Sunday, February 28, 2010

Marinated and fried tempeh, Indonesian style

How could I be vegan for more than ten years and never have tried tempeh? I always meant to, but something about it always turned me off. Now I've had a packet in my fridge for longer than I'm readily willing to admit, and its best before date was fast approaching, so last night I took the tempeh challenge.

I made Deborah Madison's Marinated and fried tempeh, Indonesian style, from her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. The recipe is here, uncredited, so I'll give DM her credit back and reproduce it for you:

Marinated and fried tempeh, Indonesian style
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
serves 2 to 4

1 8- or 10-ounce package tempeh
1 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 slices ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp brown sugar
2 pieces galangal, optional
3/4 cup peanut oil

Cut the tempeh into slices about 1/2 inch thick or a little less. Combine 1 1/2 cups water with the remaining ingredients except the oil and bring to a boil. Add the tempeh, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. When hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb, add the tempeh and fry in batches over high heat until golden and crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels, then serve with sea salt, a chutney, or a peanut sauce.

Served with the Morning glory with peanut sauce from Chat Mingkwan's Buddha's Table, though with broccoli rabe in place of the morning glory. The peanut sauce recipe is similar to this one, and was very good.

So how was that tempeh? Well, what I was expecting was something punky like blue cheese, and tempeh, even twice cooked with many spices, was surprisingly bland. I wanted to be all, "I do, I like them, Sam-I-am!" about it, but really I was just kind of meh. I am probably going to regret saying that. The texture was nice, not soft like tofu but firm and a bit crumbly, though not crumbly enough to lose its shape when simmered for half an hour in a watery sauce. I'd like to try making some on my own like the industrious Renae does over at i eat food, and I'm thinking that that would be the only thing that would turn me into a total convert. But you never know. Maybe another thing would be if I didn't have to travel so far to buy it at overpriced so-called "natural food" stores, for which I am developing an aversion bordering on mania…but that is a rant for another post.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Really, this is mostly a creative use for leftovers. Here you see the last of the dumpling wrappers from the last post (just white flour and salt) metamorphosed into flour tortillas; the black bean ful from the other day, refried, Mexicanized and rejuvenated; tofu dredged in paprika and chile powder and pan-fried; plus fried red peppers and onions; and a little salsa and guacamole, served separately.

Oh, with some sweet potato fries on the side, mixed with peanut oil and sprinkled with lemon pepper and baked at 450 for about 10 minutes, which is a really nice way to have them. Tasty and super-easy, since most of the ingredients were already on hand.

Can you stand one more beauty shot of those dumplings, steam-fried into gyozas? The little sauce is just a mixture of brown rice vinegar and shredded ginger, very refreshing! After serving six people, plus myself for two big solo meals, I still had about three cups of the filling left over, which I froze, so it may resurface here sometime in the, er, expect it when you don't expect it...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Northern-style boiled dumplings with braised Chinese seitan and Harvest Moon stirfry

This is a real Bryanna-fest, inspired by her post about her Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. And serendipitously, she has a new post up on her blog about making dumplings with a dumpling press, which, alas, I don't have. As you can see, I was seriously inspired, though most of this stuff was not hard at all to make. Plus I have, since her post, made (again) the Mapo doufu, again from from her Authentic Chinese Cuisine, which all got eaten before I could post it. Er, and the gorgeous, jewel-like Pineapple sweet and sour, which I cooked for a bunch of omnis at my mom's birthday party yesterday, and they happily ate it all up!

Recipes? Seriously, my friends, buy the book. There's not a single recipe in it that isn't sublime.

