Archive for the ‘Article’

2011 Veggin’ Vegetarian Year in Review

December 30, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Article, Recipe

This year got off to a rocky start due to a mending arm after a bike accident which meant I spent a little less time in the kitchen. Once I got going, I did hit upon several recipes that are worth profiling here in my 2011 Year in Review.

Without further ado, the winners of the 2011 Veggin’ Awards go to…

Best Retro Entry: 1970′s Adobo Meatballs

We stepped into a time machine when I made these little guys for a disco potluck. They were spicy, delicious, and oh-so-retro paired with the classic cheezball with Ritz. I swear I heard the strains of Stayin’ Alive as we sashayed down the street carrying these plates to our friend’s house.

Best Product(s) Reviewed: Veggie Brothers Vegan Food Delivery

Heck, a giant box filled with dry ice and wonderfully prepared vegan food…what’s not to love? From soups to breakfast pastries, I had a great time eating and reviewing the Veggie Brother products. My toaster oven never had so much fun.

Best Guest Assistant Chefs -  The Cooking with Kids Series: Home-made Corn Dogs, Zippy Ranch Dip, Pizza-rific Lasagna and Zucchini Chippys

I have to say, the judge is a little biased on this one considering I’m the proud Auntie of my twin niece and nephew. It was a lot of fun messing up Nana’s kitchen with flour and goopy batter. Best of all, Nana did the clean up and we did all the eating!

Best Guest Assistant Chefs – Runner Ups: Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali in the Vegetarian Giro d’Italia cooking series.

The summer was filled with a flurry of vegetarian Italian recipes. Some of my favorites included: Gorgonzola Soup and Strozzapreti with a Mushroom Ragu. The stozzpreti entry does bring pause because it was a reflection after a very sad day in cycling.

Best Cycling Series: The Vegetarian Vuelta a Espana

From saffron to tomato soup to monkeys and food poisoning, I covered it all through this special series through Spain. If I had to pick my favorite recipes, I would have to say it was the  artichoke rice cakes with manchego cheese and the potatoes with saffron, almonds and bread crumbs. We ate a lot of cheese and saffron during the month of August.

Best Cycling Related Post – Chilled Soup Category: Chilled Avocado, Tomatillo and Cucumber Soup

Check this post out for a mini-history of California cuisine and a recipe for soup that was so fresh, healthy and unique with the saffron-lime ice as an extra adornment.

Best Guest Post: YoBimbo – Ridiculous Poblano Conglomeration

YoBimbo and her partner are allowed to cook for me whenever they’d like. For an “on the fly” recipe, this was indeed ridiculously good. (Seriously, when are you guys coming over again and feeding us?)

Best Recipe That’s Been Made Again and Again and Again:  Jalapeno and Tomato Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese, yum. Macaroni and cheese with spicy jalapenos and tomatoes? Triple yum. I’ve made this a million times since discovering this recipe. It just that good.

Best Ode to Faux Meat: Black Pepper “Chicken” Curry

Bottom line about fake meat products: It isn’t mean to taste like the meat, it’s meant to be a conveyance device for flavors. This recipe shows just that.

Best Recipe for Strapping to the Back of a Bike and Surviving the Ride to a Pot Luck: Stuffed Calabacitas (Squash Stuffed with Corn, Tomatoes, Green Chiles)

Hands-down, these were one of the best items I made on Veggin’ all year. And, they are sturdy little buggers, too. They lasted a bike ride through some cold and rainy weather, and after a quick visit back in the oven they were devoured in no time flat.

 

 And, there you have it folks, 2011 in the bag. Hope ya’ll have a healthy, happy new year. Stay tuned to what’s going to be an interesting 2012 here on Veggin’!

Talking Tofurky: When Vegetarians Come to Your Thanksgiving Dinner

November 19, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Article

Thanksgiving is a time for family and feasting. In most households, the turkey is the spotlight in the middle of the table. And, when you’ve got a non-meat eater at table, some cooks get thrown into a panic because they have trouble thinking beyond the turkey. I’ve written about it before and I’ve written about it again, but it continues to be one of the most frequent questions I get: I’ve got a vegetarian coming over for dinner, what do I do?

I understand completely, cooking outside your comfort zone can be daunting. To have to whip up new things that are pleasing for a crowd can make anyone anxious. Trust me, the last thing the vegetarian wants to do is make you nervous about serving them or make you have to go through extra work. With just a few small adjustments, considerations and changes you’ll be A-OK. And, you’ll make it through the holiday just fine.

  • Find out early in your planning process what “kind” of vegetarian they are. Some will eat eggs, some will not. You’ll also need to find out if they are a vegan so you can make further adjustments to your cooking. It may seem like a daunting question, but the answer you get will help you focus on what you’ll need to prepare for. It’s basically equivalent to finding out that Uncle Bernie is allergic to walnuts or Grandma is a diabetic.
  • Ask the vegetarian what they like most about the Thanksgiving meal and ask them for their favorite recipes.  I’m sure they’d be glad to share. In fact, if feasible, I bet they’d love to contribute something to the meal. The more non-meat dishes you have on the table the better!
  • Remember that vegetarian and vegan food is edible, interesting and delicious. The other people at the table will also be eating it, as well. I say that because you need to be mindful of portions. As a vegetarian, side dishes for omnivores become our main dishes. That said, try to steer the meat-free dishes first to the vegetarian so that they can get enough on their plate. I’ve gotten worried a couple times when the vegetarian dish rolls around the table and hits me last leaving me to scrape out a couple spoonfuls.
  • Don’t blindly invest in a Tofurky. While they may be a whimsical and fun item, they really are a matter of taste and should not be a substitute for other dishes that would be more appealing. Unless the vegetarian thinks it’s a good idea, just don’t do it. Trust me.
  • I’ve talked about this a lot on Veggin’ but it bares repeating: chicken stock and beef stock are not vegetarian friendly. And, please, don’t try to hide it or pass something off as meat-free when you’ve used it. I’ve been victim of an upset tummy or two because someone swore it was vegetarian but didn’t tell me that chicken stock was used. If the only meat item in your recipe is the broth, you can easily substitute the meat broth for a vegetarian stock. (It’s in the same place you find your meat stock.)

