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portabello, strawberry & basil sandwich

I know this sounds insane, but bear with me. Each year, Burgerville has seasonal stuff that takes advantage of local produce. Last year, I had this sandwich and it blew me away - and being that Burgerville isn't close to me, decided to make my own version this year. It turned out amazing and delicious.

Portabello, Strawberry & Basil Sandwich - serves two

2 whole portabello caps, rinsed
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 shallots, diced
a bunch of fresh basil leaves (about 20 leaves, total), sliced in ribbons
1oz goat cheese (I used lemon, but plain would be fine)
4 slices good bread (I used two split ciabatta rolls, but anything sturdy with a good crunch should do fine)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp each, sea salt, pepper, dried oregano

1. In a ziploc bag, combine vinegar, lime juice, seasonings, soy sauce, and olive oil to form a marinade, mixing gently.
2. Add mushroom caps and shallots to the marinade, and let soak for at least four hours in the refridgerator (I let mine go for 24 hours, and they were super delicious)
3. Remove mushrooms from marinade and gently press in paper towels to remove excess liquid, and remove stems if still attached
4. Add 2 cups sliced strawberries to marinade and let sit for an hour
5. Spread goat cheese on each slice of bread, then build your sandwich with the basil, whole mushroom caps, strawberries and shallots

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Chipotle-Garlic Seitan

I decided to get mad-crazy whipping up my second-ever batch of seitan yesterday, and the results were super tasty. The garlic taste came through clearly, while the peppers gave it a bit of kick. I'll try to add a picture if I grill some up.

Chipotle-Garlic Seitan

seitan
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 tsp powdered chipotle chili pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup savory vegetable broth
2 tbsp soy sauce

cooking broth
6 cups savory vegetable broth
1 med. sweet onion, roughly diced
4 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1 tbsp ea. ground pepper, chili powder, powdered chipotle pepper, cilantro
a couple shakes of garam masala seasoning
1 rosemary sprig, fresh
a pinch of fresh thyme
2 tbsp olive oil

1. mix the dry seitan ingredients together, then stir in the wet, kneading (by hand!) 10 or 15 times, set aside dough for five minutes
2. while the dough rests, sautee onion, garlic and mushrooms in a large soup pot until they start to carmelize
3. add spices, and sautee for one minutes more
4. add broth to soup pot and bring to a boil
5. knead seitan another 10 times, then form into one long loaf, about 2" wide. cut the loaf into 1" slices and add each piece to the simmering soup pot
6. lid the soup pot, and simmer seitan for 1 hour, stirring from time to time (the seitan will puff up considerably, so make sure to use a big pot with a good lid.)
7. when done, place seitan pieces aside to cool
8. if desired, you can press the pieces to remove excess broth (much like you would do with tofu)

At this point, the seitan can be prepared for a meal, or set aside in the freezer for later use.

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roasted asparagus and chilled soba

Roasted Asparagus

a bunch of fresh asparagus, woody ends trimmed or broken off
1 clove elephant garlic, diced
a spash of olive oil
1 fresh lemon (for juicing)
salt and pepper
a sheet pan with a rack + a large ziploc bag

1. Place the asparagus in a ziploc bag with the garlic and enough oil to coat (usually about 1-2 tbsp), and toss to coat. I let mine sit while the oven warmed up to 400
2. Place asparagus on sheet pan rack, liberally strewing pieces of the coated garlic and dust with salt and pepper
3. Cook for 6-12 minutes, or until your preference of tenderness -- stalks should be bright green
4. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve

Leftovers are fantastic chilled and chopped into salad.

Quick Summer Chilled Noodles

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp oil*
2 sardine fillets, chopped tiny (preserved in oilve oil)
1 green onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1 bundle whole wheat soba noodles
1 tbsp nori, diced or cut into small strips
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1. mix soy sauce, vinegar, sardines, oil (*you can use oil from sardine can for more flavor), onion and garlic in large bowl and set aside
2. cook noodles according to directions, chilling in cold water thoroughly once done.
3. toss chilled and drained noodles in sauce, then place in bowl(s)
4. top with sesame seeds and nori, then serve

The noodles are VERY salty, so this is best served with some fruit juice, or fresh fruit (I had some red grapes).

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I hate ads

I find myself hating the state of Advertising right now. I’m tired of seeing cleaning ads aimed solely at women. I’m tired of seeing beer ads aimed solely at men. Husbands who aren’t supposed to like yogurt. Women who fall all over themselves for a guy who smells like lighter fluid.*

Ads can be smart and funny. The current ‘Old Spice’ campaign (The Guy Your Guy Could Smell Like) is aimed at both men and women, and in lampooning both male and female stereotypes is catchy, witty and actually makes the product more appealing. The Coors Light ‘Beer Window’ ads, on the other hand, make me think that all men who drink that beer are clueless idiots, followed closely by the pathetic women vying for their attention. I’m not sure if they are implying that Coors Light beer is only purchased by idiots, or that drinking their beer makes you one, but it isn’t flattering in either direction.

To be clear, I am not overlooking the many examples of horrible, sexist, condescending advertisements in the past. Rather, I wish we would grow a little. It is scary to try new things, and nobody wants to be the next agency to lose the McDonalds account, but society is different now than it was before. Tomorrow it will be different again.