One thing I will say is that the dumpling recipe makes a lot of dumplings. My energy ran out after about 30 and I'll probably have to freeze most of the rest of the filling and the dough. Unless you're cooking with a crowd, you should consider halving it. Why didn't I? Just greedy perhaps…

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seitan in mole sauce

This is based on one of those dishes that look gross, no matter how well disguised by thick sprinklings of chopped tomato and avocado, but taste fantastic, the chile-chocolate mole sauce from Veganomicon. Every so often, when I fortuitously happen to have all the ingredients on hand, I make a batch and freeze it in small increments for adding to chilis and so on. I've generally resisted using it as part of a main dish, until tonight, when I had some seitan that was pretty much approaching its best before date, and some pita dough that needed making into pitas, and I was tired from circumnavigating the globe in search of some esoteric items to delight the soul of my poor mother still recovering from her shoulder surgery, and I had some of the mole in my all-providing deep freezer.

The recipe for the mole sauce is over at Yeah, That Vegan Shit. I'm sorry Lindy Loo isn't blogging as often as she used to, because I love reading her posts. Anyway, she's another big fan of this recipe and has some fun things to say about it that I agree with but won't echo here. Suffice it to say that the meal was great, if brown. I found the seitan recipe online here, so can reproduce it for you:

Seitan in mole sauce
from the Veganomicon
Serves 4

2 tbsp peanut oil
1 lb seitan cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 cups chile chocolate mole sauce recipe

In a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of the oil and saute the seitan for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned. Remove the seitan from the pot and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the pot. Add the onion and saute for 6-8 minutes until soft. Add the carrots and the vegetable stock and cover. Steam for 8 minutes, then stir in the seitan and mole sauce. Mix completely and allow everything to simmer over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes, until the carrots are tender.

Served here with simply steamed broccoli rabe, along with homemade pita bread. Fast though complex in flavour, nutritious, and sustaining!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Barley- and mint-stuffed grape leaves

Happy Valentine's Day, Chinese Lunar New Year, or whatever you're celebrating. I'm single and not Chinese, so I'm celebrating our local Alberta holiday, intriguingly called "Family Day." I spent it with my little family, Cheeta and Isabeau, very happily, since it was a surprising, unseasonably warm day in which, though there are still two feet of snow on the ground, I was able to sit (dressed in black to attract heat) in my special protected sunny spot on the patio, absorbing the February rays, while Cheeta and Isabeau frolicked about in the way that elderly cats do, sitting on my lap and/or blinking irritably at the bright sunlight and/or lapping up melted snow from the arms of the other lawn chair.

So I was doing that, and finishing up some good books, and listening to some great lectures from iTunes U and in the intervals putting together this lovely meal and altogether having an excellent time. I ate early because I couldn't wait, and man, was this meal fantastic. Most of it was quite simple, but the least simple part was this recipe, somewhat simplified from here. Usually recipes from this site are gathered up from the newsgroup and often not given their proper accreditation, so if you know the source, please comment and I'll add it in:

Barley- and mint-stuffed grape leaves

24 grape leaves, thoroughly rinsed in warm water
2 1/2 cups cooked barley (about 2/3 cup raw)
1/3 cup very finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, dill, or oregano
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or to taste)
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Approximately 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock

Combine the barley, onion, garlic, mint, lemon juice, olive oil and pine nuts or walnuts (if using), salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix well. Correct the seasoning, adding salt or lemon juice to taste: the mixture should be highly seasoned.

Rinse the grape leaves several times in warm water. You can leave them soaking in warm water, picking them out one by one as needed, while you fill and roll them.

Lay a grape leaf on your work surface, stem end toward you. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in a row along the bottom third of the leaf. Roll up the leaf to form a tight cylinder, folding in the side flaps halfway up. Assemble the remaining grape leaves the same way. The grape leaves can be assembled several hours ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Here some of them are, assembled:
Place the stuffed grape leaves in a nonreactive baking dish with 1/2 inch vegetable stock. Cover the pan with foil. Bake the grape leaves for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Drain off any extra cooking liquid before serving. This dish is great hot, warm, or cold, with lemon-garlic dressing (below).

