Monday, September 2, 2013


Laura and I have recently started utilizing the service called, Boston Organics. They send you a box of fruit and/or vegetables each week, based on a list of things that you say you will eat or not eat. Everything comes from local farms and is organic. We currently get a box that is 1/3 fruit and 2/3 vegetables. Last year we had to cancel our service because we were throwing away so much food that we just couldn't eat (or, to be honest, we were eating out a lot last year), so it was important for us to make the pledge that whatever they delivered, we would make sure we ate it somehow.

Today I was looking at the white eggplant, bell peppers, and broccoli that came in the box that we still hadn't used, and while I swore I was going to fry the eggplant, I am on a diet these days (Weight Watchers) so finding something that wasn't too fattening became my new priority. It was then, today, while taking a long walk, I thought of Ratatouille. I only had to add a few more ingredients from the store to have everything I needed, and once those things were bought, this came together really quickly alongside stuff I already had floating around the kitchen.

Here is what you will need:

1 large White Eggplant (peeled, cut into 5 one-inch circles, then cut in half, then cut into thin ribbons)
(Note: after doing this, it is best to lightly salt the eggplant, let it sit out for 20 minutes so that it sweats, and lightly pat it down with a paper towel)
1 large Vidalia Onion (peeled and cut and into long thin slices)
2 cups of Baby Bella Mushrooms (washed and cut in half)
3 cups of Broccoli (washed and cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 large Green Bell Pepper (washed, cored, cut into thin ribbons)
6 cloves of garlic (crushed)
56 ounce can of Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup fresh Basil (wash and tear it into medium-sized pieces)
1/2 tsp Italian Oregano (fresh is best but dried works as well)
1/2 tsp French Thyme (fresh is best but dried works as well)
1 TBSP Olive Oil
Olive Oil spray to coat the pan
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Spray the pan with the Olive Oil and put on medium heat.
2. Add the Onion and Eggplant and stir them until the eggplant blackens and breaks down. If you need another spray or two of the oil, give it a shot!
3. Add the Mushrooms, Garlic, and Bell Pepper. Cook for five minutes. If things are sticking too much, add 1/8 cup of water.
4. Add the Broccoli. Cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add the Tomato Sauce, Basil, Oregano, and Thyme. Lower down to simmer, stir, cook for 15 minutes. I like to let it cook at simmer for as much as 45 minutes, or turn it off after 15 minutes, let it sit for an hour, then warm it back up. The longer this thing sits, the better it gets.
6. Add your pinch of salt and pepper, the TBSP of Olive Oil, right before serving.

                                                     The Ratatouille cooking in the pan.

This should make FOUR really nice servings.
Additionally, you could throw in a large Zucchini (chopped into half-moon pieces, add it in after the Broccoli), shred a small Carrot into the sauce (add right before the mushrooms), add a large Red Potato --this is how my grandmother used to make this--(scrub the potato, cut into tiny cubes, add in at the mushroom stage, but add in an additional 1 TBSP of Olive Oil at this moment), or a 1/2 cup of chopped green Olives (Provence-style).

What to serve it with? Great question!

I made it with Polenta today, but you can serve it with Pasta, Whole Wheat Pasta, Spinach Pasta, or Long Grain Rice.

For my Polenta I brought 2 cups of water to a boil, removed the pan from the heat, added 1 Cup of dry Polenta, 1/8 Cup of Vegan Parmesan Cheese, 1/4 TSP Salt. I then scooped it into 1/2 cup measures (it made 4 balls), and baked then at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

                                                              Ratatouille with Polenta.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Barley is Delicious

Greetings readers!

Today Dar and I went for a long walk through the Brighton, Brookline, Allston area and found the day to be filled with beauty. There is a slight flavor of Autumn in the air even though we've just begun August; the air was crisp, sweet, and dark, and yet the sun bled through the clouds with such brightness, we were compelled to recognize these last moment of summer.

Something about this time of year in Boston brings my mind back to moments in childhood. Perhaps it's the anticipation of returning to school that I remember as the students begin their return to the city (the T is filled with families and their bags and bags and bags of stuff.) I often wish the North Shore recieved a sooner and longer Autumn, but again, I must appreciate Summer and her seasonal vegetables.

