Its About Animals, But…

An excellent story today in the NYT about a limits on factory farms. Good news, if you ask me.

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A Kindred Spirit

The Picky Eater blog.

Not For the Weak of Stomach

Ever wonder whats in your processed food?  (H/T to Track Keck)

The End of the Hiatus

I hadn’t planned on taking two weeks (or so) off from the blog, but its what happened.  Life intervened.  We were so busy that I was hardly doing any cooking at all and I’m sure that you’d be bored to tears by me extolling the virtues of Little Ceasar’s pizza (there are none).  Do have some ideas for blog posts bouncing around my jumbled head, so stay tuned.  Here’s a preview

  • The Vegetarian “Option”
  • What the Heck is CVS (The Disease, Not the Pharmacy)
  • Why Do Insist on Not Making Quick Dinners?
  • Is Macaroni and Cheese Really a Vegetarian Dinner, Or Does She-Who-Hums Run Our Household?
  • Eat Out is Hard to Do
  • I’m Thinking About Being Less Fat

So stay tuned!

Veggie Friendly Cities

A list from PETA of the ten most vegetarian friendly cities, passed on by a Facebook friend.

How Are We Doing Here at VPE?

So I’ve been blogging now for about a months, give or take, and thought the readers might be interested in how we’re doing.  So, some statistics for you:

  • 41 posts (really?)
  • 126 comments
  • 1,511 views (with 151 on one particular day)
  • On any day I post, I get about 30 views.

So I’m not Mark Bittman or whatever, but its fun and some of you seem to enjoy it.

Pesto! With a Twist!

We’ve had an uneventful couple of days, marked by one night where we just sort of picked at food from the fridge and a second night of an OK quiona salad.  You know, that’s all well and good but its not really blog material.  And believe it or not, I really don’t plan the meals with this blog in mind.

My inspirations often come from elsewhere.  In my most cliche’ moments, I’d say my inspiration often comes from the local Farmers Market.  That is certainly true of this week’s meal.

Usually our Farmers Market trip is fairly routine.  The selection here isn’t overwhelming compared to other parts of the country, so we usually get the things that I know I like to cook with.  This week there was — as usual — a lot of herbs.  I don’t often pay much attention to those because I have a small selection of fresh herbs in pots in the back.  But this week TPE was asking for “something with dill” (I have no idea why…stay tuned), which I don’t have.  I didn’t really find the dill I was looking for, but there was one organic stand with a lot of nice looking basil at a good price ($3 for a large bunch).  So I decided that pesto would be one of the meals of the week.

Pesto is easy enough but, honestly, I’ve been avoiding pasta since TPE became a vegetarian.  Not only is it “too easy” but I’m worried that it will become so much of a crutch that eating it becomes unhealthy.  The basil was just too much to pass up in that quantity at that price to not eat it this week.  That challenge is to do something interesting with it though.

I used a fairly basic recipe for starters.  About a 1/2 cup of cheese, a couple of cups of basil, 1/2 of olive oil, two cloves of garlic, and some butter.  “No pine nuts?,” you must be asking Faithful Reader.  Nothing is that easy.  TPE doesn’t like pine nuts and generally doesn’t do well with nuts at all.  Yet pesto without the nuts… what thickens it and helps it cling to the pasta and not be too oily?  My solution was to replace the pine nuts with chickpeas.  And that worked great with respect to flavor and texture.  I’m a big fan of this now, if only because it means I can feel ok about the protein thing.  Yeah, I know that’s not as much of a worry as people think.  Still.

But how to spice it up?  How to make it better than the normal pesto?  She-Who-Hums has been begging me to make caramelized onions lately.  She got hooked when I made some for the lentil croquettes that are becoming as stable of our family cuisine.  TPE calls them “lentil balls.”  That makes me giggle.  Anyway, I decided to caramelize onions and put them in with the pesto.  I could get a veggie into She-Who-Hums that wasn’t an olive or pickle, plus it would be a nice little twist in our relatively simple meal.

It worked wonderfully!  I even called them “a revelation,” but that was probably hyperbole.  But the sweetness of the onions, the saltiness of the cheese, and the slightly bitter garlic in the sauce made for some pretty darned good eating.  In retrospect I need to pay a little more attention to how much garlic goes in there and just how pungent it is (dinner was a touch bitter), but it was great.  And She-Who-Hums had a nice meal to boot, with onions, pickles, cucumbers, and onions to match her bologna sandwich (cut into the shape of a star).

I miss my grill

I miss my grill.

I consider myself fairly handy over both charcoal and gas, especially when it comes to getting a nice crust and appropriately cooked bird to appear from under its hood.  I love keeping the heat from cooking outside, where it belongs in summer, and the exhilaration of coming inside to the air conditioning after standing in the humid pressure cooker outside.  Yet, I’ve not touched my grill even once this summer for a spot of cooking.

I know you can grill vegetables.  However, TPE is not a fan of vegetables in chunks.  She prefers her vegetables in nearly invisible form, so that she can’t possibly know what she’s eating (until I tell her) and that its impossible for her to pick it out.  That’s hardly a demand that fits well with the needs of grilling.  Although it tends to bring out the sweetness of the vegetables, small chunks obviously don’t do well on the grill.  Plus, the vegetables that really do best on the grill — namely things like eggplant — are on the list of “things to give TPE when I’m feeling like being disappointed after cooking for two hours.”  Its scary to someone like her.

So I miss the flavor, the experience, and the grill.  Once Fall gets here, I guess I’ll overcome that feeling with roasted vegetables.  This is one sacrifice I hadn’t planned on making.

A Week in the Life…

Any of you want to take a stab at this for a guest stint?  It might be kind of fun to read the musings of other vegetarians, experienced or not.  Think about it and if you’re interested, let me know and we’ll do a one-week, post-as-much-as-little as you like guest gig.  Could be fun, so don’t be chicken.

Guest Recipe: Corn-Tomato Scramble

Looks yummy, from epicurious.com.