Monthly Archives: July 2016

Scott & the Not-Crabby Cakes

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Over a lifetime, there are few forever friends. I’m lucky to have Leslie as one of mine. During the 20+ years we have known each other, we’ve seen much of life’s roller coaster. College, jobs homes, pets, parents. And of course, there are the guys who were part of our lives .

For Leslie, THE guy was Scott. They knew each other in high school, but the sparks didn’t happen until later, in their thirties. When I met Scott, he and Leslie recently reconnected. The group of us went to a  former Miami hot spot called BED. (Yes, you ate in a bed – it was in South Beach, of course. It’s now closed.) Scott was from Baltimore and what struck me about him wasn’t his fast, witty sense of humor or encyclopedic knowledge of all things sports & politics, though that was impressive. It was how Leslie was with him. She was happy, she was herself – and more than ever.

Leslie and Scott

Leslie and Scott, 2009 in West Palm Beach FL

After you’ve loved a friend for decades, you want so much for her. No…you demand more for her. Not just any guy was going to be acceptable for Leslie, at least not to me. He needed to do more than impress her or adore her, the right guy needed to meet her on her intellectual level, to understand and support her hectic career, really get her quirks – and love them more than me. Honestly, this was the top of my list; there were more criteria. And Scott surpassed them all.

Leslie and Scott Wedding 1

Leslie and Scott at their wedding at The Colony Hotel in FL

Last July 29 the unthinkable happened. I remember with total clarity. Nathaniel walked into our room at the B&B in New York, we were on our annual Watkins Glen trip. He told me Scott died overnight. At first I thought he was wrong, or confused. Scott was only 44! Scott and Leslie had a little boy! No, this was a mistake. Simply not true. Except that Nathaniel spoke true. Scott passed in the night, quite suddenly, in their home in Lake Worth, Florida. I sat on the edge of the bed and cried, then tried to compose myself before reaching out to Leslie.

When you love someone, you become wrapped up in their happiness. You invest in seeing their dreams come true and watching them live their way into fulfillment. It’s more than “wanting the best” for them. You want to see them live long and full. You never entertain that anything less will happen.  So it was for me with Leslie. Scott became a huge part of her world in the five years they were married.  Scott wove into her dreams of everyday life – little things like trips to the grocery store, and big ones, like trips to Maryland with family. Leslie’s heart grew because of Scott’s love. And I loved her all the more for it.

Leslie and Scott fun

Leslie and Scott being silly at Havana Hideout

Today, a year has passed since Scott died. I don’t have the words to really mark this anniversary. Sometimes the acknowledgment that time has passed is what matters, and I believe that to be the case. Nothing I write can replace the time Leslie and their son won’t share with him. No phrase or words will ever pluck out the pain…

A true Baltimore guy, Scott’s fave food was crab cakes. In his honor, we made a vegan version of the recipe. If he were here, I have no doubt he’d try it. He was always game to try new things and whatever project someone was attempting, Scott cheered them on. I loved that about him. The supportive, optimistic outlook.

Leslie, you are in my heart forever. We are thinking of you…

crabbycakes_lrNot-Crabby Cakes, in memory of Scott

2 zucchini, shredded and drained

1 16-oz. can artichokes, drained and shredded

1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (we used Metropolitan Gourmet Gluten-Free)

1/4 cup flax seed meal

3 Tbs. lemon juice (about one lemon)

2 Tbs. Old Bay seasoning

1 Tbs. parsley, dried

3 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (such as Wizard’s or Annie’s Naturals)

pinch dulse flakes

salt & pepper, to taste

 

Using a food processor fitted with a grating blade, shred two zucchini. Alternatively, grate zucchini by hand using a traditional box grater. Using a standard blade, pulse drained artichoke in a food processor three or four times, until the stems are broken down, but the petals aren’t pureed. Alternatively, roughly chop artichokes by hand, until there are uneven size pieces, but nothing is too large for a patty.

Place zucchini shreds and shredded artichokes into a colander over the sink, press down and allow to drain thoroughly, about 30 minutes. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. Preheat oven to 375F.

While veggies drain, add 1 cup breadcrumbs, flax seed meal, lemon juice, Old Bay, parsley, dijon mustard, garlic powder, vegan Worchestershire and dulse flakes to a mixing bowl. Combine, then add drained zucchini and artichokes. If mixture is too wet, add more bread crumbs. If too dry, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Allow mixture to rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge. It will take a little time for the flax meal to create a strong bind.

Form into patties, 6 to 9, depending on size desired. Smaller cakes will hold together better. Pack cakes together tightly.