I'm used to making stuffed grape leaves "the Greek way," which means instead of baking them in the oven with vegetable stock, you cook them in a dutch oven on the stove in a sauce that is like a vinaigrette composed mainly of olive oil and lemon juice. It was nice to try them this other way and discover that they are still delicious—the smell while they are baking will transport you straight to paradise—without ending up with a caramelized product that's so far beyond delicious because of its enormous fat content that you just can't stop inhaling them no matter how full you are until they are all gone and you are feeling rather sick but still ready for more if by chance you missed one or there's a leftover on somebody else's plate or something black burnt onto the bottom of the pot…well, enough of that. These are definitely good enough.

Lemon-garlic dressing
1/2 pound silken or soft tofu
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cups vegetable stock or water
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon miso (optional)

Combine the tofu, lemon juice, zest, vegetable stock, garlic, pepper, salt, oil, and miso in a blender and puree until smooth. Thin the dressing to the desired consistency with additional stock or water, if needed. Correct the seasoning, adding lemon juice, garlic, or salt to taste. I also added some grated and squeezed cucumber to make a kind of tzatziki.

So this was served with some green beans boiled until just tender and then tossed with a mixture of Veganaise and pressed garlic; black beans cooked with onions, garlic, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, cumin, and salt and pepper; and homemade pita. Oh, my. I still ate way too much. But it was so good.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

All-American Incrediburgers

These are the All-American Incrediburgers from American Vegan Kitchen. I don't know why I'm on this quest for the perfect vegan burger, since even before I went vegetarian I was more of a hot dog girl, and the hot dogs had to be carbonized crisply black all over before I would touch even them, but as a vegan, I guess it's just nice to think that there are some acceptable alternatives out there for us to some of the foods traditional on our continent, which is the motivation behind Tami's book, after all--I'm Canadian, not American, but fast food other than really weird stuff like deep fried Mars bars (on their side) or poutine (on ours) doesn't respect the border, even though human beings now need valid passports to get across.

My gripe with most vegan burgers is twofold: even though they may have good flavour (and some have very good flavour), the ones I've tried are either mushy or powdery; or they're largely composed of starch. Even if it tastes great, I don't want to be eating millet in a bun, or breadcrumbs in a bun, or oatmeal in a bun, even with a few beans or a little tofu mixed in. It just isn't right.

If you look at Tami's recipe, you'll see it has no fillers. The burger is made from TVP and seitan and various flavorings, so it's pretty much as packed with protein as a vegan burger could be. I halved the recipe but otherwise followed it slavishly, and even went to the store for two of the ingredients. You soak the TVP, and then mix all the ingredients together the way you normally would for seitan, and form them into burgers a la the image at the top of this post. Then you wrap each burger in tinfoil and steam them:

This isn't the kind of dish you can toss together in half an hour after work, so at this point you could probably freeze the steamed burgers for instant use later. Post-steaming it looks like this, appetizing, but it's still a little soft; also, they expand a bit in the steamer:

Refrigerate it for a while to firm it up, then grill or bake. I used a panini press. The burger is now very firm and not going to fall apart unless severely provoked. It's not mushy or grainy or dusty. The texture's great!

Then you make it into a burger. My buns wanted to be spheres, so when I cut my hamburger creation in two only one half would stand up by itself, hence the single rather messy half shown here (the buns were mine, not from any recipe in AVK). Other than being very tall and wobbly it was a regular-sized bun, so you can see that the burgers are quite large, quite a bit of seitan for one serving. Next time I would make four rather than three out of a half recipe, but that's just a matter of individual preference. I had to deconstruct this tower-o'-flavour in order to eat it.

The spices Tami offers are a good diner-style base, which is what she is aiming for—go easy on the liquid smoke if you don't want a really smoky-tasting burger—though next time I might try adding some red pepper flakes and cumin for a bit more of a kick. But I enjoyed this and will certainly make it again. For the kind of hamburgers that you eat in a bun, as opposed to serving on their own as patties or croquettes, I'm thinking that this is the way of the future.
On edit: Tami has posted the recipe here!

