I have been craving mushrooms for the past two months. I cannot seem, no matter how much I try, to get enough of them. All kinds, from the everyday button mushroom to the more exotic—such as lobster, enoki, chanterelles, hen of the woods, etc. Whatever I can find, I’m in. I’ve roasted them in the oven, sautéed them on the stovetop, relished ones done in the air fryer, all to my sheer and utter delight. Continue reading Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Last year, Richard and I built a raised bed garden structure out of pecky cedar. We choose that wood because it is untreated, and thus, was in alignment with our desire to have an organic garden. We built it ourselves and had some much fun in the process.
There are 36 3-foot rebar, some inside and others on the outside of the lumber, holding the structure together. Six ton of what was supposed to be organic garden soil was delivered and dumped into the raised bed, whose inside measures 8’x16’. We had irrigation lines put in to ensure adequate and consistent watering, even when we would be out-of-town.
Now, I’m sort of getting ahead of myself here. I should tell you that I am a Jersey Girl, born, raised, and lived the vast majority of my life approximately 12-20 miles outside of Manhattan. Richard, on the other hand, is from Washington State. And here we are now in Northern Arizona, where the climate is dry, the air is hotter, and there are pretty much two growing seasons. Geez, were we (and still are) on a huge gardening learning curve. Continue reading Indigo Ruby Tomatoes
My friend, Terri, passed away more than several years ago. Like me, she had a love for vegan cooking and an equitable adoration for kitchen gadgets/equipment/tools. One of the beautiful items she left to me was this 9’x13’ metal cake pan with a green lid, with “Vegan Goodies” and pinecones/leaves etched into the top. It’s beautiful; and whenever I pull it out to bake in it, I am immediately brought back to fond memories of Terry.
As a sidenote, I’ll share one of my favorites with you. In 2010, we took the 7 hour drive up to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York for their July 4 Pignic. It was an idyllic weekend communing with all the beautiful farm animals that have been given a second chance and the ability to live out the remainder of their lives in peace, knowing love and compassion and no terror…a very different life from whence they came, factory farming. The weather was warm with a cooling breeze. We spent two full days on the farm and enjoyed their vegan barbeque and a couple of talks given by their more-than-adept staff. Continue reading Memories of a July 4 Weekend with a Dear Friend, Her Cake Pan, and Dark-Chocolate Black-Bean Fudgy Cake Squares
What can be better than coming home from a successful trek from the local farmer’s market and scoring the absolute best produce? Well, coming home and preparing a simple, yet elegantly delicious dinner with what I scored! Continue reading Farmers’ Market Bounty – Squash Blossom Dinner
Walking up and down Duval Street, live music abounds, pouring out of restaurants, clubs, and dives onto the streets. The joint that we seemed most drawn to, however, was Willie T’s. It was an open-air, outdoor patio with some of the tables under an overhang. The genre seemed to be predominantly, if not exclusively, solo guitar rock / sometimes margaritaville-like male singers. Each evening, we’d stop and stand on the sidewalk, taking in the sights and sounds. We quickly came to a consensus regarding our favorite—John LaMere. His shtick was classic rock band covers. Geez, could he ever pull of a Mellencamp (as in John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp, now John Mellencamp)! It was not uncommon for me to break out in dance right there on the sidewalk! So, after our nightly sidewalk voyeuring, we decided that we would eat our final dinner at Willie T’s and arrive at the beginning of John LaMere’s set that evening. Continue reading Eating Our Way Through Key West – Part 3 – The Final Chapter – Unexpected Delights
We awoke one morning, ravenous and deciding that we wanted to forego the vacation-standard, go-to, made in the room, smoothie. What to eat became the question. It was the only rainy day, at least it started out as such, so we decided to take a trek over to the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Museum, located in the Historic Seaport neighborhood. We fell into Two Friends Patio, one of the few remaining original Old Towne restaurants, established in 1967 and still family run. The place was hustling and bustling. Cutting straight down the middle of the restaurant, however, is an open walkway, so they had to close off some of the tables because of the rain. No one seemed to care, even those patrons who were graced with the occasional spray of rain. It really didn’t matter to us because, even though we had our all-weather jackets on, we were fairly damp already from the walk. We were hungry, that’s what mattered. And, they had a table with only about a 15 minute wait. Worked for us. Continue reading Eating Our Way Through Key West – Part 2 – Hits & Misses
Recently, my partner Richard and I had the exquisite joy of traipsing about Key West for a glorious nine days of fun and sun (and eating). Continue reading Eating Our Way Through Key West – Part 1
With summer approaching, I love making quick and delicious wraps. They are so versatile, from what you put in them to what you choose to wrap them. They get in and out of the kitchen quickly, pack well for a hike or picnic, and are very nutritious and satisfying. Continue reading It’s A Wrap
One of my favorite sandwiches EVER is a Reuben. Having been vegetarian since 1983 and before becoming vegan in 2007, the version I would order at the diner (Heck, I’m from Jersey, so you know that I know all about diners and diner food J) would be a meatless Reuben. I still conjure up visions of the delectable yumminess today, but it’s transformed a bit.
