Category Archives: Vegan

Very Quickly

Tamales in a pressure cooker!  From here (thanks folks!).  I placed a pint jar in the center to help hold the tamales upright.  tip

Twenty minutes on high pressure, then rest on plate for ten minutes to firm up.  Perfect and amazing (when you consider that conventionally steamed tamales require at minimum an hour to cook ).

See the air pockets in the picture below?  The fluffiest tamales I’ve ever made.  Probably due less to the pressure cooker than to the fact that I left an end of each corn husk open (I used to close both ends).  With an open end, about a tablespoon or two of dough  expanded out the opening.  Looked kind of horror show when I opened the pressure cooker, all oozy and wet, but now that I know they firm when rested for five or ten minutes, I’m not freaked out by wet dough when they first come out of the steam.  tu

I used masa harina from a bag.  Need to use up all five pounds before I try making my own masa for tamales with nixtamilized corn.

One cup of masa harina makes six tamales.  Perfect for two people and about as many as can easily fit in my six quart pressure cooker.ti

The filling is a roasted poblano, shredded seitan and tomatillo salsa.  So good!

Frida’s pep is still tied to the temperature.  70 degrees and she’s like a pup.  85 and she walks at speeds you’d expect for a shepherd aged 13 years.  Either way, she’s loading up on beechnut leaves while the loading is good.  I should mention her kidney values are still unchanged.  Not perfect, but holding firm.  A huge relief.  fib


That’s it for now.  Hope you are well.


Ah Yup!




Eleanor Friedberger’s Personal Record did not disappoint.bihThe brownie recipe from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner was also very good.fa

Frida in her 13th year is smashing expectations.

I hope your day is muy pleasant.

Throw it on the Pile

I was rolling around the strip mall waiting for Lacey’s haircut to end.  The Meat House hasn’t yet stocked the Fee Brother’s bitters I suggested.  Really is a perfect fit for their customers and they’d be the exclusive Albany sellers.  Oh well.  The book store offered Mérida Anderson’s Vegan Secret Supper and I accepted.

Looked a little fancy for my taste, but I liked the ingredients she was using.  Then the recipe for fermented cashew cheese hooked me.  The cheese requires 4-1/2 days  if everything behaves as expected, and in my case that worked

A really marvelous result!  Not better than the offerings I have enjoyed from Punk Rawk Labs and Treeline, but nearly as good.  I filled a paper lined tin with the batch, but had left over a quarter cup.  That I rolled in black pepper.  A penny for scale.ccs

I’ve also made a blackbean soup with a coconut milk sour cream.  Both were exceptional.  This cookbook looks like another winner.

The potential buyer of the Bridgestone MB-2 confirmed he wants it and should be by Monday to pick it up.  One less bike!  There’s a t-shirt I could get behind (except that 99.9% of the population would misinterpret it).

Speak to you soon.

Spring Giveth

A few nice days, then Spring taketh away (my good mood–walking Frida in a soaking rain wearing head to toe denim (Canadian tuxedo!) isn’t as cool as one would think).  Frida kinda thought it blew, too.f

Just pulled inside the geraniums and the lime tree.  The temp has dropped to 32 and the rain has turned to sleet.  Really gross.

Small victory yesterday in the form of a batch of chocolate chip cookies from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.  Brought them to Scrabble and they were a big hit.  What a terrible picture!  You get what you pay for.ccc

Sad that I didn’t make the effort to instead make Lagusta’s garlic chocolate chip cookies.  That’s the first recipe I grabbed, but I was too lazy to roast a clove of garlic and make flax seed snot, so I sidestepped to Chloe’s recipe.  Still haven’t made Lagusta’s version, but you know it has to be special, right?  A small amount of roasted garlic must add a wonderful twist.  As far as Chloe’s recipe, I swapped in coconut oil instead of margarine.  Thanks for that Lagusta!

I also enjoyed the growler of Founder’s All Day IPA I brought to Scarabble.  Low alcohol, big hops.  Fun to watch people discover their preferences in beer.  One guy now knows he prefers malt to hops.  I’ve been there, but life is too short.  Hops.  Malt.  Balance.  Bring ’em all on.  It’s Friday!

