It’s a Small World….

While putting together a quick-and-easy list of spices to use for three versions of veg Chicken Breast Burger, Israeli, Asian, and Mexican, I was really surprised to find how many spices are not only common among these cultures, but other cultures’ foods, as well.

Garlic?  In just about everything.  Cumin? In the Israeli version, and the Mexican version.  Hot sauce, in all three.  Cardamom, common in the Israeli version, is common in Scandinavian foods, as well.

Five Spice Powder in the Asian version contains cloves, cinnamon, pepper, star anise, fennel, also often in Middle Eastern foods, and some in Mexican.

Lemon?  In all three cultures.  “Spicy” salads, also in all three.  Salsas, chili sauces, pickled vegetables, spicy vegetables, smoked vegetables.

Techina, the sesame seed paste that tops the Israeli Chicken Breast Burger version, is common in Asian cuisine, not just as a paste or a sauce, but as toasted seeds and oil.  And, it’s also common in Africa, and in India.

Just trying to think of other herbs and spices I have in my closet now (I don’t have my usual compliment of spices at the moment), and others I’ve used in the past.  Off the top of my head-  Ginger, bay leaves, chili powder, mint, curries, oregano, horseradish, turmeric, sour salt, cilantro, mustard, paprika, cinnamon, za’atar, and oh, did I mention garlic?  Yes, I think I did.  One of my favorites!  

Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, India, the Americas…..

Do I hear music?

It’s a Small World After All, It’s a Small World After All, It’s…….   

Try it all, and Enjoy!



The Organic Market

I went to a small organic market last weekend (no, there’s no Whole Foods here, yet), and I walked in the front door and immediately felt at home.

Even though they sell items I’m not interested in, being an organic market and not a vegetarian market, I didn’t know where to look first!  I actually sought out the market because they sell Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss “ice cream,” which I adore.  Sadly, they were out of it.  They said it sells out quickly.  (There was plenty of that “other” brand.  Tells you something, doesn’t it?)  I tried to appease myself by saying I really didn’t need the calories…. but it didn’t work.  I’ll have to go back!

It was a small shop and since I didn’t know where to start, I started on the end of the shop closest to the door, and checked out every nook and cranny.  You should have seen the gorgeous produce!

There were only 6 or 7 aisles, but I scoped out the joint really well, even before I picked up a hand basket.  Throughout my search I spoke with the owners (?) and we got into a conversation about the upcoming veg TV show.  They were really excited.  “Perfect time to get something like that on the air,” and, “We have so many kids coming in here asking about how to be veg, and asking for veg recipes. This would be great for them,” were a couple of comments they made, and they asked for my business cards.  I happily handed over the cards I had on me, and continued my perusal of the premises.

With my hand basket full of odds and ends, from vegan pizza to coconut milk “yogurt,” to organic basil pesto and sesame rice crackers, I chatted for a bit more with the sweet girl at the check-out desk, and got back in my car, thinking “Ok, what should I have bought that I know I’m going to think of as soon as I drive away?” 

What a really nice experience.  Comforting to walk into a place where just about everything there IS something you’d like to take home, and you know most of the people shopping there are of a like mind.

It made me think that I’d like to open a Veg Market down the line.  I’ll add it to the list.  Veg TV show, cookbook(s), restaurant(s), and a market…..  maybe in the restaurant.  My life is planned out! 

All it’s going to take is getting the TV show off the ground.  Keep a good thought! 


Let Us Eat…… Bread!

At of the end of Passover a few days ago I was dreaming of bread, big time.  Matzoh is yummy, especially with butter and salt…  and other things I no longer eat, like gefilte fish.  Yes, gefilte fish is yummy.  Especially with matzoh, butter, salt…  and horseradish!  I was actually thinking about coming up with a vegetarian gefilte fish recipe made with a tofu base (the texture of extra firm tofu is a lot like the texture of gefilte fish), but thought of it too close to Passover to have time to experiment, so maybe in time for next year.

But, bread.  I always dream of bread.  I’ve learned not to keep it in the house or the bread addict in me will just about plow through it all myself, so you can imagine how I was dreaming of bread by the end of Passover.

Mmm…  a sandwich.  A toasty sandwich.  But, what kind?  Something yummy, and delicious, and comforting.  How about a Reuben Sandwich? Memories of my childhood having lunch in New York delis!  With a little bit of thought, a little bit of preparation, and a bit of poetic license when it came to ingredients, a veg Reuben Sandwich was born!

Amazing what you can do with a bit of creativity!  Now, off to download the photos of the yummy sandwich and write up the recipe so I can post it!



And, Awaaaaaay We Go!

