Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Vegetarian Cookout

I read a tweet from (@blisstreedotcom) this week about 10 veggie burger recipes for vegetarian grilling. There are few that I plan on trying but I started with one that wasn't part of the 10; it was a related recipe on I made a half batch for Memorial Day (I can freeze some for later) and I might never buy "veggie burgers" at the store again.

My version

Ultimate Veggie Burger (chickpea-based):

2 1/2 C. sprouted garbanzo beans (chickpeas) OR canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
4 large eggs
1/2 t. fine-grain sea salt
1/3 C. chopped fresh cilantro
1 onion, chopped
Grated zest of one large lemon
1 C. micro sprouts, chopped (try broccoli, onion or alfalfa sprouts - optional)
1 C. toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)

Combine garbanzo beans, eggs and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. Form into 12 1 1/2-inch-thick patties. Add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add four patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.

*** Find the recipe here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Life As a Cat Owner

I own two cats. Or two cats own me.

The first was a birthday gift; the second was a friend for the first, the birthday gift.

I like having pets, and I like cats because you can leave them on their own for a couple days and they are self-sufficient. I just need to find a cat sitter to stop by every other day to check on them.

BUT, recently my lovely Siamese has taken to not using his litter box, or rather using the living room corner as his second litter box. Not cool, buddy, not cool.

I think it started because I tried to change to a more Earth friendly litter, something biodegradable. He wasn't having it, I guess, and started his nasty habit.

So I changed back to the old litter. And he started going in his box -- but not all the time. He still liked his corner, no matter how hard I scrubbed or what distractions I put there.

There was the chance that he'd developed a urinary tract infection (gross, yes) but the vet checked him out and nope, that wasn't it. So we have a behavioral problem on our hands.

All that to say, the vet suggested that I check out The Indoor Pet Initiative from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Find the section on cats here. It's very helpful.

Another Giveaway....

I found another vegan giveaway online...with lots of free stuff!

Check it out here: Vegan Heartland

I feel a random win coming on!

Sausage Cheddar Quiche

I had some Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage that I needed to use. And quiche sounded really good. This recipe turned out really well -- delicious!

Sausage Cheddar Quiche

3-1/2 oz. Gimme Lean Sausage (1/4 of one package)
1 pie crust, 9-inch (my crust recipe below)
2 C. whole milk (or unsweetened almond milk)
3 eggs
1/4 C. onion (half small onion)
1/4 C. Cheddar cheese (I used Veggie Slices grated cheddar)
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1 salsa, optional

Bake pie crust according to the package directions and set aside (or make my recipe). Sauté sausage and onions in cooking oil or spray, then transfer to cooled pie shell. Sprinkle cheese over sausage and onions. Beat milk and eggs, add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix together and pour over sausage, onions and cheese.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Homemade Crust:

2 C. flour
4 oz. butter/margarine, chopped (I use EarthBalance)
2-3 T. water

Mix by hand or in a food processor the flour and butter, adding water to make a dough. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. The dough will be crumbly. Place dough between pastry paper or plastic wrap and roll out with rolling pin to fit 8- or 9-inch tart pan. Bake in 350-degre oven for 15 minutes. Let cool.

***Find the Lightlife recipe here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lightlife Giveaway

In my lifestyle as a vegetarian, I have taken to a line of products that are both handy and delicious: Lightlife. I tend to buy their tempeh and their "beef" and "sausage" products but have recently discovered their "pepperoni": perfect for a pizza or with cheese on crackers.

Via Twitter, I found out about a giveaway through this blog: My Little Artichoke.

There, now I have another entry.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Guacamole Salad

While in Winthrop, WA, we had a wonderful chef, Jo. They made this salad for lunch one day. So easy and so delicious, just plain straight out of the bowl or as a dip with tortilla chips. I had it for a subsequent meal or two as the crowd's only vegetarian.