Make the most of it.


Lacey and Frida are sleeping, so I will share something quickly.  Wonderful friends sent us three tins of nut milk cheese from Punk Rawk Labs.  3

We received Cashew, Herbed Cashew and Macadamia and Smoked Macadamia.  I’ve listed them in the order of approachability, but all three are amazing.  HCM

Great texture and complex flavors.  The smoke in the third cheese comes from a crust of smoked sea salt (and black pepper).  Reminiscent of tobacco smoke.  Very interesting.  Almost challenging.  Probably something like the fun had by folks who eat exotic “stinky” animal milk cheeses.  SM

I’d probably have a tin in the fridge at all times if these were sold locally.  I really need to get to Lagusta’s place to see if I can get some nut milk cheese from her tenant.  I can’t quickly find the name.  Does it exist yet?  Did I imagine it?  In any event, the world is really looking up for plant eaters!

Other news?  I dropped off two tiffins at Curry House as I placed a to go order.  Thought was they could pack our food in the tins and save all the styro and paper.  Wasn’t sure how they’d react, but they were completely into it.  They were debating which parts of the order should go into the five compartments.  I had thought it through before selecting the two tiffins I brought and knew I’d have one container left for condiments.  Give it a try at your local restaurant and see what happens!

While Curry House made our dinner, I popped next door to Mahar’s for a ten ounce Mild at Heart.  The place was packed!  Like I’ve rarely seen it.  Good to see the support.  I hope they find a new home that is close to my home.  So nice to walk.  Ten ounces was a perfect timer for the magicians at the Curry House.  When I walked in the door, my two tiffins were waiting.

Appliance repair?  The dishwasher left an inch of water in the bottom at the end of a cycle.  I had thought the metal screen forming most of the bottom of the thing was all I needed to keep clean, and I would occasionally clear residual food bits from that.  Not enough.  DW

This time I removed the bottom spray bar to allow me to remove a pipe that carries water to the top spray bar.  This gave me access to a raised plastic grate that covers the drain.  All without tools!  The plastic grate was pretty clogged, as was the drain underneath.  The picture above is an after picture.  I would have been embarrassed to post a before picture!  Cleaned all that out with a turkey baster, a rag and a toothbrush.  Also scrubbed the bottom spray bar, the plastic gears that move the bar and a filter that cleans the water before it gets sprayed.  Despite the dishwasher looking clean before disassembly, all of these hidden from view parts were pretty disgusting.  Running water and the aforementioned cleaning tools had them looking like new in short order.  I reassembled the bits and gave it a test wash.  Perfect!  The washer is considerably quieter now, too.  Like new, really.  I think the mucked up gears driving the spray bar were causing the scary noises I had been ignoring for a year or so (intermittent rumbling).  This dishwasher was about seven years old and hadn’t had any work done to it (except the surface wipes I had mentioned).  I can’t see myself doing all this prophylactically, but I’ll go ahead and recommend the same to you.  I imagine the motor was working harder than it needed to.  Good to care for things if you can, right?

That’s enough.  I should check in on Lacey and Frida.  Take care!

Oh!  I should mention how wonderfully Frida is recovering.  She is still tired, but is walking, even running, with confidence.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the antibiotics clear the infection and that the aspirin prevent further clots.  Thanks for all of the kind words and wishes!

Prep Work

This year’s Thanksgiving table will be a little sweeter thanks to Lagusta’s willingness to share her pumpkin bourbon tart recipe.  I’ve made it half a dozen times now, but enough time passes between each go that my heart still gets fluttery with anticipation.  That, or I have an arrhythmia.  C’est la vie!  

Pulled a nice old Schwinn pump out of the garbage a week ago.  I oiled the leather plunger and it moves air nicely, but I learned why they deep-sixed it as soon as I tried to connect it to a valve.  The pot metal head was cracked where the thumb lever pivots.  The pressure of the compressing rubber grommet pushes the thumb lever back on the cracked side and a no pump situation results.  No worries.  I love Topeak’s SmartHead pump upgrade kit so I ordered one straight away.  The kit comes with various fittings to allow the new hose to be connected to most any pump except, it turns out, this one.  No worries again!  

