Pumpkin Bisque Recipe

Pumpkin Bisque

Pumpkin bisque is one of our most popular recipes at Sacred Chow. Many people have asked for the recipe, so I've converted it to an amount that can be made at home. Granted, you'd want to have a lot of friends over to help you eat it, but that's the point of making soup in the first place. Think about it: how much effort does it really take to make a medium sized pot of soup versus a large one? And one more thing: this soup freezes beautifully. There's absolutely no reason to make a tiny amount, and eat it up, and then crave more. Make an enormous batch, then freeze it and come back to it later on in the year when we don't have such fantastic pumpkins!

A note: please use only Kabocha squash. If you use butternut or any other type, the thickness won't be there. It'll feel too watery, and feel like pumpkin water, and not a bisque, which is meant to be creamy and rich. If you are planning on substituting another pumpkin, make sure to replace some of the weight of the pumpkin with sweet potato and cassava.

Do not substitute imitation maple syrup, or use any other type of sweetener. Insist on pure maple syrup. There aren't many heavy spices in this soup, which means that each ingredient must stand up on its own. If you're not using the finest ingredients, the end result won't be quite the same.

Even though it may seem a twitch pricey, think of the cost in the long term. The entire pot of soup doesn't cost more than a few dollars, and you've got more than enough to feed an army!

At home, I like to remove some of the water, and replace it with a dry white wine, like a Reisling. For those who like it a little on the sweeter side, feel free to switch out some of the water with apple juice or throw in some brown sugar or sucanat. Bon appetit!

7.5 lb peeled, seeded, diced Kabocha Pumpkin
1.5 lb diced onion
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/2 TB ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2.5 TB salt
3/4 cups US Grade A Dark Amber pure maple syrup
1 3/4 gallons water
2 cups (1 can) coconut milk

Dice up the onions, and sautee in the oil. Make sure to weigh the onion after you dice it and remove the skin and the rest. While the onions brown, start to peel and dice your pumpkin. You want to weigh the pumpkin after you’ve removed the seeds and the skin, and not before. In other words, you need 7.5 lbs of pumkin that you’re cooking. The stuff you discard shouldn’t be weighed.

When the onions are softened and browned, add the uncooked pumpkin, the cinnamon, the ginger powder, the nutmeg powder, the clove powder, the salt, maple syrup, and water. Let the water come up to a full rolling boil. Drop down the heat to a simmer, and let it simmer for 2 – 3 hours, until the pumpkin is completely tender. When the pumpkin is tender all the way through, turn off the heat, and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Strain through a strainer to remove any left over pulp.

Stir through the coconut milk to combine thoroughly.


best tasting vegan foods!

Sacred Chow is an amazing place that offers some of the best tasting vegan foods I've ever had. Unfortunately we didn't stumble upon SC until our last day in NYC but what a way to go out! The entrees were over the top delicious starting with their caesar salad, roasted black olive seitan hero, the grilled western tofu (the dill dressing rocks!), the dijon marinated kale (off the hook!). Portions were large & prices were affordable. Each entree came with a yummy pickled salad with just the right amount of spice & the Chow slaw with a yummy, tangy sesame dressing.The interior of the place is nice & warm with its red walls and interesting art. Service was very good. If I lived in NYC I'd be a regular customer.

Davina M., Incline Village, NV, http://wwhttp://www.yelp.com/biz/sacred-chow-new-yorkw.yelp.com/biz/sacred-


1 Down, 1 to Go

This year, we had masses of people over at my apartment for the 25th. Usually, my husband would go to Chicago to visit his family, and I’d call up my friends to party in the city. This year, however, we were really tight on money, so that was flat out not an option. Even if our parents covered the costs of the flight, we’d still be out of luck, because then we’d both miss days of work (and thereby, the pay from said work). It was simply not at all possible to finagle it this year. Instead, I figured on having our friends come over instead, and cooking with/for everyone.

Honestly, it couldn’t have been better. We were all sitting about in two groups. Some at the dining room table, and some at the kitchen. I did the silly thing and forgot to snag extra cutting boards, even though I had plenty of knives. Fortunately, I don’t really care too much about the wooden dining room table, so I just had everyone cut directly on that surface.

In the kitchen, all four burners were going, as well as the oven. We polished off an entire bottle of sparkling cider between the three of us in the first half hour! So as before, I’ll recap a couple of things I learned at this event, and maybe we can all learn from my pitfalls and come out with a better understanding!

Sparkling cider is freaking popular! I didn’t realise how much it was popular until I had some friends over for Thanksgiving. I ordered two or three bottles for a small group of friends coming over. It was to be only two people in the group who don’t drink. The rest of us consume alcohol at parties. Fine.

I’m thinking that I’ll just get a couple of bottles of cider for the two non-drinkers, and wine and spirits for the others. Either because of the festive occasion or because not everyone wanted to consume much alcohol, the sparkling cider disappeared. This time, I ordered six bottles of sparkling cider, and three bottles of wine (and asked my guests to bring wine). Again, demolished in no time flat, by even the non drinkers! Next time, I’m ordering enough that there’s a little vodka to supplement the cider if people want something with alcohol in it, but the beverage of choice shall be sparkling cider. And I bet it’ll still get finished at the end of the night.

Don’t ask people to just bring wine or even a dish. If you’re having a large party, give people the option of bringing disposable Tupperware, zip top bags, or aluminum foil. One of my husband’s friends brought an enormous stack of the Ziploc containers, and it was priceless at the end of the night, with regards to sending out leftovers, and putting away stuff for our own. Heck, you could even ask folk to bring their own cutting board or knife, so that your resources aren’t stretched. That way, even those friends of yours (or family) who are coming up on hard times don’t have to feel left out.

Anything long-cooking, like beans or rice, should be done well in advance, so as to avoid last-minute head aches of the “But I’m hungry noooooooow” variety. In fact, come to think of it, have some kind of snack ready immediately as people are walking in, even if you’re all cooking together, because it means that they’ll be able to take that sharp edge off the immediate hunger, and gnosh on something while chatting and removing coats, taking off winter boots, and getting settled in. As the food and the wine start coming out of the kitchen, people can start eating what they’d like.

What I tend to do is boil chickpeas overnight in the crock pot, and have them ready in the morning. That way, if they’re not cooked through to my liking, I have time to let them cook at a full boiling the morning of. It’s not terribly much work, but it’s one more thing to do that’s out of my way. Then, about 10 minutes before anyone’s due to arrive, I whip up a quick hummus (tahini, lemon, oil, salt, garlic, more garlic, and toasted cumin seeds that I crush up in my pestle & mortar).

