This is it!  The last day to get your questions in for Assassin Creed’s Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad (aka Cas Anvar)!

1Learn the secrets of the Levantine Brotherhood of Assassins.  Ask him now!

Lulu is a huge fan.
Lulu is a huge fan.

Hey, on the heels of yesterday’s Kickstarter entry, I received an email from space lawyer and author Virgilu Pop who has asked me to put the word out.  He needs YOUR help in the fight against Apophis.  No, really…

Save Earth from killer asteroids – just like SG-1 in Fail Safe!  Learn more here: www.apoph.is

And one more shout out for the SF web series, Nobility –

1Starring Babylon 5’s Claudia Christian and Assassin Creed’s Cas Anvar…



VEGETARIAN ALERT!  VEGETARIAN ALERT!  Tomorrow night, I’ll be entertaining one of my two vegetarian friends.  She’ll be coming over for dinner and, apparently, a fancied-up side dish masquerading as a main course aint gonna cut it.  I can’t simply substitute an entire eggplant for a chicken in that roast chicken recipe.  I need a tasty vegetarian dish.  And this, my friends, is where you all come in.  Please be so kind as to post your best, can’t fail, delicious, vegetarian main course recipe.  Help a non-vegetarian help a vegetarian out.

46 thoughts on “May 10, 2013: Ask Altaïr! Fight Apophis! Vegetarian Alert!

  1. Although I hope the Nobility series succeeds on Kickstarter, I can’t see it happening personally, via that method anyway. I’m surprised they haven’t tried to land funding via alternate means. Certainly they should try and sell as a movie or something.. $45,000 isn’t an awful lot of money to raise.

    Anyway, watched that Apophis video, though the method they spoke about wasn’t new to me. It seems more like something various governments would come together and deal with instead..There’s also not a 100 percent chance of the thing hitting us either.

    I think 2029 will come and go without Apophis hitting us, though I’m sure various governments will be a little nervous and possibly have a few plans up their sleeves if they get word that it’l hit us.

    When the next of possibility comes along in 2068, I’m sure we’l be better equipped to wipe the thing out entirely. Possibly a nice space gun in orbit somewhere lol. Consider the way technology has advanced, it wouldn’t surprise me.

  2. Spinach mushroom crepes. Sauteed spinach with a dash of salt, sauteed mushrooms with a bit of onion and herbs, shredded gruyere (or cheese of your choice). Mix them all together and use them to fill crepes. Top with a drizzle of hollandaise sauce. As a side dish, I like sweet and sour beets with a bit of orange zest.

  3. Indian food?

    Before I started eating more paleo-style, I made various things out of black beans. Burgers, beans and rice, etc. It wasn’t intentionally vegetarian, but the black bean dishes had a way of stealing the show so that I didn’t feel the need to make their dish a side. I don’t have a recipe, I googled every time and picked the recipe that had the spices I wanted.

  4. I’m a vegetarian, and my greatest culinary achievement is to wrap a banana in flaky pastry and throw it in the oven.

  5. I just remembered this one. Kind of like vegetarian meat loaf.

    This is a recipe from a vegetarian friend of mine. It is probably healthier than you might like, what with the brown rice and all. We usually serve it with a little white sauce flavored with a little sauteed onion and mushroom. Check for doneness at 1 hour. It may need a little more time. Give it another 10 to 15 minutes if it hasn’t firmed up in the middle and formed a nice crust.

    Cheddar walnut loaf

    4 c. shredded cheddar
    ⅓ c. minced parsley
    1-1/4 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    1-1/4 c. cooked brown rice
    1 med. onion, chopped
    1 c. coarsely chopped mushrooms or green pepper (or half cup of each)
    1 clove garlic, minced

    Butter, Smart Balance or cooking spray


    Lightly beat eggs.
    Mix all ingredients.
    Line 9″x 5″ rectangular baking pan/dish with baking parchment.
    Spray parchment with cooking spray or grease with butter/smart balance.
    Pour mixture into pan.
    Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour – crust should be nicely browned and crisp on edges.
    Let stand for 10 minutes. Unmold onto a plate and slice.

    I usually leave out the green pepper, but that’s just because they make me belch.

  6. ….and my computer is finally fixed!!