They also include fittings that allow you to splice the new hose onto the old hose.  Not as elegant, but good enough.  It is working perfectly.  Best part is, while the old pump head was Schrader only, the SmartHead fits both Schrader and presta valves without an adaptor.  Swell!  

Back to it, then.  Have a great Thanksgiving.


The big blow is headed our way and we are ready.  I don’t mean to suggest that our preparations will protect us from inconvenience or injury.  I only mean we have done all that has occurred to us (short of buying a generator).  I filled all of our growlers and other large glass containers with water.  I cleaned our gutters.  I checked the batteries in a couple of flashlights.  I emptied the ice maker so that it can make another bucket.  I filled the tub with water (so that I could scoop buckets full into the toilet tank for a few flushes if the muni pumps stopped pumping).  I picked up dog poop (not afraid it will become a projectile–I just have learned that hard way that poop is easier to pick up before it has been rained on for five days).  Lacey and I raked a few bags of leaves (more will come down with the wind, but it feels neighborly to keep up with it as best as one can).  Our efforts all seem kind of silly in the face of what is coming, but I’ve welcomed the distractions.

What else can keep me off of the Weather Channel?  Horseradish!  I dug up a few roots and set to grating.  I’ve read many warnings and remedies intended to protect me from the pungent fumes, but I routinely ignore them all.  I enjoy both the work and from time to time becoming overwhelmed by the airborne oils.  Today when it got to be a bit much I simply knelt down below the counter on which I was grating and worked over my head.  Worked like a charm.  The photo above is the grated horseradish before adding salt and vinegar (to stop the oxidation–the longer you allow the air to work on the grated root, the hotter it becomes).

I was in Chicago last week for some continuing legal education.  I love that town more each time I visit. I really enjoyed seeing folks biking all over the place.  More than I have ever seen while there.  Great food, too.  I had nice meals at Do-Rite Donuts (they offer one vegan variety each day–the rosemary lemon was amazing), Native Foods (the Greek Gyro bowl was super yummy and healthy and the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger blew my mind), the Green Zebra (high zoot but still very comfortable) and even the Wiener’s Circle (who would have guessed they offer a pakora-like veggie burger–not sure it is vegan, but it isn’t the kind of place I am comfortable asking questions).  Click the link for Wiener’s Circle if you click any.  It is hilarious.  Also got a nice styrofoam container of West African chow from a food truck operating in front of the hotel.  Rice, plantains, greens and some spicy red sauce.  No way that was vegan (I watched him take the red sauce from a tray with hunks of beef), but it was very special nonetheless.

What’s with all my slackness about food?  I still consider myself vegan, but I’ve relaxed my standards while traveling.  It is difficult to get enough to eat on the road, so I make small exceptions here and there.  If I have time and my bad toe allows it, I will walk a mile or two to eat at a vegan joint, but I can’t make that happen every time.  When I eat at an omnivore’s place, I try my best to avoid meat and dairy, but I don’t pepper the servers with questions (unless they seem like they might know what the heck a vegan might be).  Instead, I order things that are commonly vegan and don’t get upset if the food that arrives isn’t 100% critter free.  I am not proud of it, but it’s where I am at.  The market will save me from these small lapses as more and more locals ask their restaurant owners to offer more ethical chow.  It is getting easier all the time.  

What else?  My friend is headed to Costa Rica to pedal in a grueling three day mountain bike race.  That’s him on the left (I grabbed the image from the close of our last iChat), looking as fit as all get out.  I’ve long known he is crazy but his skill and preparations keep him safe so I have nothing but admiration for him and his pedaling exploits.  Good luck to you sir!

Last but most, do you know my dad?  He is in the hospital recovering from an operation to replace a valve in his heart.  He seems to be doing great, but I am sure he’d benefit from you sending kind thoughts his way.  He is such an incredibly brave man.  I am so proud of him.

That’s enough.  Just five hours until the wind and rain are to arrive in earnest.  I’ll be thinking of you and yours as you all face the storm.