Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumnal Equinox Smoothies

I've been making smoothies most mornings for breakfast. It involves preparing a bunch of raw veggies and fruits and blending them all up. Here's a template:

CHOOSE ONE, 1/4 c.:

CHOOSE ONE, 4 oz. frozen:

3–5 kale leaves
1 beet
1 yellow/orange/red pepper
1 banana

1/2 lemon, juiced
1 apple

I wrote a cranky review of a mediocre movie.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jumbo's Death Day Pasta

Jumbo the African Elephant worked in P. T. Barnum's circus for three years before being struck and killed by a train in St. Thomas, Ontario on September 15, 1885. He'd helped Barnum make a fortune after Barnum had paid just £6,000 to transport him from England. Thousands of schoolchildren had written to the Queen to protest the sale. After being hacked up and dragged off the tracks, Jumbo's remains were exploited for profit. Barnum was a paragon of American greed and industry—a true villain. Jumbo's trainer, William Scott, who'd come over with him from England, was a much different person. He died in the Bridgeport almshouse in 1914, destitute and heartbroken.

serves: 2
prep. time: approx. 20 mins.

1/2 lb. pasta
5 beets' worth of beet greens, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 can navy beans
black pepper
walnut oil
red wine vinegar

1. Boil water. Cook pasta.
2. Sauté onion in pan over medium heat. When translucent, add squash and beet greens.
3. Season. Strain beans and toss with contents of pan. After a few minutes, turn off heat and serve.

In a manner of speaking…

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pledge of Allegiance Lentil Soup

On September 8, 1892, Francis Bellamy's "Pledge of Allegiance" was published in the children's magazine The Youth's Companion. I wonder if kids in 1892 refused to pledge their allegiance. The original composition is good — much better than the current version, which is marred by a few inelegant revisions. Who knows, maybe I wouldn't have been a brat about reciting it if we'd been reciting I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

When is patriotism not jingoism? Give me cosmopolitanism, not military strikes on Syria.

My parents bought me a Vitamix! It's a wonderful machine. I'm going to make smoothies for breakfast every day. Tonight I made lentil soup.

serves: 2 or 3
prep. time: 1 hour

1.5 c. red lentils
1 c. short-grain brown rice
6 collard leaves, chopped
1 white onion
3 cloves garlic
coconut milk
curry powder
cayenne powder

1. Bring rice and 1.75 c. water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 mins.
2. Bring lentils and 3 c. water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for however long the rice has left.
3. Put onion in Vitamix and blend on lowest speed until chopped.
4. Sauté onion with whole garlic cloves in oil. Add collards after a few minutes.
5. Put everything in Vitamix and blend, slowly increasing speed until desired consistency is attained. You might have to add ingredients in batches if they're too voluminous for the container prior to blending.

My friend H. recently moved to Brooklyn. She took me foraging for fruit last weekend. We picked a bunch of crab apples and made jam! It was super simple. Wash and cut up apples; cook in a pot with lemonade, agave nectar, two cloves, and some cinnamon over low heat until mushy; eat on bread.

I wrote a film review for the first time in months. This one's about crows and a cat. You can read it here.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tilikum Tofu & Broccoli on Shells

I saw Blackfish two nights ago. It's a documentary about orcas in captivity. It includes testimony from scientists, former Sea World trainers, and a grizzled old guy who captured orca calfs decades ago and now admits that it was the worst thing he's ever done in his life. The film is commendably level-headed and even-handed. If I'd have tried to make it, it would've come out a vitriolic propaganda piece and call to action. There's no explicit appeal to action at the end of Blackfish, but I can't imagine anyone watching it could leave without feeling sickened by the thought of an orca like Tilikum living most of his life in a tiny enclosure without stimulation or company. It's easy to feel horrified that he's killed three people, but it's neither surprising nor reprehensible. If I'd grown up abused in captivity I can only hope I'd try to kill everyone I could get my teeth on.

Shut down Sea World and all the rest of the marine life "amusement" parks! Shut down aquariums! It's cruel and unusual to do what we do to sentient beings, perhaps especially so when they're as incredibly intelligent and social as whales.

serves: 2 or 3
prep. time: 25 mins.

1/2 lb. shells
1 medium white onion, chopped
2/3 lb. firm tofu, cubed
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
curry powder
soy sauce
apple cider vinegar
nutritional yeast
ground flax seed
chili garlic sauce

1. Bring water to a boil. Simmer pasta until al dente.
2. Place onion and tofu in a medium-sized pot with oil and cook on high heat. After it's gotten noisy in there, splash some vinegar and soy sauce on it. Season with curry powder.
3. Add broccoli, nutritional yeast, and ground flax seed. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Stir occasionally.
4. When the broccoli tender but before it loses all of its snap, shut off heat and mix in chili garlic sauce.