When I think of Reubens now, thoughts immediately go to The Chicago Diner, located in the Windy City. I have visited Chicago at least five times; and each time, it is an absolute necessity to eat there. The problem is, I have a hard time ordering anything but their Radical Reuben (but admittedly I typically order the Reuben and then some, leaving me in need of a wheelbarrow to be taken out of the joint), which they describe as “corned beef seitan, grilled onions, peppers, sauerkraut, vegan thousand island & cheese, on marbled rye”. Trust me, their description does not even begin to do it justice.
But, I don’t live anywhere close to Chicago; so I’ve had to come up with my own version, which has a couple of twists and turns…all good.
It starts with the best fresh-baked marbled rye bread that I can find. You can have it pre-sliced; but I prefer to slice it fresh myself. Plus, that way, I get to slice it a wee bit thicker than their slicing machines. If you are going to serve your Reuben open-faced, my favorite way to do so, toast the bread. Or better yet, slather it with some vegan creamy butter spread, and grill it on both sides.
I’ve made my own corned beef seitan; and admittedly, it’s quite yummy. However, I don’t always want to take the time it takes to make it homemade. Ah, but alas, today there is Field Roast Wild Mushroom or Smoked Tomato Deli Slices, quite a lovely swap out, if I can so. They work well in this sandwich. If you used a griddle to toast/grill the bread, warm up the deli slices as well, then layer them on top of your freshly-toasted/grilled rye bread.
For the cheese, it would definitely be Field Roast’s Chao cheese. It’s a revelation. However, that being said, I also love making homemade cheeses riffing on Miyoko Skinner’s recipes in her book, Artisan Vegan Cheese. Top your deli slices with the vegan cheese.
One of my newest favorite foods to make homemade in sauerkraut. It couldn’t be easier; and if you like kneading bread doughs (which I do), this will be right up your alley. For my version, I use red cabbage. You could use a mandolin or grater, but I prefer my trusty Shun Santoku knife. I cut the cabbage in quarters, then working from the opposite end of the core that remains in the quarter, I thinly slice the cabbage. When I get to the core, I simply work the knife around the core, getting all the cabbage leaf shreds available, then compost the remaining core. Put the shredded cabbage in a very large bowl, and sprinkle a small amount of Himalayan pink sea salt over it (for a very large head of cabbage, I use between 2 teaspoons and a tablespoon, definitely not more than that). Proceed to kneed/massage the salt into the cabbage until it begins to exude its liquid, then kneed/massage even more. At the point when the liquid begins to show itself, sprinkle between 1-2 teaspoons caraway seeds into the pool. When you think you simply can’t massage any more, walk away for a few minutes. Have a glass of wine or a cup of tea, then go back and massage a wee bit more. The cabbage should start to wilt slightly and you should have a surprising about of liquid. Pack the cabbage into a very clean glass mason jar, or similar, ensuring that you are releasing all the air bubbles out of the cabbage as you pack it in. Once you have all cabbage in the jar, add the cabbage juice, and pack again, ensuring that you remove any air bubbles. If you don’t have enough liquid to cover the cabbage, add water to cover the cabbage. I put a layer of waxed paper over the cabbage and then weight it down, ensuring that all the cabbage is covered. I’ve actually just added water to a smaller jar that will loosely fit inside the mouth of the jar. Put in a cool, dark place; and cover with a clean towel. Let it stay there for at least 5-7 days. It will begin to take on the aroma of sauerkraut; and when it does, viola! You have sauerkraut. Remove the towel and weight, put the lid on the jar, and refrigerate. Since it is fermented, the sauerkraut will last about two weeks in the refrigerator; but let’s be honest here, with the anticipation of eating a Reuben, doubtful it will hang around that long.