If I have time, I’ll toast off the pita bread or French bread that I’ve bought the previous day (or that day itself if I’m running a little late the day before!) but I’ve found that this step just makes it incredibly delicious, and isn’t strictly required. Any leftover chickpeas go into the salad (if there is a salad), or back in the fridge in the event of a chickpea emergency (i.e., you run out of hummus!).

Then, as people are nibbling that, I’ll start churning out the fried food, be it Indian (bajji, pakora), or from elsewhere (falafel, various fritters). Fried food needs to be eaten piping hot. Since I use my cast iron skillet for deep frying, it helps season the iron while I’m doing the frying, so that I can cook the next thing in there when I’m done frying. Of course, while I’m doing the deep frying, I tend to borrow oil from the deep fry pot, and don’t bother using the fresh oil. It imparts a delicious flavour to the rest of the food (because of the amount of spices in the Indian dishes, and the amount of garlic in the falafel!), and means that I’m not wasting oil, which is pretty expensive.

Once everyone’s been munching away at the fried food, it gives me time to churn out the beans dish, spice up the rice, cook the dark leafy greens, make the raw item (either carrot/cabbage/cilantro salad, or avocado/tomato/onion/chili, both of which are dressed with just lemon juice and a bit of salt), and start pulling the slow cooking dishes (casseroles, roasts, etc.) from the oven. When all is said and done, I’ve got a pretty impressive spread. And since nobody’s eating everything all at once, they have time to space out the food, and make plenty of room in there to eat more. The best part is that everything can be enjoyed piping hot, fresh off the stove or oven.

vegan/kosher/eco tapas!

last night, 12/23/09, i had a REALLY good vegan din with brian. we went to sacred chow in the west village (sullivan between bleecker and w 3rd). it’s all vegan/kosher/eco tapas restaurant and it was so so yummy and fun. the best part? ITS CHEAP. all of our food was 25 bucks.

we had (in order of how we liked them):

cornmeal crusted brussel sprouts

tofu spa salad (sort of like chicken salad, which i dont even LIKE, but really good here)

some sort of white bean bowl

baby root vegetable latkes with (ohmygod this was SO GOOD) indonesian date butter. DATE BUTTER! what else could be better?!?!?

BBQ seitan (something about the consistency of the seitan mixed with the actual flavor of beef was just weird.)

for dessert we had:

brownie with vanilla soy ice cream, choc fudge and sprinkles. this was GOOD. it wasn’t GREAT but it was good. (although, being perfectly honest, i might not get dessert here next time…)

we also had really good sangria.

overall it was AWESOME. i love tapas in general, because i hate comitting to just one thing on the menu. and this was perfect because we got to taste a bunch of different things.


ps: in case anyone is wondering, no, i’m not vegan….YET. kidding. sort of. not. whatever. i don’t eat meat, but i love love LOVE vegan/health restaurants.



favorite vegan spot!


a NYC Vegan

what and where is your favorite vegan spot in the world to eat?

So far, it is Sacred Chow in the Village, NYC.


Yeah, we really /can/ do that.

We were trying to figure out the bus schedule for Boss Man to get back to New York on (from visiting his family in Ramsey, NJ) and that website was just not having it. I know for a fact that such a service exists, because I see troupes of buses leaving Port Authority Bus Terminal all the time. It's a fairly common sight. Also, it's less drama to do the bus, because there's no transfer from Seacaucus to PATH then onwards to other stuff. It's a straight shot, from Jersey to the PABT, and that's the end of it!

So there's Boss Man insiting that he's sure as heck not about to call a car service to get back to Manhattan, both because it's not eco-friendly (think about it: a car service for /two/ people who are able and willing to get on the bus), and because it's bloody expensive ($85 I think he said). Yeah, no thanks.

But of course, the recalcitrant website yielded not its sweet fruit of knowledge. It clung to the information in the manner reminiscent of someone who's telling you the unadulterated truth while feeding you a pack of lies. The information was /technically/ all there, but you'd have to have a degree in particle physics to decipher that thing (or, for that matter, be living in Jersey).

So I did what I usually do in cases where the website is confusing. I called customer support.

"Our offices are closed. If you want information, check the website."

Now it was a matter of pride. We will get that schedule sorted out, or die trying. So we finally found a section saying "Holiday advisories", and clicked it. "Bergen County line. See schedule s" (or something like that). Yeah, but what part of schedule s? And where did this schedule S exist?

I don't know where Boss Man clicked, but he found schedule s. Sorry. FOLDER S. I had passed the point of annoyance and emerged into a state of strangely, eye-twitching calm.

Click on that folder S thing. I dare you. Try reading it now, and figuring out your information.

Boss Man did. And then he didn't. "Yeah, I can't read this, Dino."

"But I can. Move over, I'll have it all sorted out for you in no time, Preefer."

Found the correct table (table 9, for anyone keeping score), found the Ramsey piece, highlighted it, and had it ready and waiting for Preefer's next poking-his-head-into-the-office moment. "Here it is, Cliff. I've highlighted the full line for you, so you can follow its path from AM to PM."

"Dino, when we work on it together, I feel like the two of us can conquer anything."

Of course we can. But that's not because Boss Man and I are special or gifted (y'know, aside from the usual specialness that each person has), but it's because we won't throw our hands up in frustration and give up. We'll keep poking until we break through and break free.

I hope that you will all accept the Sacred Chow family's warmest and kindest wishes for the holidays, be they Channukah, Xmas, or "I get a day off from school! SWEET!" (I'm a huge fan of that last one. It means you get to celebrate all year long. But that's another post for another day.)



If anyone is ever in NYC go to Sacred Chow (...). Amazing doesn't even come close!
bit.ly, a simple url shortener - bit.ly
anniemam - twitter.com


Holiday Hours
24 December 2009: 11 am - 9 pm
25 December 2009: Closed
31 December 2009: 11 am - 9 pm
1 January 2010: 12 pm - 6 pm

indulgent Sinner Bar!

@AliciaSilv Be sure to visit vegan cafe Sacred Chow in the West Village for their amazing salads and indulgent Sinner Bar for dessert.about 19 hours ago from Echofon


awesomest vegan “meatball” sub!

(OK, OK — in truth, I have gained a great deal of respect for the vegan world and, in my baby-step capacity toward veganism, am now living in a milk-free household. I also had the awesomest vegan “meatball” sub at Sacred Chow recently. I made Carrie M. take a picture of the sub. But then I ate the picture. The camera too. Sadly, not vegan. I also try to buy vegan cookies now. You’d be surprised how many cheapo cookies are vegan.)

Still in the quiet.

So we got the new office phone in today. Of course, as you do, I tested it before getting excited and setting it up properly.