Lightly coat with remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Place patties on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then flip to other side. Bake an additional 15 minutes, until sides are crisp and patties are hot throughout. Alternatively, these Not-Crabby Cakes can be pan-fried in a little oil for about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Serve hot – with vegan dipping sauce (ours is vegan mayo with a little mustard and relish stirred in, like tartar sauce).

 

Scott

We miss you Scott… thank you for taking such excellent care of my Leslie!

Veganic Gardening

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Hope no one minds if I brag a little bit. Because this is a moment of shiny pride!

The Dirty Hippie had an article about Veganic Gardening published in a national magazine! In the most recent issue of Vegetarian Journal, from Baltimore-based Vegetarian Resource Group, his article spans three full pages and includes a photo of our compost, as well as a recipe for homemade Gardener’s Hand Soap.

 

Vegetarian Journal Article Veg Journal Article page 2

Dang, isn’t that compost gorgeous? We always joke that as vegans, we must have the best compost. We have a LOT of fruit/veggie trimmings and teabags in there! And at any one time, we have three compost bins as well as a heap working.

Veg Journal Article page 3

This recipe is also available online – you can read the whole thing here.

Veg Journal Cover

The entire issue of Vegetarian Journal is wonderful – please pick up a copy or order it online! Additionally, if you don’t know The Vegetarian Resource Group, visit their website. It’s bursting with info of all kinds about veganism, nutrition data and loads of recipes.

Thanks for listening while I brag! 🙂

Lentil Buffalo Sauce

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The Dirty Hippie eats a LOT of buffalo sauce. This is not an exaggeration. The buffalo sauce comes out of our fridge at least once a day. That said, I wanted to round up a healthier version of the condiment. After all, the store bought brands, even the vegan ones, contained a LOT of fat and preservatives.

Enter Veggie and the Beast. It’s a blog I stumbled on during my search. It belongs to a gal named Katie whose boyfriend also loves buffalo sauce. She developed this healthy recipe for him – and we love it, too! A double batch is made every other week and devoured in our home!

Katie’s recipe is really different because the main ingredient is red lentils. They have both fiber and protein, adding nutritional value to this beloved condiment. The recipe contains a lot of the usual ingredients for buffalo sauce, too, like chili powder, paprika and cayenne. We omit the oil when we make this. We’ve tried it both ways and it doesn’t really seem to change the recipe much, so why not save the calories?

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Oh – the one ingredient that will change this recipe is the hot sauce. Choose a hot sauce you already enjoy, as it’s going to add a lot of the flavor – and heat! We’ve experimented with different brands and like the milder ones, like Tabasco, best for this. You may prefer something hotter.  Oh – for my folks, we also made a batch that subbed in beer for the water, and they liked that a lot, too.

This isn’t our original recipe, so I’m going to link you to Katie’s blog. You’ll find the Lentil Buffalo Sauce recipe there. Once you mix some up add it to… tofu, seitan, cauliflower, broccoli, tater tots & fries, soups, beans, baked sweet potatoes, veggie burgers  – basically, the DH would put this stuff on anything!

Lentil Buffalo Sauce by Katie at Veggie and the Beast. You’re going to be glad you did…

 

 

Junk Food Kale & Artichoke Queso Dip

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Like most people, we try to eat healthy most of the time. We try to eat lots of fresh veggies and fruits, legumes, seeds. But there are times when you just want old school junk food. You know, stuff like queso dip. We added plenty of veggies to this too, so it has some redeeming qualities. You can serve it with crackers, tortilla chips or cut carrots/celery/peppers.

This is a perfect dip for watching movies and sharing with friends. As written, it’s gluten-free, too. To make this recipe easy, we use a slow cooker but you can also it make over low heat in a large pot on the stove. It’s also easy to double. Should serve 6 to 8 people, depending on how much you eat!

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Junk Food Kale and Artichoke Queso Dip

1 red onion, minced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. olive oil

1 bag (2 cups) of vegan cheddar shreds (such as Daiya or Follow Your Heart)

1 cup vegan mayo (such as Just Mayo or Follow Your Heart)

1 8-oz. container plain vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti or Daiya)

1/4 cup  vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti or Follow Your Heart)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tbs. smoked paprika

1 Tbs. yellow mustard

1 14 -oz. can quartered artichokes, drained

1 large bunch kale, any variety, sliced into thin strips

few dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco

1/2 cup scallions, chopped, to garnish

crackers, fresh cut veggies, or tortilla chips, to serve

 

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add to a slow cooker with vegan cheddar shreds, vegan cream cheese, vegan sour cream, vegan mayo, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, yellow mustard, artichokes, sliced kale and hot sauce. Heat on low for three to four hours.

Before serving, top with fresh chopped scallions. Serve with dippers – like crackers, tortillas and fresh cut veggies.