Monday, May 20, 2013
On May 20, 1899 taxicab driver Jacob German was arrested for doing 12 mph down Lexington Ave., 4 mph over the speed limit in New York City. No ticket for dear Jacob, but imprisonment! I wonder how long he had to sit in a cell for.
An even stranger and sadder fact is that Jacob and 90% of the other cabbies drove electric vehicles. I mean, sad because it hasn't been the case in so long.
I got the details of this story, as well as good information about the effects of alcohol consumption on brain function (it doesn't kill brain cells!), from TodayIFoundOut.com, which I just found out existed today.
prep. time: 1 hour
1 c. short grain brown rice
1 c. red lentils
3 small yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 small yellow potatoes, cubed
2 serrano chiles, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
collard greens, torn
1. Simmer a pot of your favorite kind of rice.
2. Sauté onions, garlic, and chiles in a medium-sized pot for a few minutes.
3. Add water and lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and seasoning. Cook until potatoes are tender and lentils break down. Continue to cook until desired thickness is attained.
4. Sauté collard greens in a pan. Salt lightly.
Friday, April 19, 2013
On this day in 1993, exactly 20 years before the BPD take Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, into custody, 76 people died in a fire at the Mount Carmel Center in Waco, Texas after a 51-day siege following a bloodthirsty, foolhardy raid by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Luckily, this time law enforcement resisted the temptations of brutality and vigilantism. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is merely a suspect, a fact some seem to have forgotten, along with all sense of compassion or mercy. Not the most cooperative suspect, it has to be admitted, but it would have been a disgrace had the police scratched itchy trigger fingers.
ما شاء الله
God bless the dead and wounded of Monday, as well as those of Wednesday when a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas.
serves: 1 or 2
prep. time: approx. 20 mins.
1 white onion, diced
4 collard leaves, sliced
4 large shiitake mushrooms, chopped
4 rounds of polenta
coarse-ground black pepper
1. Sauté the onion over medium-high heat. When it starts to go translucent, throw in collards and mushrooms, as well as seasoning. Lower heat to medium.
2. When things are fairly well along, pour oil into a pan and heat polenta.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant working in New York as a cook. She was also an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever. She didn't wash her hands before preparing food, so unsurprisingly her employers got sick. At that point she would vanish and find work elsewhere. When a doctor tracked her down, she refused to admit the possibility that she was infected and responsible for infecting others. She was quarantined for three years, then was released on condition that she would find a different line of work and start washing her hands. She did neither thing, infected more people, and was quarantined a second time, on March 27, 1915. She lived her last 33 years in confinement.
Please, wash your hands before cooking.
prep. time: approx. 30 mins.
3 small leek, chopped
1 large handful of Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped (I know it seems weird, but it kind of works!)
1 can of pinto beans
1. Sauté leek and mushrooms on a pot over medium-high heat.
2. When it starts to smell good, add potato and enough water to cover it all. Toss in seasoning, but not too much.
3. Add cucumber and beans toward the end. You want the cucumber to get soft but not too soft.
4. Stir in miso paste after you turn off the heat and the water's no longer boiling.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
At the end of the week I'll be selecting the recipient of a free copy of Veganissimo A to Z. Will I have to select a ghost or other supernatural entity? You decide!
I've been totally winging amounts of things when I cook, so unfortunately I can't provide any measurement guidelines.
prep. time: approx. 40 mins.
sweet brown rice
half a large eggplant, peeled and cubed
half a clove of garlic, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
1. Simmer the rice until tender.
2. Sauté the eggplant in oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. When it starts to brown, add garlic.
3. After a couple of minutes, add lentils, water, and seasonings.
4. When the dal starts to thicken, add the tomato. I like it to get soft but not totally disintegrate.
That's all, friends! ♥
Thursday, March 7, 2013
[Contest update: I misused the word "flaunt" at the end of my last post. If you comment on this post with the word I should have used—I still can't think of what it is—I'll consider that a bid for the book. Unless the situation undergoes a rapid alteration, you'll practically be a shoe-in.]
A slew of notable events and births and deaths fall on March 6, but the one that struck me hardest tonight was that on this day in 1967, Stalin's only daughter defected to the U.S., one year after her would-have-been husband, Brajesh Singh, died. Judging by her Wikipedia entry, Alliluyeva had a tumultuous, eventful, less-than-happy life. Sounds like she might not have found what she was looking for after Singh's death. May we not all be unlucky.
Давайте выпьем за то, чтобы мы испытали столько горя, сколько капель вина останется в наших бокалах!
prep. time: 30 mins.
green onion, chopped
2 jalapeños, diced
1 lime, juiced
two spoonfuls of miso
1. Simmer the lentils in a pot of water. (Use a big pot. Mine was too small,which is why my soup turned out too crowded.)
