Meatless MmmmmDay

Around here every day is Meatless Monday. Right now we are bursting at the seams with CSA vegetables, garden vegetables and local market vegetables, not to mention Portuguese Water Dogs.

What?

What?

That is just SO much of a good thing!

I think many vegans would agree we often describe our diets in terms of what we DON’T eat. Unfortunately, this only draws a negative response.

Vegan says: “I don’t eat eggs or butter.”
Non-vegan thinks: (She’s weird.)
Vegan says: “I don’t eat cheese.”
Non-vegan thinks: (She’s from a different planet. Not the moon, though, which is made of cheese.)
Vegan says: “I don’t eat red meat, chicken or fish.”
Non-vegan thinks: (She’s no fun at parties, especially barbecues.)

It’s difficult to make friends. I recommend, if you’re vegan and you’re trying to make friends, avoid introducing yourself like this:

“Hi, I’m Susan and I don’t eat meat.”

(Especially if your name isn’t Susan.)

Try emphasizing the POSITIVE! Say:

“Hi, my name is Susan and I eat plants!”

(OK, that’s REALLY strange. Don’t do that!)

Try not to mention your diet at all.

Maybe, occasionally, only if people ASK, share recipes. Start a blog! Never lecture. Smile. Enjoy your dinner. Here’s an example:

We were out on the porch last night.

IMG_0317

We ate leftovers from the night before mixed with things we just made. The strawberries from Weaver’s Orchard were slightly past prime, so they were finger food. They didn’t last long. (The cook kept eating them.)

IMG_0312

Zucchini and Dill Salad from New York Times Cooking:

IMG_0321

Panzanella from Ina Garten:

IMG_0318

IMG_0319

Green beans from our garden tossed with walnut-arugula pesto:

IMG_0331

French potato salad also from Ina Garten:

IMG_0329

My plate:

IMG_0339

I liked it, and I like you.

Please be my friend.

Cold Creamy Cucumber Soup (Vegan, Of Course!)

IMG_0269

What’s the best thing in the summer?

Something glossy and shiny and cool?

Yes!

Like, take for example, Louie the Portuguese Water Dog. He’s glossy and shiny and cool especially when he swims at the lake! Here’s what happens:

Someone, usually my husband Pete, saunters out onto the dock wearing a bathing suit and carrying a towel.

That’s all.

That’s all that happens.

Suddenly, appearing from nowhere (no doubt sleeping on the furniture), Louie runs to lake edge and launches himself into the water, yelping with excitement.

Or, with something, we don’t know what. He could be yelping with sadness for all we know, but we don’t think so.

We think excitement.

Anyway, Pete is often contemplative about his swim, because lake water can be chilly. It takes a while to gather nerve. You know how it is. And while Pete contemplates, Louie waits at the end of the dock, leaning on the ladder.

IMG_0184

Are you com in’?

IMG_0191

Why are you taking pictures? Put down the camera and jump in!

IMG_0186The water is clear, so you can see the shallow-looking bottom. It’s not all that shallow, though and Louie can’t stand there. That’s why he props himself up on the ladder.

IMG_0185

And then, tired of fooling around, he slips in.

IMG_0192

And swims laps in circles.

IMG_0194

IMG_0195

And you thought I was going to write about cucumber soup!

Which is glossy and shiny and cool, but in a different way:

IMG_0270

Cold Creamy Cucumber Soup

Recipe from Pickles & Honey

(Vegan)

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

One pound organic cucumbers, roughly chopped
Two small avocados, cut into small pieces
One-quarter cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
One-quarter cup water
One teaspoon sea salt
One-half teaspoon black pepper
Pea Shoots for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

1. Place the cucumbers, avocados, lime juice, water, sea salt, and pepper into a blender.
Process ingredients until smooth.

2. Taste and add more salt/pepper if you like.

3. Transfer the soup to a large bowl or tupperware and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Serve with garnish.

I omitted the water this time, because I wanted something concentrated, something I could serve in a small cup as an appetizer. You may add the water, or not, to your liking.

Cool!
IMG_0211

Strawberry Muffins (Using Einkorn Flour)

Using what?

Einkorn flour!

You can read all about it if you like. However, the short explanation is that einkorn flour (or ground farro) is an ancient wheat variety. It’s lower in gluten than our modern-day wheat, and may therefore be less problematic for people with sensitivity to regular wheat.

This recipe for strawberry muffins may be made with regular white flour, whole wheat flour or even a prepared gluten-free flour mix. Einkorn flour is a little difficult to find. I bought mine at Echo Hill Country Store in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. You may simply buy it online if you have trouble.

IMG_0220 Continue reading

Grilled Pineapple (With Sweet Apricot, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Sauce)

IMG_0124

A guy walks into his doctor’s office. He’s got a carrot up his nose, a zucchini stuck in one ear and a pineapple wedge stuck in the other ear. He says, “Doc, what’s wrong with me?” And the doctor says, “I don’t know, but I can tell you’re not eating right.”

Continue reading

Agrodolce and Garden Lettuce

Agrodolce is a traditional sweet and sour sauce used in Italian cooking very similar to a gastrique. Its name comes from “agro” (sour) and “dolce” (sweet).

(Many also say this describes my personality, but I’m pretty sure I’m more dolce and less agro. It depends on the day, I guess. For example, if my car has a flat tire, I am QUITE agro, especially toward the tire expressed as bad words and kicking, both of which, in case you wanted to know, are ineffective at problem solving. On the other hand, anyone stepping in to FIX the tire will experience my dolce side with sincere hopes he/she did not witness any of my agro. That would be embarrassing.)

A quick scan of the internet reveals agrodolce is made as many different ways as there are cooks, which is A LOT. Generally, it is made by reducing vinegar and sugar. Sometimes, wine, fruit, or chocolate are added to the mix. Most often it is used for fish or lamb but is also served over pasta and with many different vegetables.

Last week friends joined us at Wyebrook Farm, a farm-to-table restaurant and market located in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania. It is not to be missed if you live in this area! Everything on the menu is local and fresh, and it changes with the seasons. We sat outside on the most beautiful spring evening you ever want to see. Lovely! I had a green salad served atop–you guessed it–agrodolce.

This is my attempt to mimic the service at Wyebrook Farm.

First a smear of agrodolce…

IMG_0075

Continue reading