For the past 2 weeks, and for the next 4, Dar is teaching a summer course at one of the local community colleges. While this is a great opportunity, it's difficult to plan meals together since our schedules remain opposite. When this course began we came up with a great way that we could still prepare delicious vegan meals for each other, even though we were not eating them together. Each night when I get home from work I make a double portion of a meal for my dinner, which will produce leftovers to be his lunch the following day. And the oppisites (my lunch and his dinner), are simple sandwiches.

On Mondays we go for a long morning to early afternoon walk. During this time we find some lunch somewhere (usually Dorados or Root-- we can speak more to these in a later post), and then head to my beloved Trader Joes. $50 later, we return home with dinner ingredients for the week. Our list usually looks something like this:

  • Barley, brown rice, farro, bulgur, quinoa, or whole wheat couscous. You can buy these in larger portions, cheaply, so this is not typically a weekly expense. I'd estimate we buy barley weekly, only because I use this most often. (Hence, the title of this post.)
Beans (& other legumes):
  • Black, kidney, garbanzo, pinto, edamame, or lentils. Beans and whole grains are both such an extrodinary source of protein that I sometimes like to switch things up and replace a bean with tofu or tempeh, instead of simply adding them to an already protein-heavy meal. So if beans are not in our basket, a package of tempeh is!
  • A sack of onions, 2 boxes of mushrooms, a bushel of kale (we eat more than 1 bushel a week, but we buy this ingredient as we need it instead of letting it wilt in the fridge), a head of cabbage, broccoli, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, fennel root, and sage leaves. I like to use rosemary and fresh basil a lot, but we grow those at the apartment.
Some extras that we commonly use:
  • Olive oil, Earth Balance vegan butter, vegetarian bouillon cubes, Braggs amino acid, nutritional yeast, and other spices (one should always use the spices of their fancy).
Last weekend I was gifted a beautiful white bell pepper (we're calling it the spirit pepper as not to confuse it with the ghost chili) from the Salem Farmer's Market (thanks LT!) This was a happy surprise addition to a meal I made.

My summer recipes are very simple. I like to start with a sort of broth or stew to create a basic flavor for the dish. This technique was learned through our interest in Indian cooking. Spice the oil as opposed to spicing the food. 

Pictured is a conbination of vegetable broth (1/2 veg. bouillon cube dissolved in about 1/2 cup boiling water), 1 teaspoon of Earth Balance, 1/8 cup Braggs amino acid, chopped fresh sage leaves, 1/8 cups nutritional yeast, and a pinch of pink Himalayan rock salt.

Immediately add chopped onion and wait for it to give up the ghost. Then add mushrooms, and once everything is beginning to brown, you should be left with an intoxicating and earthly aroma, and an open door for creativity.  Add you favorite green veggies and something with substance. For this particular recipe I added broccoli, chopped fresh kale, and barley (1 cup cooked per serving).  

In this picture, the barley hadn't been added yet. But you can see it on the back burner!  

To conclude: choose a broth or oil to flavor, veggies to cook in said broth or oil, a grain and bean, or grain and other protein. It's quick, simple, delicious, affordable, and healthy!

Enjoy the rest of summer everyone! (...she says, drinking Pumpkin Herbal Blend iced tea made with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, rooibos and natural pumpkin flavor.) Soon to come are our Autumn recipes, and they take no prisoners other than your affection and adoration and soul, as most Autumn-inspired things do. 

Take care and stay compassionate--

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Let's Make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

This is how I make my famous "Witness Protection Vegan Gluten-Free Pineapple Peach Applesauce India-Spice Upside Down Cake." Laura came up with the name for this because after three years of dating I finally made this for her (I wasn't hiding it, I just never saw the chance to make it).

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a cast-iron skillet, melt 2 TBSP of Coconut Butter, 
4-TBSP of Earth Balance Organic Butter. 
3. Pour the excess butter into a small mixing bowl, allowing the butter to cover the skillet. 
4. Add 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the skillet.

5. Cut up two peaches and a medium pineapple into small, pieces. 
Do not used canned fruit. It sucks! 
6. Also, I would advise doing this as your very first step, before the melting of butter.
7. Cover the brown sugar with 2 peaches and 3/4 of a medium pineapple, diced up.