Guacamole Salad:


1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1/2 cup dry black beans, soaked and cooked)
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
2 T. mince jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 small peppers)
1/2 t. freshly grated lime zest
1/4 C. freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 C. olive oil
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. minced garlic
1/4 t. ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and 1/2-inch diced


Add the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers and lime zest to a large bowl. Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well. Just before you serve the salad, fold in the avocados. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

***I'm not completely sure where the recipe came from since it was a photocopy given to me. But it is from a book and I see "Barefoot Contessa" in the introduction paragraph to the recipe.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My first time to Seattle

With all the traveling I do, it's hard to believe that I've never been to Seattle. I think I've visited or passed through every other notable large city in America (except Philadelphia and New Orleans are still on the list). But Seattle, I had yet to get there until this past week. Now I didn't get to see much of it but I got a taste and that taste will draw me back (hopefully soon!).

I flew out with some radio folks and friends from Centricity Music for a radio event in Winthrop, WA. We had the opportunity to retreat to the mountains for a few days to hear new music from downhere, Jason Gray and Aaron Shust. A fun time in a breaktaking environment.

We flew back into Seattle from Winthrop on Thursday and were not scheduled to fly back to Nashville until Friday. So Thursday afternoon/evening we had the chance to drive into downtown for lunch and to look around a bit.

I guess when you only have a few hours and you've never been to Seattle before, it seems best to hit the Pike Place Market. Seems like the one touristy thing to do. So we did.

Pike Place Market
We ventured down for lunch and landed at the Athenian Inn at Pike Place. My friend Jen thought it was the place where they filmed the scene with Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner for Sleepless in Seattle. She was right. When you walk in the door to the host stand, there to the right are the counter and stools and the two stools on the corner are marked with plaques. And yes, I did snap a picture on my phone.

It says, "Tom Hanks Sat Here / Sleepless in Seattle."
My vegetarian eats there: The veggie sandwich with hummus, avocado, lettuce, tomato and sprouts on toasted wheat bread.

After lunch, we just wandered through the market. We saw the fish counter where they throw the fish. It was a fish being thrown -- mildly entertaining.

Then of course, we had to stop by the Pike Place Starbucks. It was a pilgrimage of sorts for this former Starbucks barista. It wasn't much to look at and the coffee tasted the same but if you're there, you gotta go.

Ta-dah! First Starbucks Store
They have a system here. One barista forms a line near the door and directs customers to open cash stations to place orders and pay. Then you wait at the bar for your drink. All the mugs and such on the shelves are for display only; to purchase you point at the one you want from a sheet at the register and they have them boxed up in back already waiting for you. There are no tables here; you don't hang out. You come in, get your drink and/or your souvenir, and you continue on your way. Even though the traffic must be something fierce while you're open, at least you don't have a front of house to clean and customers to kick out at closing time every day. And no drive thru. I'd take that.

So that was my first trip to Seattle. I texted my friend Leslie, "Why have we not come here together?" Neither of us had an answer. Some day, soon hopefully.

Mujaddarah -- Or Spiced Lentils and Rice

 I found this recipe via Epicurious. It just sounded easy and good. And it was both!

Mujaddarah (spiced lentils and rice):


¼ c olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 t cumin seeds
Sea salt
1 ⅓ c dried green lentils
2 bay leaves
¾ c basmati rice
Leaves from a small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped


Heat the oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions, cumin, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 8–10 minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden brown. Remove from heat.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add lentils and bay leaves, reduce the heat to a medium simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Add rice and stir; cook for 15–20 minutes, until both the lentils and rice are tender. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in half of the onion mixture and the cilantro. Return the pan with the remaining onion mixture to high heat and cook until dark golden brown and crispy. Spoon the crispy onion mixture over the lentils, and serve hot.

***I used quinoa instead of rice, because I didn't have any rice on hand. And I used cumin powder instead of cumin seeds, again because I didn't have the seeds on hand. Still good!