*As a side note, whomever is in charge of the late night commercial sales for Comedy Central (and likely Comcast) should have a special level of Hades reserved for them where they will be forced to watch endless hours of ads for escort services, phone sex, phony ‘group’ dating party lines, and Girls Gone Wild videos. I know you’re aiming for the college boy crowd, but I shouldn’t have to wade through that crap to watch an episode of South Park at 11:30pm. Gross.

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1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
1 cup oyster mushrooms
5 cups beef broth (or no beef broth)
1 small onion, chopped
3 large handfuls spinach (1 and 1/2 cups frozen spinach)
2 gloves garlic, minced finely
1/3 cup dry wild rice
1/2 cup shell pasta
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
seasonings to taste (I used a bit of Italian herbs and some 21 seasoning salute)

1. saute onions, shitake, and 1/2 of the white mushrooms in oil over medium heat, adding salt and pepper when onions begin to get translucent, cooking until mushrooms start to "squeak" against the pan
2. add to beef stock with seasonings, white rice, and garlic
3. simmer for 35 minutes
4. add spinach, remaining mushrooms and pasta, simmering for 15 more minutes, or until pasta and mushrooms are tender

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Tempeh, Mushroom & Cucumber Salad

Experiments in cookery continue! This is a variation on a recipe I've seen on several vegan websites. (I'm not going veg., but I love experimenting with different types of cooking.)

1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup tempeh, cubed into 1/2" cubes (approx)
a pinch of salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large cucumber, sliced into 2" sticks
1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2" sticks
vineagrette dressing (I made a simple one with mustard, oil, vinegar, a bit of onion, and some rosemary)

Sauté the onion, mushrooms & tempeh in the olive oil until the onions begin to carmelize, and the tempeh is golden brown on each side; add the salt & pepper part way through the process.

Toss the cucumber & pepper together, and place the tempeh & mushroom mixture on top. Pour dressing over the warm ingredients and serve. Makes approximately two servings.

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cold healing mock chicken soup

This is the soup that most recently saved my life. Or, at least made my stupid cold bearable.

2 tbsp butter*
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 leek, diced (I only used about 1/2 of the green part)
4 carrots, diced
4 large celery stalks, diced
1 tbsp each salt, black pepper, Italian herb mix (thyme, oregano, basil)
8 cups of water
8 tbsp Better than Bouillon No Chicken broth base
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn

1) Melt the butter in a large pot on medium heat, throw in the onion, leek, carrot, celery, and salt. Sweat the veggies for a minute, until the onion is barely soft.

2) Throw in the herbs, and pour in the water. Mix in the boullion and bring the water to a boil. Add the pasta and reduce to a simmer.

3) Simmer covered until the pasta is cooked, then toss in peas and corn, stirring for a minute. Take off heat and serve.

The flavor was rich and "chickeny" without being too overwhelming. I used a bit too much pasta (1 cup instead of 1/2) and a little too much salt (1 and 1/2 tbsp) so I've reduced those accordingly. The next day, you may want to add a bit of water before you reheat, as the pasta will keep absorbing some of that and resulting broth may be a bit too salty.

* I used butter, but you can easily use olive oil instead for a vegan dish.

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thank goodness for hippies

All my life, I've been allergic to clean. Well, specifically almost all commercially available cleaning products. Half due to the substances used, the other half the fragrances they use to mask the chemicals, and in special cases (409, I'm looking at you) both. They make me wheezy, and give me migraines.

I've been nothing but thrilled that "eco friendly" products have been more and more available in grocery stores, of late. In almost all instances, I've found that I am NOT allergic to them and they work just as well (if not better) than the stuff I used to suffer through. (I know a lot of cleaning can be done with stuff like vinegar/baking soda, etc, but sometimes you need something more powerful or specialized). All those years of people pushing for green solutions and supporting companies that produce friendlier cleaners has finally reached a critical mass. My normal stores carry stuff that I'm not allergic to! Amazing.

For the first time, I have a carpet cleaner that doesn't make me want to scrape out the inside of my sinuses and has enzymes that can counteract pet stuff. It feels silly to be this thrilled, but really, Biokleen Bac-Out, I love you.

Scottish Oatmeal with Pumpkin & Raisins

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup Scottish oatmeal (I used Red Mill brand)
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
5 each whole cloves and all-spice
3 cups water
dash of salt

1. heat water in a pot, with cloves and all-spice (in a tea-ball or bag if possible, letting the warm water steep for 15 minutes
2. remove spices, and bring scented water to a boil, adding a dash of salt
3. stir in oats, careful to avoid lumping
4. turn down heat, and simmer, covered for 10 minutes
5. take off heat, and stir in sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin and raisins

Makes 3 large, or 4 medium servings. Chills and reheats really well.

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1 jar of marinara sauce (either home made or store bought)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, diced
1tbsp basil, finely chopped
1/2lb tri tip steak, cut in 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 cups dry whole wheat penne
splash of red wine
a pinch of salt, pepper

- dice zucchini, set aside
- warm a dash of olive oil in a stainless steel pan over medium/medium-high heat
- sear steak for one minute, stir, and add garlic, salt and pepper, cooking for one more minute
- in a large sauce pan, pour marinara and turn on low heat
- add steak to sauce and stir in with basil
- deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine, and add this to the sauce as well, stirring to combine
- lid sauce, and simmer for 15 minutes
- while sauce is simmering, cook pasta and drain
- add zucchini to sauce, stir and cook for one minute
- remove sauce from heat and serve over penne

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Firefly Kaylee Parasol
jenn2d2
Jennifer Dittrich
strictlyshoujo

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