Tuesday, March 13, 2012

feeling spring

Wow, it's so nice that it's starting to feel like spring here. Already there has been more playing outside, more productivity, and more smiles (from everyone.)

Tonight's dinner: Feeling Spring Bowl
Start with coconut oil in a cast iron pan.
 add onions, kale. saute.
 add thin strips of burdock root, daikon radish, and carrots
 add tamari, cumin, cayenne, pepper, black sesame seeds
throw in leftover cooked grain (I chose quinoa) 

put in a bowl, throw on a TON of sauerkraut (A food that I despised growing up, being forced to eat it with polish sausage and pierogi but I have finally learned to love it- and can't get enough. tonight's was a red cabbage and garlic kraut made by my awesome neighbor!) and top with homemade Dal (mine was just red lentils, water, and a few Indian spices.)
thanks for being sunny, nature- I really needed it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Moore Food

First thing Saturday morning, my boss (the chef, Paul) tells me that we are cooking for a guest lecturer and 7 students on Monday night; he wants to do some special vegan appetizers for the table of 8. As we talk he mentions that the guest is Frances Moore Lappé, and I start gushing. When I was 14 I found my parents' copy of Diet For A Small Planet and started to think about vegetarianism and resources in ways I never had before.  It was a pretty important book to me growing up, and as an adult I appreciate her work with her daughter in  Hopes Edge. My excitement could not be contained, and together we planned 4 appetizers and a dessert to accompany the usual dinner menu. Over the next few days I found myself starting to say "Frances Moore Lappé day!" and suddenly felt like I was directly out of Empire Records counting down till 'Rex Manning Day.' Albeit, it was much more wholesome then Rex Manning Day.

The menu for the evening:
Fried Millet triangles with curried squash (vegan, gluten free)
Hoisin BBQ 'Duck' in lettuce cups (vegan)
Fresh vegetable spring rolls with a thai chili dipping sauce (vegan, gluten free)
local Vermont cheese plate featuring a goat cheese, sheep cheese, and Maplebrook farms fresh mozzarella with basil and reduced balsamic vinegar.

I got to make one of my favorite desserts:
Chocolate coconut tart in a walnut, sesame and date crust with Coconut whipped cream (Vegan, gluten free)

                                                                        Mock Duck
                                                                         Spring roll
                                                                       Chocolate tart

Our Front of the House guru, Mark, set a beautiful table with linen, flowers, water goblets, etc. When I brought the food Lappé asked me about the dessert and we talked about it, walnuts, seeds etc. for a bit. I was bright red the whole time.

I went to the lecture and met her (again) afterwards. I think the most inspiring thing about hearing her speak is that she's genuine and passionate about all the good things she sees happening in the world. The lecture was not earth shattering, or anything I hadn't heard before, but it was a nice reminder that other folks are on the same page. The evening focused on the question 'why are we together creating a world that as individuals we'd never choose.' Much of the points focused on the idea that what needs to happen in order to change the world we live in is a mind shift; switching from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance (she calls this eco mind.) I would say the best part of the lecture was just watching how excited she got about citing examples and showing slides of all the work in the world that inspires her. I got most excited about seeing friends in the community that I never see enough. All in all it was a great experience, mostly because I was able to geek out about food, and beautifully plate a whole vegetarian meal.

On other food notes, tonight I watched Today's Special a really cute (if cheesy) film about a young Indian man in NYC who is a sous Chef at a fancy pants restaurant, and ends up taking over his Dad's Indian restaurant. It's a bit sexist (the "normal" disparaging remarks about women and wives) but the colors and shots of food and cloth and spices are beautiful. As an added bonus, the main character's mom is played by Madhur Jaffrey- the fabulous cookbook author. She wrote one of my all time favorite cookbooks that I have never owned but checked out from the Library dozens of times,  World-of-the-East vegetarian cooking.