Oh dear, not again. So off I went in the testing and re-testing phase to figure out whether or not it was a wall jack issue, a phone issue, a line issue, a handset issue, or something else entirely different. I know nothing about phones, but I do know about troubleshooting fairly well. You start with the most obvious, and then work your way down the list till you figure out the root of the cause. Sometimes, it's easy, and you're in and out in minutes. Other times, it's more ... challenging, and you wrestle with the elements for hours on end before screaming in frustration and crying that nothing ever works like you need it to and why do you hate me so much, insert-deity-of-choice-here. And then you decide that it's just easier to drink until it's not a problem anymore.

Stop looking at me like that. You know you've been there.

So first, I started with plugging the phone into all the existing lines we have, that I know to work perfectly well with the existing phone line. No dice. Nothing. Zilch. Then I figured, maybe the phone needs to work only with the cable they shipped it with. Again, tried all the jacks available. Nothing. Then, I figured "Maybe the handset is wonky, and the phone itself is fine." So I start in my testing of the speaker phone, and pressed various and sundry buttons. Nothing. Yup. The phone's busted. Brand spanking new out the box, and it doesn't work.

I quietly called the nice man at the company who set this all up. "Hi Doug. I think the phone's busted." He very nicely asked me if I'd done any troubleshooting on it. To spare you the boredom of reading through all those things I tried, I carefully explained all the steps I'd taken thus far to diagnose the problem. "Wow. You've really done your homework." I laughed and said, "Oh. And I also checked if I could use the speaker phone in case it was just a handset issue. On all the lines that I tested, of course." "Wow. You really did try to resolve it." "Yes." I laughed again, and explained, "I used to work in tech support."

Suddenly, everything fell into place for Doug. He wasn't chatting to someone who's totally clueless, and I'd done 99.99% of the work for him long before picking up the phone to call him. All he had to do was send out the replacement. What could have been a long drawn out call ended up being a 5 minute chat, and a "Thanks so much, Doug. We'll be in touch."

Please make this next one work. That's all I want. A working office phone that you can't buy in any retail spot and that has to work with our weird existing phone system that's plugged in already. Is that so much to ask?


the futile illusion.

Vegetarian (and Vegan) Delights of NYC: Mousabaha at Wafa's in Forest Hills
By Robert Sietsema in Featured, Sietsema, Vegetarian Delights of NYC


The mousabaha at Wafa's--a six-month-old Lebanese spot on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills--is transcendent, a piquant stew of chickpeas, tomatoes, and eggplant.

The charming place is just off the main drag, mainly featuring counter seating with a view of the stately homes of the neighborhood. The menu is somewhat impromptu, and you're well advised to look across the counter at what Waya (the woman who runs the place) is currently at work on. Though some meat is served, many vegan options are available, including a creamy hummus, a verdant tabbouleh, and a lemony lentil soup. For dessert, lacto-vegetarians should check out the rice pudding.

Jamie (reader)says:

I appreciate what you are trying to do here, but NYC has some of the best vegan/vegetarian focused dining establishments in the world and if baffles me why you have yet to cover any of them. Most of what you profile are side dishes, which are nice and all, but there's almost nothing I'd want to make a meal out of (I'm vegan). Are you afraid of hearty meat substitutes? Of people who cook vegan because they believe in it, and not just by accident? I assure you, you are missing out. Check out the seitan at Candle 79! The warm open faced tempeh sandwich at Angelica Kitchen! The mock duck curry at Pukk! The vegan biscuits and gravy at Sacred Chow! The seitan asada at Papacitos! And even (dare I bring it up to a foodie?) the magical amalgamation of chemicals and processed soy that is the crispy soul chicken at VPII (a delicious unhealthy treat to be savored once in a blue moon)? Vegans love food, and I think more of them would read your blog if you were not so squeamish about covering the restaurants we hold dear. Not because they're vegan, but because they're good. You are missing out.

rsietsema (village voice)says:

Thanks for your heartfelt email, Jamie. We have covered extensively both Angelica Kitchen (which I love) and Pukk (full review). To tell the truth, I'm not a big fan of meat substitutes, there are plenty of vegan cuisines (south Indian, for example) that make excellent food without trying to give the futile illusion that one is eating meat. Given a vegan value system, why would you even want to eat something that looks like meat? For one thing, meat substitutes tend to represent wildly over processed foods filled with chemicals, and, truth to tell, a clump of tofu, strip of seitan, or glob of textured protein is (Sic: not) a beautiful thing unto itself.

Alas, many vegetarian restaurants serve food that is totally bland, or, in the case of Chinese vegetarian, so soaked in sugar and grease, that there's no way it's healthy by any stretch or the imagination. Not that we're obsessed with plugging healthy food, either.

One of the reasons we promote vegetarian and vegan alternatives at regular restaurants is to convince them to give more of their menus over to meatless choices; Remember that vegetarians and vegans more often find themselves in the vicinity of places that serve meat than not.

Nevertheless, I appreciate you suggestion of good vegetarian and vegan places to dine.

sacred chow says:

Hello! For your edification: when you wash out wheat dough, what remains is wheat protein aka seitan; if you boil soy beans, blend well, strain, add a coagulant, like lemon juice, into the milky liquid, you'll have soy curds aka tofu; if you make a slurry with soy flour, like making pasta, and cut this thick dough into shapes, dry, you'll have soy protein; should you add rhizopus oligosporus culture to rehydrated soybeans, incubate for 24 hours or so, you'll have a block of tempeh. Fairly simple and minimally processed. Sometimes a recipe originally made with an animal protein works perfectly with a plant protein. And it is understandable why a vegan, or any one else, cooking with plant proteins would look to these recipes to help guide them, animal proteins have been a part of our history for a much longer period of time than plant proteins. It is not to dissimilar from someone choosing to "substitute" an exotic animal protein in a recipe. For instance, ostrich instead of beef. And I bet that a couple of times while you were eating a pork chop you thought: "Maybe it's a lamb chop?" Or when you were eating a lamb kebab, you might have thought:"Is this beef!?" A fish "steak", a turkey "burger"... Illusions? No! It's not the same but it's similar. That's just it, many proteins tend to feel and look similar. But in the case of plant proteins there is a vast difference, assuming the protein is not over-processed and organic, these proteins dramatically lower carbon, violence, misery and unhealthy fats; and in Sacred Chow's case, the protein is kosher. The need to balance in plant proteins for those who over-consume animal foods is a vital message to get out there to your readers: for the sake of a healthier planet, the mitigation of heart disease, cancers, obesity, starvation, and the mistreatment of animals, eat plant proteins! Oh, and by the way, we should all avoid clumps, strips and globs of totally bland, greasy and over-sugared foods & proteins! Bon appetit!

zagat reviewed!

Reviewed by RichardD7767 on 11/30/2009.
Great variety of small plates. Very tasty. It brings the term "Sacred" to new heavenly heights.