Tofurky: It may seem like an easy and attractive solution...not so.

  • Get creative. Consider doing baked potatoes and provide various toppings that your guests can use including vegan toppings (sour crea, butter) to choices for gravy. Make some corn on the cob and have a choice of unique seasonings. Have a selection of breads and crackers and provide various flavored olive oils for dipping.
  • Many stores now have an organic section. There you’ll find a lot of products labeled vegan or vegetarian – sauces, gravies, ingredients, etc. Use those products for inspiration as many already have recipes on the back.
  • One thing that I like is when my host pulls me into the kitchen and points out (before it goes on the table) what’s meat-free. That way, the host doesn’t have to go through the big announcement and explanation in the middle of the meal. The other guests won’t get distracted, can eat what they want without the interruption of, “Hey, Megabeth! You can eat, this, this and this. But, not this. So sorry!”

In the end, the adjustments you make to your recipes and dishes you serve could be such a hit that you may put them into your regular cooking rotation.

Now that you’ve armed yourself with some tips and tricks, it’s time to check out some Thanksgiving recipes courtesy of Veggin’.

I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

~~~

Veggin’ Recipes Suitable for Thanksgiving

Also, check out my archives for more ideas.

Vegan Gravy: The Best Vegan Cheesy Gravy Recipe Ever

Appetizers

Salads

Side Dishes

Main Dish

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian and Vegan Halloween Tricks and Treats

October 29, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Article, Other

Trick or treat, indeed. Strange weather brewing in the DC area today. Folks are enjoying the Halloween weekend with some early snowfall. I guess I need to head down into the basement to dig out my snowboots. No time to be in the kitchen today, instead I bring to you this Halloween post from my archives with vegan and vegetarian spooky food ideas.

Boo!

Mostly Meat-Free Cyclist Racing in Tour de France

July 01, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Article, Culinary Tour de France

Dave Zabriskie, from Team Garmin-Cervélo, will be racing in the Tour de France for the fifth time.  As a Tour veteran, you can be sure he’s honed a regular routine to get him through three weeks of grueling racing.  This year, though, one essential component of that plan is going to be a lot different. He will be fueled primarily through a vegan diet – a diet unheard of in a carnivorous sport focused on refueling the thousands of calories lost each day.

In case you are not familiar with it, the Tour de France is an incredibly demanding 21-day stage race that covers 3400+ miles. Cyclists are asked to ride these long miles, often up steep terrain, always sustaining fast speeds under their own propulsion. These athletes can burn over 8,000 calories a day during the race, which requires close attention to ensuring the racers are fueled appropriately. If you’ve ever sat at a table with a cyclist in training, they practically devour everything in sight in an effort to replenish the lost calories.

During the 2010 Tour de France, Zabriskie began weaning meat out of his diet. By October of last year, he was eating a primarily vegan diet eliminating all dairy (yet eating some fish on the advice of his trainer). So far, the mostly vegan diet has been treating him quite well. He has been motivated by the health benefits finding that some of his previous ailments have cleared up. Last month he decidedly won the US national time trial championship and he won a stage at the Tour of California.

Keep in mind, his role in Le Tour is to support another rider, so you probably won’t see him in the yellow jersey. Zabriskie’s job is to support the team leader. But, the amount of effort he’s going to be putting into the race is equal to the top performers.

Interested in what Zabriskie is going to be eating? The Wall Street Journal gives a pretty in-depth look at what Zabriskie typically eats including a menu for a typical race day:

Breakfast:

Oatmeal with black strap molasses; whole food optimizer; cacao nibs; nuts; cinnamon; two tablespoons of coconut butter; an apple; hemp seeds and flax seeds

On-the-Bike Snacks:

Six Clif Bar Z bars (vegan); two Clif Bar shot blocks (vegan); two Clif Bar gels (vegan); dates; six to eight bottles of special team race drink

On the Bus, Post-Race:

White rice with maple syrup and cinnamon; vegan protein shake;

two bottles of special team recovery protein drink; goji berries

Before Dinner:

Vegan protein shake

Dinner:

White rice or pasta; salad with leafy greens; vegetables —including broccoli, spinach, carrots and beets.

Dessert:

Fresh fruit and a vegan protein shake before bed

Many news organizations are attempting to grab the headline by calling Zabriskie a “vegan” but then later in the story they then talk about how he still eats fish. One can argue that one is not a vegan if one eats fish. So, let’s cut this off right here: Rather than getting caught up in the labels, we should be focused on what he is doing by practically eliminating animal products from his diet and enjoying the benefits in both his health and performance

Photo by Mark Blacknell.


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