Friday, February 12, 2010

15-minute chipotle black-eyed pea tortillas

Congratulations to Tami over at Vegan Appetite, whose new cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen, has hit the stores! And congratulations to me for peeping at her blog this evening before I started supper, because she's got a fantastic celebratory recipe up there, one look at which decided me what to have for supper tonight.

I could happily eat this kind of food every day for the rest of my life. As the title of my post indicates, I made a few substitutions in the bean part because I didn't have handy either barbecue sauce or black beans, so I subbed diced canned tomatoes, chili powder, and lots of chili pepper for the barbecue sauce, and black-eyed peas for the black beans, and it was dang good. The slaw, however, which was what really attracted me to the recipe, I made as directed. What a great mix. Served on homemade whole wheat tortillas (just whole wheat flour, a little oil and salt, with water to mix, then rolled out and cooked on a cast iron griddle and served hot), with raw beet and radish confetti sprinkled over. Here it is, flat:

Oh, heavenly day! My whole being is radiating blissful goodwill right now and I'm posting this before I even do the dishes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Scarlet quinoa

Inspired by the recent series of attractive and healthy raw-ish dishes on Rose's Dandelion blog, I made two salads tonight, the Scarlet quinoa from Lorna Sass's Complete Vegetarian Kitchen, and a brown bean ful. Ful recipes abound on the Internet and I'm sure they're all delicious, but you don't really need one. A ful is a somewhat liquidy salad of warm beans stirred up with lots of olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. The secret is a generous hand with the olive oil and lemon.

The scarlet quinoa was interesting and tasty. Google "scarlet quinoa," and maybe you'll be as surprised as I was by the number of hits you get. This is the recipe I used, which is based on, but not slavishly identical to, what is in Lorna Sass's book.

Scarlet quinoa
adapted from Lorna Sass's Complete Vegetarian Kitchen
Serves 3

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cup grated raw beets
1/2 cup tightly packed minced fresh parsley or coriander
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt to taste

Bring the quinoa to a boil in the water or stock, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 15 minutes or so, until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid and is cooked.

Stir the grated beets into the still hot quinoa and keep stirring until the grains are a uniform scarlet (or, really, purple).

Stir in the parsley, scallions, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

Serve warm.

What would really have gone great with this meal is pita bread, but unfortunately I didn't have any, no, not even in the freezer.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Braised seitan with Brussels, kale, and sun-dried tomatoes

What can you make with a fridge full of seitan, Brussels sprouts, kale, and sun-dried tomatoes? Yes, you guessed it! This is from the Veganomicon, and was surprisingly more delicious than the sum of its parts. Kale with Brussels sprouts? Another combination my conventional mind could never have dreamed up, but it works. The slight bitterness of both greens goes beautifully with the tart-sweet sundried tomatoes and chewy seitan. I added some red pepper flakes but otherwise didn't change the recipe. It didn't really need the pepper flakes. I just like them.

Served over mashed potatoes with rutabaga left over from the other night, which was perfect.

I found the recipe here, so you need look no further if you wish to make this quick, surprisingly elegant one-pot meal for yourself and haven't yet acquired a Veganomicon of your own:

Braised seitan with Brussels, kale, and sun-dried tomatoes
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
6 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups seitan, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, quartered (about 2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato, rinsed and chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup red wine
4 cups kale, chopped

Preheat a large pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots and seitan in 2 tbsp olive oil for about 7 minutes, until they have both browned. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté for 3 more minutes, adding a little extra olive oil if need be. Add the garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper, and sauté for another minute. Mix in the sun-dried tomatoes.

