Sunday, 25 November 2012

Dandelion Greens

Yeah, you heard right. Dandelion greens.  Now when  you work on your lawn you can kill two birds with one stone because those ubiquitous weeds that plague your lawns are actually very healthy for you.

The whole plant, root, leaves & bloom provide so much nutrition for severe illnesses that are so common in the United States.  On top of that  there's actually a coffee substitute that can be made by roasting the roots. Different people have easier methods of  roasting the roots, I'd recommend looking at several pages.  The pretty yellow blooms have actually been used for fritters.  But for now let's just stick to the leaves.

Here they are in my default greens recipe with onions, garlic & some soy sauce.
Cooked male dandelion greens.
Now I'm not one for bitter flavors but even though dandelions greens are bitter, they're not offensive.  I found them enjoyable enough that I will eat them again.

I've read that they're not bitter if you pick them in the spring before the flower appears & the leaves mature.  I had just learned about them in the late summer so the ones pictured above were picked after the flowers bloomed.

I recommend them.  If bitter flavors don't suit your pallet, I'd try mixing them with other greens first as there really is nothing like eating well for free.

And just a word of caution, if you're going to pick dandelions from somewhere other than your own property, first make sure that they're not sprayed with chemicals (check with the owner).

Now I don't know how true the following is BUT I was told to only eat the male leaves (the ones that look like lion's teeth).  I wasn't told why, so I did some homework on it & this is what I found...
  1. None of the pages I investigated made any reference to leaf genders.
  2. All the pages I investigated only showed male leaves for consuming.
  3. The only pages that showed female leaves were for illustration about dandelions only.  There were no references regarding consuming dandelions.

There's LOTS of information online on the nutritional value & all the medical benefits contained in these weeds.  For something that's so readily available I'd wager that it would be worth your time to google it.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

W O O H O O ! ! !

Over 1000 page views!

Ladies & gentlemen, no pictures please. ;)

Friday, 31 August 2012


As I was sharing my discoveries about Red Root to a friend (this time from Barbados), she pointed out another common root that is also edible.  I swear, more than anything, multiculturalism has benefited my diet this year.  If I wanted to learn about edible weeds growing all around me & how to cook them I'd probably have to pay for a book or a class.

Well boys and girls, today's lesson is about a common weed that is eaten in not just Barbados, but in India, Mexico & the Mediterranean as well and from what I've read is extremely rich in omega 3 fatty acids which is something that every vegetarian & vegan should take note of.

PURSLANE, also known as
  • Pursley
  • Pusley
  • Portulaca &
  • Little hogweed prefers warm dry weather but grows just about everywhere.
They say that just about everyone has it on their property and that it tolerates just about every kind of soil.  If you can't see it then it's probably just dormant.  Purslane seeds require sunlight to germinate.  Cultivate the soil as underground seeds have been known to live for up to forty years underground and it's probable that it will germinate & grow.

I slightly steamed & somewhat sautéed it.  I don't like to fully cook my greens as they say that it keeps the vitamins better this way.
Unfortunately I got the very last of it as it is the end of the season for Purslane.  It comes out a lot in the spring.  I did get a bit of flavor and a whole lot of crunch.  It had a lovely nutty feel.

I've also been told that it's good raw in salads.

I've googled info on Purslane if you're interested...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Red Root


A friend offered me cooked leafy greens I thought was spinach. Much to my surprise it wasn't spinach at all. She called it Red Root, a weed that is more thought of in the west as a problem for gardeners & livestock owners. I'd never heard of it before and overlooked it as just another inedible weed growing on dunghills. I am also told that Red Root is expensive especially in the big cities. Expensive & free... I couldn't resist.

Here it is on a dung heap.

First I washed & steamed it. Oh, the aroma that it gave when I lifted the lid was wonderful.
(Oh and incase you're wondering, that light colored twig looking thing is, its Japanese Knotweed.)

Then  sautéed it with other vegetables...

 then wrapped it in a chapati.

It cooks just like spinach and tastes delicious. 

I will start blanching it for the winter.  It's worth it.

I couldn't help but to google it to see what it's medicinal benefits are. (As all things in nature possess.)

"Red Root herb grows in temperate climates and makes a great tea, in fact during wartime it was used as a tea substitute. Plus it can be taken as tincture and also in capsules and it works great for asthma, bronchiole diseases, and coughs too. The root is very astringent making it a good mouthwash for oral ulcers. Also works well for improving lymphatic circulation and thus helps with edema… and problems related to the spleen and liver… and now Red Root has been used for the treatment of prostate enlargement. Red Root also works well for internal bleeding and also healing skin lesions. Plus Red Root is a good antispasmodic and also helps relax and sooth away tension, and it’s a good antiviral and antibacterial agent, and Red Root is a powerful antioxidant."