    I have a recipe for a killer mushroom lasagne but alas the cookbook is still packed… somewhere… someday…


  7. Not a vegetarian but that recipe looks great. Well even the banana above sounds good.

    My dd — who graduates tomorrow and I don’t know how that happened so fast– for Mother’s day has promised lots of cooking this week. I plan to give her a couple of your recipes and — the sparrow chicken and now the above.

    If they eat cheese/dairy, this is a good side dish:
    1 lb. zucchini or squash (about 2 medium-sized)
    1/4 cup shredded parmesan (heaping)
    1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (heaping)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    freshly ground pepper, to taste
    Instructions – Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray.
    Slice zucchini or squash into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Toss rounds with oil, coating well.
    In a wide bowl or plate, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.
    Place rounds in parmesan-breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides of each round, pressing to adhere. The mixture will not completely cover each round, but provides a light coating on each side.
    Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the rounds.
    Bake for about 22 to 27 minutes, until golden brown. (There is no need to flip)

    Also, did you you post a great potato soup one once? You could leave out the meat.

  8. Vegetarian? Tasty? I don’t know if I can help on this…I am very much a carnivore (I just bought 5lbs of pork rib ends, an 8lbs picnic butt, bacon, and kielbasa, and that’s just for the next few days!) I’m even thinking about smoking the Puerco Pibil dish in the smoker tomorrow 😀

    But thinking about it, the only really tasty vegetarian recipe that I’ve done is my artichoke, mushroom, and pesto pizza (assuming they’re not vegan). Maybe now is the time to re-try making a pizza like this one:


    5 oz warm water
    1 tbsp sugar
    2 tsp bread yeast
    1-1/2 Cups of leveled bread flour (I use King’s)
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp ground black pepper
    2 tbsp olive oil

    Marinated Artichoke Hearts
    Mushrooms (marinated or freshly sliced upon preference)
    Asiago or asiago/parmesan grated cheese

    Measure out the 5 oz of warm water (be accurate!), add sugar and yeast and wisk into a froth. Let sit for a few minutes while you add the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl. For mixing, I use a bread hook on a pedestal mixer, but you can mix by hand. Once kneaded, put the dough in a plastic tupperware container and let it rise for an hour or so.

    Stretch the dough out on a well floured board and transfer to a screen (or a peel if you’re adventurous) and add pesto as a base. If the pesto is too thick, you can thin it with a tbsp or less of olive oil. Separate leaves off of the artichoke hearts, cut or drain mushrooms, and dry with a towel. Add cheese, mushrooms, and artichoke hearts. Bake at 475 to 500F (245 to 260C) for 8 to 9 minutes if using a stone. Remove screen halfway through using a pizza peel.

    Serves 2 to 3.

    Some dough stretching pictures (among others):


    A homemade pesto recipe I may try next time:


    Good luck!

  9. Full disclosure: this is a variant on an Ina Garten recipe for Portobello Lasagna

    Lasagne noodles: Prep as instructed on box (or made fresh since you’ve had that class with Akemi).

    Sauce: Simmer 4 cups of whole milk and set aside. In another pot over medium low heat melt 1 stick of butter then add 1/2 c. flour. Cook for 1 minute then add milk with lots of stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste and 1t nutmeg. Whisk 3-5 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat.

    Filling: Thinly slice 2-3 lbs of mushrooms. I prefer a mix of portobello and shiitake. Heat 2T oil and 2T butter. Saute with salt. This can be done in batches.

    Assemble: Sauce, Noodles, Sauce, mushrooms, raw spinach, 1/4 c selected cheese (depends on your mood. I’ve used gruyere, chevre, or parm). Repeat noodles through cheese 2 more times. Top with noodles, sauce and cheese.

    Bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees.

  10. My folks often make a veggie dinner, especially on hot summer nights. Of course, it’s summertime and there are plenty of fresh veggies available, so not sure it’ll work for you this time of year. They just do it simple – stuff like corn on the cob, fresh sliced tomatoes (or sometimes fried tomatoes), sliced potatoes and onions with butter and a little seasoning steamed on the grill in foil pouches, pole limas (sometimes made into a succotash with corn), sauteed zucchini and yellow squash in garlic and olive oil, and whatever else is available. But if you want an actual ‘dish’…I just can’t think of anything off the top of my head.

    Also, a lot of recipes depend on whether or not they eat cheese/milk and eggs.

