By Freya Bellin
In making this recipe, I was reminded to never underestimate the power of fresh herbs. I went with a mix of pretty much every herb listed below (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, tarragon, thyme), and despite my concerns that the flavors might clash, everything came together. The leeks and herbs made my kitchen smell like a garden, and the color is gorgeous. Cannellini beans make a great base for this dish. They’re very creamy but relatively neutral in flavor, so they take well to the herbs and leeks. The result was earthy and fresh—not to mention quite versatile. As noted below, you could serve this dish with fish or chicken (you may want a chunkier, hand-mashed consistency for that), or you can puree it and use it as a topping for crostini, as I did. And I will admit to just eating it by the spoonful as well.
After a quick taste-test, I decided to add just about a tablespoon or 2 of lemon juice (about 1/3 of a fresh lemon) to the mixture. The citrus really brightened up the flavors and gave it a nice zing at the end. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, largely unattended
This deep, richly flavored chili has enough caffeine to keep you awake—literally. (Bear this in mind when you’re serving it; use decaffeinated espresso if you or your guests are caffeine sensitive or reserve it for lunch or early dinner.) Serve this with rice, a stack of warm tortillas, or tortilla chips, some crumbled queso fresco or sour cream, and parsley or cilantro.
Other beans you can use: Earthy-flavored beans that can stand up to the other flavors—pinto, kidney, or dried soybeans—work best. Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
I got a tweet a few hours ago asking for “the ultimate veggie burger” recipe. When the corn is still good (and it is), this recipe, adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, is pretty ultimate.
Midsummer Vegetable Burger
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 45 minutes
This light, colorful burger, which gets its crunch from corn, is terrific on a bun, especially with a little Salsa, Chile Mayonnaise, or Roasted Pepper Mayonnaise, or with sliced ripe tomatoes and drizzled with basil pesto.
by Natascha Hildebrandt
[Natascha and I sometimes run together, and she and a few other running buddies decided to have a vegan July (no, I did not join them). They all have had interesting experiences, but Natascha was focused, oddly enough, on her daily coffee. When I heard she was trying every non-dairy milk she could find, I asked her to write up her experiences. Voila - mb]
Inspired by some vegan ultra athletes, I decided to go on a vegan adventure for the month of July. Looking at what I ate it seemed like the hardest things to give up would be butter, the milk in my cappuccino, and butter. I have since found that it’s easy to live without butter. (Where you would use a tablespoon, you now substitute half an avocado. Clearly I won’t be shedding any pounds during this experiment.) The two percent milk cappuccino is a bit more of a challenge.
My initial reaction to all of the milk substitutes was pretty much “ick.” But it’s amazing: you can get used to anything. The second is better than the first; by the third, well, you can live with it. Generally, you will probably be happier if your palate is a little on the sweet side. (Mine is not—I’m happier in the land of the tart and bitter.) Though I chose unsweetened and unflavored “milks” to compare, they are all definitely sweeter than their dairy sister. They are all perfectly good in pancakes or cooking, and, amazingly, they all make acceptable foam for cappuccino.
I think it’s worth reading this summary in Environmental Health News of the Korean study that showed a decline in levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals and antibiotics after just five days on a “vegetarian” diet. (I first saw this in a piece by Tom Laskawy, over at Grist. And here is an earlier study with similar results.)
The quotes around vegetarian are necessary because the study doesn’t specify what that means; rather, it says participants lived in a Buddhist temple and “adopted to the monk’s lifestyle.” Which could well mean a vegan diet. (Or even one free of root vegetables, since some Buddhists eschew those, because they kill the plant. But let’s not discuss this.)