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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Pray for Zinfandel

Pray for Zinfandel

Pray for Zinfandel!

Or, as Benjamin Franklin wrote to his friend, André Morellet, a 18th-century French economist, philosopher and theologian:
On parle de la conversion de l’eau en vin, à la nôce de Cana, comme d’un miracle. Mais cette conversion est faite tous les jours par la bonté de Dieu, sous nos yeux. Voilà l’eau qui tombe des cieux sur nos vignobles, et alors elle entre dans les racines des vignes pour-être changée en vin. Preuve constante que Dieu nous aime, et qu’il aime à nous voir heureux.

Translated into English, this reads:
We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana, as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!

Sorry, cerevisaphile. Contrary to your myth, Mr. Franklin did NOT write, "Beer is proof that God loves us." But we can forgive him his trespass.

As to the photo itself: residents of the Oakhurst neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, have installed various whimsical found-art sculptures in their front yards and on the median of their street. I snapped the photo on 19 September 2018.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

VeggieDag Thursday: Banana Malt Bread

When life gives you brown bananas, you make Banana Malt Bread.

Banana Malt Bread

I adapted this recipe, almost intact, from Easy Vegan Banana Bread by Nora Cooks Vegan but with a beery twist: for the sweetness, a barley malt substitution à la beer-food writer Melissa Cole. Have your beer and eat it too.

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RECIPE

  • INGREDIENTS
    • 2-3 medium overripe bananas
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup barley malt syrup
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin oil oil
    • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
    • 5 tablespoons water
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup garbanzo flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts

    Banana Malt Bread (02)

  • PROCEDURE
    1. 1) Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

    2. 2) Lightly oil a 9-inch loaf pan and arrange a strip of parchment paper width-wise along the center, with just a bit hanging out over each side.

    3. 3) Make two flax 'eggs.' Use a coffee grinder or mortar-and-pestle to grind the seeds. In a bowl, mix together the ground flaxseed meal with six tablespoons of water. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set up and thicken.

    4. 4) Mash peeled bananas in bowl.

    5. 5) Add malt syrup, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla to bowl. Mix well.

    6. 6) Add the flour to the bowl. Mix well. Add baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and reserved flax 'eggs.' Mix well.

    7. 7) Fold in walnuts.

    8. 8) Spoon the batter into loaf pan. Cover with aluminum foil.

    9. 9) Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

    10. 10) Remove aluminum foil and return loaf to oven, baking for additional ~20 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick or fork tine into the center. If it comes out easily and clean, it's done. Don't burn the top!

    11. 11) Remove from the oven and allow the loaf to cool before removing it from the pan.

    12. 12) Slice and serve.

VeggieDag Thursday
VeggieDag Thursday is an occasional Thursday post
on an animal-free diet and on environmental and ecological issues.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Baltimore Beer Week is no more (at least for 2019).

There's sad news out of Baltimore, Maryland, where humans live.

Baltimore Beer Week will not be held this year. If it had been, this would have been its 11th iteration.

Baltimore Beer Week to end

The pro bono efforts of its organizers, particularly of Joe Gold and Dominic Cantalupo —and of all the breweries, businesses, pubs, and volunteers who contributed for a decade— are to be commended, appreciated, and profoundly thanked. Maybe not the O.G. city-wide beer week (that honor belongs to Philly Beer Week of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) but, yet, for those ten years, it was a premier beer destination for, and of, the U.S. east coast. Baltimore Beer Week will be fondly remembered and forlornly missed.

Baltimore Beer Week 2013 (logo)As the organizers state, the festival may have been a victim of its own success. The very number of breweries in Baltimore, and of all of Maryland —and more broadly noting, the numbers throughout America now— vs. the smaller numbers of even a decade ago might negate the purpose of such a gathering or at least create too much 'noise' to make it viable.

That being said, success does not obviate celebration but engenders delight in its observance. One hopes for the future resuscitation of Baltimore Beer Week.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: (Non) Beef Soup

(Not) Beef Stew

I'm taking rudimentary steps toward food styling, so today:
(Non) Beef Stew, adapted from a package of Hurst's Beans 'HamBeens' 15 Bean Soup package. Animal-free, of course.

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IN THE PACKAGE

  • Actually 18 bean varieties:
    Great Northern beans, pinto beans, large lima beans, baby lima beans, blackeyed peas, garbanzo beans, green split peas, red kidney beans, white kidney beans, cranberry beans, Cannellini beans, Habichuela Rosadas, small red beans, yellow split peas, lentils, navy beans, black beans, and yellow-eye beans.

  • And one seasoning packet:
    hydrolyzed soy protein, maltodextrin, salt, artificial flavorings (including artificial smoke flavor), silicon dioxide (added less than 2% as an anti-caking agent).


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RECIPE

I followed the recipe on the package but added in suggestions from Lord Byron's Vegetarian Beefless Stew. I spruced things up by using vegetable broth rather than water and by adding potatoes, frozen peas, fresh rosemary, and vegan Worcestershire sauce. Smoked paprika, Marmite, and the included seasoning packet add umami (less technically, a 'meaty' flavor); sautéd diced portabellos, a 'meaty' texture. Really, it's like Stone Soup: more about how you finish than how you begin. The yield is about 12 servings.

INGREDIENTS

  • 20 oz package Hurst Beans "HamBeens 15 Bean Soup" package
  • 8 cups low-sodium (or homemade) vegetable stock (or 8 cups water)
  • 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 small Yukon potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tsp Marmite
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 TBSP fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP dried basil
  • 1 TBSP smoked Spanish paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste

PROCEDURE

  1. 1) Rinse the beans to remove any dirt or debris.

  2. 2) Place rinsed beans in a large pot, cover with 8 cups of water, and soak beans overnight for at least 8 hours.

  3. 3) After soaking, drain off the water and rinse the beans again. [This removes some of the raffinose, the carbohydrate responsible for beany, uh, flatulence.]

  4. 4) Place beans in a large pot with 8 cups of vegetable stock (or water).

  5. 5) Bring beans to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

  6. 6) Add tomatoes, chili powder, Spanish paprika, Marmite, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes.

  7. 7) Five minutes before cooking is complete, add frozen peas and contents of Hurst's seasoning packet. [See above.]

  8. 8) Simmer five more minutes, covered. Remove from heat.

  9. 9) While the soup is simmering, boil the cubed potatoes for 15-20 minutes. Drain. [I reserve the water and refrigerate for up to a week for use as a soup base.]

  10. 10) In a skillet, sauté the chopped onions for 3 minutes until soft. Add the chopped mushrooms. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms release their moisture and become brown, about 10 minutes. Add the diced garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

  11. 11) Add the mushroom mixture and the cooked potato to the soup. Gently stir.

  12. 12) Scoop out two cups of the soup —vegetables and broth. Purée in a blender until smooth. Return the purée to the pot and stir into the soup. S/P to taste.

Enjoy with a hunk of rustic bread and an Oktoberfest lager. Whether it's a soup or a stew is up to you. Prost!

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Saturday, September 07, 2019

Pic(k) of the Week: Forest allée

Forest allée (03)

Allons-y l'allée!

The Postal Pond urban forest, in the Winnona Park district of Decatur, Georgia, on 7 July 2019.

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