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   PastimesVegetarians Unite!

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To: Jeanne_N who wrote (653)4/25/2003 6:31:40 PM
From: swiveled-eyed loon
   of 2066
Why stop at dogs?

Cows, sheep, pigs, fish have feelings too!

Make my clothing non-leather and silk.


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To: swiveled-eyed loon who wrote (655)4/25/2003 10:07:52 PM
From: SIer formerly known as Joe B.
   of 2066
Funny you should bring up non-leather. I didn't buy a car I liked because it wasn't available w/o leather seats. The car I did buy has leather on the steering wheel and gear shifter. I got a cover for the steering wheel, I couldn't stand touching the dead cow skin while driving, I'm trying to find something to cover the gear shifter.

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To: SIer formerly known as Joe B. who wrote (656)4/27/2003 4:18:04 PM
From: swiveled-eyed loon
   of 2066
My hat is off to you...most are not so committed.

I recently was given a "Leatherman" tool that came with a leather holder. I tossed the holder but kept the tool.

Same for a monocular I carry around in my backpack.

Speaking of committed, I offered a Hershey kiss to one of the local bike messengers, but she declined because she is a vegan and the chocolate was made with cow's milk.


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To: SIer formerly known as Joe B. who wrote (652)4/27/2003 4:22:20 PM
From: swiveled-eyed loon
   of 2066
Moving Beyond the Pinto: Cool Beans for Spring*

April 23, 2003


FEAR not the dried bean.

Plump, glistening and showing off its curves, the 21st-century bean is pumped up and ready for action. Bright with dapples, calicos and spots, the bean you thought you knew — and probably ignored — is now primed for a slow dance with wine or shoyu, or a star turn under a spray of fleur de sel and fresh herbs. It can even transform itself into a cool character in refreshing spring and summer dishes.

I'm not talking about that bag of beans you just pulled from the depths of your pantry. It could have spent the past four years in a silo. At best, those beans are too dry; at worst, ready for retirement.

At Beans and Beyond, a small grower in Woodland, Calif., beans are treated like litters of show pups. They are cleaned by hand, bedded in climate- and humidity-controlled vaults and go to good homes within a year. It isn't just their freshness that makes them special — it's their pedigree.

This farm, and others like it, produce heirloom beans, colorful beauties the world forgot when big seed companies came up with tough, top-producing hybrids. Were it not for a handful of collectors who hoarded the seeds of the past, cooks today would be stuck with commodity beans like the pinto.

What is wrong with the pinto? Plenty, said Aron Clark, executive chef for Beans and Beyond. He considers the pinto — and other basic black, white and red beans — to be legume equivalents of a common mutt. Not only are the commodity beans on the market typically old, but, he said, "They don't taste good; that wasn't the goal."

The goal with commodities, Mr. Clark said, is to produce beans cheaply and in abundance — and to market them cheaply, and in abundance. But that alone does not make them bad. Beans are often handled like driveway gravel and stored like feed, said Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University in Pullman. Beans may be dry, but they aren't impervious. Beans that get knocked around develop chips and lesions in their seed coats and dry out even more. Those stored at temperatures too warm to suit them may lose moisture so quickly they never soften again.

To be fresh, dried beans should be used within a year, bean experts like Dr. Swanson say. But with no sell-by dates, who's counting? To better your chances, buy beans at stores where inventories move apace. If the beans in question are associated with a particular cuisine, head for an ethnic market. Many heirloom growers have Web sites and sell by mail; their prices — about $5 a pound — reflect the extra care the beans get. But a pound of beans goes pretty far.

Armed with my new bean wisdom and cautionary tales, I cooked a lot of beans. I wanted to come up with a method limber enough to work with any bean, young, old, mutt or heirloom.

But before you cook, do you soak? Most recipes advise you to. Beans that are moist to the center conduct heat more efficiently, and cook quickly and evenly. Plus, the complex sugars called oligosaccharides, the ones that digestive enzymes are no match for, are in part removed during soaking.

Soaking is also a predictor for what shape beans are in. When commodity beans — bred to have tough, protective skins — pucker up in a soaking bath, it is a sign that they are absorbing water through lesions in their seed coats, rather than the way they should, through the little scar on their sides where the beans were ripped from their pods.

Soaking has its disadvantages, though. Beans don't make the soft, syrupy gravy they are famous for when they are soaked a long time. And very fresh beans tend to lose their shape and flavor.

For supermarket beans I liked a technique suggested by Mr. Clark of Beans and Beyond: a two-hour covered steep starting with boiling water from a teakettle (four cups water to every cup of beans) then a rinse in cool water. Once the beans are cooking (again in the 4-to-1 ratio), gentle them along; a crockpot is the world's best bean baby sitter. Oven heat works, too.

