Archive for September, 2009

No more lazy bloggering: It’s Vegan MoFo III

Posted in veganmofo 2009 on September 29, 2009 by hoveringdog

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So, for the third year running, the vegan blogosphere is going to be blogging like mad for Vegan Month of Food. Isa Chandra Moskowitz came up with the idea back in 2007, and this year it’s going to be massive: At last count, over three-hundred blogs have signed on to participate this year. Isa explains the general concept:

The idea is to write as much as you can for the month of October about vegan food. The blog entries can be about anything food related – your love of tongs, your top secret tofu pressing techniques, the first time your mom cooked vegan for you, vegan options in Timbuktu – you get the idea. There is no strict guideline for how much you have to write, but we shoot for about 20 times a month, or every weekday.

If you’re interested in participating, head on over to Cake Maker to the Stars , where Kittee is going all insane Web 2.0 with links to the MoFo RSS feed, flickr group, twitter twibe, all kinds of nifty bells and whistles. Over on the Post Punk Kitchen, a discussion forum has been set aside to talk about themes, events, cooking challenges, all kinds of greatness to get the ideas flowing.

I’ll be doing round-ups of the participating blogs on Mondays, and I’ll keep you posted on what blogs to hit up for the other days of the week. So head on over to Kittee’s blog if you want to participate. Only a couple days until this shiznit gets underway! And feel free to steal the banner image for your own vegan blog, courtesy of Katie from Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk.

For me, all of this means I need to get cracking on some cooking and bloggering. Truth is, most of what I cook is pretty damn boring. Hell, some nights it’s just a few handfuls of almonds or some PB&J. So this month, I’ll have to get my ass in gear. Counting down to Thursday, eek!

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Purslane

Posted in miscellanea with tags , , , on September 6, 2009 by hoveringdog

So Galen wasn’t too keen on purslane. In his work De alimentorum facultatibus, he dismissed it as a fairly useless weed: “Some people use purslane as food, but what little nutrition it does provide is watery, cold, and viscous,” adding that it’s only useful property was remedying “sensitivity of the teeth through its lenitive viscosity.” In the twelfth century, Hildegarde of Bingen was even less impressed: “Purslane is cold. When eaten, it produces mucus and bile in a person. It is not beneficial for a person to eat it.” And in the twenty-first century, yours truly wrote, “STFU, old people, purslane is awesome!” Fresh Purslane

No, seriously, it’s true. Turns out that purslane is one of the best terrestrial sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids. In Queen of Fats : Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them, Susan Allport describes how “this ordinary plant, a weed in most of the world’s eyes, has an alpha linolenic acid content four times that of cultivated spinach,” which, I might add, is especially important for those of us who don’t eat our fishy friends.

And purslane is extra awesome because the stuff grows damn near everywhere. You may well have uprooted the edible weed from your flowerbeds or the cracks of your driveway without having known its value. Its ubiquity, in fact, made it a useful food for American frontiersmen. Ann Chandonnet in Gold Rush Grub: From Turpentine Stew to Hoochinoo describes boiled wild purslane among the foodstuffs eaten along the trail by those en route to the California gold rush. Likewise, it was also a useful food for the privileged proto-freegan and faux-frontiersmen Henry David Thoreau, as he described in Walden; or, Life in the Woods: “I learned from my two years’ experience that it would cost incredibly little trouble to obtain one’s necessary food, even in this latitude; that a man may use as simple a diet as the animals, and yet retain health and strength. I have made a satisfactory dinner, satisfactory on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane (Portulaca oleracea) which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled and salted.”

Guess I shouldn’t criticize old Henry. My purslane was foraged from the produce aisle of the local co-op. But the pickling, that I did my own damn self, using a recipe from Linda Ziedrich’s The Joy of Pickling. I stripped the leaves and made a simple salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar, and pickled the stems with dill and garlic. The verdict? Tasted like pickles. Omega-3 awesome pickles. And now that I know what the stuff looks like, I might have to keep an eye out for it in the wilds of Olympia…