"Adenoid Enlargement, Asthma, Bronchitis, Cough, Cysts, Diarrhea, Dysentery, Dysmenorrhea, Epstein-barr Virus, Fatigue, Fever, Headache, Hemorrhoids, Hepatitis, Hodgkin's Disease, Lymphatic Congestion, Mononucleosis, Nosebleeds, Sore Throat, Spleen Enlargement, Testicular Hydrocele, Tick Fever, Tonsillitis, Tumors"

Friday, 11 May 2012

Herb Dressing

A friend shared this recipe she got from "Soul Veg", a restaurant in Georgia.  It's not just good on salad but on plain rice as well.

  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. of Italian seasoning.

Blend Together with...
  • 2 cups of oil

Mix all the ingredients in a blender and add the oil last or it will not mix properly.

*It tends to separate rather quickly so shake before every use.

I will provide a picture...eventually.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Ugandan Chapati Flatbread

A friend from Uganda showed me how to make an African flatbread called chapati.  I rarely use recipes & she doesn't use them at all but for the sake blogging I've googled a chapati recipe that was very similar to the chapati I made.  If you're interested, here's the link to the one I found.
CHAPATI (My version of it anyway.)
Granted they weren't perfectly round but they were good nonetheless.
  • 2 cups of Duram Atta flour (or any flour of your choice)
  • 1 tsp. of Adobo (or salt to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp. of Chief Head Curry (or whatever flavors you like)
  • 1/2 cups of finely diced onions (optional)
  • 3/4 cups of water
  • oil (for frying)

1, Knead all the ingredients together.  The dough should stick together into a ball BUT should be dry enough so that it doesn't stick to your skin.  If it's to dry add a little more water.  If the dough is sticking to your skin add a little more flour.
2, Divide the dough into about seven balls.
3, Oil the surface for rolling.  Roll with a rolling pin until thin.
4, Fry in a skillet until brown.

Chief Head Curry

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

My Steampunk Bed

In 2007 a friend and I were talking about our plans and projects.  His girlfriend interrupted very matter-of-factly, saying that our plans were never going to happen.  She said that because all she heard was talk and was completely blind to the fact that there were stages of planning and arrangements that had to be made before anything physical could have been implemented.

She had no insight as to the details of what we were talking about.  My mistake was in not letting her know that she was talking in complete ignorance.  When I asked her why she said that, she said that if we had ANY intentions whatsoever to carry out our plans we should stop talking about them and just do them.  I realized that she's just a very stupid woman who can't see anything past the bridge of her nose.  I personally prefer the company of those who like to challenge their boundaries and think big, in other words, people with a vision.

People without visions are very mundane, negative, exhausting, and stale.  They can never use their minds to create, only consume.

My friend and I had plans that incurred expenses.  Instead of giving up, or compromising, we chose to employ patience as a resource.  To help keep our projects alive we talked about them from time to time and brainstormed, exploring possibilities.

My plan, a four-post bed, is well under way.  The structure of the bed is complete; I just have a ton of aesthetic elements that I haven't gotten to yet.  It stands over seven feet tall. When completed, this bed will have included:

1. metalworking (cleaning, cutting, welding, grinding,  and possibly bending)
2. woodworking (and finishing)
3. painting (metal)
4. architectural design
5. painting (artistic)
6. framing
7. sewing (drapery)
8. electronics (wiring) and possibly
9. stained glass
10. tatting
11. mosaic (possibly)

What can I say… to much is never enough.

I didn't possess all the skills mentioned above so I did what I could and sought assistance, or education, where needed.  I didn't have the funds for the entire thing so I went to the local dump and found bed irons, cleaned them, welded them together and made four lamps for the tops of each bedpost. 
(I haven't stained the plywood above the lamps yet.)
I was about to painstakingly remove all the heavily laden rust from the bed irons when someone told me that If I get most of the rust off, there are paints that can be used over rust and the metal underneath will be fine.  I was so happy to hear that.

 A friend of mine was getting rid of old warped two-by-fours so I used that for the interior of the bed.  He couldn't recognize them after I cut them down and stained them.

What was the inspiration for this masterpiece?

I've always considered New York City my home and since I'm no longer there I wanted to incorporate architectural elements from NYC to remind me of home.  While I was visiting the city one day I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and noticed the architectural elements of the Manhattan Bridge.  I saw the same industrial pattern on the George Washington Bridge and on the girders that support the trains above Myrtle Ave and Broadway in Queens and Brooklyn.  It was a metal X in a square.  There and then I decided to use that architectural element for my bed posts. 

