Archive for the ‘Other’

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.


Vuelta a España: Herb and Garlic Broth

August 26, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Other, Recipe, Vegetarian Vuelta a España

This post is sort of a conglomeration of various cycling things, recipes, and stories. You see, at the same time as the running of the Vuelta a España is the first running of the US Pro Cycling Challenge over in Colorado.

Tommy Danielson is a US Pro Cycling Challenge race favorite (no, really this time!), but he was quite under the weather due to some food poisoning the night before the individual time trial. During the coverage on Versus today, Tommy D described how he threw up all night long and had to crawl down the hallway in his underwear to the team doctor around 3 a.m.. He did not feel better until 5 a.m., but still managed to make it on the bike and only lost a few seconds to the leaders. Not a bad performance.

Tom Danielson feeling a lot better at the 2009 Tour of California.

I feel Tommy D’s pain, as I’ve struggled with food poisoning before. You see, we spent a beautiful few days in Seville, Spain, rented a car, and drove down to Gibraltar. About 10 miles into the journey, I started feeling queasy. A few miles later I knew I was sick. Then, after a few bouts of having to stop by the side of the road, I realized it was more than sick – I had some sort of food poisoning. We would go down the highway for a little bit, then have to stop, then go for a little bit, then have to stop.

Scenery along the way to Gibraltar…

Sadly, I lost an entire day of eating fine Spanish cuisine and could only choke down a can of Coke and a couple digestive biscuits.

In-House Taste tester had the presence of mind to capture my food poisoning moments on film… 

Fear not, by the time I made it to Gibraltar, I was feeling much better and managed to have a beer or two. (I opted for the beer rather than attempting to do an individual time trial like Tommy D. Better to leave that to the pros…)

When one is sick, you’re told to make sure you get plenty of fluids so here we go with another soup. This recipe for garlic soup is from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Our buddy Deborah cites this recipe as “good for colds and hangovers”. Excellent. Not sure about soothing the aftermath of food poisoning, but it does make a flavorful broth that enhances any recipe including the Spanish Potatoes with Saffron, Almonds, and Bread Crumbs featured previously on the Vegetarian Vuelta a Espana.

Herb and Garlic Soup
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison (See my review of this cookbook.)

Featured Recipes

  • 2 heads garlic, as fresh and firm as possible
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 6 large sage leaves or 2 teaspoons died
  • 6 thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 10 parsley branches
  • 2 teaspoons salt


Separate the garlic cloves by pressing down on the heads. Remove most of the papery skins, then smash the cloves with the flat side of the knife to open them up.
Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the tomato paste, and fry over medium heat for about a minute. Add the garlic, remaining ingredients, and 2 quarts water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the garlic cloves are soft, about 45 minutes.

Strain. Press the garlic through the strainer with the back of a spoon into the broth or press it into a dish and use for another purpose.

I only took one picture of the final broth. To make it up to my Veggin’ fans, here’s a picture of two Gibraltar monkeys.

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Vuelta a España: Salmorejo (Cold Tomato Soup)

August 24, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Other, Vegetarian Vuelta a España

Featured Recipes

Thursday’s Vuelta a España stage brings us to a finish line in Córdoba. Córdoba is a beautiful town featuring lots of gorgeous architecture and a very fascinating history. It is also the birthplace of the soup known as Salmorejo (or “rabbit sauce”). But, I get ahead of myself, let me tell you a little Megabeth and In-House Taste Tester story…

During our visit to Spain few years ago, we had planned ahead and had all our hotel rooms booked except for our night in Córdoba. “No worries, we’ll find a place when we get there…” or so we thought. Turns out we were there on the same day as the Immaculada Concepcion. Apparently, folks head into Cordoba to celebrate, so, basically every hotel, B&B, motel, inn and manger were at and beyond capacity.