Add the vegetable broth and wine. Once the liquid is boiling, add the chopped kale. Stir the kale until it is wilted. Cover the pan, leaving a little room for steam to escape, and lower the heat. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt, and serve immediately.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Curried yellow split-pea soup with squash and raisins

Courtesy of Lorna Sass and her Complete Vegetarian Kitchen. I made the red lentil variation, and spiced it up a bit with red pepper flakes and a little lemon juice. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the recipe online to share, but it is basically onions, butternut squash, red lentils, and raisins cooked with mild Indian spices. The raisins are really a nice touch. You add them right at the beginning with the water so by the end of the cooking time they're just soft pillows of sweetness.

This is one of those cookbooks I photocopied most of in the library, years ago, when it was called Notes from an Ecological Kitchen. Now I've finally purchased it, and am looking forward to trying the recipes on the pages I didn't have before. Lorna Sass, if you're not already aware of this, is a pressure cooker authority (she states in her introduction that "Almost all of the recipes in this book…can be prepared in a pressure cooker or a wok, two cooking methods that offer optimum time and fuel efficiency") whose wisdom in this regard I can only partially profit from since my pressure cooker is a big old jiggle top—too big for my usual daily needs. I hear they have these little stationary regulator pressure cookers available now, though…

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mashed potatoes and rutabagas

This is something I have never tried before. But why not? It's so good! I recently came into possession of two large-ish rutabagas, and rather than just chuck them into stews—delicious as that is—I want to try some new (at least to me) ways of cooking them.

There are numerous recipes all over the Internet for this dish, but what I ended up doing was really simple. I took half a rutabaga and chopped it up and boiled it in a little salted water for ten minutes, then added four medium sized peeled, chopped potatoes (roughly twice the volume of the half-rutabaga) and half a chopped white onion and continued to cook all this until everything was tender. Then I ran it all through the potato ricer, added a few tablespoons of Earth Balance, and that's it. The rutabagas kind of meld into the potatoes without, as you might expect, overpowering them flavour-wise, and add a delicious smooth, sweet, buttery taste.

In the same water as I had boiled these, I then cooked a few of the surprisingly excellent green beans I found in the grocery store this morning (Sunday morning, at Superstore? I felt like I had slipped into some kind of alternate heavenly dimension of Superstore that ordinary mortals never see), and then saved the fragrant cooking water for stock—actually, it pretty much was stock by then.

So these are served with a big thick slice of baked butternut squash on beet-merlot reduction (from the freezer), and some meatballs made from Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe for Hot Italian Seitan Sausage from Nonna's Italian Kitchen. The dollop of white on the butternut squash is some of the tofu yogurt left over from yesterday. It had had a chance to chill and was really fresh and rich and creamy. Not yogurt, but definitely yogurt-y, and it certainly didn't taste like tofu. I'm not sure how you managed that, Bryanna, but it's genius, and excellent with the meatballs especially.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Butter chicken

For the curious, my mother had total shoulder replacement surgery at the end of January, so I've been at the hospital, or at her place, or rushing here and there not really cooking, and with little time to blog. Having the use only of one arm (for six weeks in her case) is a handicap in all sorts of ways that only really hit home when you're absolutely faced with them (how to do your hair, fold clothes, have a shower, cut your food, open the jewel case of a DVD for heaven's sake). Anyway, all's well, and I'm back, with a recipe to make up for my absence.

Here's another dish I never tasted as an omni, though people of so many different culinary likes rave about it that I thought I'd have a go at veganizing it. Having done that, my advice to my future self would be to relax: it's good, but not magical, also easier than I imagined it would be. I thought Soy Curls would work well in this recipe, and they do, but you would also have good success with tofu or chickpeas, and if you used chickpeas you could skip the whole marinade process and just go straight to the sauce and I bet it would be just as good, and certainly less fattening.

Here are a few helpful links: a video, on a site called Wicked How-To's which has the added bonus of instructions on such useful projects as How to Make a Glowing Ball of Deadly Plasma in Your Microwave and How to Make a Hot Outfit out of an Old Shirt; plus the recipe I adapted mine from.

My version is fairly fiery, which is how I like things, but you'll want to use your own judgment on the amount of chili you put into yours.

