Wednesday, April 25, 2012

First Public School Seitan Dinner

The first US public school (and oldest school in the country), Boston Latin School, was founded on April 23, 1635. Three cheers for public education! Hang on, "the Boston Latin School was a bastion for educating the sons of the Boston elite..." Humph. The school is one of the best in the country and still requires that students study Latin. The school logo (insignia?) is of Remus and Romulus suckling at the teats of their wolf mother. Further oddity: "President George W. Bush visited Boston Latin School after signing the No Child Left Behind Act earlier that day." How droll.

I used Isa's seitan recipe for this meal, and it worked beautifully. (I used it once before and screwed it up because I was more like boiling, rather than simmering, the seitan.) Cooked the rice with a little bit of mushroom broth, steamed the broccoli rabe with some garlic, and blended up ginger, lemon juice, almond milk, and tahini for the sauce.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

First Motion Picture House Ethiopian Food

Five days ago, my friend K. and I made three Ethiopian dishes. We used these recipes, roughly: (1); (2); (3) I also made banana bread using this recipe, subbing spelt flour and cornmeal for the the all-purpose flour, and coconut oil and sunflower seed oil for canola (way better!):

April 14 is also the day the first commercial motion picture house opened (1894, NYC). It sported ten Kinetoscopes, which were cabinets with a window for viewing films that were played by a strip of perforated film passing over a lamp with a high-speed shutter. Must have been a small theater! I wonder if there was popcorn for sale. I wonder if people hung out and talked about the films. I wonder how long the longest film they showed was. The shortest, too. I wonder how expensive each film was, and if they were priced differently depending on anticipated demand. I wonder how many workers the theater employed. I wonder who owned the theater. I wonder how long it was in business. I wonder how many children went to the theater. I wonder when the last person with a memory of the theater died.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cookbook Review: Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking (Carla Kelly)

Two and a half weeks ago, someone from The Experiment (a publisher) emailed me to see if I wanted a review copy of Carla Kelly's new cookbook, Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking. Super flattering and exciting! In case you couldn't discern from the cute dotted outline on the cover, the titular slow cooking refers specifically to cooking with a slow cooker. I don't own and have never used a slow cooker. I'm not sure I've ever even eaten a meal prepared in a slow cooker. Luckily, QEVSC includes a nice introductory section on slow cookers, as well as sections on the ingredients and techniques used in the book. Very amateur-friendly, which I appreciate. The back matter includes two indices, one of recipes by cooking time (capped off with those 10 hours and over!) and one of recipes by allergen / ingredient. Pretty gluten free- and soy free-friendly. I also enjoyed the acknowledgements, both for the list of names of recipe testers (& their favorite recipes), and for these sentences: "My dad for behind-the-scenes proofreading and pedantically changing the words (which I often then changed back). My mum for keeping my dad able to do so!" Nothing like backhanded gratitude in print! (I might very well be that dad in another several decades…)

As for the recipes, I didn't test any. I wasn't about to adapt a slow cooker recipe for the stovetop. But I read through some of them, and they look good. If I had a slow cooker I'd definitely use this book. If you are a vegan who owns a slow cooker, this book would make dinner preparation mindlessly easy (two thumbs up). That said, from what I can tell the recipes all follow the same basic sequence: 1. prepare the ingredients; 2. put them in the slow cooker in the correct order, if they cook differently; and 3. wait. Which got me thinking that almost all the recipes I post here follow a sequence that goes something like: 1. prepare the ingredients; 2. put them in a pot or pan in the correct order, if they cook differently; and 3. stir &/or season. Not too tough if you already know what kinds of foods you like to eat (or have foods slowly going bad in your refrigerator / on your counter top). 

Anyway, I recommend this book (in faith) for new vegans, vegans new to cooking, and cooks new to slow cookers. I also recommend checking out Carla Kelly's blog, The Year of the Vegan.