While at the machine shop the guys would occasionally joke with me saying that I was going to be sleeping on a bridge.  At first they couldn't figure out what I was doing.  Some thought I was building a cage.  All they saw was me cutting tons of small pieces of metal. Afterwards they were blown away.  One woman said that I should get a black sheet with yellow stripes down the middle so that it could look like a street.  We laughed.

 Every time, and I mean EVERY TIME someone sees it for the first time, I get the "WOW" factor from haters and admirers alike, so I know it's coming out pretty awesome.  On several occasions people have told me that it is very masculine.  That's perfect because I didn't want anything "pretty".

The funny thing about it is that when people asked me what style I built it in, I honestly couldn't say because it has elements from different time periods. I use to say that it's primarily Industrial with touches of Victorian and Gothic. It actually is steampunk. While I designed & built it I had no idea that a steampunk genre even existed much less the word itself. As I was finishing the for metal bedposts my friend with the ignorant girlfriend came and described my bed as steampunk.
“What's that?” I asked him.
“Google it,” he said. So I did and found the genre of my heart. I love steampunk and I love my steampunk bed. 

Even though it's not finished and probably won't be for a good while, I'm happy with it.  It is beautiful, it is original, and provides me with plenty of storage above and beneath.

This bed is a big reason why I haven't been painting to much but I'm not down about it because I consider it a sculpture. Granted there are many things I would've done differently but for being my very first project in metal I think it's great.

I welcome all comments (ESPECIALLY if you're into steampunk).

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Cast Iron Vegan Cornbread

Granted this recipe doesn't have the buttermilk & all the a lot of the other traditional ingredients normally found in cornbread but it's very easy & very good.

Cast Iron Vegan Cornbread
EVERYONE who had some fell in love with it.

  • 3 cups of cornmeal
  • 3 1/2 cups soft flour
  • 1/8 cup baking powder
  • 1/4 Tbsp salt

  • 2 cups margarine
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 ½ cups of water

1, Mix first 4 ingredients well.
2, In a separate bowl, cream margarine & sugar, then add the water.
3, Combine wet & dry ingredients.
Pour into 2 greased cast iron skillets or equivalent cake pan.
Bake convection oven at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn up to 325 degrees until golden.
Gas oven at 425 degrees for 45 minutes
Cast Iron cooking is the absolute best.
Yea I went a little crazy with the camera but what can I say, I've wanted to try a cast iron cornbread for a very long time now.

I'll save you the last piece.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Sorrel Juice

What can I say except that I've been converted to sorrel.  Its good and good for you.  It reduces high blood pressure and acts like an air conditioner whether you're suffering from a fever or even if it's just an unbearably hot day, it will cool you down.  Usually sorrel packages come with instructions in the back but if it doesn't here's a very simple & basic recipe.
Sorrel steeping with a stick of
cinnamon.  (No, I'm not canning
it.  I just like steeping in glass as
opposed to plastic.)

Sorrel Juice
  • 1/4 cup of dried sorrel blooms
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • sugar or honey to taste 
1, Boil the water and steep the sorrel blooms & cinnamon stick for at least 4 hours.  (Some like to steep overnight.)

2, Strain out the blooms & cinnamon stick, sweeten  and enjoy. Now seriously, how easy is that?


I've been coming across the medical benefits of this delicious juice.  If you're interested, click on one of the links below...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Juice Jelly

Sorrel Jelly made with this Juice Jelly recipe
Granted I did play around with the original recipe a little, I used golden brown sugar instead of white and I made my own juice from dried sorrel flowers instead of just using fruit juice.  But still I recommend that you give this a try because you can make it in any flavor you like.  It's for that reason that I'm giving just the basic recipe for juice jelly.  I found this recipe at, here's the link.  It was originally a raspberry juice jelly. 

Juice Jelly

  • 2 cups of fruit juice
  • 4 cups of golden brown sugar
  • 2 (3 oz.) pkg.s liquid fruit pectin
In an *oversized pot, combine juice and sugar. Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to a rolling boil.

Stir in pectin. Stirring constantly, bring to a rolling boil again and boil 1 minute longer.

Remove from heat, skim off foam. Store in sealed jars. If you're not familiar with canning, here's a link to a good site that shows you how.

Yield: 2 pints.

I used Certo pectin.
*I specified an oversized pot because in order to activate pectin, you HAVE to let it boil in a good hard rolling boil for a minute or it won't set right.  In an oversized pot the boiling liquid won't overflow into a mess.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Carrot Pineapple Muffins

Again this came from an industrial kitchen so if you don't want to make 120 muffins, cut back on the ingredients.  Also, these muffins are a little on the greasy side so you might want to cut back on the oil a little more.

