Sunday, January 29, 2017

Keep winter cold!

This weekend, I joined many hearty souls in the Chesapeake Climate Action Network's (CCAN) annual Polar Plunge.  We plunged (OK, I waded carefully) into the Potomac to raise money for CCAN.  And raise money we did -- nearly $100K!  There were folks from all walks of life who care deeply about fighting climate change.  We had Protestants and Catholics:

highly creative folks:

and, of course my favorite, the dancers:

Next comes the important work of educating, contacting public officials, and greening our lifestyles!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Pistachio Soup

This week's meat-free dish is adapted from Jerusalem, a Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.  The book is just as beautiful as his vegetarian cookbook, Plenty.


  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 2/3 cups unsalted pistachios (I didn't remove the skins.  The soup didn't taste any different, but wasn't as bright a green.  For instructions on removing skins, see the cookbook)
  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • just a little bit of chopped ginger (I used pre-chopped from a jar)
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 cups veggie broth (the recipe calls for chicken broth)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sour cream for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Pour the boiling water over the saffron and let it sit for 30 minutes
  2. Roast the pistachios in the oven for about 8 minutes.
  3. Heat butter in a large pot and add shallots, ginger, leek, cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, and some black pepper.  Saute until shallots are soft.  Add veggie broth and 1/2 of saffron liquid.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Put all but 1 tblsp of pistachios (this tbslp will be used for garnish) in a bowl along with half the soup.  Blend with a stick blender and then add back to the rest of the soup.  Add orange and lemon juice, reheat and adjust the seasonings.
  5. Serve with pistachios, sour cream and remaining saffron liquid.  Serves 4.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Celebrities doing green stuff --

Manager of Photography

There was an interesting interview about a week ago in Green Sports Blog about Stephen Piscotty, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder -- and ecowarrior!  Check it out.  Lots of interesting information here from this Stanford grad. (photo from GreenSportsBlog)  If you aren't following GreenSportsBlog and you like sports and green stuff, you need to jump on board!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pasta with leeks and broccoli rabe

Another recipe from my new cookbook, Food52 Vegan, 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen, by Gena Hamshaw.  Tasty, and this one's really easy!  I doubled this recipe for a family of 5.


For the sauce:
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 2 tblsp jar garlic)
  • 8 oz. silken tofu
  • 3 tblsp nutritional yeast (I forgot this and it turned out OK anyway)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water, or as needed
  • pepper
For the pasta and vegetables:
  • 8 oz. orecchiette
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, chopped and rinsed
  • 2 bunches of broccoli rabe, stemmed and chopped (I had to use frozen, because fresh wasn't available)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (again, I'm lazy.  I used 1 tblsp jar garlic)
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
  • 2 tblps chopped chives
  1. To make the sauce -- heat the olive oil and add shallots.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another couple of minutes.  Pour this mixture into a food processor or blender and add tofu, yeast, salt, nutmeg, and lemon juice and blend until smooth.  Add water if it's too thick.  Season with pepper.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente.  
  3. In a skillet, saute the leeks in the oil until lightly golden.  Add broccoli rabe and saute until tender.  Add garlic and lemon juice and saute for another couple of minutes.  
  4. Toss the pasta with the leek mixture and the sauce.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Water and Wall

Water and Wall is a great restaurant in Arlington VA, owned by one of my neighbors.  I thought of this restaurant's name when I was reading the Washington Post the other day.  Two articles in the A section got me thinking about our nation's fiscal priorities.  One article, Despite cost, GOP ready to fund wall by Mike DeBonis discusses the funding of the proposed border wall with Mexico.  The cost of the wall is estimated between $8 and $10 billion, and when we asked Mexico to pay, they basically told us to pound sand. Thus, if it happens, the U.S. taxpayers will be footing the bill.  Funding isn't the only issue with the proposed wall; these structures also cause major environmental impacts, as explained in BioScience and the BBC.  The U.S. border with Mexico already has large areas that are fenced, and these areas have given us a taste of the environmental impacts to come.

The second article discussed the issue of aging infrastructure and lead contaminated drinking water in towns across the U.S.  (Lead-tainted water in Louisiana a harbinger for other U.S. Towns, by Brady Dennis).  Just as we saw in Flint, MI, the article states that, "Nationwide, an estimated 6 million or more lead pipes remain in use by more than 11,000 community water systems serving as many as 22 million Americans. While some cities, such as Lansing, Mich., and Madison, Wis., have replaced all their aging lead pipes, doing so is an expensive and time-consuming undertaking — and one many communities simply cannot afford."  The article states that the price tag to replace all pipes could be as high as $30 billion.  

I'd be interested in your feedback.  To prevent the damage that lead poisoning causes, including brain damage, should the federal government get involved? Are you concerned about environmental damage from a proposed border wall?  Should we fund one, both, neither?  Where should our resources go and why?  

Friday, January 6, 2017

Jamaican Jerk Chili

This Christmas my son gave me a great cookbook -- Food 52 Vegan, 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen by Gena Hamshaw.  This week's recipe, Jamaican Jerk Chili, was the first recipe I tried -- very delicious!


  • 2 tblsp coconut oil (this gives a great flavor!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 poblano chile, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tblsp jar garlic)
  • 1 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 3 cups cooked kidney beans (I just used beans from a can)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tblsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small avocado, chopped for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (we skipped this item, because it's not available in winter)
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pot.  Add onion, bell pepper, and poblano pepper and saute until onion is soft (about 8 minutes).  Add garlic and saute a little longer.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, tomatoes, kidney beans, salt, chili powder, cinnamon, thyme, nutmeg, allspice, and broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and most of the broth is gone (about 25 minutes)
  3. Garnish with avocado and cilantro.  Enjoy!