Monday, July 29, 2013

No Gun Ri Massacre Fusilli

On this day in 1950, the No Gun Ri Massacre ended three days after it started. U.S. forces were retreating from advancing North Korean soldiers and rounding up refugees when they decided—someone(s) decided—to simply kill them. Planes began to attack the villagers, joined by the 7th Cavalry Regiment, which continued to shoot civilians for four days.

"I shot, too. Shot at people. I don't know if they were soldiers or what. Kids, there was kids out there, it didn't matter what it was, 8 to 80, blind, crippled or crazy, they shot 'em all," Joseph Jackman, a G Company rifleman, told the BBC. Norman L. Tinkler, an H Company machine gunner, remembered white-clad people coming down the railroad tracks toward the bridge, including "a lot of women and children. ... I was the one who pulled the trigger." He fired about 1,000 rounds and assumed "there weren't no survivors." Said ex-rifleman Herman Patterson, "It was assumed there were enemy in these people." Thomas H. Hacha, dug in nearby with the sister 1st Battalion, witnessed the slaughter: "I could see the tracers (bullets) spinning around inside the tunnel ... and they were dying down there. I could hear the people screaming."

The U.S. government still hasn't issued an apology or granted reparations. A South Korean committee formed in 2005 investigated over 200 cases of "civilian massacre by U.S. soldiers."

On an unrelated and much less important note, I've been on a roll in the kitchen the last several days. I'll  try to put up a couple more recipes this week.

prep. time: approx. 30 mins.
serves: 2

8 oz. fusilli pasta
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
handful grape tomatoes, sliced
couple handfuls spinach
couple splashes hazelnut milk
dollop Veganaise
sprinkle red wine vinegar
couple hearty shakes nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
black pepper

1. Boil pasta.
2. Sauté onion in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add garlic after a few minutes.
3. Add mushrooms after another few minutes. When things are sizzling and smelling good, add tomatoes.
4. Add spinach and cover for a few minutes. Uncover and add everything else. Lower heat and stir until desired consistency.

Monday, May 20, 2013

First US Speeding Infraction Lentil Stew with Collards

On May 20, 1899 taxicab driver Jacob German was arrested for doing 12 mph down Lexington Ave., 4 mph over the speed limit in New York City. No ticket for dear Jacob, but imprisonment! I wonder how long he had to sit in a cell for.

An even stranger and sadder fact is that Jacob and 90% of the other cabbies drove electric vehicles. I mean, sad because it hasn't been the case in so long.

I got the details of this story, as well as good information about the effects of alcohol consumption on brain function (it doesn't kill brain cells!), from, which I just found out existed today.

serves: 3
prep. time: 1 hour

1 c. short grain brown rice
1 c. red lentils
3 small yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced

3 small yellow potatoes, cubed
2 serrano chiles, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
black pepper
collard greens, torn

1. Simmer a pot of your favorite kind of rice.
2. Sauté onions, garlic, and chiles in a medium-sized pot for a few minutes.
3. Add water and lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and seasoning. Cook until potatoes are tender and lentils break down. Continue to cook until desired thickness is attained.
4. Sauté collard greens in a pan. Salt lightly.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fire Concludes the Branch Davidian Siege Collards and Mushrooms with Polenta

On this day in 1993, exactly 20 years before the BPD take Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, into custody, 76 people died in a fire at the Mount Carmel Center in Waco, Texas after a 51-day siege following a bloodthirsty, foolhardy raid by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Luckily, this time law enforcement resisted the temptations of brutality and vigilantism. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is merely a suspect, a fact some seem to have forgotten, along with all sense of compassion or mercy. Not the most cooperative suspect, it has to be admitted, but it would have been a disgrace had the police scratched itchy trigger fingers.

ما شاء الله

God bless the dead and wounded of Monday, as well as those of Wednesday when a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas.

serves: 1 or 2
prep. time: approx. 20 mins.

1 white onion, diced
4 collard leaves, sliced
4 large shiitake mushrooms, chopped
4 rounds of polenta
coarse-ground black pepper

1. Sauté the onion over medium-high heat. When it starts to go translucent, throw in collards and mushrooms, as well as seasoning. Lower heat to medium.
2. When things are fairly well along, pour oil into a pan and heat polenta.