Sometimes it makes sense to get the cooking done in advance: beans improve in flavor and texture after a day in the refrigerator. Signature seasonings like garlic or fresh herbs can be added in a reheat.

For the cooking medium, I like a neutral court bouillon: carrot, celery, leek, bay leaf and a 275-degree oven. It helps to stay one step ahead of the beans, which can cook surprisingly quickly, by checking them for doneness after an hour, and every 15 minutes thereafter. When they are almost done — tender with just a band of toothsomeness at the center — salt them (sooner and they get tough) and cook another 15 minutes.

Beans are best cooled and stored in their broth, which will have a pleasing body. Then they will be ready to jump in with other ingredients — stewed greens and bacon, chicken braised with garlic — and become a full meal. They make lovely accents in a composed salad or antipasto, as well.

As for heirloom beans, they really are more fun than standard issue. It's not just that they're beautiful and have names like exotic dancers (Red Nightfall, Black Valentine, Tongues of Fire); they possess real character beneath their stunning skins.

The Christmas lima tastes of chestnuts; intimations of ham hocks lurk within the marrow bean, and the Champagne flageolet is buttery-smooth and rich. Red Nightfall and Butterscotch Calypso make fabulous baked beans; Madeira or borlotti pinch-hit for the pinto in any recipe, and the French navy can substitute for white beans.

Dried black soybeans from Asia (not the fermented black beans found in Asian markets) are another delicious novelty. One of the hardest beans, they lose none of their obsidian luster to the cooking liquid, nor do they thicken it. These beans star in the delicate Japanese dish kuromame, which is never served hot.

I almost forgot to mention that beans weigh in with a ton of protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals (and very little fat), before you even get to the bottom of a bowl. Once you have, you'll know real contentment. It comes in a soft amber glow.

*See picture

Recipe: Kuromame

Time: About 3 hours

2 cups dried Japanese black soybeans, rinsed and picked over (see note)
1/4 cup shoyu or other light soy sauce
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces dried chestnuts (see note)
1 teaspoon salt.

1. Heat oven to 275 degrees. Place soybeans, shoyu, sugar and 6 cups water in a Dutch oven or heavy 3-quart saucepan, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Transfer immediately to oven, and braise for 2 hours. Or place ingredients in slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 3 hours.

2. While beans braise, bring 4 cups water to boil in a saucepan. Add chestnuts, and simmer until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, cool and quarter. Set aside.

3. Add chestnuts and salt to beans, stir, cover and braise 1 hour more (or longer in slow cooker). Taste beans for doneness. When tender, remove from heat. Serve at room temperature.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings with any Asian meal.

Note: Black soybeans and dried chestnuts are sold in Japanese stores, or ordered from Natural Import Company, (800) 324-1878 or

Recipe: Cannellini Beans With Herb-Scented Oil

Time: About 2 hours

For the beans:
1 cup dried cannellini beans or other dried beans, rinsed
1 3-inch piece carrot, peeled
1 3-inch piece celery
1 small leek, white part only, cleaned
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1/4 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the dressing:
1 scallion, white and green parts, cut into 1-inch lengths
10 large basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
Fleur de sel or kosher salt
Sweet onion, oil-cured olives and shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish.

1. Heat oven to 275 degrees. Place beans and 4 cups water in a 3-quart saucepan with carrot, celery, leek, garlic and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Transfer to oven, and braise for 1 hour. Continue cooking, stirring beans and testing for tenderness every 15 minutes.

2. When beans are almost tender (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours), stir in salt and braise 15 minutes more. Remove from oven. Discard vegetables and bay leaf. Cool beans completely. Transfer beans and sauce to a covered container, and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Place scallion and basil in food processor. With machine running, add oil in a steady stream, and process for about 10 seconds. Add sliced garlic. Transfer to a bowl or jar, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

4. Drain beans, and bring to room temperature. Strain herb oil, discard herbs and bring to room temperature. Place beans on a plate, and drizzle with herb oil. Sprinkle with fleur de sel, and garnish with onions, olives and cheese.

Yield: 4 servings.

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To: Jeanne_N who wrote (653)4/27/2003 4:26:27 PM
From: swiveled-eyed loon
   of 2066
Almost Indian

April 23, 2003


AAG PANEER — cubes of freshly made cheese in a sauce of spicy, slow-simmered spinach — is a standard in Indian restaurants and has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, back when I tackled such challenging projects, I made my own paneer, which is nearly impossible to find here.

My love for the dish was rekindled on a visit to northern India last year, when I realized that there is a superb substitute for paneer: tofu. Though tofu is made from soy rather than the milk of cows, like paneer it is supremely bland and delicate.

