accidentally vegan

IMG_0381There are kind of a lot ingredients, and it takes a little time but… you’re welcome.

Acorn Squash with Kale Tabbouleh

  • I made my own pumpkin pie spice, because I already have all of those spices I don’t need to buy more of them.
  • I did buy the container of pomegranate arils rather than a whole pomegranate it is just so much easier.
  • Rob was zero interested so I had to make some sloppy joe for him.
  • I also want to know why they are now calling pomegranate molasses, pomegranate syrup? (ugh)

vegetables on bread

bruschettaThis is obviously from a few month ago when the farmers market was in full swing and I was always buying too much wonderful produce and then trying to decide what to do with it. I would often settle for an easy classic, vegetables in vinaigrette on garlic toast otherwise known as bruschetta. Usually considered an appetizer, but to me it is jut an open-faced sandwich.

The top picture is good old heirloom tomatoes with balsamic and basil. The second was a little more interesting,  marinated grilled eggplant, it sounds odd but was really very good. I especially liked it with my homemade labneh (Greek yogurt left to drain until it is the approximate consistency of cream cheese) to cut the acidity of the vinaigrette a little.

simple Augustan meals

broiledzucchiniI must say that this is a joy that you only get for a few weeks a year when you live in Chicago.

I stopped at the farmer’s market on my way home from work. At home I cut up the zucchini, an heirloom tomato and some fresh herbs (from my little urban porch garden), mixed up the dressing and broiled it all for a few minutes (recipe) dropped it onto some fresh spinach and dinner was served.

…if only I was drinking (sigh) but I’m not. It is my “no bagel breakfasts/no potato chip lunches/no wine dinners” diet. I’m not sure if it is working.

But there were little plums and sun-gold cherry tomatoes for dessert!



Okay maybe there is a 15oz can out there somewhere, but I can never find one in Chicago. I always have to buy the 28oz and then I either just add it all over hominy my soup OR I put it half in the fridge and eventually give up on finding something to do with them and throw them out.

I used adzuki beans in mine, which is odd I know, but that is what I had. I used a poblano chili because I wasn’t looking for anything too spicy but obviously you could pick a spicier chili if you so desire. (link to a copy of the recipe)

It was tasty and easy to make and vegetarian…and I super-love this filter that makes my picture look a bit like an ancient fresco.

meatless cassoulet


Yes, you heard me correctly, vegetarian cassoulet…I know it is silly. Cassoulet is all about meat, pork, and duck fat for heaven’s sake… but it tasted good with just beans and seitan. I promise. Moosewood got it right this time.

Cook 6 cloves of minced garlic, 1.5 cups of chopped onions, 1/2 tsp thyme and marjoram, 3 bay leaves, 1 tsp of minced rosemary in some olive oil for about 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup red wine, cover simmer about 5 minutes (soft onions). Add 1 cup each of diced carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and 3/4 cup of diced celery, cover and simmer 10 more minutes. Add a package of italian sausage flavored seitan, 1 tablespoon each of molasses and mustard, 15 cans one each of kidney and cannellini beans (drained). Cook until everything is warm and then put in a casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degress F.

It really was delicious. Rob was still eating vegetarian so chorizo-flavored, or italian sausage whatever it was…, seitan made him very happy. I must say it was super delicious in a pita with greens and goat cheese.

basil plants and pigeons


Eat your veggies…with cream sauce and lots of cheese. recipe

I purchased a live basil plant for this recipe. It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I thought it would be in a pot out on my back porch by now giving me an endless supply of basil for the summer. It is not. It is clinging to life, still in the plastic container on my kitchen window sill.

I have two problems. One is that it is barely getting above freezing in Chicago-land. My radiators are still running most mornings.  It is not exactly excellent weather for a thriving basil plant. Second is that in the very spot where I put my herb pots on my porch… because it gets the best light. It is also the spot where pigeons have decided they love to sit….and shit.  I prefer to have pigeon-shit-free fresh herbs.

How much is a plastic owl?

cheesecloth is fun



I have fancy new gadgets that I received for Christmas presents yet all I want to do is play with cheesecloth. I feel a bit like a kid with a big cardboard box.

I think the recipe was calling for a “round” ricotta meaning some sort of drained and pressed ricotta which I did not find. So I drained and pressed my own. I’m getting rather proficient with the cheese thing if I do say so myself…and I do. At first I didn’t brush on any olive oil and it wasn’t getting browned. Once I added the olive oil it did.

I had preserved lemons, fresh lemon juice, garlic, parsley, garlic and cilantro for the relish but I didn’t find plain semi-dried tomatoes so these were some marinated ones I I found in the grocery store olive bar… it was all the more super flavorful, but delicious. Good crusty bread is obviously required for success, so I bought the bread. This is really more of an appetizer, but if you eat enough of it with a salad, as I did,  it can be dinner. I can’t really find a comparable recipe online for you so here it is:


ricotta (as I mentioned I bought some fresh hand dipped)
some olive oil

I wrapped the ricotta tightly in a doubled section of cheese cloth, put it in a strainer over a bowl with a saucer and a big heavy can in the fridge for most of the day. Then heated the oven up, not sure what temp, put the drained cheese in a casserole and put it in the oven, at some point I brushed on the olive oil. The recipe says to heat the oven to 500F, brush with olive oil right away and bake for 20-30 minutes. You should probably use those directions rather than mine.


2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, pith and flesh removed an cut into strips (this always seems like such a waste but you will just want the rind)
5 oz semi-dried tomatoes (this seems like a European/Australian thing so you may have to be a little flexible and creative if you live in the US or order them online)
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

I smashed my garlic in a mortar and pestle and then put the rest together in a bowl.



I toasted the bread, cut out some of the baked ricotta and put on top, spooned on some of the relish.