Month: January 2011

True Bistro is truly decadent

Last night, I had a date with one cool chick.  My friend Elinor took me to an incredible vegan restaurant in Somerville, MA called True Bistro.  Anyone who thinks vegan food consists mainly of bland vegetables and plain tofu needs to have a True Bistro experience to prove this misconception all wrong. Our meal started with a bottle of vegan Pinot Noir (all wine is not vegan and you can read more here) and crusty bread dipped in olive oil.  I then agonized over what to order. Do I get the grilled romaine heart salad with French lentils?  The phyllo purse with seitan, quince, and roasted squash?  Oooh but what about the roulade of sweet potato stuffing with porcini gravy?  We made our decision and I took my camera phone out to document our experience. We settled on first sharing the ravioli filled with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions in sherry cream.  Doesn’t sound so vegan does it?  Lets just say we practically licked the sauce from the dish when we were finished and …

land of sun and seals

My first real impression of San Diego involved a very muscular guy standing proudly on a roof deck containing loads of gym equipment.  He, of course, was not wearing a shirt and I think he may have even been flexing into a mirrored window. Then the buildings cleared out and I saw an entire block simply covered in purple flowers and the muscle man was quickly forgotten.  As the taxi drove up to the hotel, all I could hear were birds chirping and I spotted the most gorgeous hibiscous. Don’t these sun worshipping Californians know it is January? Though on a work trip, the months of work-stress and winter ickiness literally started melting away with the beads of sweat accumulating on my forehead.  If I hadn’t been with a carload of people I work with, I might have just started running through the parking lot with arms wide open singing “The Hills Are Alive” like Julie Andrews.  Instead, I walked calmly to my room, passed a large sign for an herb garden (making a mental note to check it …

can a Johnny’s seed catalog cure depression?

When the first snowflake falls and we put classic white lights on our porch to celebrate the holidays, we retreat into our home to light fires, watch movies, and huddle under warm blankets.  It is a peaceful and child-like time of year full of traditions such as hot cocoa, family, and big goofy boots.  Even in the cold, winter can be a season of warmth and beauty. Then all of a sudden, New Year’s celebrations are over, vacation time comes to an end, and–particularly sadly–we have to take the last connection to nature away: our Christmas tree.  That tree keeps me going.  The memories each ornament holds, the arguments the cats have regarding who gets to lay underneath, the soft glow of the lights, and the beautiful and graceful needles and limbs that release a forest smell into the house.  When the tree goes out to the curb on the compost pick-up day, I feel a little haze of depression set in.  Suddenly the snow seems dirty, the sky seems gray, and I start to ache …

Toyling: 1988 – January 3, 2011

You never see someone for the last time and realize it will be the last time.  It was Sunday night when I last touched our elderly cat, Toyling.  I didn’t realize it would be the last time I’d see his little face ever again as a living, breathing family member.  Though I wish I had a chance to say a proper goodbye, I’m glad he died as an old man in his home instead of under harsh lights at a veterinary office. A few years ago, Toyling came to live with us when Chris’s grandmother moved into assisted living and couldn’t keep him.  Our chubby black kitties didn’t know what to think when this slender, long-legged, brown, loud, and exotically named Siamese cat came to live with us.  If he was cranky, we knew.  If he was hungry, he howled!  If he just wanted love (and oh did he need a lot of love), you couldn’t escape.    Though he looked a little past his prime, the vet assured us he had years.  And years he did end up …

the great sausage deception (and some kick-butt dessert)

My first guest blogger is Stacey Walker.  Stacey is an Editor at Focal Press by day and a foodie (almost all vegan!) by night.  She, like me, was once a meat and potatoes kind of gal until she gave it up and became vegetarian.  Now, she is vegan more often than not and I think her enthusiasm is inspirational for us all.   A little over a year ago, I first started flirting with veganism. I discovered new recipes and new foods I liked to eat, lost a couple pounds, and loved how much better I felt—less like an over-inflated balloon. But like all new couples, the holidays came and put a strain on our relationship. Holiday parties, cookies, fudge, and other sweets decorating the office, and Christmas dinners didn’t really cater to a vegan diet.  I admit it: I cheated.  A lot. Even after the holidays ended. For months into 2010, I found it incredibly hard to eat vegan for any sustained period of time. Finally, in the wee morning hours of mid-2010, with my …

swiss chard soup

Enough with the chocolate, dip, and other heavy foods we stuff ourselves with in December.  Start the new year out right with a simple vegan soup that is so easy and so yummy.  My mother made this for Chris and I when we went to visit in November and at first I thought, “hmmm…soup made from greens?”  I took one bite and added it to my list of favorite soups.  The recipe calls for swiss chard.  If you can’t find it, spinach, turnip greens, or whatever greens you can get your hands on will work just fine. swiss chard soup ingredients 1 large onion 4 tsp olive oil 2 garlic cloves 4 celery stalks 1 tsp cumin 4-6 cups swiss chard (or other greens) 4 cups veg broth 1 tsp dry oregano leaves 2 cups diced tomatoes, divided salt & pepper to taste sour cream or tofutti optional Heat oil in deep pot on medium heat.  Add cumin, chopped onion, chopped celery, chopped garlic and sautee for 5 minutes.  Remove stems from swiss chard and wash. Add …