No, I’m not channeling anyone this time, not even Jackie Gleason.  (Look up “The Honeymooners” if you don’t know who that is. lol)

Awaaaaay we go, sending out the marketing deck for my vegetarian TV show!  Amazing to to be where I am at this very moment.  Now we just need sponsors and underwriters in order to go into production!

Amazing also to say “my” veg TV show.  I’ve been so lucky to have traveled the world and arrived at this point.  And, if you’re reading this, we’ve arrived at a similar point, so if you know anyone in the food, veg, health or anything else industries who’d be interested in this amazing effort, let them know they can help by sponsoring or underwriting.  We’re all in this together!

It was like a light bulb going on over my head when people kept asking me in the supermarket, “Do you use that veg meat stuff?  What do you do with it?”  To be able to use things I’ve learned over the years, what I’ve learned since becoming a vegetarian, what I’ve learned experimenting with the new veg meats, to make recipes I used to eat and missed, and maybe that you’ve missed, too……  It makes me feel good to be able to share what I know and enlighten other people!

My mother always told me I was a late bloomer.  Wonder if this is what she meant?  I’d have my own vegetarian cooking show?  Wow, she must have had a heck of a lot of foresight! 

I’m just kvelling like crazy.  Now, if you don’t know what THAT means, please be sure to look it up along with “Jackie Gleason and the Honeymooners”!  (wink)


The Perfect Vegetarian

I realized something a few days ago.  I’m not in a competition. 

I’ve only been online for a few months and I realized I’m trying harder, and harder, and harder…  to do what?  To be something I’m not.  The Perfect Vegetarian.

After listening to people, talking to people, watching conversations going back and forth, reading comments on websites and Twitter, I realized there is a competition, of sorts, going on.  A “perfection competition.”  Who’s the best vegetarian?  Who’s the best vegan?  Who’s the best raw foods foodie? Who drinks the most green smoothies? 

It’s subtle, but I realized I was being drawn in, and that’s not what I’m about.  I’m not trying to be perfect.

What I’m “about” is making the foods I used to eat (and stopped eating when I became a vegetarian), available to vegetarians using new products that haven’t been available before.  

Shepherd’s Pie?  Got it.  Garlic Fried Calamari?  Got it.  Chicken Soup?  Got it.  Beef Curry?  Got it.  Sausage and Peppers?  Got it.  More recipes coming?  You got it!

Do I eat animals?  No.  Do I eat dairy?  Rarely.  Do I eat eggs?  Sometimes free-roaming.  (Maybe someday I’ll have my own chickens and keep them as pets when their egg laying days are over because I’m probably going to be an old woman with a house full of animals!)

Am I a Perfect Vegetarian?  No.  But if everyone does the best they can, as I try to do, then what more can we expect of each other?  Perfection?   No.  Doin’ our best?  Yes!


Mexican Restaurant Shell Game

I’m not a big fan of chain restaurants, and not a great fan of “cheesy” Mexican restaurants, either.  I’m sure there must be some good ones, but the one I went to last night was not.

It was a “social” get-together of a business group I belong to and since it was relatively close-by, I thought I’d go.  I figured I HAD to be able to find something vegetarian there, right?  Well, no.  Not right.

They had four “veg” dishes listed, all covered in cheese and sour cream.  (Talk about cheesy.)  Granted, I’m not perfect, but I haven’t had dairy cheese in ages, so I didn’t want my food covered in cheese.  I could easily have asked them to take it off, leaving nothing much on the plate, but I continued to flip through the menu and came across Quesadilla Vegetarian.  Ok, a quesadilla full of vegetables, and no cheese.  Great!

Meals came, eveyone was chit-chatting back and forth, and eating, and….  what’s that?  Something weird in my vegetarian quesadilla.  A chunk of mushroom?  What the heck IS it?  Meat!  A chunk of meat.  But, too late.  Lets just say it was already “gone” by the time I realized what it was.  I haven’t had meat in 9 or 10 years so I didn’t realize what it was right away.

It really felt like a shell game.  No meat in the veg meals?  But there’s cheese.  No meat or cheese in the quesadilla, but there’s a chunk of meat.  What else are they going to hide, and where? 

It seems counter-productive for restaurants to be so lazy about vegetarian meals.  If they actually came up with reliable and tasty vegetarian meals they’d attract more customers.  Duh!

What if I’d had a shellfish allergy and a piece of shrimp “snuck” into my meal?  Then, why is meat sneaking into vegetarian meals?

Annoying, frustrating, and sad.   I’m sticking to REAL restaurants! 

Once the TV show is up and running, how about a “Pretty Veggie” restaurant, where you know all the food is vegetarian?  Yes!