish.
  8. Bake 40 minutes or until top is golden.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Weekend Hodgepodge

As it seemed for much of the nation, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 turned this weekend into a kind of dichotomy between the positive notion of moving forward and the somber act of remembering. Leading up to the anniversary, my husband and I tossed around several ideas of how we should spend the weekend. He suggested a trip to NYC, which I did not go for (I feared it would turn into an ugly rally of intolerance, which I don’t think it did, but I wanted to stay out of that area). I suggested a commemorative play reading at the nearby college. We even toyed with the notion of going to church (a rarity for us) to hear one of my colleagues preach. In the end, we opted for a weekend directed more at moving forward than memorial activity. This is not to say we didn’t focus on and discuss the national tragedy this weekend, but we made a point of enjoying the country we live in. We watched this great video of Paul Simon performing “Sound of Silence” at the NYC memorial and discussed, like many others, our memories of that day 10 years ago. I recalled my particularly stern 10th grade English teacher expressing frustration when I was called out of class to sit in the guidance office until we were sure that my sister, who worked near the WTC, was alright. When the call came in that she had escaped injury, I remember hearing, “She didn’t stop running until she hit Chinatown.” We also discussed the split in our generation between those who were old enough to comprehend 9/11 and those who only understood the bogeyman aspect of Osama bin Laden.

Coincidentally, we were afforded the opportunity to celebrate a favorite American pastime this weekend—a baseball game at the local AAA stadium. Due to the weather, a playoff game had been postponed, so my in-laws were unable to use their tickets and passed them over to us. It turned out to be a fantastic game, with the Iron Pigs winning in an extra inning.

Iron Pigs Game

It was an edge-of-the-seat game, even though I am not generally a baseball fanatic. The crowd was full of energy and the game was followed by a pretty spectacular fireworks display.

Saturday was spent reliving my vegan days. I spent several years going back and forth between the vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, mainly fueled by a strong opposition to factory farms and animal testing. Now, I have settled on a primarily local omnivorous diet where I do not purchase industrially farmed food (basically, if I can’t go see the farm, I don’t buy the food) or products tested on animals. However, I support the vegetarian community, enjoy many vegetarian meals, and honor each persons choice to eat as desired.

So, I was thrilled to attend the first annual Vegfest in South Bethlehem. Organized by the Downtown Bethlehem Association and Jaime K of Save the Kales!, the festival celebrated delicious vegetarian food, sustainable products and innovations, healthy education, great music and more.

Vegfest Banner

"Lettuce Rejoice" was just one of the catchy slogans on banners, t-shirts and signs at the festival. I even got a purple eggplant stress ball.

It truly was a great gathering of happy people, vegetarian, vegan and omnivorous, enjoying the first sunny day in about 2 weeks in a part of town that often gets overlooked when it comes to the festing Bethlehem is known for. I was reminded of the market in Portland, OR, with such diversity and positive spirit.

Praying Mantis

This praying mantis must have sensed that Vegfest was safe for all living things!

Continuing the theme for the day, my in-laws joined us for a very-belated Christmas gift of dinner at our home. My mother-in-law recently began moving toward a vegan diet after a visit to the Farm Sanctuary, and my sister-in-law is vegetarian, so I prepared a vegan meal. There will be a post this week dedicated to Vegfest and the recipes for the meal I prepared.

Vegan Meal

An all-local vegan meal, with no "fake meat": salad, roasted tomatoes with garlic & herbs, tri-color potatoes & beets, polenta & beet green stuffed zucchini, and pear crisp.

Finally, Sunday was spent catching up on some freelance design work and attempting to save our garden from tomato blight. We spent over an hour pulling yellowed or spotted leaves off the tomato plants and lifting low stalks off the ground. The plum tomato plant only has about half of its leaves left, so I hope it will survive! Once the rain finally stops, I’ll be spraying the leaves with raw milk to try and hold off the fungus.

The garden, after pruning blighted leaves.

The garden, after pruning blighted leaves. See how sparse the first tomato plant is now?


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