All Posts for January 2010

The Vegan Table : A Review

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

If you are old enough to remember the New York City ad, “You Don’t Have to be Jewish to Enjoy Levy’s Rye Bread,” with an Asian person eating the bread, then you will understand this next statement. You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy The Vegan Table, a cookbook that I like so much I feel like Julie Powell in Julie & Julia and want to create all of author Colleen Partrick-Goudreau’s recipes in one year.

While this book is geared for entertaining family and friends, or as the author states, to “reclaim food traditions steeped in animal exploitation,” you need not save this book for guests. I certainly won’t, because the recipes look good enough for every day as well as special occasions.

I liked reading this book for several reasons:

1. The recipes are divided into the seasons, which means I can use local produce as it becomes available and work on my goal to be a “locavore.” (Defined in my website Glossary)

2. The chapters are interesting, and include cooking romantic dinners for two, casual meals, party foods, and of course, recipes for holidays and other special occasions. But you needn’t use the recipes only in these categories. They cross match quite well.

3. The author includes compassionate cooks’ tips, food lore, and “did you know” questions that add special meaning to the recipes.  You know that the author has done her homework.

4. The colored photos and colored borders with icons that reflect the seasons (blue with a snowflake icon for winter, orange with a sun icon for summer, green with an umbrella icon for spring, and tan with a brown leaf for fall) make the book visually pleasing and easy to navigate.

5. The recipes are enticing, even the ones with more ingredients than I would normally choose to try. (The desserts list more of the sweet stuff than I normally use, so I may have to adjust that.)

6. Because the recipes are vegan, people who have allergies to dairy can use them; people who avoid eggs for health reasons can enjoy them; and people who want to incorporate more fruits, veggies, and whole grains in their diets can certainly prepare these dishes.

When I read a cookbook, and I do mean read, I always like to know the author’s philosophy. In the case of Patrick-Goudreau, as a vegan I already know she will have no animal products in her recipes. In her “Intimacy of Food” (pages 14 & 15) she says:

“I didn’t stop eating animals because I didn’t like the way they tasted. I stopped eating animals and their ‘products’ because I didn’t want to contribute to the violence and exploitation of another when I didn’t have to. It is an empowering way to live.”  The author’s passion for good food and her dedication to eating consciously “show up” throughout the book.  She lives her philosophy every day, in the kitchen and in the rest of her life.

While going through the book, I made a list of the recipes (200 in all) I wanted to try and my list has about 50 recipes on it.  So I may not accomplish what Julie Powell did in Julie & Julia, but I am going to have a great time with these 50!

The book is published by Fair Winds Press, costs $19.99, and is available at all major bookstores and online. I love it so much I bought one for my older daughter, who also is not a vegan, but avoids eggs and dairy, and also loves the kinds of foods Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has chosen for The Vegan Table.

Today I am including the recipe for Carrot Ginger Soup, which I made last week and loved it. It is very gingery, so if you love ginger, you will love this gorgeous looking and spicy tasting soup. I hope to include other recipes from this book in future postings. EnJOY!

Carrot Ginger Soup

*Oil free, wheat-free, soy-free

(Note: In the book the ingredients are on the left and the directions are on the right, which is how I would like to post all my recipes, as well, but the format here doesn’t let me do so. es)

This soup is a staple in the Patrick-Goudreau household, because it is incredibly easy to make, delicious to eat, and beautiful to behold. Plus, both carrots and ginger have long been regarded for their aphrodisiac qualities. (My note: This last sentence is apropos because the recipe is from the Romantic Dinners for Two chapter.)


2 Tablespoons (30 ml) water, for sauteeing
1 large-size or 2 small yellow onions, coarsely chopped  
2 teaspoons (6g) finely chopped garlic  
7 or 8 carrots, peeled and cut into circles
2 medium-size yellow potatoes (Yukon gold is author’s favorite)
2  1/2 teaspoons (5g) finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
4 to 5 cups (940 to 1175 ml) vegetable stock
(store bought or homemade, p. 213*) or water with vegetable bouillon cube)

* Will post stock recipe on another day.


Heat water in a large-size saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add a small amount of water if the pan gets too dry. (My note: I like that the author sautés in water, as I usually do.)

Add carrots, potatoes, ginger, salt, and pepper, and enough stock to cover the vegetables. (You may not need all the stock.) Reduce heat to medium and
and cook until carrots and potatoes are soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Transfer to a food processor, and purée soup until creamy.  Return puréed soup to a pot and heat. Season with salt as needed, adding just a pinch at first and more if necessary.

