Welcome to My Blog...

A warm and simple, welcome.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Simple Foods


I love kale.  And I think you've heard me say that until I became plant-strong, I thought that kale was the garnish for the ever-present diet platter from your favorite diner.  It was always tossed aside.  Never eaten.

And, you've heard me talk about my maternal grandparents, Mary and Luigi Montaruli.  They made lots of simple, peasant food.  And today, the meals that they would serve us, are now considered trendy.  Bread Stew with Fava Beans.  Potatoes in the Oven.  Peas and Pasta.  I could go on.  I think that part of Mario Batali's arsenal of delicious food comes from my grandparents.

Last night, I had a head of kale, and wasn't sure what I was going to do with it.  Most times, when I get home from the produce mart, I strip my kale, and store it in a muslin bag.  This way, it is always at the ready.

I like kale best when it is finely chopped,  It becomes very delicate, and responds better to oil-free saute.  After it is stripped, I roll the leaves into a ball, and cut each "kale-ball into thin slivers.  Last night, I sauteed it in stock made from the "kale stems," then added red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, low-sodium tamari.  Throw in some drained garbanzo beans, and garnish with shredded carrots.  A little squeeze of fresh lime will do the trick.

Eating plant-strong doesn't need to be complicated, time consuming, or difficult.  As I was eating dinner last night, I thought about my grandmother's delicious food.  She worked (she was a bow-maker at a hat factory in NYC), had five children, ran a restaurant, and had no microwave.  And she made beautiful and delicious food everyday.

While there are other forms of kale available...frozen, chopped and bagged, and kale chips, I am sticking with old-school kale and doing my own prep work.

Kale is the new black.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Plant-Based at the Museum

Salad Bar Plate from the Museum's Cafeteria

Philadelphia is a rather amazing city.  There's always something to do.  And with such great museums in the offering, you can never tire of something to do.  On the first Sunday of each month, you can head to the majestic Philadelphia Museum of Art for a fun day of beautiful art with free admission.  And, if you are a people watcher like I am, well, it is almost like a double-header.

Today, though, I forgot to eat lunch, simply forgot.  And while we were touring the exhibits, hunger called, so we took a turn into the cafeteria.  My hopes weren't too high, and I wasn't sure what to expect. But, wow, much like looking at a work of Thomas Eakins, I was in awe of the salad bar.  Jicama. Spring Mix. Palm Hearts.  And listen to this, KALE!  The kale had some kind of dressing on it, so I asked the attendant if it was possible to get some "plain kale."  With some garbanzo beans sprinkled on top, this beet-centric salad made my day.

There was a time in vegan history when a visit to a salad bar had lackluster selections and it was only filled with tomatoes and  iceberg lettuce.  For every vegan/plant-based eater I know, I think you have all made a differnce in the expansion of healthy choices for those of us who choose to not have mayonnaise laiden salads and cold-cuts.  It was so refreshing to see such healthy and green choices for my lunch.

After I finished my bountiful salad, I made it a point to go and talk to the chef (this was a real, upscale cafeteria, because the chefs were wearing real chef hats) . I thanked him for his delicious, clean, and neatly maintained salad bar.  It was well marked, ingredients list ever-present.  It was a fun and easy outing for this plant-strong eater.

From airports, train stations, and museums, it is getting easier to be a whole foods vegan.  My day was great and it was made simpler by the cafeteria staff at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Funny to think that Rocky Balboa ran up those steps with ease.  I doubt Rocky Balboa was ever plant-strong, but isn't it grand to think that such healthy choices abound, just steps from his own path of victory.

Yo, pass me the kale.  And after that, get back on the museum path for a fun afternoon of learning about American made glass.