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Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage

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I remember one year on St. Pats that it was so warm we cooked outside. This year we still have snow on the ground and I thought I would try a more traditionally flavored recipe of Corned Beef and Cabbage and using another new seitan product.
Vegan Corned Beef and Cabbage

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1/2 medium head of cabbage, sliced into 3/4″ strips
4 carrots cut into 2″ pieces, quartering the thickest ones
4 small potatoes cut into wedges
4 stalks of celery cut on an angle into pieces, mince any leaves
1 large apple cored and cut into pieces the same size as the potato wedges
3 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. sharp hot mustard
1 tsp. mild horseradish
2 Tbsp. malt vinegar
Some pickling spices in a muslin sack (a couple whole cloves, some whole all spice and a couple bay leaves)
8 oz. prepared seitan, sliced (I used and like Sweet Earth)
2 1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/3 cup water
2 Tbs. dry red wine
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

• Preheat the oven to 200°F.
• Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions until just starting to brown, then add the rest of the vegetables, 1 cup of the vegetable broth, mustard, horseradish, pickling spices in tied sack and vinegar then simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
• Add the seitan, then simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 more minutes. Remove the vegetables and seitan to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and keep them warm in the oven.
•Mix the flour with the water and wine, add to the pot with 2 cups of the broth (keep spice sack in at this point), and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove spice sack and pour the gravy over the cabbage mixture in the serving dish. Garnish with the parsley and serve.CBC

True Emerald Adventure

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This was a day of a 20+ mile bike ride to Millheim, PA. I stopped frequently and aimed to partake of something green at every establishment. It took me a good 15 minutes to actually get my butt out of the door and on to my bike and I still forgot things I meant to take with me. Jim’s rear view bike mirror sat idle on the back porch while I could have used it all along the 18 miles of rt 45 between Boalsburg and Millheim.

The day started off on a sad note as I saw the old body of a stray cat I used to know along the highway. Poor Woolly Bully died sometime this winter down on College Ave and her body is there now. She lived a rough life and was a real icon of toughness. I wondered where she had gone.

Jim suggested I cut around Nittany and go through Lemont to make the ride less elevation but added a few miles. This was a great choice and I got a breakfast sandwich at the Pump Station Cafe. My “green” choice was the flavor shot of Irish Cream sweetener in my coffee. I took my own mug. Does that count as green too?

The valley along Nittany was mellow and chilly. I stopped half way to check the time and it was almost 10 AM on the nose. I stopped to peep at the round barn and buzzed into Old Fort about 10:30 AM. Snappy’s was a great place for a break to finish my breakfast sandwich and purchase my green Spearmint gum.

Next stop, although it took some time to get there, was Spring Mills. I actually slipped on my regular pants over my biking pants to pop into the Frosty Hook for lunch. This location used to be called the Spring Mills Hotel and Quick Lunch (or as Dad likes to call it the “SMH & QL”). The shoulders of rt 45 deteriorated just upon entering the town so I was glad for a break. No Corned Beef nor Cabbage for me but a nice green salad and Guinness. The crappy part was it was served in a can – on St. Pat’s – come on! Some guy tried to enlighten me about the dart league he and his son are in. Ho hum.

I wanted some desert and couldn’t get the Water Street Grill out of my head. I tooled around the block, not changing out of my pants, to the location. Although lights were on inside and out this place was closed at 12:30! I was really disappointed and I got grease on my good pants! I called it the “wearin’ o’ the grease.” Grrrrrr.

Back on the road for a bit, I made calls to family and friends to let them know I was making progress whenever I had cell phone reception. I took another nice break at Burkholder’s grocery and got a Granny Smith Apple and a Turkey Hill green tea Mojito flavored. The tea was a mistake, the lime was very artificial tasting.

Elk Creek Cafe was my goal and I knew they had opened at noon. Their web site and email boasted “vegan offerings” as well as a “Trout Oat Stout” as long as it lasted. My goal was not to sit and drink my day away so I spent extra time in Burkie’s trying to find a better green treat. Although the white chocolate deviled eggs were shocking and hilarious, they were not green. No more green treats were to be had so I biked into Milheim and took some photos.

It was sometime around 3:00 PM I walked into the Elk Creek Cafe and ordered my first Oat Stout. Smooth and dark it reminded me of why people choose oatmeal baths to comfort those with skin irritations. Missy wasn’t getting off work until 4:00 PM so I nursed this drink and came up with the plan to make Millheim the completion of my my “Biking Bar Tour.” I was done biking but there was the Millheim Hotel to check out yet.

I chatted with Kathy and Tim at the Elk Creek for a while and Tim asked if I was going to include Brownies Valley Tavern in my proclaimed tour. I told him that I thought the place looked too spooky and he didn’t try to encourage me to make a visit.

Off I went to boldly bust into the regulars sitting at the bar at the Millheim Hotel.
No balcony parties were planned buy it was finally nice outside and my walk up the street had allowed me to take a couple of photos as I checked on my parked bike.

I had no idea what to order since the guy at the Frosty Hook gave me the hairy eyeball when I asked for “something green.” I thought that the same bet was just to get a Jamesons Irish Whiskey on the rocks and ordered that up. This was the most festive of all locations as it turns out. they were adding color to their beers and wearing flashing necklaces and hats and leprechaun ears! Holy cow, when the lady added green to my little drink I was afraid my teeth would turn green!

This bar also sported a bore who wanted to talk about his amazing camp near Hyner and how he can’t get there until the ice melts in April. Ho Hum. The weirdos all kept joking about my biking and biking drunk even though I told them I was done biking and meeting friends soon. I quickly finished my visit with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream and scurried back to Tim at the Elk Creek Cafe.

The place was just as slow at 4:30 and Missy had not yet arrived. Tim saw me come in and said, “If you really want to complete your tour now is the time. Half of my staff just went over for a quick break at Brownie’s.” He told me to leave my bag, that he would watch it even when I checked to see what money I had left on me he assured me his staff would cover me. Amazingly gracious in an odd imposing way on his staff.

I walked catty corner to Brownies and opened the door expecting any of Millheim’s cretins to greet me. It was just the staff from Elk Creek and they all cheered when they saw me. I has a very small drink just to say I had been there and hurried back to Elk Creek so I wouldn’t miss my friends’ arrival.

They came up the valley as soon as they could and joined in for a St. Patty’s drink and a little vegan chili (really the only vegan offering that day). A band started up about 5:30 and I have no idea if they were good or not. I was a little giddy, not too bad though. Part of my elation was that I actually accomplished my goal of biking to Millheim. The other was that my muscles were not sore. I am wondering what tomorrow holds. Today Emerald, tomorrow, black n blue?

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