Best vegan cupcakes. Ever.
by Amanda321 at Citysearch

The menu is unique and the prices are very reasonable. Lunch specials are an amazing deal at $8 (just get there between 12:00-4:00pm), and their daily cream of ______ soups are some of the best I've ever had. Their "caesar" salad is excellent. Don't forget to order it with the "western tofu."

More importantly, I have never had better vegan cupcakes in my life. 12 years of being vegan and not once has any other cupcake come close to Sacred Chow's!

Do not be fooled by the dive-like quality of the interior. If this food was served at Candle79, it would be 4x the price!


Cons: Only one location!

way Eco friendly & Kosher to boot!

Btw it's called Sacred Chow on Sullivan street right by Red Bamboo. So good and way Eco friendly & Kosher to boot!
about 1 hour ago posted by http://twitter.com/SharonTK/statuses/6868286199

praise the great vegan chALLAH!

loads of cupcakes & roasting tempeh briskit.


very kosher! Go! Just go!

Chow New York City!
Posted by Beth Newman on December 3, 2009

I have NEVER said...."hey there, you feel like a little barbeque seitan? some soy meatballs or korean tofu cutlets...." - Because I can't imagine it not complementing a nice, full bodied Rothberg Pinotage from South Africa (by the way, a classic Pinotag, native to South Africa. Big ripe tannins, bananas, cherries, and a deep ruby color....)

Perhaps, I will again....after a surprisingly delicious, eye-opening, enlightening view into the very kosher, very vegan world and all certified - please check their website for certification below - and truly, the Gamla Pinot Noir actually did taste smooth against my Asian Spa Tofu Salad and Shitake Mushrooms.... Go! Just go!


Hanukkah dinner!

Chag Urim Sameach!
Hanukkah in Jew York is quite the phenomenon. Even though it's finals time and I can't make my social life a number-one priority this week, I will have eaten latkes on three separate occasions by the end of the eight-day holiday. On Saturday night alone, I missed out on a holiday celebration with extended family, a friend's vegan Hanukkah potluck, another friend's vegan Hanukkah dinner, a Hanukkah party, a Hanukkah, and a dreidel-spinning competition.

Last night, I joined the NYC Jewish Veg*n MeetUp group for a Hanukkah dinner at Sacred Chow. For just $30 (including tax and tip), I got mushroom-barley soup (delicious!), challah (much better than mine), seitan brisket (perfect for the occasion), latkes (baked, not fried!), and a jelly roll (quite possibly the best vegan dessert I've ever had).

posted by heebnvegan @ 12/16/2009

well-seasoned, diverse, and generous portions!

part of my 2008 summer regimen was a sacred chow visit as often as possible. it would usually be the after-ritual from a powerful
yoga class. i needed nourishment that thoroughly pleased my
hunger, but didn't weigh me down or steal my wallet away.

sacred chow's portions are large and honest vegan/veggie
fare that doesn't manipulate the customer's budget. you can
trust tasty, well-seasoned, diverse, and generous portions here
especially with any tempeh or bbq seitan specials, the four seasons
salad. i personally order the tapas salad with bbq seitan protein and have enough to share with another person or have leftovers for later. their drinks are also delicious with an array of smoothies that are
like desserts without as much shame.

i encourage you to get your health on, sneak in on a saturday
afternoon, treat yourself to eco-mindful, gluten-free,
vegan and kosher food in a small and intimate atmosphere
that is less intimidating and less pretense.
kay b. Jersey City, NJ 12/16/2009, reviewed on yelp.com.


Quite a value!

We were very well-pleased with our whole experience at Sacred Chow. Despite dropping in after 10 PM, and without reservations , we enjoyed a leisurely meal in the cosy space. The service was exemplary; cordial, efficient and friendly without being cloying. Our waiter/advisor guided us as to portions and combinations. Brilliantly. We ordered 3 tapas selections to start (definitely try the pate), then shared a Caesar salad and a un-meatball hero. All the selections were delish and the portions were generous. Quite a value. We will be back!
thomas p. Branford, Conn., 12/14/2009 yelp.com review

10 Thankful Things

Cliff started it, but his are short and on facebook. I figured I'd give mine a little more explanation.

10. The phone. My mom and I had a very long conversation on Saturday night, after I got home. It was round 1:30, husband was asleep, and the house was very quiet. We talked about everything, nothing, and all the things in between. As always, we got to some fairly important "lightbulb" moments in the middle of the meanderings, and recognised how nice it is to have someone with which to speak about the things that "matter".

9. The smell of onions sizzling in fat. Few things get my tummy rumbling like sauteeing onions.

8. Heating. Seriously. I don't know how people get through the winter without decent heaters, but I would be far and away unable to sleep were it not for a good, powerful heater to get the room comfortable.

7. That the gas stove and oven warm up the home, and give me a good excuse to use them on cold days. I'll throw on a big pot of soup, some crusty bread into the oven, and cook off a few veggies to go on the side. The house smells fantastic, the warmth creeps over to your insides, and finally you feel that blissful sense of perfect comfort.

6. Noise cancelling headphones. Best $20 I ever spent.

5. Harry Potter, and friends who "get it". I can throw out an obscure reference via text message, and Boss Man shoots back with his own favourite. Since he hasn't had time to catch up on the books yet, I mainly stick to the films, but there's a LOT of stuff to go on as it is.

4. Internet forums. Yes, sometimes they're filled with people who annoy you, but a lot of times, they provide that desperately-needed sense of community that isn't so easy to find when you live in an anonymous world.

3. Jackets with thick lining. It's cold out there!

2. Patience, both from the people who care about me, and to the people I care about. We don't always move forward at the pace we'd like to. Heck, there's days when I wonder if I'll ever get to that end goal. Then I stop and step back, and think "But the journey is part of the process too, and I've got to keep on keeping on." Equally well, my loved ones have been incredibly patient with my shortcomings (many though they be).

"Listen, Dino. I know you make mistakes. But at least you learn from them, instead of repeating the same ones over and over again. You're not perfect, but neither am I. We just have to keep striving for it. We'll get there some day!"

1. Of course, above all, I'm thankful for the people I interact with on a regular basis. Regardless of what the interaction, I learn something. It's the whole point of living, isn't it?

Their food really is amazing!!

Sacred Chow is the first vegetarian restaurant I ever fell in love with (you can see more about it here, along with baby pictures of Peanut!). And I swear, the "word of mouth" I have given this place over the years must've caught on. lol The place was PACKED by around 2 in the afternoon on Saturday! I was lucky that I got one of the small tables that I did, because there were people literally waiting in line to get a table. It's a very small restaurant, and back when I started going in 2007, it was empty most of the time. I guess vegan restaurants are starting to catch on! Their food really is amazing!!



Early to leave, early to arrive.

