Monday, August 17, 2009

Recent Gatherings

As you may know, I coordinated a dinner at Dahlak, a local Eritrean/Ethiopian/Indian restaurant a couple of weeks ago. We had sixteen folks attend the dinner and their company was a pleasure! It was great to meet new local vegans as well as catch up with some friends. We all enjoyed a delicious all-you-could-eat vegan meal. Here are the photos from the event:

A sampling of the delicious fare.

All vegan!

If you decide to go to Dahlak (and I think you should!), I recommend speaking to the owner, Neghisti Ghebrehiwot. She is so pleasant and was thrilled to have the business we provided with her. She was completely sympathetic to our dietary needs and knows exactly which dishes are appropriate. She also owns the West Philly location, which seems to be more popular.

This past weekend I also attended a wonderful vegan brunch potluck at a friend's home in Center City. The food was absolutely fantastic! So fantastic that I was too busy eating what was on my plate to notice that as new people were showing up, so were additional dishes. By the time I had the chance to take photos of the later-arriving dishes, they were almost gone! Here are the photos I did manage to take:

DocDufresne and I made Belgian waffles.

The waffle station.

There were 3 quiches, one omelet, and a tofu scramble. They were all different and awesome!

I wasn't the only one anxious to try all the dishes. I had difficulty squeezing in to take these last few photos!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Watermelon Shaved Ice

There are few things more refreshing on a hot summer day than a juicy watermelon. If you're going for something even more refreshing, I recommend making (super simple) watermelon shaved ice. Of course in these parts we call it "water ice".

I just finished up the last of a batch of this shaved ice, with help from DocDufresne and Andy.

Here's how you make it:
1. Cut however much watermelon you'd like into chunks. Make sure you reserve as much juice as you can.
2. Throw the chunks in a blender with the reserved juice and blend. If you need to, add a little water to get the process going.
3. Pour the pureed watermelon into a container with a lid and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours until frozen solid.
4. When you're ready to serve the shaved ice, either
A. take an ice cream scoop and shave off ice from the block (the consistency will resemble fresh snow) or
B. let the block thaw for 5 minutes then take something that acts like an ice pick and strike the block for a couple of minutes until you have small clumps of ice.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sprouting Newb

It's official; I'm becoming more of a stereotypical vegan everyday!

I haven't had much interest in sprouting before, but a blog post I read recently related sprouting to year-round indoor gardening. I've been longing to have a garden ever since moving to Philadelphia and not having a space to do so! I decided to give it a shot and boy has it been fun watching one of the many miracles of life: a seed growing into a plant.

On Sunday I took a handful of the French lentils I got from the bulk section at Whole Foods. I rinsed them off in a fine colander that I use for everything from sifting flour to steaming veggies. I placed the wet lentils in a clean pickle jar, covered them with a (used) plastic baggie, and stuck them near the window in the kitchen. Every day since then, I've dumped the lentils back in the colander and rinsed them off twice a day. After the first day, little shoots started popping out. It's now been a full three days and you can see the sprouts in the photos.

I was surprised to see that sprouting lids (containing a screen that you can just screw onto the top of the jar, which makes it easier to rinse) aren't as widely-available as I had thought. I didn't see a single listing for one on Ebay! I think my current method is absolutely fine, but I also realized that I have some screening left over from a craft project. I might just fashion myself a sprouting lid soon.

The dried French lentils, posing with my cauliflower sheep.

Day 3 of the lentils in the jar.

Just look at those cute little sprouts!

"A dozen sprouted lentils in the hand is worth two dozen unsprouted in the bag." Isn't that how the saying goes?
The sprouted lentils taste like fresh peas or what I would imagine fresh lentils tasting like.

The lentils covered with a plastic baggie.
BTW: The furniture that the lentils are resting on is a piece I recently rescued on garbage day, cleaned up real well, and have been using to store canned goods. Above it are my botanical paintings, featured in an earlier post. :)

Lately I've been motivated to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, so this is just another opportunity to try something new! Apparently there are a ton of nutritional reasons to sprout, and I think they've been summed up well on the Nourishing Gourmet blog post: "Why Sprout".

I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to let these buggers sprout before DocDufresne and I eat them, but we'll probably put 'em in a salad.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Too lazy to prepare pasta?

A meal doesn't come much easier than throwing pasta in boiling water and topping it off with tomato sauce. Trader Joe's has done a great job of wrapping up the epitome of laziness into a convenient frozen package. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I gave this product a try, but I'm also glad that I did.

Here's my review of TJ's Penne Arrabbiata.

The package.

Here's the frozen form of the penne. This bowl contains about one third of the package. I love saucy pasta and this dish doesn't disappoint. The ratio of sauce to pasta is perfect in my opinion! The fact that the sauce is frozen into little disks, separate from the pasta, makes the whole dish taste freshly prepared.

Here's the final photo after the pasta's been zapped for a couple of minutes. I topped it with Vegan grated topping, but it certainly is flavorful enough without it. There's a great fresh parsley taste along with the spiciness of the pepper in the sauce.

I really recommend this product if you ever are too lazy to boil some pasta. Aside from the convenience though, it's a great, flavorful dish that I would probably keep on hand even if I wasn't occasionally pressed for time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A year, already

In celebration of our one year wedding anniversary, I'm posting photos from DocDufresne's and my wedding on August 2, 2009. They were taken by my good friend, Carly of Rainforest Reflections Photography.
The wedding was truly personal with so many friends and family helping out with everything from the food preparation to the invitation design to one good friend becoming a notary public to officiate the wedding. We were married at an organic farm in rural New Hampshire, close to where we met in person after communicating on Veggiedate over three years ago now. The wedding had a large environmental component, including everything from our with second-hand clothing (my dress was an Ebay find for $9!) and wedding rings to the completely vegan menu. We didn't spend a lot on our special day and asked guests to donate to Farm Sanctuary instead of bringing gifts. I learned so much from the planning of this day that I almost wish I had another chance to do it all again (or someone to give pointers to)! Thanks again to all the wonderful people in our lives that helped us create such happy memories.

I left out many photos from the prep and the rehearsal, since I'm already posting a ton.

DocDufresne, as on the day we met and on the day we were married, I hope we continue to get caught in the rain together for the rest of our lives. I love you.