Tag Archives: comfort-food

Sugar making means Spring!

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Spring is around the corner when sugar making starts. Maple syrup has gained importance as vegan sugar alternative. In early March, when snow is still on the ground, the sweet tree sap starts to flow, pushing the nourishing winter starch up before the tree chemistry changes, a perfect time for tapping and sugar making. Ups and downs around the freezing point determine the length of the sugaring season. NY State has a relatively short season to tap, Continue reading

Treats from seeds

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Seed bars work for many occasions. Relatively quick to make, they can replace trail mix, pastries and cookies. After eating too much chocolate, it was time for me to  go a step healthier. Raw seedbars often contain chocolate powder or raw chocolate nibs, which have no sugar or dairy added and are not heat processed.
Depending what you have at home, you can make this recipe truly raw, or nut free, you can also replace some ingredients that are heat processed for a vegan treat. The bars will harden in the freezer, and can be stored in the refrigerator, you may also add some time in the food dryer to remove moisture.
Despite the large amount of ingredients, the amount of servings is relatively small, reminding me again how nutrient dense this food is. See recipe

Cowboy cookoffs…

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If you don’t care how your food looks–Chili is for you!
I find it impossible to make chili look good in a picture, it has this ‘canned dog food’ appeal. But the  soul food is popular for games, tailgating, and is perfect for cold weather. Just the amount of spice should prevent several colds.
As one of our local fire departments is participating in a cook-off for the hot Tex-Mex American Cowboy dish, my own memory of tailgating with bean chillis was rather painful, so I kept avoiding them. Today, I am convinced that the beans were not soaked long enough, not cooked right, or maybe contained too much grease in combination with spices. The official Texas State dish, by the way, does not contain beans, even though chili beans are likely named after it… 

Yesterday, I found out that there are safer, fart-free chilis, very easy, pressure cooker fast that will not give you the blows for days to come, tastes are surprisingly real as a vegan version. Sorry Texas, no cows compromised for this one. Also environmentally friendly, it uses dry beans and fresh pumpkin mash, which saves at least 3-5 cans; You can make up that extra prep-time easily in using a pressure cooker. See recipe

Irish Spring

IrishDSC_3224It is Irish Parade time, Westchester will have it’s own St. Patrick’s Parade this weekend, which is last minute for me to cook Irish food. Of course Irish food must contain potatoes, or not? A typical Irish dish, Colcannon, can be made with plantains, a sacrilege, I know, as a relatively cheap item is replaced with a more exotic kind. However, if you are cutting back on nightshades, this recipe is worth a try and it will give you a load of kale with it. See recipe

Tasty Bites

DalDSC_3203.1Madras Lentils and other Indian Dishes are available as ready-to-eat pouches even at Costco. The popular Punjabi recipe is the Indian answer to Chili, a sure bet in the U.S.; The Indian original, called Dal Markhani, means ‘lentil rich sauce’, it can be prepared with little effort and money at home, with much healthier ingredients and dairy free. See recipe

The vegetable banana

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Looking for more vegetable variety in winter, I noticed plantains, the starchy cousins to our sweet dessert bananas. Originally from Asia and Oceania, plantains are now a food stable in Africa and South America. They contain less water, more starch and their peel needs to turn black until maximum sweetness is achieved. Green plantains are a great replacement for potatoes, if you need to avoid nightshades. Although most Southern recipes deep-fry plantains, you can cook them like potatoes and then lightly sauté them. Served as chips or patties, with garlic sauce, or with a sweet filling, plantains are a great snack or potato-like side dish.

Giganteas

Giant puffballs have been mistaken with sheeps in a meadow. On our morning run, we found this little ‘giant’. Giant puffballs (Calvatia Gigantea) are safer to identify. Smaller puffballs under 10 cm size, may be mistaken for other mushrooms, such as juvenile versions of the destroying angels or stinkhorns. Therefore, determine the species of the mushroom by cutting it in half. Continue reading

Poor man’s Caviar

Oh my; Liverwurst… from early teething, little children in Europe are reared on liverwurst, just the way U.S. children eat peanut butter. There are fine ground, and coarse country styles, some with herbs, onions, even burdock. Call it paté if you want to be more sophisticated or ‘foie gras’, use upscale packaging and maybe rare ingredients, such as truffles… However, it will always be a variation of a childhood memory just as the Ratatouille of Mr. Anton Ego. I was surprised how easy it is to make real good tasting paté without meat. So last week, I made my first coarse country style paté, D’Artagnan’s favorite! Oh, and did I mention the cinnabar chanterelles I put in there? See recipe

Better Burgers

A good veggie burger – juicy with great taste! Alternative burgers are either hard, crumbly and dry or have no flavor. Especially Chickpea Burgers from vegan recipe books, mostly simple Felafel recipes, seem to lack taste. Veggie and mushroom burgers lack the stickyness and fall apart with cooking. Commercial grain ‘ground meat’ is sticky but can have an artificial taste…  I usually prefer natural recipes without  pre-processed ingredients, so this one is an exception (until I have a natural solution). A quick mix that does not need resting time, cooks fast and is very juicy and tasty.  My better burger recipe!