Carrot Pineapple Muffins
dry ingredients:
  • 15 cups of soft flour
  • 9 cups of sugar (unpacked)
  • 1/2 cup of baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp +1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp +1 tsp of salt

wet ingredients:
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 6 2/3 cups of oil
  • 10 cups of grated carrots
  • 5 cups of crushed pineapple with juice

1, Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl.
2, Beat together the water, oil & vanilla.
3, Blend the crushed pineapple in a blender or food processor.
4, Mix well all the ingredients together.
5, Use 1/3 cup ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups.
6, Bake in convection oven at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

My deviantART gallery

I also have a deviantART page where I showcase my artwork.  Feel free to peruse my gallery.  Here's the link.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Again, this is a recipe that I got from an industrial kitchen so it's a recipe for 60 servings.  You'll have to divide the ingredients by 5.  & by the way, this is a little on the greasy side, I like cutting the margarine by 1/4 to 1/2 a cup

Polenta topped with vegan Parmesan.
  • 20 cups of water
  • 5 tsp. of salt
  • 5 cups of cornmeal
  • 1 cup of margarine
  • 1 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese (vegan Parmesan recipe below)
Vegan Parmesan Cheese:
  • 4 cups of sesame seeds (blended fine)
  • 4 cups of brewers yeast
  • 3 Tbsp. of onion powder
  • 3 Tbsp. of garlic powder
  • 6 Tbsp. of chicken seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice

1, Parmesan Cheese: blend sesame seeds & brewers yeast flakes until fine.  Take out of the blender & combine the onion powder, garlic powder, chicken seasoning & lemon juice.

2, Cornmeal: bring water salt & margarine to a full boil.  Slowly wisk in the cornmeal & parmesan cheese.  Bring to a full boil over moderate heat.  Turn off the heat & let it sit for a good 15 - 20 minutes.

3, Put it into a greased pie plate, cover loosely & chill for at least 1 hour to harden.*

4, Turn Polenta over onto a cookie sheet.  Brush with margarine & bake until lightly brown. (convection oven - 350 degrees for 45 minutes / gas oven - 400 degrees for 1 hour.)

* option - Instead of pouring it into a pie plate, a lot of people prefer it spread flatter over a cooking sheet before it hardens.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Crunchy Granola

Mind you I'm not partial to granolas so this one HAS to be real good to make it into my blog.  Also, I got this recipe from an industrial kitchen so it's written to make 66 cups, so if you just want to make  it for yourself you'll have to cut the ingredients down.

Crunchy Granola
I've always hated granolas until I tried this one.
Dry ingredients:
  • 28 cups of quick oats
  • 6 cups of wheat germ
  • 6 cups of coconut
  • 3 cups of sunflower seeds
  • 3 cups of sesame seeds
  • 4 cups of chopped walnuts
  • 4 cups of chopped almonds
  • 4 cups of carob chips (optional)
  • 6 cups of brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of salt
  • 2 Tbsp. of vanilla
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of oil
1, Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2, Blend brown sugar, salt, vanilla, water & oil in a blender.
3, Combine wet & dry ingredients together.
4, Bake for one hour or until golden brown. (convection oven - 250 degrees/gas oven - 275 degrees)  Turn over every 15 - 20 minutes to expose areas not yet browned.
5, Take out of the oven & mix in the carob chips while the granola is still hot.  
Note: Freeze when not in use.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Veggie Turkey Seasoning

I tried this once on tofu patties.  It was good so I got the recipe.  The only reason I never make it is because I couldn't find the dang sweet pepper flakes.  
It was originally called "Chicken Seasoning" but I'm calling it "Veggie Turkey Seasoning" because it when it's fried of tofu patties if reminds me a lot of Worthington's turkey.
Veggie Turkey Seasoning
  • 1 ½ cup of brewers yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. of onion powder
  • ½ tsp. of celery seed ground
  • 2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. of paprika
  • ½ tsp. of turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp, of brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp. of sweet pepper flakes
  • 4 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp of dried parsley
Blend it all together until fine.

For this seasoning I recommend freezing a cube of tofu until solid.  This will change the texture enabling thin slices.  Thaw the tofu and bread it in the seasoning & fry.  It's awesome as a sandwich meat.

Friday, 6 January 2012

French Toast

This is the best vegan French Toast recipe I've come across.  To be honest when I first saw the recipe I didn't think I would like it but I tried it anyway & man it's good. Try it, I'll bet you'll like it.

