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Linda's Latest Blog Posts

Summer’s garden bounty — zucchini, zucchini, zucchini everywhere.

Ciambotta (Italian vegetable stew, pronounced JumBaut), air-fried breaded zucchini frites, zucchini frittata. I could go on and on… But, it wouldn’t be garden zucchini if I didn’t include a zucchini bread, now would it :-)!

My version is a bit atypical, but I think you’ll really like it.

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As you might remember from other blog posts, my love affair with all things culinary began with the premiere of “The French Chef” in 1963, when I was six years old. Between growing up with Julia and my maternal Grandma Mary, I found inspiration in the kitchen.

So, it is only befitting that in keeping with the name of my blog, Veganification, what better recipe to veganify than the recipe that started it all when Judith Jones, the editor at Alfred A. Knopf, prepared Boeuf Bourguignon following Julia Child’s detailed instructions from the cookbook manuscript. Ms. Jones was immediately convinced that the manuscript in her hands was destined to be a surefire hit in the kitchens of not only American housewives but home cooks throughout the world. The rest is history, as they say…

Unfortunately, I don’t have the first edition, which was printed in 1961. Alas, I have a 2009 edition; however, the recipe remains the same. (Sidenote: If you ever come across a 1961 1st edition, let me know.)

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I absolutely adore Brussel Sprouts, those tiny little cabbages. Historically, I’ve been roasting them in the oven with just a sprinkling of olive oil and fresh garlic. With the advent of the air fryer, that became my new, go-to method…that is, until I came up with this recipe for the InstantPot.

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Besides not seeing my family and Jersey girl(friends) as often as I did when I lived in New Jersey, top on my list of what I miss are the wonderful vegan dining experiences so readily available in Manhattan and Philadelphia. I know what you might be thinking, that living in Sedona I have the Phoenix metropolitan area nearby, which has a plethora of restaurants that cater to the veg community. While, yes, that’s true, I’ve tried all of them. Many times, in fact. However, I sadly have to admit that I am underwhelmed and unimpressed with them. What I wouldn’t do to have a Vedge, or Millenium, or Candle, or the newer kid-on-the-block, Delice and Sarrasin within my local community!

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Summer vacation arrived for Richard and I on June 20. This was not going to be any ordinary vacation. We had several destinations on tap, starting with Manhattan, then to Woodstock (where The Aquarian Exposition, aka Woodstock, did not actually take place), then to Bethel Woods Center For the Arts (where is 1969 Woodstock Festival did take place, about 67 miles southwest of Woodstock), then off to Washington State to visit two of Richard’s three adult children. All in all, we were going to be away for a total of 20 days. And so it began…..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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About Linda Voorhis

I’ve always had a love for cooking and read cookbooks and cooking magazines the way other people read books. They inspire me to create my own recipes and have taught me the ‘science’ of cooking, most especially baking.

Julia Child (definitely nothing veg about her, but probably the greatest skills technician) and my maternal Italian grandmother, Mary, were my first mentors. With the advent of the celebrity chef and abundance of television cooking shows, inspiration continued to be placed before me. Food, its preparation with love, and the creativity it sparks within me, became a passion of mine.

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