    Here’s an idea – it may take a bit of creativity to set up right, but why not have a vegetarian Middle Eastern/Mediterranean feast? Falafel, hummus, vegetarian dolma, lentil soup, tabbouleh, fattoush (chopped fresh veggies served with pita), and similar dishes. So many other things can be added, too, such as dates, kalamata olives, feta (sheep’s milk!), slices of lemon, bunches of grapes, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki (or similar sauces), to name just a few. Just think ‘a royal spread for a king’ …you’ve watched enough movies to know what I mean. 😉 You could have a lot of fun with it, it’s very tasty and healthy at the same time, and there’s feta. 🙂 You can make it as simplistic or as complicated as you like, depending on time, availability of ingredients, and taste preferences.

    I love this style of food, and it’s very easy to do because there are so many vegetarian dishes. I used to make a great tabbouleh, but since going gluten-free I can’t eat that anymore, so instead I make something similar using brown rice. I make my own hummus, and just last night my dinner consisted of feta, dolmas, tomatoes, onions, and kalamata olives, all drizzled with a bit of lemon. It was very yum! 🙂


  11. DP has a good idea, too – Indian food. I kinda get the feeling, though, that you may want something a bit more simplistic…so why not the good ol’ standby? Waffles and ice cream! 😀

    Dammit. Now I’m hungry. 😛


  12. Ok, as a vegetarian of four and a half years, and a vegan of two, I feel like I can help. Sure, I could give you some homemade recipes that I like, or I can direct you to probably the *best* vegetarian/vegan recipe blog on the net. Check out Miriam Sorrell’s Mouthwatering Vegan. She has an endless list of homemade award winning recipes that she puts up regularly for free, complete with mouthwatering pictures. Joe: If you don’t find something suitable here then it doesn’t exist.


  13. Again, if cheese is an option – why not do pizza night? Just let Akemi make the shells. 😉


  14. If not meatless pasta or pizza, then how about corn chowder with a salad of favorite greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and dressing?

    For Cas: what drew you to Assassin’s Creed?

  15. Make Vegetarian Cannelloni. I’m a meat eater and have had some delicious vegetarian cannelloni recently. The most recent one I had had spinach in it and it was wonderful.

  16. Just looked at Akemi’s blog….and here is a partial answer…
    Cadeaux Bakery, Bel café for macarons, the new chocolatier you found, and the bakers market.

    The Cadeaux Bakery goodies looked yummy!

  17. Here is a suggestion. It isn’t a main dish by any means, but could serve as a course.

    Fontal Polenta with Mushroom Sauté

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 (4-ounce) packages exotic mushroom blend, chopped $
    1 (8-ounce) package presliced cremini mushrooms $
    1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
    1/2 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    1/3 cup organic vegetable broth
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice $
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk $
    1 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
    3/4 cup instant polenta
    1 cup (4 ounces) shredded fontal or fontina cheese, divided
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Add herbs and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in 1/3 cup broth, juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

    2. Bring milk and 1 1/2 cups broth to a boil. Stir in polenta; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in half of cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Divide polenta among 4 gratin dishes; top with remaining cheese. Broil 5 minutes. Top each serving with 1/2 cup mushrooms.

  18. Here’s the vegetarian recipe my aunt made that got me liking eggplant and zucchini… albeit in small doses.

    Roasted Ratatouille Lasagna

    2 large onions, cut into ½-in (1-cm) chunks
    3 medium zucchini
    3 Asian eggplants, cut into ½-in (1-cm) chunks
    2 sweet red peppers, peeled and cut into ½-in (1-cm) chunks
    2 cups (500 mL) cherry tomatoes
    2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
    2 tsp (10 mL) salt, or to taste
    ¼ tsp (1 mL) black pepper
    1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme
    1 head garlic, top ¼ sliced off
    3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
    ¼ cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
    3 cups (750 mL) 1% milk, hot
    1 tsp ( 5 mL) salt
    ¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
    1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
    ½ tsp (2 mL) Tabasco sauce
    1½ cups (375 mL) goat cheese, crumbled (12 oz)
    ¾ lb (375 g) fusilli or other curly pasta
    ½ cup (125 mL) grated Parmigiano Reggiano