French Toast
French Toast with whole wheat bread.

  • 1 Tbsp. of flour
  • 1Tbsp. of sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. of brewers yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 cups of milk
  • margarine or butter for frying
  • about 4-5 slices of bread
1, Mix the first 5 ingredients together.
2, Preheat a skillet & put the margarine in it.
3, When the margarine is melted quickly dip a slice of bread in the mix and place in the skillet. 4, Flip when the bottom is golden brown.
5, Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the rest of the bread.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Banana Ice Cream

Now here's a very delicious & very healthy alternative to fattening ice cream.

Banana Ice Cream
    It only get better with your
    favorite toppings on it.
  • 5-6 spotty  bananas
  • 1/8 cup of milk or juice (more if the bananas are huge, less if they're small)
  • toppings (of your choice)
 1. Peel & string the bananas.  Cut them in little pieces, wrap them in plastic wrap to make sure they don't get freezer burn and put them in a freezer until they are thoroughly frozen.

Note: Don't take the bananas out of the freezer until you are ready to work with them as they will thaw.  When you do take the bananas out, work quickly.

2. Take the bananas out of the freezer and put them in a blender or food processor with just the tiniest bit of milk and blend.  Add only so much milk at a time because if you put to much, you'll get a smoothie instead.  Blend until the bananas turn into a firm & smooth cream.

3. If you want to mix things like chips into the ice cream stop the blender, add the chips & blend for about 5 to 10 seconds.  Serve with toppings or in between two cookies as an ice cream sandwich.

Note:  It can be refrozen but remember that there are no additives or preservatives so don't leave it in the freezer for to long.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Brooklyn Bialy

You'll never go back to bagels after tasting these.  This gourmet recipe originated in Bailystok Poland and brought to New York  City by Eastern European Immigrants over a hundred years ago.  It’s not really known outside of New York because of its short self life so it's not shipped all over the country.  It can also be made in sizes from 3-4 inches to the size of a small pizza.  

If you want to know a little more about their history, here's the link where I found the recipe.  I laid it out in steps so it's easier to follow.

Now for those of you who don't follow recipes to a T, I have to warn you that my little bro made this recipe but didn't follow it exactly.  They turned out okay but they weren't gourmet, it really wasn't the same thing.

SERVES 8 (This depends on how big you make them  I made them about bagel size & got over 24 of them.)
       onion topping:
Directions for topping:
1 Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Prepare Onion Topping.

2 In a small bowl, combine vegetable or olive oil, poppy seeds, onions, and salt; set aside.

Directions for Bialys:
 1 In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup water, yeast, and sugar; let stand 10 minutes or until foamy.
2 Add remaining 1 1/2 cups water, salt, bread flour, and all-purpose flour.
3 Knead by hand or with dough hook of mixer for 8 minutes until smooth (the dough will be soft). Add flour if you think the dough is too moist , a tablespoon at a time. If the dough is looking dry, add warm water, a tablespoons at a time. Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 1/2 hours or until tripled in bulk.
4 Punch dough down in bowl, turn it over, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise another 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
5 On a floured board or counter, punch dough down and roll into a log. With a sharp knife, cut log into 8 rounds. Lay dough rounds flat on a lightly floured board, cover with a towel, and let them rest 10 minutes.
6 Gently pat each dough round into circles (a little higher in the middle than at the edge), each about 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Place bialys on prepared baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise an additional 30 minutes or until increased by about half in bulk (don’t let them over-rise).
7 Make an indention in the center of each bialy with two fingers of each hand, pressing from the center outward, leaving a 1-inch rim.
8 Place approximately 1 teaspoon of Onion Topping in the hole of each bialy.
9 Dust lightly with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 15 minutes.
10 Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake on upper and lower shelves of the oven for 6 to 7 minutes, then switch pans and reverse positions of pans (front to back), and bake another 5 to 6 minutes until bialys are lightly browned.
NOTE: These are soft rolls, and it is important not to bake them too long or they will be very dry.
11 Remove from oven and let cool on wire racks.
After cooling, immediately place in a plastic bag (this will allow the exterior to soften slightly). 

NOTE: For longer storage, keep in the freezer.


I came across this is a REALLY GOOD teriyaki sauce that's so easy to make.  I, personally, like it on rice vermicelli noodles with stir fried veggies.  It was given to me by a friend.

  • 1 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. of ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. of sesame seed oil
    Put all the ingredients in a jar and shake baby.  The longer you let it sit, the better the flavors mix.  Sometimes I use it right away.  After the noodles have softened you can finish cooking it all together in a skillet or just serve the teriyaki on the side.