YIELD: 2 to 4 servings


* Try serving this dish with a nondairy sour cream or Cashew Sour Cream (to be posted later)

*Serve hot, garnished with a sprig of parsley (I used sunflower greens. es)

*Always err on the side of caution. Add just a pinch of salt at first, and add more as needed.

Per serving: 145 calories; 2 g/ fat; 3 g protein; 31 g carbohydrate; 5 g dietary fiver; O mg cholesterol;1566 mg sodium

COMPASSIONATE COOKS’ TIP:  To substitute dried herbs for fresh, the conversion is simple: Reduce Tablespoons to teaspoons (e.g. 2 Tablespoons (3 g)
fresh oregano equals 2 teaspoons (2 g)  dried oregano.) Ginger, however, is an exception to this interchangeable rule. If a recipe calls for fresh ginger, you cannot substitute it with ground. Stick with fresh ginger for this recipe. (I agree! es)

FULL COURSE DIVORCE: Act Four: Full Set of Nails

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Act Four

Full Set of Nails

Scene One

This scene takes place in the courtroom. It’s the last of Kate’s “trial by fire” as she negotiates for what she can get to survive as a single mother. Her lawyer’s name is Bill.

Note: Since this is Kate’s “trial by fire” courtroom scene, I downloaded “fire pictures.”


Bill, I don’t think I can take any more of this bullshit. Mitch is lying right and left. He is accusing me of adultery, when both of us agreed to an open marriage concept, which obviously did not work.


Look, Kate, your husband went bankrupt and you have lost everything. Let me at least get you some decent alimony and child support for you and Bekka until you get on your feet.


OK. But my heart is pounding and my stomach is churning and my head feels like a bowling bowl with two holes leaking all my common sense.


I promise it will only be a few minutes longer.

(Addresses the Court)

Your honor, my client will be leaving the area to look for a job in New York. She has custody of their daughter and will need to reestablish herself financially, so we ask the court to be generous with child support and alimony.


(blurting out of order)

But, your honor, she ‘s an adulteress!


(addressing Mitch’s lawyer)

Your client is out of order. (Pause) I don’t know if this allegation is true, Mr. Mitchell. But since you are here for a no-fault divorce, this issue is irrelevant, Besides, even adulteresses have to eat!


Thank you, your honor. We realize that Mr. Mitchell is bankrupt, but Mrs. Mitchell was his partner for 15 years in the business, so his loss is hers as well. She has been out of her field for almost two decades and will have to start all over again. She plans to return to college for a master’s degree in journalism.


That’s very admirable, but in Mr. Mitchell’s financial situation, which I reviewed last night, he cannot be expected to pay for his wife’s education. His alimony and child support reflect his current situation and will be re-evaluated in six months.

To Mitch: Mr. Mitchell, I have reviewed you current job income and household expenses, based on the financial statement your lawyer submitted. I believe you have an obligation to your family and award your wife $150 week alimony and $75 week child support for the next six months. Then it will be reviewed.


But, your honor….(His lawyer indicates him to be quiet with a shake of his head.)


Your first payment of $225 is due in 10 days, then each week thereafter on the first Monday of each week. Is that clear?


Yes, your honor.


All the other terms we discussed will be spelled out in my report, which your lawyers will receive in 10 days to two weeks. Case dismissed.

After the court hearing, Kate goes limp and puts her head between her hands, face down, so she does not have to look at Mitch. Her lawyer pats her on the back and whispers something to her. She nods and he leaves. Kate takes out her cell phone and calls her sister.


Pat, it’s over. I was awarded $225 a week for the next 6 months; then a review. But the house, the business, and the furniture are gone with the bankruptcy.


Oh, I’m sorry, sis. But now you are free to move back to New York and go to school.


I didn’t tell the court I had already been accepted to journalism school and had a full scholarship based on my income.


Now you’re getting smart. The less Mitch knows, the better, because he will only use it against you later.


I can’t believe how vindictive he was! I never thought he would be so mean in court.


Fear will do that.


Fear of what? That I was going to get a lot of alimony? Or ask for my shares in the corporation? Like I told him when he gave me a million shares at $1.00 each while the business was going under: “Mitch, a million times zero is still zero.”


You’ve got that right. Now, how ‘bout if I treat you and Bekka for dinner? Joe is on a business trip and won’t be back until tomorrow.


That sounds great! You know Bekka loves Chinese food, so how about if we go to that new restaurant in town?


Gotcha! I’ll met you there a little before six and I’ll make a reservation. It’s a new restaurant so it’s likely to be busy. Everybody in town is trying it.


OK. See you later. Thanx, sis.

End of Scene One, Act Four