Butter chicken (Murgh Makhani)
Serves 2

1 cup dry Soy Curls, reconstituted in warm water for approximately 20 minutes
1 tbsp soy yogurt (I used Bryanna's tofu yogurt)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 tsp ginger, chopped
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp sugar

3/4 cup diced canned tomatoes
2 tbsp Earth Balance
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp minced green chilies
1 tbsp cashew or almond butter
1 tbsp tofu yogurt
salt, to taste

Garnish – all or any of:
1 tbsp Earth Balance
more tofu yogurt
finely chopped cilantro

In a blender, puree all the ingredients for the marinade into a paste. Drain the Soy Curls and squeeze out the excess water. Stir the marinade into the drained, squeezed Soy Curls in a bowl and let the mixture sit for up to a couple of hours.

When you're ready to cook:

Heat 1 tbsp Earth Balance on medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pan and put in the Soy Curls along with the marinade. Stir fry for about 20 minutes or so until the Soy Curls have dried out a bit and are beginning to turn golden. Set aside.

Now make the sauce:

Heat the remaining 1 tbsp Earth Balance in a saucepan and add the red chili powder, coriander, cumin, black pepper, garam masala, and ginger, and fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, and salt and cook uncovered on medium for about 7 minutes until the puree thickens. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree this mixture into a fairly smooth paste. Pour it back into the saucepan, stir in the tofu yogurt and the cashew or almond butter, reduce the heat to low, and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the Soy Curls and green chilies to the simmering sauce and taste for salt. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes more or till the curry is heated through.

Just before serving pour more melted EB over the curry (if you can handle it; I admit, I couldn't). Garnish with a swirl of tofu yogurt and/or finely chopped cilantro.

Served here with koki, a whole wheat roti with hot fresh green chilis and chopped onions mixed in, as well as lightly stir fried broccoli with Indian spices.

This is a portrait of my cat Cheeta commissioned by me from my talented, temporarily one-armed artist mother...and yes, it's her left arm in the sling, so she can still paint!

Finally, if you've read this far, Andrea over at Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking has tagged me with what used to be called a meme (as she points out) and is now called an award. Well, cool, thanks, Andrea! The idea of the Honest Scrap Award is for the tagged blogger to say 10 honest things about him/herself, and then to tag 7 other bloggers in turn.

So if anyone's interested, here are 10 random, though true, things about me, in no particular order:

1. I don't own a car, television set, or cell phone, but am an iTunes ho—movies, TV, music, and especially, these days, iTunes U.

2. Although I've been vegan for more than ten years I've never tried tempeh. I recently bought a packet and it is in my refrigerator, and I'm scared of it.

3. My MBTI type is INTP. It's a rare type; there are proportionately about as many of us in the general population as schizophrenics or sociopaths, though my impression is that the ratio may be higher in the blogosphere.

4. My favourite type of book—and since I read constantly and love reading even more than cooking I mean the true home of my heart—is academic essays written between about 1860 and 1960. Right now I'm reading F. M. Cornford and W. K. C. Guthrie on the Presocratics.

5. I haven't had a cold for six or seven years. I credit this of course to my extremely healthy diet.

6. I take a Vitamin B-100 stress tab twice a day and it gives me a little high. Or maybe that's just how normal people without B-absorption issues feel all the time.

7. I know the first 250 lines of Paradise Lost by heart.

8. I'm a ferocious grocery store snob, and pronounce harsh judgments in my mind on other people's Twinkies and pre-fab food.

9. My cat Cheeta is named after a literary character. No one has ever guessed which book; they all just figure I can't spell. If you know, leave a comment and I'll tag you with this meme because we'll have something really amazingly wonderful in common and I'll want to know more about you.

10. I'm shy. Too shy to dare pass this on, so I haven't given myself the little award icon, but I had fun reading Andrea's 10 things and some of the others on the Internet and thought I'd play half the game anyway…