Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh, baby.

My friends had a baby over the weekend. In order to help, I thought I'd leave a little bag of good eats for them. I made a Shepard's Pie on the fly that turned out a whole lot better than I thought it would. Goes something like this:

Sautee a large sweet onion in a few Ts of evoo for about 15 minutes (getting it on its way to caramelizing). Then add a few stalks of celery, a few big carrots, and a medium-ish sweet potato (all diced pretty small) and a few cloves of crushed garlic - sautee another 5 or 10 minutes. Add a couple of cups of nice veggie broth, some thyme, pepper, and rosemary, and let it simmer on medium heat for another half an hour.

In the meantime, boil a big pot of water, toss in diced Yukon gold (or fingerling as I had them on hand) potatoes - maybe 1.5 or 2 pounds worth. Boil until soft. Mash em with a good amount of salt and pepper (and soy milk and non-dairy margarine if you're feeling indulgent, which I was - telling myself it was a gift helped).

While the veggies simmer and the potatoes boil, toss some veggie crumble (like Boca that you can buy in the freezer section) into a pan with a little oil and cook on med-high with about 1/2 cup of marsala until the marsala is all burned off and the crumbles are browned up and a little crispy.

Throw the crumbles down in a layer on the bottom of a glass casserole. Throw the veggie mixture on top (during simmering if it dries up, add water, when you're ready to use it, if it's too wet, add some flour or cornstarch to thicken it up), and finish with your nicely mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 for about a half an hour. Let stand for 10 minutes as to not loose the roof of your mouth. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Last night we watched "Perfect Getaway" (just scary enough with a good twist) while I satisfied my craving for Thai food. I made a spicy peanut sauce (which is generally some combination of soy milk, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, sirracha, corriander, sugar, vinegar, onion, salt, and sometimes hoisin sauce) and put that over rice noodles. Which, in a really-reaching sort of a way, is a poor man's Pad Thai. And then I made spring rolls, well my kind of spring rolls, which are more Vietnamese than Thai, but just go with it.

The spring rolls had spicy tempeh, green onion, red pepper, lettuce, carrot, and cilantro. We dipped them in a sweet hot chili sauce that was pretty awesome. The trick is to boil sugar and vinegar together just long enough to get a syrup and then add a little chili-garlic paste (enough to make it burn just right). The combination of that sweet, super spicy, sticky sauce on a chewy, cool, fresh spring roll stuffed with cilantro and fresh veggies is really delicious. If you're in to that sort of thing, and I am.

I ran a few miles at the gym today and then came home and spent three or four hours working in my yard. I had to transplant quite a few things and do some cleaning up and freeze-preparation in the garden. It was pretty fun, if you're into that sort of thing (and I am).

Friday, January 8, 2010

Italian Thursdays

I have two confessions to make. The first is that I love pizza. The second is that I watch The Jersey Shore on MTV. Okay, one is significantly much more embarrassing than the other and we all know which it is.

Last night was the premier of Italian Thursdays. The plan was to eat pizza bites and watch the leather-skinned kids of The Jersey Shore make trouble.

I stuffed the pizza bites with caramelized onions, red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and kalamata olives. I made a tasty marinara and a warm, gooey "cheese" sauce. I laid the golden puffs of pizza on a plate, then ladled the sauces into ramekins. I sat down happily on the couch, a smile on my pizza-loving face, until we realized the new episode of the aforementioned embarrassing show wasn't on until 10pm. I don't even stay up that late, much or less eat that late.

The pizza bites ended up accompanying season one episodes of Veronica Mars. Now that I think about it, Veronica and her father often comment on their love for Italian food throughout the course of that series. I guess the premier of Italian Thursdays didn't go so wrong after all.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Getting to it.

Yesterday I had tea with my friend Laura. Laura always manages to shed light on any thing I am struggling with. I told her I'd been thinking of starting a new blog. I told her I missed what it felt like to just "put something out there". I told her I didn't know if it should be about cooking, about running, about photography, about writing. Laura told me, "Well, it should just be about you." Laura's always right.

Isabelle started running with me this week. It's great to have someone to run with for a lot of reasons. I can run outside without the irrational fear that I'm going to fall, injure myself, and be unable to scream for help (I said it was irrational). I can run at night without the rational fear of being killed in any number of ways one might be killed at night. I can feel good about the fact that I'm getting someone else to run. I can feel better about the fact that it inspires me to run more.

So last night we ran 2.5 miles. I'm using "ran" really loosely here, but "jog" and "walk" and "limp" are far less sexy. And after that run I baked some tofu, heated up some leftover piccata sauce and roasted some asparagus, zucchini, and yellow squash. It was pretty delicious. But aren't most things when consumed following major exertion? (I'm using "major" really loosely here).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Coming around.