Mezquita-Catedral (The Great Mosque in Córdoba)

After searching for quite a bit, we finally found a woman who knew a woman who knew a woman who had a room for us to sleep in. We somehow managed to secure this room with our minimal grasp of the Spanish language and her non-existent knowledge of English. She was a kind old lady, inviting us to mass the next morning but we had to decline as we had an early morning train we needed to catch. We settled into a very tiny room with two very tiny rickety twin beds. Then, we realized, after we were lead upstairs to our room she promptly walked downstairs and locked us in for the night. (We think there was another boarder on the same floor as us but were a little too nervous to go out and meet him.) Don’t get me wrong, we were grateful for the room but we definitely had one of those, “What did we just get ourselves into?” moments.

Too bad we didn’t think ahead and smuggle in some of this tomato soup as the flavors are comforting and the bread blended in makes it oh so filling. If we had some of this soup, we probably would have had a better night’s sleep. (But, hey, beggars can’t be choosers, and, for those that were wondering, we did find the door unlocked in the morning…)

Outside the place that had the two rickety twin beds…

There seem to be as many versions of this recipe as there are celebrants in Córdoba on Immaculada Concepcion.  It’s traditionally served with serrano ham* and hard boiled eggs. But, I decided to turn it up a notch and go vegan with my interpretation of this recipe. Sure you can have gazpacho, but if you’re really hungry and want food NOW then check out this salmorejo.

*eating ham seems to be the national pastime of Spain.

By Megabeth

  • 1/4 of a loaf of a loaf of crispy stick/baguette bread
  • 6 – 8 medium, ripe tomatoes, chopped into large pieces
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons Spanish olive oil
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt

Tear bread into small pieces and place in bowl. Drizzle some water over the bread and leave it to soften a bit.

Throw tomatoes, oil, vinegar, garlic and salt in blender. Blend a bit until almost smooth.

Squeeze excess moisture out of bread and throw in blender with rest of the ingredients.

Blend it up until creamy. Serve cold.

Tour of California: Green Goddess Dressing

May 17, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Other, Salads, Vegetarian Tour of California

Vegetarian Tour of CaliforniaSo, the Tour of California certainly got off to an interesting start (or, rather, non-start? or, perhaps a stutter start?) For this next recipe featuring California cuisine, I take us to the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. In 1923, the English actor George Arliss was staying at the Palace Hotel. The chef was inspired to create a recipe in his honor and serve a meal to the actors in the play. He whipped up a salad dressing featuring anchovies, mayonnaise, vinegar, green onion, garlic, parsley, tarragon and chives. And, he named it after the play Arliss was starring in – The Green Goddess.


The Green Goddess, the play, involves a convoluted story of jealousy with Arliss playing a Raja infatuated by one of three survivors of a plane crash that landed in his, fictional, kingdom. Unfortunately, the woman, Lucilla, is married to another survivor. Hilarity ensues. (Hostages! Kidnapped children! Sacrifice!) Lucilla is eventually killed by a bomb leaving the Raja to end the story consoling himself with the line: ““She’d probably have been a damned nuisance.” (Why this was left off of the Top 100 Movie Quotes, I’ll never know.)

greengoddess_1930This dressing is still served at the Palace Hotel, and is known around the world, meanwhile, the play and the subsequent movie are pretty much all but forgotten.

Since we’ve got two cycling races going on now, we really don’t need to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. This is an easy recipe that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. I took the original recipe and adapted it a bit to fit the vegetarian or vegan taste. Capers are substituted for anchovies and the mayonnaise is cut with a little Greek yogurt. (Although, this recipe would work nicely with just the Greek yogurt if you find the taste of mayo overwhelming.)

Vegetarian Green Goddess Dressing
by Megabeth

1 cup fat-free mayonnaise (or vegan mayo)
1 cup fat-free greek yogurt
2 teaspoons chopped capers
1 green onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped chives
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
!/4 teaspoon dried OR 1 teaspoon cut, fresh tarragon

Throw it all in a blender.

Blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before using.


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