    Combine onions, zucchini, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and place on one of the baking sheets. Roast in a pre­heated 400°F (200°C) oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender and nicely browned. Unwrap and squeeze garlic out of casing into vegetables. Reserve.
    For béchamel sauce, melt butter in a large sauce­pan. Whisk in flour and cook gently 2 to 3 minutes but do not brown. Whisk in hot milk and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp (5 mL) salt, ¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper or more to taste. Season with Worcestershire and Tabasco. Cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add goat cheese.
    Cook pasta in boiling, salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain well. Toss with vegetables.
    To assemble, spread about ½ cup (125 mL) sauce over the bottom of a buttered 9- x 13-in
    (3-L) baking dish. Spread pasta/vegetable mixture over pan. Spoon sauce over top. Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano.
    Place casserole dish on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven, until bubbling and lightly browned.

  19. Whenever I have to feed a vegetarian I usually end up cooking a Zucchini, feta & mint pie. It’s so good even I eat it and I hate vegetables!

    Serves 6

    What you need:

    Polenta or breadcrumbs, to dust
    700g (about 8) zucchini (a.k.a. courgettes), coarsely grated
    5 eggs
    ½ cup olive oil
    1 cup chopped chives (2 bunches is fine)
    ½ cup roughly chopped mint
    220g feta, crumbled
    150g freshly grated vegetarian parmesan (normal paremsan is not vegetarian!)
    1 cup self raising flour
    10 cherry tomatoes, halved

    What you do:

    1. Preheat oven to 180C (or 160C fan forced). Butter a 5cm deep, 18cm square cake pan and line with baking paper. Butter paper and dust with polenta or breadcrumbs, then tap out excess.

    2. Place grated zucchini in a colander, weigh down with a plate and drain for ten minutes.

    3. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in olive oil, chopped chives and mint.

    4. Press down firmly on the plate over zucchini to squeeze out liquid, then stir zucchini into eggs.

    5. Add most of the feta (reserve some for the top) and the parmesan, then season with salt and pepper. Add flour and mix until combined.

    6. Spread batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with reserved feta. Gently press the cherry tomato halves, cut-side up, onto the surface.

    7. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is springy when pressed and it looks set when you insert the point of a knife into the centre.

    8. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then invert the pan onto a chopping board or large plate. Peel away paper, then sit your serving platter on top and re-invert the pie onto it.

    Serve warm or at room temperature.

  20. Question for Cas: When recording a voice for a video game are you given any context as to where your character is and what he’s doing so you know how to act?

  21. I share Randomness’ worry. You guys are still about 34,000 short, and its already May. You guys need to promote this to big name actors so they can donate some money. But I’m curious, if you don’t get enough funds on kickstarter, what is the next step? I would recommend getting in contact with the guy who has made, and is making, ‘Mortal Combat: Legacy’ as a web series. He could probably help promote it so you can get more funds.

  22. I’ve been sticking to a vegetarian diet for a while. Does your friend eat fish? If so, you can add that idea to all the great ones everyone else had. Plus, fish is fast, easy and has protein (very important in veggie diet). Pizza, polenta, eggplant parmesan. Mmm, all those sounds good to me. I’ve been having problems with anemia that comes and goes no matter what I eat. I don’t know if that is an autoimmune thing or because of my diet. So think about serving iron rich foods. (Beans/peas, polenta, spinach, and etc. ) Have fun!

    Oh and I thought Lulu had a thing for Ivon?

  23. For Cas:

    1) How did you get into the gamer business? Did Joe have a hand in it?
    2) What advice would you give to other people who want to follow in your footsteps?
    3) Joe has said that to be a successful writer you need to have talent, networking skills and luck. How do you feel about this? What has helped you the most out of the three?
    4)How did you manage to get an agent, if you have one?
    5) Is there any money in gaming for anyone besides the owner of the company?
    6) Where do you hope your career will take you next?

    I like Lou Zucaro’s idea. Eggplant Parmigiana sounds wonderful. Or is cheese off the recipe list?

  24. Bruschetta loaded with tomatoes and rocket for a first course, followed by pasta. My favourite Italian makes one with olives, tomatoes and peppers done in an arrabbiata sauce, it’s delicious. For desert how about pavlova? Mixed fruit would be my choice, or strawberries. Or, you could of course go for chocolate cake!