It was a niggling voice of paranoia that made me leave the house at 2:15 to get to work by 4, but I certainly paid attention to it. Headphones in, wallet in bag, and shipment ready to post. I made it here by 3:30. Usually it takes me 20 minutes flat to get to the village, but as the fates were conspiring to make it a particularly crazy Saturday, I decided not to take any chances.

Off I went to the post office. I had to send a book media mail, and it should ostensibly take about five minutes flat to get in and out. Good thing I planned on giving myself extra time. The queue at the post office took a goodly 45 minutes to power through. What a mess! It looks like folk were shipping out their holiday goodies today at the same time, and there will be no chance of getting through quickly.

Fine by me. I had time to spare. Out I ran at 3:00 to see the bus roll up. I silently sent a prayer of gratitude to the man who had to get his wheelchair out of the bus, because it held up the bus for a few minutes, so that when I got to the bus stop, the bus was just starting to board. Panting, I slid my card in, and got on.

Onwards to the subway stations. "Ladies and gentlemen, there will be no Queens bound trains coming to this stop until Monday at 5 AM.

Score. I could still make it to work without taking that infernal tram (we live on Roosevelt Island, and when taking east side trains, I take the tram, and to go to the west side, I take the F train). Although the trip home might take a bit longer than usual, the crucial bit (getting to work on time) was well within my grasp. Just as I swiped my metro card on the turnstile, the lift was opening. I made a semi-sprint for it, and made it into the lift with plenty of time to spare.

Down the lift descended, to the bowels of the Roosevelt Island stop. The doors opened to show the subway just pulling into the station.


I got on the train, which went from stop to stop without a pause, drag, or "train traffic ahead" slow down. We pulled into West 4th almost exactly 25 minutes later. Very very nice indeed. I got out of the train station to walk past unresisting walk signs all the way through and sailed through the door at 3:35.

Which leaves me plenty of time to get on here, say hi to you lovely folks, and relax for a couple of minutes before work starts. One hopes that the rest of the day proves to be as smooth sailing.


say it aint miso!

  • the menu pages reviewers' below ate identical dishes but had very different experiences. i wish that would never happen, and that we could please everyone all the time, everyday, forever and forever, happy, happy, joyous, joyous..., but alas my dear friends, it doesnt work like that. u say toe may toe, i say toe mah toe...

  • Posted by T on 12/06/2009

    Not Recommended

    I love vegan food, but the dishes we ordered were really not that great. The toasted bread with the hummus didn't make sense, and the seitan was not good.

  • Posted by jbjn on 11/03/2009

    good food, fun atmosphere

    i am new to being a vegan and took two non vegans. we ordered a bunch of the tapas menu and enjoyed it. I thought the hummus, sunflower and lentil pate, the pickles, the broccoli and the baby root vegetable latkes were great. we also liked the black olive seitan, the soy meatballs, and the coconut angel cake. I recommend trying it! I thought the tapas menu was a great deal!

  • You'll deal.

    One thing that never fails to amaze me is Cliff's unshakeable faith in my abilities. There is simply nothing that has crossed our paths that [he thinks] is beyond my ken. I'm not sure how that ended up happening, but I'm guessing it started when we had to answer some court summons.

    "But I'm not a lawyer!" I wailed in protest. "So? All the forms and procedures are out there. Let's research it."

    And research it we did, unravelling the complex layers of jargon and smoke-and-mirrors that's so integral to the legal system plodding along as it does. It took some serious time, but it was priceless knowledge we gleaned along the way. No, someone can't bully you into doing things because they said so. There are strict methods that must be followed to the letter before they can enforce anything on you. Yes, they are a prodigious, ponderous corporation with a phalanx of lawyers. Yes, they have lots of money and power. Yes, those lawyers float through those courtrooms like so many graceful dancers in a ballet, and you flop about like the uncoordinated archetypal awkward adolescent.


    That does not mean that there's a reason to let them win by intimidating you. Read the instructions carefully, and methodically build your case, piece by piece. Chances are that even though those lawyers are paid well, and have been doing this for years, they missed something. And when they miss something, you snap and take advantage of it. We got one case thrown out because the idiot didn't serve us properly. When the landlord tried to punt us onto the street and hired a big scary firm that specialised in this sort of thing, we combed their breif, and found so many elementary mistakes that we were both laughing fit to burst in short order.

    Those initial weeks of research were scary, but we both learned a lot about The Sytem. We learned, most important of all, that although the process is built to intimidate, it's your choice to make whether or not to be intimidated. We choose not to be.

    It happened again when it came to overhauling the website. My idea of doing a website is to open up a text document, and tweak the html until it's where I want it, previewing it in a couple of browsers, and then uploading the thing to the server. Rinse, lather, repeat. When doing the menu or flyers, or pretty much any other print publication, I'm very comfortable with fiddling around with settings in Illustrator, InDesign, or (and I tend not to choose this option very much) Word or TextEdit. I'm even comfortable with Publisher in a pinch!

    Unfortunately, when it comes to web design, I'm not so comfortable. I designed both the Sacred Chow website and the blog page myself. I spent a long time on the main website, because we get quite a few hits per day. However, if you want an idea as to what the old site looked like when I got my hands on it, take a look here. Yeah.

    You had to scroll into infinity, and the colours were bright and cartoony. AND you had to download the menu in PDF. It was something else. He pretty much put the design in my hands, and asked me to tweak it to my liking. I gutted it. Again, even though it took me a while to learn the process of designing it properly, it was a learning experience, and I wouldn't mind overhauling it again, if need be.

    I guess it works both ways. There is no recipe that I think him incapable of. Sometimes he likes to have a little back-and-forth to tweak it to our needs, but by and large, even seemingly outrageous requests ("Cliff! There's someone on the phone who wants a gluten free, sugar free cake, and she wants chocolate in there too." "Sure thing, Dino.") seem easy when I run them by his brain. I can tell you right now that I wasn't the one who made that vegan challah happen. That was all Boss Man.

    Yes, there are times when he feels tired, or unmotivated, and that's when I'll rally his resources with a, "Well, let's get it done anyway. I'll give you a hand if you want," and then don an apron, hat, and a pair of gloves, and get cracking. When something seems out of reach, all we have to do is talk it over a bit before he's ready to go, and face the challenge.

    I guess that's why I've grown so much as a person since moving to New York. I'm in an environment where I'm challenged all the time. It's never a question of /if/ I can do something, but rather /when/. It taught me that if I just have a little patience, read the instructions, and do things methodically, I'll get to the end goal eventually, and learn a bunch along the way.


    Best Restaurant of 2009!

