Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving - It's All About The Veggies

Maybe it's because I am a vegetarian but Thanksgiving for me has always been about what goes with the turkey - not the poor bird itself. I just read in the newspaper that now that people are eating healthier (which I am not sure is TRUE), they eat turkey year round. So, maybe the big bird on the table isn't as special as it used to be. I think that people like to eat the stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy anyway.

I gave a speech (of sorts) at The Rotary in Sonoma (CA) last week and said that I was the one who brought color to the Thanksgiving table. I am bringing Fruited Wild Rice with dried cranberries, cherries, other dried fruit and spices, Wild Mushroom gravy (with locally harvested mushrooms given to me as a gift), Roasted Root Vegetables, Curried Pear and Squash Soup and Pear and Toasted Walnut Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette which are all recipes from my cookbook The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment which is available from my website at

I'd cook more veggies but this family (my husband's) just wouldn't appreciate them. My own family back east is feasting on all the veggies inlcuding Brussels Sprouts which I wrote about and called "The vegetable we love to say we hate." Yet when I make them in my classes they always disappear. Oh, now to head to the oven and get those roots roasting. I can't wait.

I hope that your Thanksgiving is filled with fine veggies, family and fun.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Andrew Weil, M.D., and I Featured on Radio

This past Monday I was featured on KPFA radio on the About Health show with Dr. Michael LeNoir. Andrew Weil, M.D. was featured on the same show the previous week. We were NOT on the show together. But Rachel Grant who interviewed Dr. Weil said that she thought that I was much more personable (that made me grin). She really wanted a copy of my book and wanted to trade Dr. LeNoir for Dr. Weil's new book on aging. To my great surprise and delight Dr. LeNoir wouldn't relinquish my book.

I was also quite pleased to have had the opportunity to be on the show. I had thought that the show was archived on the KPFA website and was going to provide a link but it's now all history except to those who actually got to listen.

What I found out on the show is that NOT EVERYONE knows that tomatoes from the store don't taste good in January. Heck, even my editor/friend Laurie didn't know that the same holds true for eggplant. For that, Laurie got a mention in my book on my story called "Eggplant Around the Globe", one of 37 stories and snippets to be found in The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment, available from my website at

Before the show I told Rachel Grant that one day I hoped to be as "big" as Andrew Weil, yet she advised me otherwise. What I really want is to have my vegetable-eating message reach as many people. So, now to go shop for veggies for tomorrow's Elderhostel class in Healdsburg, CA.

Call me a Turkey Even though I'm The Veggie Queen

I've been so proud of my new bookmarks that go with my book that I've been handing them out like crazy. Yesterday for some reason I decided to look at the phone number listed on it and realized that the number is WRONG. This was due to my graphic designer (and my inability to proof his work as well as it needs to be -- obviously). However, for my quickie on-line business cards I also managed to put the wrong 800 number (matching the wrong one on the bookmark).

It gets even better. I decided to call the wrong number to see 1) if it was available and 2) if not, who people would be calling. The voice answered, "Electric turkey fryer, how can I help you?" I thought to myself, "This is a cruel cosmic joke. Why me?" and I laughed out loud. I had a nice conversation with the turkey fryer woman and gave her my correct 800 number which is 1-800-919-1834 (VEG). I am still shaking my head - it would have been more fitting even if it was one of those onion flower fryers. Oh, well.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

GE Free Lost but Not Forever

The voters in Sonoma County did not support a 10 year ban on GMOs but hopefully they are now more aware of the issues surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops. The defeat will turn into a victory once the people involved in GE Free Sonoma figure out which direction we need to take. But enough of that.

Last night I taught an appetizers class that was so much fun. There were 5 recipes and no agreement on which was the favorite among Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms, Szechuan Eggplant Roll-ups, Rice Paper Wrapped Rolls with Spicy Citrus Dipping Sauce, Won Ton Ravioli and Dolmas. The best part for me was that I got to take home leftovers. What a delicious breakfast I had.

This past Tuesday I did a book signing and cooking demonstration at Santa Rosa Junior College bookstore. I got a very warm welcome and in exchange those attending got some good tastes of Lemon Scented Spinach Spread and Polenta Triangles with Roasted Red Pepper Relish, They are both quick and easy and from my cookbook The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment.

I am already anxious to start work on my next book about spices but I still have to finish up a number of projects - a couple of which are waiting for me on my countertop and frig -- red, Anaheim and jalapeno peppers to roast and freeze and tomatoes to sauce and can or freeze. I hope that I can squeeze in the time to do this as I so enjoy it in the winter when I am inundated with brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and their relatives), winter squash and potatoes. Nothing like the addition of some tomatoes and peppers to perk up a dish.

In fact, on the last rainy Sunday after a cooking demonstration I came home and made Spicy Winter Vegetable and Tomato Soup with marrow fat beans from Rancho Gordo ( ) and some chipotle pepper from Tierra Vegetables ( who also grow marrow fat beans. It was so good that my husband asked me to make more. I hope that I can repeat it since I am not sure exactly what I did. But that's how some of my best recipes have taken shape. I make them a time or two and then get out my pen and measuring devices. It seems to work.

If you would like help me do recipe testing for my next book, please send me an email to I will need help. Running off to cook my non-GMO produce and other foods.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Winter is Coming So are the 'Shrooms

We have now had a few bouts of rain and that means that winter will be coming. Along with it is mushroom hunting season. I unfortunately have been too busy to go out and hunt but hope to one day soon. Next Saturday November 12th I will be doing 2 cooking demonstrations for the Mendocino Wine and Mushroom Festival using domesticated wild mushrooms from Gourmet Mushroom growers of Mycopia brand mushrooms since I will unable to forage for my own. I am grateful for 'shrooms to cook.

So far this season looks good but I just have not squeezed in the time to hunt - the only kind of hunting that I believe in doing.

I encourage you to find a local mushroom group where you live. Here in Sonoma County it is It's great fun and good excuse to get outside. Happy hunting.