2. Add the jalapeños and coriander after 10 mins. or so.
3. Add the spinach, onion, and basil 5 mins. or so before the lentils are tender.
4. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice and miso.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
The kind people at The Experiment recently mailed me two copies of their new resource book, Veganissimo A to Z: A Comprehensive Guide to Identifying and Avoiding Ingredients of Animal Origin in Everyday Products, one to review and one to send to someone else! First, the review:
This book will be undeniably helpful for anyone concerned with where their food comes from, vegans most of all. It has instantly replaced my old guide, which I bought in London three years ago, AK Press's Animal Ingredients A to Z. It's sort of weird that Veganissimo uses the same "A to Z" trope, especially since the first edition of the EG Smith Collective's work and the first German edition of Proctor and Thomsen's work both came out in 1995. (I wouldn't want to guess whether they've ripped off the device or whether they've never heard of or read Animal Ingredients or what.) Titles aside, Animal Ingredients has the advantage of a preface by Carol J. Adams, but it pales in comparison to the scope of the research evident in Veganissimo.
Other positive comments: I like the design and typography. Plus, I didn't catch any typos!
On to the problems! My first gripe is with the title, actually. It makes me sort of uncomfortable that there's this fake dictionary entry for the word "veganissimo" at the top, complete with pronunciation guide. How is the first definition (of two) a noun?! "Grrrl, you're a veganissimo." No, I can't imagine anyone ever saying that. It's a turn-off to be told that the book is designed for vegans of "the highest possible standard." People will use it according to their desires and capacities and circumstances, and it's a shame to think they might be dissuaded to some degree from the jump by the prospect of failing to attain to "veganissimo" status. Of course, the authors say no such garbage in the introduction or anywhere else in the main text, but a cover's a cover and we should judge it.
Major issue number two has to do with the Key to the Icons. Each ingredient heading is flanked by an icon or icons that denote whether that ingredient derives from a vegetable, animal, synthetic, mineral, or microbiological source. Each icon comes in two colors, orange and gray. Orange denotes "always or often," whereas gray denotes "sometimes or rarely." Here's the kicker: almost all the entries come with a bull head, because the guide is designed to help you avoid animal ingredients, but many of those bull heads are paired with other icons, some of the same color! This is harder to explain in words than to understand by glancing at an arbitrary page, but here goes. How is it logically possible for the source of Ammonium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, for instance, to be always or often animal, always or often vegetable, AND always or often synthetic? It's not possible! (Or else I have a different notion of "often" than do the authors.) This probably won't bother some or many or most or few or a number of people, but it bothers me, not just because it's imprecise but because it's confusing. However impressive all those little icons look, the only information you can glean from them is whether you have to avoid something outright, worry about it, or whether you can eat it without hesitation. To that end, I'd like to see the next edition organize the ingredients list completely differently. One section should include all animal ingredients that are always animal-derived. Another section should include all ingredients that come from more than one source, in which case you'll have to contact the company if you want to sleep soundly. The final section should include all the ingredients that aren't animal derived but deserve mention for various reasons, whether because a vegetable-derived ingredient could be confused with a more common animal-derived ingredient or because an ingredient is made out of petroleum or yeast. There's a lot of valuable information in this book, and I trust that the authors have good reason for including every item they've included, but they need to revise the structure of the book.
Okay, that said, if you're vegan or vegan-leaning and you don't already have a solid guide to the numerous esoteric, arcane substances that pepper the packaging on packaged food goods in this country, you should totally enter the following contest and win a copy!
Here's the deal, then. For the next two weeks I encourage anyone and everyone interested to submit a comment. At 1:00 PM on Friday, March 15, I'll pick my favorite and ask the winner for their mailing address so that I can send them a copy of Veganissimo A to Z free of charge. The catch is that you can't leave any old comment (e.g., "Give it to meeeee"). In order to qualify for consideration, you'll have to write me either 1. an anagram poem (I recommend this generator); 2. a short anecdote or fable (or proverb?!); or 3. a charm, spell, prayer, or other incantation. If you flaunt the rules you better flaunt hard.
If you need some inspiring music to bob along to while you write your way to a slightly heavier bookshelf, you should probably listen to something other than the album I just released.
Monday, February 25, 2013
George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943. He would have been 70 today if he hadn't died from lung cancer. Harrison was a Hindu and became a vegetarian in the late 1960s. Bless him! It's funny to think of him now on top of cloud rather than stuck inside one.
Jaaska isn't George Harrison, but s/he makes music that clears away the clouds. Well, only the ones that George Harrison isn't floating on.
prep. time: 40 mins.
sweet brown rice
1 lb. firm tofu, cubed
2 broccoli heads, chopped
6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
two small vine tomatoes, chopped
1. Pour some rice in a pot. Pour water over the rice. Simmer for approx. 40 mins.
2. Pour some oil in a large pan. Cook tofu over medium heat for 20 mins.
3. Lower heat a bit and add broccoli and soy sauce and seasonings. After 5 mins., add mushrooms.
4. Add tomatoes 5 mins. before the rice is done.
I reviewed an incredible film, Bestiaire, a documentary about the Quebecois zoo amusement park Parc Safari.
On Wednesday, I'm going to announce a contest!