    I know you like adventurous cooking Joe, but sometimes simple is just as delicious.

  25. I love das’ falafel (etc.) suggestion, but another idea might be a nice spinach lasagna. The portobello variation sounds good, too.

  26. Hey Cas…are you a sci-fi fan? Do you collect memorabilia…if so, which is your favorite?

    Joe…do you collect memorabilia connected to Cas? If so…a picture would be great.

    Well…I hope this posts! WordPress doesn’t seem to know who I am this time. 😕 Yep…I was forced to log in and my comment went into their blackhole. I have learned now…I copied my comment.

     / ヘ
    ❤😊⭐YAY ME⭐😊❤

    Oh…AND Cas you ⭐ROCK⭐

    Side Note: Yes…you should get a recipe from a vegitarian. There are people like me that understand there are differences between the different kinds of vegetarians….but I don’t know ingredient wise the difference. I am certain that anything you make will be very tasty. I would skip the sperm dish you had Ivon eat. You could share that video with Cas…just so he knows what cullinary delights you are willing to share with a friend! 😜hahaha.

  27. great! Apophis is back! i mean Peter bad as* Williams! love him to bits 🙂 !!
    i will reblog the geeky wonderful genuine video from our scientist SG1 number one fan!! yay! 🙂

  28. @Chev / bambamfans – If you’re still eating peppers, das’s recipe is paleo.

    I’ve been mostly learning methods and spice blends to draw out the potential of individual ingredients so it hasn’t been so much about recipes. Maybe if I get bored I’ll be more interested in how to combine ingredients, but so far I just keep getting more appreciative of the individual foods.

    Cheaper cuts of meat are awesome! Those bits that are tough are such flavorful bits when you learn to get them tender.

    Take a chance on a pre-packaged spice blend or spice blend grinder here and there. I’ve had more hits than misses on those more recently. It’s nice to be able to replicate a success that easily.

  29. There a lot a great ideas. I would like to try some for October in commemoration of the Vegetarian Festival. That is the one where people meditate,fast and eat no meat to purify their bodies and then pierce their bodies in many strange ways and go parade down the street. Many Indian curry dishes are prepared vegetarian. I guess it matters how much of a vegetarian your friend is. Maybe try the Pilis with potatos, squash and some other hearty vegetables. You already have tequila, lime and salt; what could go wrong?

  30. Joe,
    What is this “Kickstarter” I see on your blog where people ask for donation’s. Are they trying to start a new SyFy show or something. It’s not the first time i heard of the Kickstarter.

  31. @Debra from the South:
    Yep, 4 cups of cheese, 4 cups of rice. It’s not exactly lo-cal. If you want you can use 2 cups of regular shredded and 2 cups of reduced fat cheddar.

  32. @Johnny M

    I think it’s more a case of the general public not buying into the idea they have for Nobility. After all, it’s just a web series, I think people want something they can really get behind.

    There’s also the case of too much information. Although transparency is admirable, too much information and some of which is rambling a bit will only put off potential backers. People want a clear and concise plan of action behind productions like these, not a huge mountain of text. Respectfully much of what is on the page could of been put on the official website, or in stages in the updates area.

    I hope if this fails for them that they re think the idea and come back with something more streamlined. At least in my opinion anyway, I think the 17 days(Last time I checked) on the page will come and go and that they won’t get close to $20,000.

    @But every additional dollar enables us to have more space battles, better sets, and potentially even name Sci-Fi heroes! Even then, the more you pledge, the better “Nobility” will be!

    This part from the page made me roll my eyes a bit. Though they’re being honest, they could of just put clearly that any additional funding will go into the shows production. The 3 lines underneath too…

  33. WOW! There are some awesome recipes and ideas here! They sound so good. You’re going to have to rename this blog entry “A Vegetarian Cook Book!” You have a very resourceful blog audience Joe. They are like Google….just ask a question and get a world of great answers.

  34. @Das:

    A little late, but we made the Puerco Pibil today and Barb really really loved it. It looks like it’s going to be in the regular rotation of meals around here! I’ve made it before, but Barb was back east visiting family then and she wasn’t able to try it that time.

    Thanks for posting the recipe!

  35. My idea of a vegetarian meal. Cut up raw vegetable, throw in some fruit, throw in some nuts. Make a salad dressing. No fuss

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