Vegetarian Cooking: Dusting Off an Old Love

Veg cooking

Sometime last week I felt a decision in me that it was time. Time to give up meat for the good of my fellow earth creatures. I was vegetarian several times in the past, lasting anywhere from three months to a year. The end of the resolve usually happened when a man entered my life. Somehow I never met up with a veggie man. And at that stage of my life, any man was, you know, more desirable than my commitment to vegetarianism. For some reason.

So when the man suggested a bucket of KFC….who was I to say no? Especially if he was paying.

Please be patient with my lack of conscience as I tell my story.

The plain truth is that I like chicken. But the real question is, do I love chickens?

Anyway, I have always admired vegetarians. Not quite sure I understand the rage for vegan diets these days. I’ve seen some pretty happy milk cows in my day, and if you stick with free range local eggs, seems like you can avoid a lot of animal cruelty and still eat ovo-lacto. So for now, I’m not worried about cheese and eggs. Just renewing a desire to not nourish my body on the flesh of another’s body.

I recently watched a video from Carol Tuttle in which she does an energy healing with a woman who was born during the era when most moms were drugged during the process. That session really resonated with me, and I have felt more freedom to pursue the disciplines I have always loved but never been able to keep going (including blogging.)

So I don’t know if that’s why the hen’s plaintive look and gasping breath, as she rode in the truck going to market, made such an impact on me, but they did, and I felt a sorrow that I have overeaten chicken so many times in my life.

Back in 1984, I was living in upstate New York and the going popular cookbook where I worked (staff in a group home, just like now) was The Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen. I found a copy at a thrift shop a year or two back and felt like I’d struck gold!

So today I thought I would cook ahead a couple of casserole dishes to portion out into individual servings to keep in the freezer for the days ahead. I have a tendency to just want to grab what’s easy, like a Lean Gourmet, or ramen noodles, and I want to provide an alternative. So I made….

Cauliflower Marranca from page 117 in the old original Moosewood Cookbook. I didn’t follow the directions exactly, and didn’t have much cheese on hand. I wound up combining mozzarella, parmesan, sliced Swiss, and sliced cheddar for the cheese. And I used white rice because it was all I had. At the end, I thought it looked like it needed liquid before popping it into the oven, so I opened a can of diced tomatoes and strained the juice off and drizzled it on.

Since I already had the tomatoes open, I used the rest of the rice I had to make a Spanish rice. I added the tomatoes, a rinsed can of pinto beans, some salsa, chili powder, cumin, 1/3 cup chopped black olives, and about a half cup of onion sauted in butter. Put that in a dish and topped with three slices of Cheddar and popped that in the oven.

And that’s what you see in the pic! Bon Appetit!


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