Memorial Day Weekend in the US

The highways are crowded and the summer tourist season begins!! Memorial Day is spend very unique to each:  camping, hiking, enjoying the beach and/or the mountains, honoring military veterans and loved ones who have passed on, barbecuing, family get togethers, music festivals or staycations to name a few off the top of my head. No matter the event, everyone plans are often around travel and food.

‘ssI haven’t published my final pictures of Jim Lahey’s pizzas,  actually once I create and bake the pizza’s they became my pizzas. I used his recipe and method, so technically choose to call them his pizzas. The book My Pizza is written by Jim Lahey & Rick Faste, so need to quit saying that it is just Jim Lahey’s pizza.

Now I have to find my pictures and upload.

Also, watch for my Memorial Day Menu!



21 Day Vegan Kickstart – Did you Take the Challenge?

Awww. it’s always tough to make changes to our diets and our mindset. In case you didn’t sign up for the 21 Day Vegan Kickstart you could purchase the kickstart book or another book of interest by Neal Barnard, M.D..

I have had a very busy week at work and didn’t get my cooking done last Sunday. I will admit I was working on Jim Lahey’s pizza dough recipes and baking pizza. Vegan,  no oil… just didn’t get my kickstart food prepped.

Next week will be on the kickstart and following a modified plan, since I am allergic to soy and often cooking just for myself. I usually pick 2-3 recipes a week and that’s plenty for me. I have oatmeal every morning, so don’t need a lot of variety of breakfast.


Jim Lahey’s Pizza Crust

I know I said that I would talk about the Kickstart and I will.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I love pizza. I grew up with lots of allergies and often pizza was a safe food – fully cooked and yummy. Well, also allergic to dairy, so the pizza wasn’t much of a friend, but learned to love it without the dairy. I’ve been waiting for Jim Lahey’s My Pizza cookbook for a while and was delighted to purchase on my iPad. So, have salivated over the pictures (the pizza not the meat) and imagined all the Vegan alternative I could create, but avoiding the crust recipe. Feared it was loaded with milk and olive oil – why did I wait??? No dairy – No oil!! Vegan & Delightful!

In the Lahey tradition the recipe calls for mixing the ingredients, covering and waiting for atleast 18 hours. Easy

I have a batch mixed and cultivating on my counter.

Jim Lahey’s My Pizza Cookbook

Yup, pre-ordered the e-book on my iPad. It just arrived and the pictures of the crusts are amazing. I don’t really care that meat is featured, i can make alterations around the meat and dairy-oh but the crust will be amazing.

I have a no oil crust that i used for years, but is a high maintenance crust from start to finish. Excited to try Jim Lahey’s! Will let you know my favorites.

Guinness Trivia and Fun Facts

St Patrick’s Day – Ireland – Guinness

Seems to be a good match to me!! I was in Barnes and Noble last week looking for Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread book, but it was sold out (I guess), but did find a wee treasure: Little-Know Facts about Well-Know Places: Ireland. Figured I could get some fun facts for the blog and then pass it on to my Irish son.

Here’s a bit of trivia as well as some useful facts from Little-Know Facts about Well-Know Places: Ireland by David Hoffman:

“When Arther Guinness opened the original Guinness Brewery in Dublin in 1759, he signed a 9,000-year lease on the property, which required a small deposit and locked in an annual rent equivalent to $85.00.” p. 10

“2,304,000 pints of Guinness that can be fermented in one brewing at the company’s original St. James Gate facility in Dublin.” p.11

“The best pint in Ireland is frequently reported to be at Mulligan’s on Poolbeg Street in Dublin, where, according to folklore, its freshness is attributed to a pipe underneath the bar that connects directly to the basement of the Guinness brewery.” p. 15

Here is the bad news for Vegans (wait, there is good news right after this):

“The Guinness production process uses a tiny amount of isinglass, a form of gelatin, as a clarification agent. Because isinglass is extracted from the swim bladders of Beluga sturgeon and other fish, Guinness (to the dismay of many) is considered neither vegan nor vegetarian.” p. 12

Here is the good news, compliments of Barnivore:

Guiness Extra Stout – North America is Vegan Friendly and there are some chilling in my frig for St. Patrick’s Day and cooking – wink!

Jim Lahey’s No Knead Baquette (Stecca) Rising

I know I should be making soda bread for St. Patrick’s day, but am seeing if my baquettes would be presentable for tea our area is hosting at work this week. His recipes are but my bread may not be presentable. One of my grown sons is a baker, so my baking skills are not up to par – I taught him how to bake bread, but that 12-year-old quickly surpassed my baking skills.

If you are afraid of bread dough, Jim Lahey techniques are amazing. I was shocked the first time I mixed this baguette and used a minimal amount of yeast and adding cool water. WHAT – cool water and yeast – my head wanted to explode. To make bread I was taught by my mom to heat the water and use a thermometer or the yeast would die, true if it’s too hot, but cool water. Yup! Bread baking isn’t that hard and the benefits are tremendous! No fillers, lots of variety, the house smells wonderful and fresh bread is delicious. Not to mention such a cheap treat to take to potlucks and use as gifts.

I was looking for the recipe (will share later today) and came across The Bread Time Line: A Brief New Your Baking History on the online NY Magazine.

oh, about my skills – I forgot to add the olive oil, so added it at the end. The good thing about bread dough is it is very forgiving and I know that in the end it will be all mixed. Normally there wouldn’t be an oil around the edges of the dough. Those bubbles show that the yeast is alive and working!!!

Jim Lahey's no knead baguettes (Stecca)

Simple Christmas Eve Menu

Oh Christmas Traditions – my sweet mom cooked Lasagna & Oyster Stew (my dad’s fav) for many years. She didn’t break tradition.

I’m breaking tradition!! I now prefer a simple hearty, healthy vegan meal for Christmas Eve, cause we graze and eat finger foods on Christmas Day. No one else in my family is Vegan, so there will be a variety of foods served and that’s cool. I love Lasagna, don’t get me wrong. Once again, I will save the Lasagna for another time, create new memories, and savor my past.

I struggled with the wine choice this year because my choices are not totally Vegan, yet. I found an amazing local (Washington state) winery in Everett, WA: Port Gardner Bay Winery. They use a minimal amount of microbes and sulfites and I appreciate the care they use in their wine making.

My daughter and I attended a wine making class this fall at Port Gardner Bay Winery. I wanted to scrutinize the process to see why wine wasn’t Vegan. I was pretty certain it was the microbes, but turns out it’s animal proteins. I do want to have a discussion with the vintner about animal proteins – I don’t think he uses them, but will follow-up. Now back to the menu.


Vegan Small Fare’s 2011 Christmas Eve Menu

Minestrone Soup (I have an old recipe from the Sunset Magazine – now Veganized)

Homemade Stecca (Jim Lahey’s Recipe)

Port Gardner Bay’s 2010 Columbia Valley Riesling

Port Gardner Bay’s 2009 Columbia Valley Petit Verdot

Bon Appetit!