The dish bears the hallmarks of Indian vegetarian cuisine: lots of dairy (butter, yogurt and cream) and lots of spices — garlic, ginger and the mix known as garam masala or curry powder. The spices should not be fiery or laden with black pepper, but should be on the sweet side, containing nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon.

The technique is not unlike that for creamed spinach. Although the cooking time can be shortened by parboiling the spinach, then draining and chopping it, the amount of work is reduced by executing the entire process in one skillet.

On my trip I also came across a puréed spinach sauce that was the same dish, but without the paneer. You may find more uses for it, so I've included it.

Recipe: Tofu With Spinach Sauce
Time: 40 minutes

1 1/2 pounds spinach
12 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 dried chilies
2 tablespoons garam masala or curry powder
Salt to taste
1/2 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cups light cream or half-and-half.

1. Trim and wash spinach; do not dry. Chop leaves in one-inch pieces. Cut tofu in two horizontally and wrap in paper towels. Put it under a couple of plates.

2. Put butter or oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. A minute later, add ginger, garlic and chilies and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic begins to color.

3. Stir in garam masala or curry powder and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it wilts, then add yogurt and a cup of cream. Pick out chilies and discard.

4. Cook mixture over medium-high heat; liquid in spinach will boil off. When mixture is nearly dry, cut tofu into half-inch pieces and incorporate. When tofu is hot, add remaining cream and cook for another minute or two, stirring. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Spinach sauce: In Step 4, omit tofu. Purée mixture with 1/2 cup remaining cream. Add squeeze of lime juice. Serve with grilled meat, poultry, fish or vegetables.

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To: swiveled-eyed loon who wrote (658)4/29/2003 5:43:44 AM
From: daffodil
   of 2066
Thanks for the article, Len. I couldn't find a website for Beans and Beyond, but I found this:

I'm going to call them and see if they have a catalog and/or can do mail order. It would be fun to try making a favorite bean dish with their beans, to see if I could discern the difference between theirs and Whole Foods dried beans.

I use Whole Foods bottled beans a lot. They have an excellent flavor and are pre-cooked so that they work well in soups and stews where one hasn't time for soaking and long cooking.


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To: daffodil who wrote (660)4/29/2003 6:11:47 PM
From: swiveled-eyed loon
   of 2066
Yes daffodil, (it is now your season), I enjoyed the article as well...

What did they tell you? Did they give you a local distributor's name?

Wouldn't it be delightful to have a shop that was exclusively stocked with nuts, seed, and beans?


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To: swiveled-eyed loon who wrote (661)4/29/2003 9:49:51 PM
From: daffodil
   of 2066
Hi, Len. I didn't call them today, but I'll let you know as soon as I do.

As for having a store that's exclusively stocked with nuts, seed, and beans, that's how I feel when I shop at my Whole Foods. True, it's not vegetarian, but it truly has everything a vegetarian needs. I just feel as though it's a big treat to go there every Saturday morning. Fresh flowers, an abundance of organic vegetables (the fresh fava beans are in!), an abundance of fresh (and frozen) soy-based foods, and every bean and grain I could possibly want. It's a veggie chef's heaven!

I know this isn't a stock board <g>, but I've watched the darn WFMI stock go straight up for about 2 years, "overvalued" all the way. I should have just done the Peter Lynch thing and bought it the first day I walked in...or at least when I noticed how the parking lot was really getting crowded. They even had a traffic cop there the Saturday before Easter....yet another"Lynch signal?"

I believe that more and more people will become healthy eaters and vegetarian (and from what I hear about the attitudes of kids in elementary school, that's certainly true) I should just ignore the PE and buy the darn stock. What do you think?

}=>----------->>>>>> in bloom and loving it :)

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To: daffodil who wrote (662)4/30/2003 2:36:27 PM
From: swiveled-eyed loon
   of 2066
Yes, Whole Foods is a wonderful place to shop. One just came to town here.

Looking forward to hear what you find out.


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To: daffodil who wrote (660)4/30/2003 2:42:36 PM
From: swiveled-eyed loon
   of 2066
A Spring Repast for Pagans and Puritans Alike

April 30, 2003

WHEN I was in college I used to get up at dawn every May 1 to see the beginning of what we thought of as the first day of summer.

Actually, I should restate that. My friends and I would stay up all night and end with a full-blown breakfast, with the cheap Champagne flowing, to celebrate May Day. That is, May Day as in the ancient pagan festival, not the workers' holiday. Leaving aside the experiences of 1968, English students have not been known for their affiliation with the horny-handed sons of toil; they have much more in common with pagan carousers.

