This week I watched Vegucated, an insightful documentary addressing common practices in our farm animal industry and meat processing. The perspective is from a vegan who selects three devoted meat eaters in New York and has them follow a vegan diet for a few weeks while educating them on the US meat industry during that time. I chose to watch it as I’m on a food learning binge for Eat Seattle’s educational side. I have no intention of being a devoted vegan or vegetarian but I’m certainly moved to avoid mass industry meat as much as possible. And it isn’t easy…with this in mind I decided to come up with a moist and flavorful veggie burger recipe.
Last month I, unexpectedly, met my lasagna muse at a vegetarian restaurant in Amsterdam- Waaghals. It was a pumpkin lasagna with flavors that burst, textures that melted and colors that glistened. Maybe the stars were aligned or maybe my palate was finally ready for this comfort food to walk right into my life… All I know is when someone can turn a pumpkin spiced latte into your dinner you must follow your heart. Thus, I took on creating my own.
I’ve played around with various mixtures of ingredients to not only recreate but improve on the dish I ate at Waaghals; adding more Fall vegetables and ultimately texture. Here’s what I came up with:
In the past 15 years I’ve probably been to Amsterdam about 15-20 times. The Netherlands is an easy country for North Americans to feel at ease. Compared to its neighboring European countries, the fashion requirements are more relaxed, the Dutch speak a little louder; master the English language a little better and restaurants have more flexible hours (open for dinner at 5 pm) and often times serve more casual cuisine- so, it’s a bit like home. I’ve always been surprised at how Amsterdam receives such little recognition for its food. The expansive history of trading and colonization by the Dutch has contributed to the worldly flavors around town- Surinamese and Indonesian being among the most prominent. Beyond these ethnic influences you’ll find a health conscious crowd developing where cold pressed juice bars are rapidly popping up and organic, local and vegetarian options are trending in the hip neighborhoods. Another welcomed delight is the rise of artisanal coffee cafes; taking pride in roasting, brewing and serving the perfect cup of joe.