    Best Restaurant of 2009: Sacred Chow

    Michael and I walked from our Lower East Side hotel to the West Village for the first lunch of our October long weekend.
    The painted-red-brick interior walls, decorated with original photographs, were a perfect backdrop to my orange barbecued seitan sandwich and pumpkin soup. Our Georgia peach waitress, also a singer in a band, persuaded us to try a fantastic and somehow vegan chocolate cake. People at the next table ordered cornmeal-crusted Brussels sprouts. How did I miss those? Next time.



    If only we all had that Italian grandma ...

    This has got to be one of the best-written reviews I've read in a very long time. I was laughing so hard! And yes, I did catch the Pokémon reference. Boss Man's son is a huge fan. (I enjoy a little Johto League myself ...)

    We were not prepared for Sacred Chow. We really should have had a better pre-game warm up.

    We live in California: we are used to leaving a place with our wallets kicked and stripped. There was no way we could have braced ourselves for the portions and experience here.

    Wanting to try as much as possible from their extensive menu, we started with two draft beers (both delicious and well worth the $6 per topped up pint), followed by a trio of tapas, and a half-hero/soup combo.

    Here is where the belly beat-down begins.

    The "half" hero arrives -nearly 8 inches long, and filled with tempeh, kraut and their homemade reuben dressing (which took an original liberty with a more tomatoe-y taste. A nice diversion from the norm.). It was massive. And magnificent. I shudder to think at the damage a whole one would do. At our request, we were also gifted with the Chow slaw and spicy pickles (normally not with the combo, but we had to Pokemon it...catch 'em all?...beuller?... come on, lads, pop culture! keep with me...). The slaw was dressed with nutty, toasted sesame oil, and paired nicely with the briskly spicy mixed pickled veg.

    Paird with the hefty hero was a full-on bowl of soup -not some sissy cup. A deep pool of homey white beens, greens, and thick broth. It was what I would want my Italian grandmother to make...if I had an Italian grandmother.

    Then, the tapas trio comes.

    Now, tapas, to us Californios...are small plates. Little bites. A few morsels. Tastes of this-and-that. At 3-for-$15, I ordered the Root Vegetable Latkes with Indonesian Date Butter, Orange Molasses BBQ Seitan, and the special, cornmeal crusted brussels sprouts.

    Those things were not small. Not little. Not bite-sized...none of that. They were each enough to make a meal of...and I am truly ashamed that after tasting each...I finished them all. I really mean it. I cry. They were each delicious -and different than I expected. Apart from portion size, the latkes were earthy and not greasy-fried (a plus to me), the seitan was sweet and sweeter still with the caramelized onions atop the massive pile of wheat-meat (pair with Chow slaw to balance the sweetness. Trust.), and the brussels were perfectly tender, with a good smattering of crispy bits from the cornmeal coating.

    Then the service. The helpful young man who happily gave us all the time in the world to order, helped with directions, and whose pleasant mood kept the vibe relaxed and welcoming.

    Regrets include: not being able to order a vanilla stout float, any of the sweets, or brunch items (which I saw..and were also RIDIC in portion). Oh, and then, the marathon of eating. Not saying when. Crying uncle. Crumbling under the temptation.

    How it hurts to think of it. I blame that Italian grandmother who pinched my cheek and smacked the back of my head when I did not finish my food...

    Oh, wait a minute...I forgot..
    I can't wait to show Boss Man the review.

    B.T.W., Boss Man had a "real"Jewish grandma who used to prepare soup akin to an Italian grandma, the thick broth in the above soup comes from his memory of her warm and nurturing soups. We should all be so lucky. Well we are, we have Sacred Chow!

    UPDATE: Showed Boss Man the review. He seemed pleased. :)


    back for seconds!

    Sacred Chow just orchestrated a very large catering event with Temple Elohim in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NYC. The event was put together by Avodah, The Jewish Services Corps. Here's what they had to say about the food:

    Hi Dino,

    Great to read about the process of preparing our order on your blog(see, http://sacredchow.blogspot.com/2009/12/large-orders.html)—thanks for the shout-out to AVODAH! The food was incredibly well-received and many attendees went back for seconds on the items that remained (collards, mushrooms, salad). The plant proteins were enjoyed very quickly, I barely got a bite! I’ll have to come into to the restaurant to get the full experience.

    We’ll definitely be calling you again soon and recommend you to our colleagues. Everyone found the food delicious, I only wish we’d had more of it! We told the crowd that the food was from Sacred Chow in our program booklet as well as during our opening remarks. Thanks for being such a pleasure to work with, I look forward to more!

    Be well, Rachel Ann

    Rachel Ann Gross

    AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps

    "When a dog barks at the sun, the sun doesn't stop shining."

    Another nasty, ugly comment about Sacred Chow, another day when Boss Man started off on a sour note because he thought that he heard a ring of truth. Yet, there was none. It was just a random, unprovoked bit of bile aimed at the world. Some people have nothing better to do with their time than to spew filth, and such creatures should be assiduously ignored.

    Again, when it's an honest bit of feedback, we welcome it with open arms. "The food wasn't what I'd expected, as it arrived cold." Fair enough. Get it up there faster, and hotter. "The food was a bit bland." Sure thing. That can be fixed. "The service was not up to par." OK. We can do something about that. "Your restaurant sucks, and everything in it is crap."


    Right then. My father had a saying for me when I'd come complain to him that either my siblings or classmates were troubling me over something or another. "When a dog barks at the sun, the sun doesn't stop shining." It had special meaning for me, as I'm named after the sun, but I think it applies to anyone.

    There's going to be nasty people out there. It can't be helped. You can't change them, right? What you can change is your reaction to them. Answering back in kind simply gives them more ammunition. It's the same with a toxic relationship. We've all known those people that just bleed us dry, and every time you try to disentangle relations, they come back with more venom, and renew the back-and-forth.

    What's the primary advice for such people from those whose wisdom I can only dream to come close to some day when I grow up? "Don't engage." It's that simple, yet that complicated. Every response you give to a hateful person simply feeds her or his miserable little soul. If you respond with even more malevolence, you acknowledge that their filth warrants a response. It doesn't. Just because someone speaks does not make that speech true. By giving them a reason to keep going, you give credence to their importance.

    Don't. Engage.

    The person is not important for your life, nor is that person worth the time that you spend in responding. Whatever fury they direct at you should be ignored, and redirected with more positive things out to the world. This isn't to say that you're wrong to feel hurt. That's OK. You talk to a friend, and let that friend know. You vent for a while, cry it out, and get it out of your system. But you sure as hell don't respond to the instigator. Let that disgrace to the human race wallow and stew in its own refuse. You need not touch it and become infected by it.


    Large Orders

    Organisation is paramount when handling large orders. Boss Man's pretty good at coordinating the efforts of the kitchen and office, but even great leaders need good support to be successful. Such was the case with the order that went out on Sunday.