Sunday mornings

I always loved waffles and pancakes! The yummy pictures in the Veg Starter Kit once convinced me that Veg life can be fun and tasty! So easy to follow, with ingredients that are at home without much planning. On Sunday mornings, maybe outside if weather allows, the waffles and pancakes are a great treat, especially after a long run. My pancake recipe is here…

Traditional Fare

Hastings has been discovering Kale, for chips, pasta greens and of course by itself. Now you can even buy ready made kale chips in different flavors at Whole Foods and Fairways. I believe the kale season is winding down; in Germany, it is eaten mostly in winter, preferred after some frost. Most kale overseas is extremely sandy, therefore ‘triple washed’ and pre-cooked kale is offered in huge cans intended to shorten the cooking process. “Grünkohl mit Pinkel’ (Kale with hot sausage), the family favorite is well worth veganizing.  See recipe

Country Life

Cuddling with a cat by the fire, munching strong country bread. Life can be good! Are you still buying bread or are you gluten free? Despite the bad rep, I still love my strong rye or country bread crust. Continue reading

Winter warmers


Roots rule!
The last frosty outdoor market this year, had mostly root vegetables and winter squash. At this time you will see usually the first rutabagas. A cross between cabbage and turnips, Continue reading

Barley Soup for the Soul

Barley as one of the first domesticated grains, was of such high importance, that it was even used as a currency, Probably the first drink developed by Neolithic humans was barley beer. Today, still good for brewing, barley is known as health food, while wheat rules as general purposes grain. When the weather turns, and noses start running, barley soup is my ‘Vegan choice for the soul’ and perfect for the pressure cooker. Here’s the recipe

Better Sweets

Ah Truffles – I have been craving sweets. Lucky if you have a food processor, that can process sticky dry mixes such as truffles. If you are not so lucky, there are ways to trick an old fashioned blender into doing the job. Try to chop everything separately in dry condition and do the soaking and blending part later by hand. Continue reading

Radiant autumn colors

The giant pumpkins. Pumpkins and squashes are native in North America. Imagine autumn or Thanksgiving without the golden orange food and decor. Pumpkin pies, spices and soups are sold with pictures of cinderella pumpkins, the best flavor however, comes from butternut squash,  sugar pumpkin or even sweet potatoes. The following recipe is very quick to make and has a subtle fruit flavor. It makes a grand Holiday appetizer with a garnish of veg. sour cream. See recipe

Spicey Roesti (Rösti, Röschti)

Potatoes are an important staple in Northern European cooking. In Switzerland for example, you will find many different local versions of Roesti (Röschti), potato pancakes, eaten with applesauce or ‘Fleischkäse’ (cured meat). Other countries have their own recipes and expressions. Satisfying to eat and easy to make, they found their way to the US. You may have heard of Potato Pancakes, Kartoffelpuffer, or Latkes… Continue reading

Beany Burgers

Food we ate at home is comfort food. While I was lucky to translate some traditional recipes, the simple ‘hamburgers’ remain a challenge. It is easier with commercial ground mixes, such as gimme lean, based on soy or wheat gluten, however they often have their own taste.
Veggieburger alternatives are usually grain or bean based or a blend of both to replace most of the substance, meat and eggs.  Continue reading

Wild Things

Beech trees start blossoming after 30-50 years of age. A hot and humid summer can produce an abundance of prickly capsules holding the handsome triangular beech nuts. However not every year. As harvest is never reliable and work intense, beech nuts were never used commercially. Readily eaten by man and beast likewise during lean war times, they were roasted to reduce toxic tannins and processed to cooking oil and lamp oil. Continue reading

Gallery

How I started this blog

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That day, I did not have milk or creamer at home so I experimented with a recipe for Almond Milk from a friend. After some twists, adding sesame seed and spice, I had found a mix so foamy and creamy … Continue reading