I found myself writing a letter
that summed up the last four years of my life
as I re-read what I'd been able to write
I sat back and smiled

I realized the way my story unfolded
was pretty amazing
I'd been:
semi-happy and extremely broke in New York;
then I'd been extremely unhappy and semi-broke in St. Pete;
and now I'm very happy and not really at all broke at home

How far I've come in four years
Now a vegan.
Now a runner.
Now a graduate student.
So many things I never dreamt I would be.
Maybe life starts at 30.
At least it has for me...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I Became Vegan.

I've never written much about being vegan, even though I keep a vegan food blog there is nary a mention of the whys and hows of my "extreme" lifestyle. So, if you're interested even a little bit, here it goes:

I was at dinner with my dear friend Jen about a year and a half ago and she was telling me about some of the books she'd been reading and how they'd affected her eating habits and more importantly her reality. She no longer saw meat and dairy in the same way, the veil had been lifted for her.

I'd stopped eating red meat more than a decade previous, but (in the interest of full disclosure here), I'd actually had a few steaks that year because when I'd been in Paris it seemed the thing to do and I did it...and I won't lie, it was pretty tasty. So then a meatball here, a few ribs there, and I was surprising myself by my new intake of animal flesh. (For the record, I was very vegetarian when I lived in New York and Brooklyn, only occasionally indulging in sushi when the mood struck).

Jen gave me a few books that night, and when I went home I opened Peter Singer's The Ethics of What We Eat. I read the entire book in the following week. I cried a lot, and ingested even more. I was outraged and so, so angry. How did all of these things happen to millions of animals each year and yet the general public was virtually unaware. Or rather, unwilling to be aware.

I started researching, I bought more books, I read a lot and watched a little (I could hardly stomach but a couple of PETA videos). I stopped eating animal flesh immediately. I mentally punished myself for the mistakes I’d made in the previous year (taking many steps backwards instead of forward by that occasional steak indulgence). I actually felt moved enough by what I’d read to go vegan. I realized even reverting back to my vegetarianism wasn’t enough.

By the end of November I was intaking my last vestiges of my non-vegan life. Funny enough, cream in my coffee was my biggest concern. I hated the way soy milk or nut milk or even flavored soy creamer tasted. I was so used to the way standard dairy flavored my coffee. But I stuck with it and finally stopped using cream and started using Silk. And then, if I remember correctly, I actually had mozzarella cheese on a pizza as the very last serving of dairy. That was right around Thanksgiving last year.

So I took the plunge. I did nutritional research, and I got educated enough to feel comfortable with living a vegan life. And it wasn’t long before I started to reap the benefits of cutting out animal products.

I think the most important thing about it, for me, and what I’d like to communicate is how amazing I feel on the inside. Yes, I am healthier than I have ever been in my entire life (have the full blown blood work up to prove it). But what I’m talking about is how special it feels to know that you are part of an elite, evolved group of people that do not put their habitual nature and their taste buds above compassion and doing what is so clearly the right thing.

Now, I realize I ate a standard diet for 29 years, many of them were years in which I was making the choice to do so. I can feel bad about that all I want, but mostly I feel good about leaving it behind. And I try to remember that when I’m getting angry at the people around me as they hit the drive through for lunch or grill up burgers for dinner. Occasionally I lose the fight and lose my cool. But more and more these days I am working toward a even keeled delivery of information if I know the person is open to hearing it.

And, if you’ve read this far, I am only asking one thing of you as a person who is in my life and how hopefully cares about me. Do your research. Understand what you are eating. Make conscious choices. Ignorant bliss is just plain ignorant. So here are some links, maybe you’ll read an article. Or, if you’re daring you’ll go over to PETA and watch a video. But at the very least think, think about where your lunch came from. Contemplate the suffering the was caused so you could bake a meatloaf for dinner. Ask yourself why you’re scared to know more than you do right now about why chicken is so damn cheap in the face of rising grocery costs.

If you have a minute read about…
factory farmed animals,

lab animals,

animals used for entertainment,

dogs and other animals forced to fight,

puppy mills,

homeless companion animals,

fish, and

animals used for fur

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All in a day's work.

First a note about my photos...I got some albums posted on my website thanks to google. Go here,, and click on the "smile" link to see them if you'd like. I'll add more soon.

Second, I've been volunteering each Wednesday in my mom's first grade classroom. To say it's been an experience is an understatement. I've liked it so much that I now wonder what would have become of me if I'd had the experience 10 years ago. Alas, I have to assume this is my ideal path as it's the one I've walked down, so perhaps I'm only supposed to understand now that teaching was truly always in my blood.

Anywho, the kids are hilarious as 6 and 7-year-olds can sometimes be. They are good group, my mom would agree, and some of them really like having me there. I took their first day photos and tomorrow I'm taking some action shots. You can see their funny faces in the Mom's Class album on my photo page mentioned above. Devin-Michael and Semaj are my favorites right now. Devin wears a harness on the bus and Semaj is about the size of a 4-year-old. Apparently I have a thing for the special cases.
Copyright 2009 eringee