8. In a large mixing bowl, add 1.5 cups of All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour, 
1/4 TSP Sea Salt, 1 TSP of Baking Powder, 1/2TSP Baking Soda. 
9. Mix well. 

10. In the small mixing bowl where the excess butter went, add 1/2 cup Coconut Sugar.

11. Add 2/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce. 

12. Add 1/3 cup of Almond or Coconut Milk to the Sugar/Butter mix. 
13. Mix well! 

14. Add 1/2 TSP of ground Cinnamon, 1/4 TSP of ground Ginger, 1/4 TSP ground Cardamon, 1/4 TSP ground Coriander to the dry ingredients. 
15. Mix well.
16. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a TBSP until blended.

17. Pour the batter over the fruit in the skillet. 
18. Pat it down with your large spoon.

19. Bake the cake at 375 degrees on the middle rack, for 30 minutes.
20. (Note, as the fruit gets HOT it will bubble on sides, so you may want to put some aluminum foil under the skillet)

21. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes.
22. Put a heavy, large plate on top of the cake, quickly flip the cake and put the plate on the counter/table so it doesn't fall to the floor or out of your hands.
23. Gently lift the skillet up, and your cake will look like this. 


Possible Alterations:
Note that you can substitute fresh cherries, all peaches, or all pineapple, or a mixture of all either of the three for the fruit. 

You can also dust the cake, after it has been flipped over, with shredded coconut.

Highly recommended that you eat this cake warmed up with a scoop of coconut ice cream.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mr. Fu's Debut

Here is one of the main reasons we are Vegan.

Everyone, say hello to Mr. Fu!
This is his blogger debut!

When in Doubt: Beans and Rice!

When in doubt: Beans and Rice!

Not sure what to make? Thinking of ordering out even though your cabinets have plenty of food? Looking for a nutrient-rich meal in an hour? Low on money? Think that simple means unsatisfied? Well Beans and Rice is the answer!

I am one of those people who are like, "Beans and Rice? That's boring!" And then I make it and I get all, "Beans and Rice? This is so good and so filling, why do I not eat this all the time?!"

Today, a little low on money, but with cabinets full of food staples, Laura made brown rice, black beans, and broccoli, and this is what I had for lunch. She added a 1/2 TSP of Turmeric to the rice water (2 cups of water, 1 cup of short grain brown rice, when the water comes to a boil, add the rice, the turmeric, a pinch of salt, cover and simmer for 40 minutes), then boiled the beans (we used canned beans today, but really, if you are planning on having this dish, soak your own beans overnight), she sprayed the broccoli with olive oil and baked it for 15 minutes. This is what I did with these ingredients:

Added 1 TBSP of olive oil to a non-stick pan, then put 1 cup of cooked rice, 1/2 cup of black beans, 1/8 cup of Nutritional yeast, 2 cups of cooked broccoli, cooked these together for 10 minutes over medium heat, then added 1/2 cup of Frontera brand Mild Salsa.

Beans and Rice is hardcore Vegan food and one of the things that should be in your diet for the long-haul. If you can add some citrus fruits to this, like orange slices, 1/2 lime, you are really providing the perfect meal.

Here is a pic I took of this lunch while I was cooking it:

In Praise of Bagels (and related wheat-based goodies).

I am often asked what I eat for breakfast most days. Being a creature of habit I tend to eat the same thing, with minor adjustments, most days for Breakfast.

Being a Vegan certainly has not robbed me of breakfast options. Scrambled Tofu, Pancakes, Breakfast Sandwiches, Corn Bread/Muffins/Cakes, Biscuits and Gravy, Grits and Greens, Veggie Sausage, Spicy Potatoes, Donuts (which can be a lot of work), not to mention things like cereal, toast, oatmeal, fresh fruit, or the occasional non-traditional breakfast of leftovers (PIZZA!). I tend to eat in seasons, and by "seasons," I mean that whatever season it is tends to impact me differently.

