A posting for vegetarian (mostly vegan) Italian recipes.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Vegitalia!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Mediterranian Meditation

Last night I was up late engaging in one of my favorite active meditations: making homemade pasta. I was taught how to make the dairy version, Pasta l'uovo, and searched long and hard for a reliable homemade vegan version to one of my favorite foods.

Vegan Homemade Pasta

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of semolina flour
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt (optional)

Directions:

Combine the above ingredients to make a dough. You may have to add more flour if it is too wet. Wrap in a towel and let sit for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes, start the water boiling. Divide the dough in half and roll out each half, allowing the first sheet of pasta to sit while rolling out the second.
When the sheets are dryish, cut according to how you like your pasta.
The pasta maker recommends rolling, and folding in half before re-rolling. After rolling, you are supposed to sprinkle some flour betwixt the two halves. If you create a dry enough dough, then you do not need to do this. In fact, the first time through the rollers, my dough is pretty crumbly at the edges, but a few more passes makes the dough much more workable.
Cook for about 2 minutes.
For variations you can blend tomatoes, spinach, or garlic and basil to create flavored pasta.

Buon appetito!

Chi mangia bouno, mangia italiano! (Those who eat well, eat Italian!)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Veggie or not, here I come...

I've been vegetarian for close to six years. A decision made during my first year of teaching at a residential school for emotionally disturbed kids. Emotionally, I was kinda taken for a ride and really needed to take some steps towards taking care of myself and not getting so wrapped up in all of the insurmountable problems my students were facing. The curse of the first year teacher. You inevitably attempt to surpass all human limitations and play Superman. Add to the mix the challenge of trying to reach out to the angry, depressed, suicidal teens I was dealing with and...presto! Instant emotional funk!

Very selfishly I merely wanted to do something to improve my health and state of mind. Little did I know that along the way I would come to realize how unethical our nation's farming industry has become.

Factory farming is an evil I believe we need to seriously reconsider and do away with permanantly. The days of "Old McDonald" are long gone and it wasn't until I did some extensive reading on the inhumane treatment of animals raised for food that my decision for vegetarianism became an ethical one. I just couldn't partake in a system that seemed to trade all compassion and kindness for meeting higher "demands", cutting financial corners, and attaining a certain financial gain for the quarter.

Mind you, I am not opposed to eating meat. It seems obvious to me that the natural order of the world is "consume or be consumed". What I am proposing though is that, from both a health and ethics perspective, we drastically reduce our dependence on animals as our main source of food.

Here are a few of books that are chockfull of information about the health, environmental and ethical reasons for exploring a new way of eating.

Diet for a New America by John Robbins (also an award winning documentary from PBS)
The Food Revolution by John Robbins
Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD (the most comprehensive and researched nutritional guide I've ever read with no other agenda tagged to it other than how the foods we eat affect our bodies)

Please take the time to consider a world in which human beings can really embody the true meaning of humane and live with as much compassion as possible towards our fellow world citizens.

Peace.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Buon compleanno, Nonni!

Today would have been my Nonni's 106th birthday had she not passed away back when I was in college. I miss her very much. She was like a rock in our family. So strong and spiritual.
I know you're still here for me, Nonni. My guardian angel. I love you...

So, what's cookin'?

One of my favorite Italian snacks is panelle, a Sicilian sandwhich made with fried chickpea "fritters" as a filling. I had it for the first time when I was visiting my cousin, Daniela, in Sicily. She's originally from Milan but is currently slummin' it with her southern Italian boyfriend and the rest of the islanders. She and her beau, Giovanni (who calls everyone he sees Za Za!), run a scuba diving gig. Anyway, I've made them for so many of my friends, family, and students and everyone adores them. I figured I'd post the recipe here. It's completely vegan and very easy to make. You might find it difficult to obtain the chickpea flour. I suggest you check out Middle Eastern markets in your area (or even grate dried [not roasted] chick peas in a blender or food processor). A friend of mine said she tried this with corn meal (polenta) and it came out good too.


Panelle

1 cup of chick pea flour
Olive oil for frying
Salt
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Minced parsley (optional)

Stir the chick pea flour into 1 3/4 cup of lightly salted water over a moderate flame, and stir the mixture steadily in the same direction with a wooden spoon until you obtain a soft, lump-free paste. When the paste begins to pull away from the sides of the pot, turn it out into oiled wooden molds, or spread it out about 1/4 inch high (1/2 cm) on your work surface (dust the surface with parsley before you spread if you're including it). Once the paste has cooled, cut it into 1 by 3-inch (3x7 cm) rectangles (I usually cut squares since it's easier to flip them without breaking) and fry them in hot oil.

To serve them, lay several rectangles or squares on a slice of still-warm freshly baked bread, season them with lemon juice and salt to taste, top with another slice of bread, and enjoy.

Gimme a shout out if you try this and like.

Ciao!

Ronnie