    There were about 100 pounds of assorted foods that were heading out to Brooklyn for a large event being thrown by Avodah, a Jewish service organisation. The lovely people there were looking to try something different from the usual catering fare, and gave us a buzz to sort things out. First thing I did was send along our catering info. There was a little bit of back-and-forth, with regards to the specifics of the meal, delivery time/location, and sorting out final details.

    It was almost too easy.

    Famous last words, right? I took a look at the list of food, and figured that it'd be a pretty standard large delivery order, until I started to crunch the numbers. Oh man, this was going to be bigger than I thought! I was both excited and nervous. Boss Man asked me to compile a report of exactly what is required to fulfill the order, from start to finish. And off I went, to hammer out the report. How much rice do I cook to make 5 pounds of brown rice? How many pounds of dried shiitake mushrooms do you rehydrate to make 25 pounds of the stuff we serve? (5 pounds, for the record. And dang but that stuff is pricey!)

    Then came all the minutiae of the food. The beauty of going to a restaurant is that when the food arrives at the table, it looks effortless. Consider, if you will, one of those Mexican places that serves the really good quality burritos. You know the sort, where you get the beans, the rice, the veggies, the guac, and any other fixings you can think of. They griddle the tortillas really quickly, so that it's warm and fragrant and slightly flaky. They add just the right amount of seasoning to the beans to get it just so. It's not too wet, and not too dry.

    You think, "Well, they're just putting basic ingredients into a tortilla. I can do that!" You go home, and think that you'll save time by using tinned beans. Fine so far. You cook the rice. Mince up the veg. Make the guac. An hour later, you're so hungry that you can't stop yourself from nibbling on the tortillas, or taking a little spoon of guac, or a bit of something else. Before you know it, your kitchen looks like a hurricane ran through, and you're tired, hungry, and cranky. You make the burrito. You're full after exactly one. You survey the mess, and think "See? That was easy, right? LET'S NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN." (I guess you can tell by now that I've had experience with this. Really, let's never speak of it again.)

    Yes, it's easy in theory, but in practice, things get a little hairy. If you don't have an efficient and methodical system with which to churn out the work, you're going to wind up with disasters aplenty. Fast forward to Sunday, when the people who are going to take the food over to Brooklyn are here, and look at the chaos and madness in the kitchen. Yes, the food arrived safely, but there was plenty of scrambling, which isn't so good.

    What's the solution?

    In a restaurant, it's a production list. Because you have multiple people working on many different things at the same time, it's best if you have a centralised list where everyone can sign off on the various and sundry tasks that are involved in putting together the food. Is the marinade made? Check. Is the plant protein cut into bite sized pieces? Check. Are the greens cleaned and tossed through? Check and check. Who did it? You can see by the signature. When? The date's right next to it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. At home, you won't have to go to quite so much trouble, but it might help anyway.

    Have a list of what needs to be done in advance (peeling and chopping veg, prepping your proteins, soaking beans, making hummus, making dressing, etc.), and what has to be done at the absolute last minute (composing the salad, deep frying the food if you are deep frying, etc.), and what can be done in between (making a pot of rice, boiling the beans, cooking the soup). When you have a plan like that, even if things go wrong at the last minute, you always have a birds-eye view of the bigger picture, and can shuffle things around your schedule.

    If you forgot to soak the beans last night, you can still nip on down to the store to snag some tinned beans. If you didn't have time to make the rice, you can always use pasta as the grain, because it takes less time to cook. If you never did make that dressing, you can go for the "stripped down" version, and just toss the greens in lemon juice, and drizzle on some olive oil at the last minute. The point is that when you have an idea as to where you're going, you'll know where you're at, and can avoid getting flustered.


    the oars r intact.

    when sacred chow finally opened its new digs on sullivan street, after almost half a year of building out, in 2005, literally no one came in. empty, empty, empty, 4 months and months on end. the landlord had warned me b4 i had signed the lease, he said: " i know u r probably thinking that being here on sullivan street will bring in lots of customers bc it is in the heart of the village, and close 2 bleecker, w. 3rd, mcdougal, thompson, washington square park, nyu, the subway..., it wont. 1st, this address is a hidden space, nearly invisible, so it is very difficult 2 locate. and 2nd, there is almost no commercial traffic that comes down this part of sullivan. close 2 none, zero, zilch. so get that out of ur head. unless u can create a destination location here, no one will find it & u will fail." i thought, "he's just trying 2 pull my leg. i mean, i found the space. and i am sure, 4 all the reasons he had mentioned, sacred chow will thrive on sullivan, immediately."
    boy/girl, was he right! i felt like such an abysmal failure, endlessly, endlessly, months that led in2 years. oh sure, some days, even weeks, it would be busy but that would lead 2 weeks w virtually no biz. it was excruciatingly painful. i often felt like i was edging along on a loose, narrow ledge on a very high mountain where it was extremely windy, on a precipice of disaster. i wanted 2 let go. it felt hopeless. if i continued and it didnt change, it would only get worse. but when, when would it be okay? "help!" i'd beg g-d, but no word or action of any kind would come. i was freezing, and it was impossible 2 sleep. i was plagued w constant worry.
    in what feels like a dream, i took a train ride for an hour & a half, w a chow employee, 2 deliver a wholesale order worth $70.00. as we came 2 the street corner of our final destination, i told the guy 2 take the order by himself. even though i really enjoyed these customers, i had felt so utterly miserable, almost catatonic, about my blunder & blinders, that i hid in a doorway; out of sight, waiting 4 the delivery guy 2 deliver back 2 me the $70.00. "do u have it? do u have it?" i pressed. and in2 my hand the $70.00 was delivered. "i have 70 dollars!" i sang 2 myself. "70 dollars!" it felt like a fix, but soon it would end, and it certainly wasnt a dream. back @ sacred chow on sullivan street, it was empty, so was i, and my pockets. the empire state building, which u can see as u face north on sullivan, was looking mighty tempting: debts were out of control, begging 4 loans and life was just unbearable.

    it's been over 4 years now, and little by little i am able 2 lift myself up, bit by bit, closer 2 the top of the mountain. it never feels safe, really never. i am always misstepping on a loose rock as i edge along the side of the mountain, rocks tumble downward, i hear them clacking down in2 the unknown; the vagaries of the market, weather, taxes, health department, neighbors, vendors, customers, staff, machinery..., i must always be vigilant of any whim or caprice that can sabotage all efforts. i am on patrol, watching carefully, but this is no promise that the winds wont start blowing fiercely. trying 2 keep a steady eye on the ebb and flow of what is inherently unsteady is impossible. it is like being on a sea in a small boat, there r days of crystal clarity and days of roaring rain. however, despite the roaring rain, knowing the days of crystal clarity will happen is everything. this is what i hold on2: 4 it is during these moments that new lucid visions open up, and a fresh direction unseen b4 is suddenly wi reach. and this, this feels exhilarating. 2 triumph through so much adversity, 2 give urself up 4 dead, but then 2 rise from the ashes is truly a miracle of magic, love, and g-d. 4 short & long periods of time, life tosses us around, it feels as if we r being completely washed away in a giant tsunami, yet the great storm passes, and the oars r intact, the sun is shining, and a voice speaks: never give up.

    banana french toast!