The full May Day festivities include Morris dancing, which, I'm afraid, still goes on in some villages in England. (It involves people tying bells on themselves and lolling about with ribbons and streamers around a maypole.) The reason you have been mostly spared that in the States is that it was quashed by party-pooping Puritans who were horrified by the wild abandon and made sure none of this was carried into the New World.

The only part of the ritual I remember going in for — apart from the general heel-kicking, eating and drinking — was the washing of faces in the dew. Not that any of us believed that anointing ourselves in the morning dew on May Day really was beautifying, but traditions are traditions. In the age of high-tech unguents and botox, I would not suggest returning to these superstitious practices, but I am happy to propose a May Day breakfast, which may be made just as well on the weekend as tomorrow.

Nor do I suggest you time this breakfast for dawn: sleep in and call it brunch. You don't need to buy Champagne, but make instead what I call a Fragonard, a mixture of any fizzy white wine and puréed strawberries. After concocting this drink, I found out that it already existed and is known as a Rossini. But I stick to my appellation, if only to appeal to the lyrical, blue-skied, swinging summeriness it invokes.

To make it, purée a pint of strawberries (adding a spoonful or so of sugar if the fruit is sour) and stir the fragrant red pulp into a pitcher of prosecco or any other sparkling white wine.

You do not need to be excessive on the food front, either, but a proper celebration of good humor and good weather needs more than a bowl of granola. If you can find young rhubarb, make a simple compote by chopping the rhubarb and roasting it with superfine sugar that has been scented with vanilla. If you act now, your sugar will be sufficiently fragrant by the weekend: just put some in a jar with a vanilla pod. Replenish the sugar as you use it and you will have the wherewithal permanently on hand. (Truth to tell, you do not need to use whole pods: if you ever need vanilla seeds for a recipe, store the scraped out pods in your sugar jar. In fact, every time I cook with a vanilla pod, I rinse it under the tap after use and pop it in.)

Failing that, scent the sugar with the finely grated zest of an orange. Either way, the beauty of cooking rhubarb this way (as opposed to stovetop with some water) is that the rhubarb retains its shape and its rosy lucent pinkness. And, since it is glorious eaten cold with a dollop of whole milk yogurt, you can make it in advance.

If all you can find is tough, redder rhubarb, cut your losses and instead serve a large bowl of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries (cut in two or in fourths). Sprinkle these with superfine sugar and spritz with an orange or, better still, with a few teaspoons of orange-flower water.

Kedgeree is a traditional English breakfast dish, which of course means that it is rarely cooked these days, but it is perfect for a breakfast that is meant to do the job of lunch. My version is a fairly low-effort take on the original: I poach smoked haddock in a dish in the oven, and then cook spiced rice in the water the fish was cooked in. Add lemon, hard-boiled eggs and parsley and you are done. There is something gloriously uplifting and mood-enhancing about the turmeric-tinted goldenness of it all. And if you are not a morning person, let me assure you this makes a perfect early summer supper.

And as the fish stays warm enough wrapped in foil somewhere in the kitchen while you get on with the rice, you have the oven space for a batch of maple pecan muffins, too. Sweetened and flavored with maple syrup and given texture with the addition of chopped pecans and wheat germ (which also makes you feel so inordinately healthful), they are a breeze to make.

By all means, use melted butter in place of the oil stipulated, if you like, and, if you feel sybaritically inclined, split the warm muffins and spread them with a little fine unsalted butter and perhaps even drizzle some smoky amber drops of extra maple syrup on top as well.

This is a celebratory breakfast after all, so why hold back? The bikini diet can start tomorrow.

Recipe: Rosy Rhubarb Compote

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 pounds rhubarb
1 1/3 cup superfine sugar (see note)
Finely grated zest of 1 orange.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and place in an ovenproof dish.

2. Mix sugar with orange zest. Sprinkle over rhubarb and cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes to an hour; fruit should be soft but still holding its shape.

3. Place rhubarb in another dish to cool. Compote may be made the day before and served cold at breakfast.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Note: Or infuse the superfine sugar with a vanilla pod for a few days before using.

Recipe: Maple Pecan Muffins*

Time: 45 minutes

1 cup pecans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup corn oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar.

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop pecans roughly, reserving 1/4 cup. In a large bowl, mix nuts with flour, wheat germ, baking powder and salt.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, corn oil and egg. Pour into dry ingredients and mix to combine; do not worry if mixture is lumpy.

3. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil baking cups. Spoon batter into cups. Chop reserved nuts a bit finer and mix with brown sugar; sprinkle a bit of this mixture on top of each muffin.

4. Bake for 20 minutes; muffins will be pale, not golden. Place muffins on a cooling rack, but eat while they are still warm, with butter or syrup drizzled over them.

Yield: 12 muffins.

*Sounds like a recipe made for Red-headed Texans if you ask me.

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