Speaking of Reuben, let’s get back to it. Now that you have your rye bread stacked with deli slices and cheese, go ahead and top it with sauerkraut that you’ve warmed. Be generous. You can never have too much sauerkraut!
For the Russian dressing, I make my own mixture of ketchup, a touch of sriracha, capers, and minced sweet gherkins. With the addition of capers, skip the salt. Make it your own here. I tend to like mine with the hint of heat from the sriracha as a nice juxtaposition to the sweetness of the pickle. Either way, you don’t want to skimp here either. Be munificent with the dressing.
Since you’re making the dressing, make a lot so you have enough to dunk your side dish of air-fried French fries.
And like The Chicago Diner, what should you be serving with as your beverage with your Reuben and fries? Well, a shake, of course! This is no time for being bashful; and after all, you air-fried the French fries. So no guilt! Make your best vegan milkshake. Since the flavors will be bouncing with the Reuben, I’d suggest going with your standard go-to’s of either Vanilla or Chocolate. Easy breezy. Just scoop some of your favorite vegan ice cream into a blender, add some extra vanilla or chocolate, some vegan milk, and whiz it up! Serve in a tall glass with a straw!
It might not be The Chicago Diner, but I’m already salivating. Gotta run! Kitchen is calling—on the menu tonight—Reuben, of course!
*An important aspect of sharing original recipes is to give proper credit to the author(s) of the recipe(s). I hope that you enjoy using these recipes and making them your own; but please do so with that integrity in mind. With much gratitude. Linda
When I bought my home just outside of Sedona, Arizona, I was thrilled that I had rocks instead of grass. Living in the desert, landscaping that required irrigation was of no interest to me, both environmentally and in terms of the time commitment. No grass! WoooHoo!
Ah, but I didn’t realize how little soil, if seemingly any, weeds need to grow here in this arid climate. It seems they pop up literally overnight! Go away for several days, and the property seems almost overrun with those pesky weeds.
I refuse to use chemicals, and I can tell you that the task of pulling weeds is excruciatingly daunting, to say the least. Well, considering the fact that it is more my partner, Richard, rather than me with whom this task befalls more frequently than not, I suppose I ought not to be whining quite so much.
So, regardless of who is performing the task, it is not sustainable, especially when we moved out here to be outdoors, but we were thinking more like hiking/walking, etc. Well, gardening, too; but that’s different, and another story for another day.
After last summer, we were both dreading the arrival of the weeds this season. And lo and behold, I got to talking to one of the local landscapers, who told me he refuses to use chemicals, not only because of the environment but also because of his own health and wellbeing. He was kind enough to share his recipe with me. Honest, it works! It might take a day or two for the stubborn, sturdy weeds to bow out; but they do and will. Never fails.
- Pour one gallon of white vinegar into a bucket. Everyday 5-percent household white vinegar is fine for this weed killer. Costco trip proved fruitful…under $7 for two one-gallon bottles of white distilled vinegar. You won’t need higher, more expensive concentrations such as 10 or 20 percent. It may take two or three days longer to kill the weeds with the lower concentration, but they will die.
- Add one cup of table salt. Costco again, for the mega-sized bag for under $3. It will last a couple of seasons. Stir the solution with a long-handled spoon until all the salt dissolves completely.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap. This will act as a surfactant and make the vinegar and salt solution adhere to the weeds more efficiently. Blend thoroughly.
- Funnel the weed killer into a plastic spray bottle. We took the plunge here and actually purchased a pump sprayer that holds the entire gallon mixture and has a handle sprayer. Sure made this job easy to simply walk around the property, aim, and spray. No bending, no pulling, no carpal tunnel pain from pumping the hand-held spray bottles. Well worth the $15 investment.
- Drench the weeds with the solution on a dry, sunny day. Coat all surfaces well with the spray. Any plants soaked with this solution will die within several days. They won’t be back and nothing else will ever grow there.
- Store sprayer in a cool, dark spot indefinitely.
- Depending on where you live and how wet/dry it is, do your walk-about on regular intervals to keep yard weed-free. Here is the Verde Valley since we have not approached the monsoon season yet, once weekly suffices. Once we hit the rainy season; however, I’m sure we’ll need to do it more frequently.
- Don’t forget to admire how lovely your yard looks and remains.