    DiaShelFervent vegan
    re: Vegan New York

    Now that I've been living in New York for a while here's some suggestions of my favorite vegan food places:

    Brunch: Sacred Chow- tempeh hash and banana french toast was to die for!
    Nice dinner: Blossom- the food is amazing but I'd skip the desert
    Pizza: Viva Herbal
    Healthy meal: Angelica's kitchen
    Un-healthy meal: Red Bamboo
    Indian: Madras Cafe
    Asian: Wild Ginger
    Dessert: Atlas cafe: Peanut butter bomb (oh...my...g-d...) and pumpkin cheesecake


    Thanks, Time Out NY

    New York's Best vegetarian and vegan
    Sacred Chow
    This small, quiet vegan café and bistro offers its wide range of seitan, tofu and vegetable dishes as small plates, with organic wine and draft beer pairings. 227 Sullivan St between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts (212-337-0863, sacredchow.com). Average main course: $9.

    Read more: http://newyork.timeout.com/articles/restaurants-bars/81136/best-vegetarian-and-vegan-restaurants-in-new-york-city#ixzz0YjuifBS5


    Black olive seitan!

    Steve Weierman
    rantingsteve Black olive seitan from Sacred Chow. It's impossible to be upset after such a lovely lunch.


    from thousands of years ago,

    i can hear the men moaning,

    on the wooden crosses in golgotha.

    the red & tan line.(aka:when hux had a mommy.)

    Consumed she and me, in a time we will be, something we planned quite spontaneously.

    Still long away from 40 weeks, we’re at number 18 with sonogram peeks.

    3 months of nausea, fatigue and a hurricane mood, then enter a desert libido sated only by food.

    We spend all time together as we are quite fond, and know also the tumultuous is providing a bond. Yesterday was difficult, defiant she was, a strong wind passed through us, we managed and hugged. Feet are turning in her warm place within, it melts us together, so we nestle and grin.

    Today on her own for a kitten to find, my mind traces her traveling on the red & tan line. I love her to pieces, I grow and feel sure, this woman who nurtures is simply quite pure.


    is sacred chow's water kosher?

    we r often asked whether the water sacred chow uses 4 cooking is kosher, i directed the question 2 our certifying rabbi, zev schwarcz, below is his full answer:

    (the last sentence sums up the answer 2 the question: "We are simply required to do what is reasonable in accordance with guidelines. We need not live a life encumbered by expectations that are unreasonable.")

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Little Lobsters in the Water
    I was asked if we have to worry, from a kosher standpoint, about these copepods (microscopic crustaceans) that are supposed to be in the drinking water.I will let Rabbi Adler the head of the Hartford Kosher Vaad (Council) answer it.He says it exactly as I would.This is from a recent (Nov 27th) article in the Hartford Newspaper.The article also gives a nice recap of the issue.I will quote pieces of that article:Can tap water be non-kosher? Of all the topics Robert Moore has run across in his decades in the public water supply business, that one was probably the most unusual.It surfaced in April as Moore and others on the Metropolitan District Commission were dealing with an unusual outbreak of copepods, a tiny crustacean common in water but usually trapped by MDC filtering systems. The creatures posed no health risk."In my 42 years in the business, I'd never considered that question," Moore, MDC chief administrative officer, said Monday, looking back at the copepod flare-up, which last happened here in the 1970s. "Then I read about it in New York City records when we were doing research on copepods. Copepods are shellfish. That's what makes them non-kosher."During a copepod outbreak in New York City in 2004, some ultra-Orthodox Jews in the city considered the city drinking water no longer kosher, because copepods are crustaceans, prohibited from consumption under Judaic dietary law. They filtered tap water at home before using it and complained to New York City water system authorities.But no one raised the kosher issue with MDC officials this spring, Moore said.When news of the copepods in MDC water broke, the topic of water purity and Talmudic law was a subject of rabbinical discussion, Rabbi Yitzchok Adler of Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford said this week."When it made the news, everybody was talking about the drinking water, not just the Jewish population," Adler said.The determination was that the copepods did not present a problem to the Jewish community, he said, because of their almost microscopic size and the "sincere best efforts" of the water district to improve filtration and correct the problem. There will always be spiritual leadership who choose to err on the side of caution and take a stricter stand to "avoid a circumstance of doubt and compromise," Adler said."We are simply required to do what is reasonable in accordance with guidelines. We need not live a life encumbered by expectations that are unreasonable."


    How did the soup get so lovely green?

    I was making the broccoli bisque last night at Chow, and had gotten it to the point where you just need to grind it, strain it, and serve it. I passed on the torch to one of the kitchen men, and headed home. I got in today, and poured myself a (generous) bowl of the stuff to kick off my day properly. Some chug soda, some drink coffee, I subsist on soup.

    It was the most beautiful, vibrant green. I'd never seen such a lovely colour in a bisque style soup (such as broccoli, collard greens, kale, what have you), because the beautiful colour washes out when cooking the vegetable, and becomes an unappetising grey. To counteract that at home, I use turmeric, which gets the whole lot quite a lovely shade of yellow. At home, it's fine, because I'm using multiple different vegetables in one soup, and lots of coconut milk. Here, it's low in fat, and just broccoli and potatoes, spices, and onions and garlic. No tricks hidden up these sleeves!

    Boss Man noticed me drinking in the beauty of the colour (and soon to be drinking in the soup itself, of course). He said, "Guess how I got that color?" (Being American, Boss Man speaks without the U in colour. I don't know how one speaks the U into the word, but there you are.)

    "Uh. Fresh broccoli?"

    "That would then end up the same drab color as the stuff was last night."

    "Uh. Right. What gives?"

    I know that he'd sooner fold up and leave town than use food dyes and the rest, so I knew that wasn't an option. I also couldn't really see how one could get such a brilliant shade of green without resorting to the artificial agents.

    Wait for it ...

    Wait for it ...

    "Spirulina!" He looked triumphant.

    It's healthy stuff, loaded with protein, loaded full with vitamins, and is a most lovely colour when added to vegetable soups that are supposed to be green. Just when you think you've got a handle on this cooking thing, you learn something totally new, and are reawakened to possibilities. It just takes a creative genius who's willing to think outside the box, and you're rewarded ten thousand times over.