Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ottmar Liebert and Cooking Class

My week has been one big blur. I am not complaining though because it has also been a good week, just a crazy busy one.

Ottmar Liebert at Ram’s Head On Stage:

Tuesday night Dan and I went to Annapolis with Walid and Jackie to hear Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra play at Ram’s Head On Stage. It was a good show and I still loved the music as much as ever. I can’t believe Ottmar recorded his first album in 1990. Darn I am getting old.

Fortunately for us they had a veggie sandwich (no cheese) on the menu as well as roasted red pepper hummus. They only had black tea (no green or white) but still the food options were better than I expected. The last time we were at Ram’s Head I don’t remember a veggie sandwich. Next time I would have them hold the aioli which was too much. They also had a black bean soup but with the weather getting warmer I wasn’t really in a soup mood.

It won’t surprise you to hear that I had packed some homemade trail mix in my purse just in case we needed a little something more to eat. Dan had a little bit of the trail mix but only because it was there I think.


How is it Wednesday already? This week has just been flying by. The good part is that means that the weekend will be here sooner that I expect to.

Breakfast for me this morning was savory oatmeal. I haven’t had that in at least a week so it was definitely time to for a little oatmeal this morning. This version included: oats, water, nutritional yeast, no-salt seasoning, cumin, black pepper, freshly ground flaxseeds, wheat germ, broccoli, salsa and marinated mushrooms. I omitted the raw pumpkin seeds this morning because I know that the dinner we had last night contained far more fat than I am accustomed to eating.

After breakfast I had a few things to get finished at home. My week has been so busy that I am not as organized as usual which makes me a little nervous. I also needed to get some prepared food in the refrigerator to make my quick grab and go meals. That meant pressure cooking beans and making a few veggie sides that can be used on salads or to top whole grains.

I also had to spend a little time cleaning (the bane of my existence). Have I said recently that I don’t like to clean? Really I don’t enjoy it and rather view it is as a necessary evil. There are many other things that I would prefer to be doing other than cleaning. As I said to my friend Jackie last night, “Martha Stewart does not live at my house”.

The weather is absolutely incredible now in Baltimore. All day the skies were blue, there was a very gentle breeze and the temperatures reached the mid 70’s. I don’t think the weather could be more perfect now.

My lunch today was a huge salad (in a serving bowl like usual) of: organic baby spinach, white bean cheeze (made thinner with extra liquid), salsa, marinated mushrooms and a small white potato (for extra calories because I was hungry at lunch time). As you can see in the picture above my fur children love the smell of nutrition yeast. I need to remember to ask the vet if they can have that because they are all attracted to it.

Next it was time for me to run to Home Goods before cooking class. I have been buying items to set up a little meditation space at home and have been looking for additional things to add to that area. As soon as I get it set up I will post pictures and explain more about what I am doing.

Cooking Class:

Since class tonight was seafood pasta I was curious to see how the teacher was going to change the recipes for me (which I still feel bad about since I don't like to be a bother).  Here is what was made tonight, the omni and vegan versions. I hope this gives those of you with omni family members some ideas on how to make one meal that can be easily tweaked to add animal products for those that aren’t ready to change their diet yet. ;-)

The first seafood pasta was whole wheat pasta with clams. It also contained garlic, fennel, wine, lemon, capers, and fresh diced tomato.

My pasta was just the veg and a little bread crumbs and was delicious. I thought my vegan version of this was fine without the clams and did not require any additional modifications. Since the clams were cooked in the veg and wine broth the vegan version had to be made separately. However since the veg was all the same you only need to use a second pan for the vegan version.

The second seafood pasta was shrimp, feta and pasta with pesto. The pesto was made with arugula and the pasta also included broccoli, red bell pepper, olives and whole pine nuts for texture.

My version was only pasta and veg and had plenty of flavor from the arugula pesto and lemon. You could have topped this dish with nut cheese and added either cooked beans or chunks of tofu. This was another dish that needed a separate pan and to pull out some of the pesto before adding the cheese.

The final seafood pasta dish was a roasted salmon with lemon and herbs on top of spring vegetable orzo with tarragon and lemon.

My pasta was the veggies and pasta only. The vegan version had plenty of flavor from the vegetables, Dijon, and fresh herbs. This dish was the easiest to modify since the salmon was baked. Alternately you could have baked a piece of lemon marinated tofu that you topped with herbed bread crumbs.  The braised baby artichokes in white wine and lemon really made this dish.

I think this is a great example of how you can take one set of raw materials and make two different meals, one omni and one vegan. After you have been doing this for a while it becomes second nature. In fact many of you ask where my recipe ideas come from and in the beginning they were omni dishes that I made vegan because the vast majority of my cooking experience is still omni. Now I don’t really think about the missing elements it is more a matter of combining food/flavor combinations that I know will work based on my experience. I hope that gives you some ideas of how to take your favorite flavors and make them into vegan dishes.

Happy thoughts:

• Our weather is nothing short of amazing right now. I love it when the temperatures are in the mid-70’s and there is little humidity. Too bad Baltimore weather can’t be like this more often. We have had the windows open for days and both the humas and felines have been soaking up the fresh air.

• All of us had a great time at Ottmar last night. It is always nice to spend time with Walid and Jackie.

• I found more items for my altar/meditation space which made me happy. With a little luck I will only need a couple more shopping trips and that will ready to go.

• My friend Louis sent me a birthday present which arrived a little early. He will be out of town for my birthday so I am sure he didn’t want his present to be late. I will tell you more about that on my birthday. Thank you Louis, you are best! Hugs!

• It was very nice to spend some time today with the regulars at cooking class. Dennis was entertaining as always. He is quite the character, in a good way. You have to be there to understand.  He is a joy to be around because he always makes me laugh and we all known that laughter is good medicine.

Signing out:

That is going to be it for me tonight. Tomorrow my schedule is fairly light and I am really looking forward to that. I need a day to hang out at home and recharge. Sadly I think there will also be cleaning on my schedule but that is nothing compared to the running around I have been doing lately. I am sure you all know how much I dislike driving so I am thrilled to not be in the car tomorrow.

I hope your week is going well and I will talk to you tomorrow.


  1. "Dan had a little bit of the trail mix but only because it was there I think"

    lol very cute:)

  2. I hate cleaning, too!! Luckily I married a man who doesn't mind it!

    Those 3 dishes look SO DELICIOUS, especially the last one. I've recently re-discovered my love for fresh tarragon.

  3. My cats used to love nutritional yeast too! I once left a bag of it out on the counter and they obliterated it, lol. I learned to keep it in the fridge after that :-)


  4. Great post as usual.
    Terrific photos too!


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