In the Autumn, I like Corn Muffins, Blackberry Jelly, Coffee with Creamer (I use the So Delicious Coconut Creamer brands). In the Winter, Biscuits and Gravy are all I think about. Spring is Grits with Greens (usually Kale and Onions) and gravy, sometimes with Vegan Chorizo and salsa. Once a week we tend to go out to our favorite Vegan breakfast spot (Veggie Galaxy in Boston's Central Square), or maybe make something different than what we had the other five days. Summers seem the most awesome to me, at least they do these days, because they are all about the Bagel. We live near one of the Top Ten Rated Bagel shops in the country, Kuppels, and their bagels are AMAZING, and they make all types of Tofu Cream Cheese to go with them. I literally wake up each day thinking about them, craving them, with a piece of fruits and two cups of coffee.

Personally, I don't understand, nor do I respect this whole "gluten-free" craze in the USA. Yes, if you have a legitimate disease, I understand that and I honor your issues, but the vast majority of people from the USA are treating bagels, bread products, wheat products like the village Witch, and they are waging a war  against them. The amount of people in this country with LEGITIMATE wheat allergies is LOW, very low (1 in every 133 people have some form of wheat allergy, but celiac disease needs to be confirmed by doctors through a series of tests, and stories of people with false diagnosis are nearly as high, and usually among people self-diagnosing) but what is very high is the mind-think that goes, "well others are allergic to it, maybe I am as well, I must be, I have to be, here are my symptoms," and those symptoms are phantom symptoms, created in the head, acted out in the body, and manifested into sensations pretending to be real sickness in the body. I confess that for a while I thought I had a gluten-allergy as well, because I was gaining weight suddenly, and then I realized, once I started counting calories and examining what I was eating, I was just eating around 4000 calories a day, and eating far too many processed foods; no need to discard wheat because I was not eating responsibly.

Listen, I agree, stay away from processed foods. BUT, make your own bread, go to real bakeries and buy real bread and real bagels, make your own pasta. True, there are modified food products out there, strains of wheat being messed with: stay away from them. BUT to miss out on one of life's REAL pleasures, homemade bread, artisan-bakery made bread and bagels, is a serious loss to the experience of being alive and caring about the quality of food that enters your life, the great bakers and chefs who are passionate about offering quality food and fine culinary creations.

As a Vegan, I make choices about what I eat and where it comes from. One of the great perks of switching to this lifestyle was that I got to keep eating great food, while discovering a whole new range of creations and flavors and tastes. I make a trip each week to buy bagels and bread from a local family-owned bakery. I know the people who make it, who sell it, I'm part of a culture that values real Jewish baking, and I know where my food comes from. Transitioning into a Vegan lifestyle means that this rich life experience gets to continue. Sure, I cannot eat the cinnamon twists or the babka or the mundel bread: those I have to make at home on my own. But I don't want to see great bakeries fold, and I don't want to see these old family businesses shut down, I want them to see that Vegans want to do business with them, and I appreciate that they do offer Vegan-friendly products, and I want them to offer more.

Also, as a former history major, I love the history of foods. Wheat products were first turned into food for human consumption some 23,000+ years ago, right as Neolithic people's began to spread into organized civilizations. Bread appears in ancient Sumeria, Assyria, Babylon, Turkey, India, Greece, Rome, Germanic societies, Etruscan civilization: where great civilizations have appeared, wheat products have been there to feed the people, be a part of their rituals and celebrations, empower their brains to develop and expand to think deep, complex thoughts.

The bagel is a product deeply rooted in Polish-Jewish culture, and as such, is rooted deeply in North American Jewish culture, a staple of great Jewish communities as well as the communities and peoples that grow up around and with them. I (Dar) grew up in a very Italian-American culture, but bagels and other Jewish baked goods were a staple of our weekend traditions, whether it was my family in New Haven (CT) or Elizabeth (NJ). The bagel itself first appears in a Jewish historical document in 1610 CE, mentioning that it was given to Jewish women as a gift during childbirth, its shape symbolizing the safe passage from womb into life. I like thinking about the bagel as a birthing amulet, a symbol, a charm, an element of the feminine divine that I bring into being, one that mothers and nourishes me each time I take part in it.  

So, if you are switching to a Vegan lifestyle, wondering what you can eat for breakfast, bagels, tofu cream cheese, toast made with fresh rye or pumpernickel or marble bread (add a little earth balance, coconut sugar, and cinnamon, and you have a wonderful cinnamon toast), a great way to start off each day, a great go-to breakfast when you are on the road. If you are already a Vegan, and you don't have celiac disease, don't give up on wheat. Buy organic wheat products, have a weekly bread/muffins/cookies bake with your friends, family, or loved ones, visit local bakeries and get to know them, take a baking class, take part in the tradition of turning a wild stalk into a fine powder and then into a carb-packing ball of wonder, warmth, and joy.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tonight's Dinner

Tonight I made the following dinner.

Grits with gravy, Kale+Onions+Mushrooms, BBQ Tempeh

Italian Vegetable Salad

The Grits: These are white grits, and because finding good grits in New England is like finding the Abominable Snowman in the Sahara, they are Trader Joes variety, the best I can find here. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add 1TBSP of Earth Balance Organic, 1/4 TSP Salt, 1/2 cup of Grits, reduce to warm, cover tightly, let cook for 8-10 minutes, stir, turn off heat, leave uncovered for 5 minutes.

The Gravy: I can and do make gravy from time to time, but I don't always have the time or money to do it from the start, so I use Vegan-friendly instant gravy from either Whole Foods or Shaws. Tonight I used, Hain Pure Foods Vegetarian Brown Gravy. I add 1/8 cup of Nutritional Yeast and 2 TBSP of Braggs, once the mixture comes to a boil

Tempeh: No, I didn't make my own Tempeh, someday I will. The Tempeh here came from Trader Joes, it's their basic Tempeh, and I find it bakes up better than other brands.

BBQ Sauce: Again, I feel like the laziest Vegan in the world tonight, I promise to do better in the future. This is Jack Daniel's Master Blend BBQ sauce. I cut the Temp[eh into 14 pieces, sprayed a baking pan, placed the Tempeh on the pan then in the Toaster Oven, broiled each side for 6 minutes, then, after both sides were broiled, I painted (used a paint brush) to put BBQ sauce on them, broiled for another 5 minutes on each side.

Kale+Onions+Mushrooms: In a large skillet I placed 2TBSP of Olive Oil, heated up the oil on medium heat, then added 1 large thinly-sliced Vidalia Onion, added 1/2TSP of Turmeric Powder, 2 crushed cloves of Garlic, sautéed for 5 minutes, added 8 ounces of Baby Portobello Mushrooms (each one mushroom cut into fours), sauté for 5 minutes, add 6 cups of chopped Red Kale (I like to do 1-inch ribbons), mix in the pan (I use large metal tongs) for 3-5 minutes, lower heat to simmer, add 1/8 cup of Nutritional Yeast, a pinch of Black Pepper, 1/8 Cup of Braggs, let the liquid cook out for the next 5 minutes.

Italian Vegetable Salad: This one is too simple. 1 English Cucumber cut in half (length-wise), remove the seeds, then cut in slices, thinly slice 2 tomatoes (I use organic Vine-Ripened), add in 1 large jar of Pastene-brand Giardiniera Pickled Vegetables, drain the liquid, add a pinch of Black Pepper, mix well.  

Veggie Fun. Providence, Rhode Island.

We recently took a trip to Veggie Fun, a Vegan restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island.

The restaurant has this great, "old time Americana" feel (the dark wood walls, floors, the time Colonial bathroom), spruced up with some hints of Korean decor. Serving mostly Korean, Japanese, and Chinese-American style Vegan food, it was my second time visiting there, and Laura's first time.

The food here is REALLY great (the Autumn Rolls are addictive) and it is, as far as we could find out, the only 100% Vegan establishment in Providence. We will definitely be returning there soon!


Steamed Dumplings

Autumn Rolls

Singapore Noodles

Korean Noodles

Tempura Bananas with Soy Ice Cream

Welcome to "In Veganism, Truth!"

Greetings Friends,

Welcome to "In Veganism Veritas," or, "In Veganism, Truth." We created this Blog to reflect our own adventures of cooking and creating Vegan foods, seeking out new Vegan restaurants, products, and Businesses, and to chronicle our adventures in Veganism, our sincere belief that Veganism is intimately connected to the pursuit of Truth and Authenticity.

We hope you will enjoy this journey with us, and become a valuable member of our online community.

In Veganism Veritas!
Daryl and Laura