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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


desmoinesdem: "Two one-dish suppers without meat"

It ain't wabbit season, Doc

Thanks to demoinesdem for these cool recipies - we could all stand to eat less meat now and then - THANKS DEM!

I don't want to start an argument between the vegetarians and the carnivores. For years I never cooked with meat at home. Now I eat meat at home occasionally, but I still cook supper without it most of the time.

Even if you love your animal flesh, you might find these recipes useful when you need a dish to take to a potluck with friends who are vegetarians.

When I make these for supper, I don't bother with side dishes, as they are both satisfying and reasonably nutritious without sides.

Desmoinesdem's Tomato and Olive Wild Rice Casserole

(adapted from Wild Rice Cooking by Susan Carol Hauser)

I don't think I've ever taken this to a potluck without someone asking me for the recipe. It doesn't have eggs or wheat or nuts, so it's good if you may be serving people with those food allergies. It is not hard to make and is easily adaptable to your taste.

Wild rice can be very expensive. The best deal may be in the bulk section of your favorite grocery store. If you can get a bag of the real harvested wild rice (this will be mottled medium-brown in color), I prefer that to the California-grown wild rice, which is uniform in color and almost black. The California kind, which is what you'd probably find in the bulk food section, works fine in this dish, though.

To save money, you could probably make this dish with half wild rice and half regular brown rice, but I've never done that. Why not splurge on wild rice once in a while?

For a big gathering, double this recipe. For a small potluck, or for your own supper, make as indicated below. When I serve this at home, I don't bother making any side dishes, as this is quite filling. If you are single, you can re-heat the leftovers the next day without losing the flavor or texture.

1 cup uncooked wild rice

one chopped onion (small or medium, depending on how much you like onions)

a little butter or oil for sauteing

1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, undrained

up to 1 cup chopped ripe black olives (you can use less if you have very flavorful olives like kalamata)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

dried crushed chillies to taste (the kind you can sprinkle on pizza if you like it spicy)

grated cheese of your choice (up to 1 cup for cheddar or swiss or gruyere, but you can get away with less if you use a very flavorful cheese like asiago or halumi)

Rinse wild rice, drain and cook in 3 to 4 cups water until tender, about 40-45 minutes. To cook, bring the rice and water to a boil, stir, turn heat to low and cook covered, stirring occasionally. Drain the wild rice when it has finished cooking.

Meanwhile, saute onions in butter or oil. I saute them in a big saucepan that I can use as a casserole dish in the oven, so I have one less pan to clean later.

Grate the cheese and slice the olives in between stirring the onions. I buy pitted kalamata olives, which are easier to slice.

When the onions are soft, combine them with tomatoes, olives, oregano, crushed chillies, cooked wild rice and shredded cheese in a casserole dish. I like to sprinkle some wheat germ on top (see variation below). At this point you can cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until you are ready to bake.

Bake the wild rice casserole covered at 350 F for about 45 minutes. If it’s coming out of the fridge, you’ll need to bake a little longer. I like to take the cover off for the last 10 minutes in the oven to get it a little brown on top.


-use 1 15-oz can tomatoes plus one cup water instead of the 28-oz can of tomatoes

-use different herbs in place of oregano

-leave out crushed chillies if you don't like spicy food

-saute 1 cup sliced mushrooms along with the onions

-sprinkle a few tablespoons of wheat germ on top before baking (don't add this if you are serving to someone who cannot tolerate wheat)

Desmoinesdem's Chinese-style noodles with nutty sauce

(adapted from Moosewood Collective's Moosewood Cooks at Home)

This is a true emergency dinner. I used to make it when my husband got home from work and I got home from grad school around 8:30 pm and we were starving.

It is also good if you've only got 30 minutes to make something to bring to a potluck. There's no egg or dairy here, so you don't have to worry about it sitting out for a while before people eat.

You don't have to cook the sauce; just stir together sauce ingredients while boiling the water for the pasta.

I don't want to start an argument with tofu-haters (and if memory serves, Steve is in this category). If you don't like tofu, leave it out and the dish will be fine. If you've got time to saute strips of chicken or some other meat while you are cooking the pasta for this dish, it would probably taste fine with that too, though I've never tried it.

1 pound pasta, any kind or shape (I like whole-wheat fusilli)

one-third cup peanut butter

one-third cup rice vinegar

one-fourth cup soy sauce or tamari (less if you are cutting back on sodium)

one-half cup hot water (I take from the pot as water is heating for pasta)

one-fourth cup toasted sesame oil (has to be the toasted kind to get the best flavor)

one-half teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (available in the spice section of most groceries, even in Des Moines)

1 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced, or 1 teaspoon dried basil

1 minced or pressed garlic clove

a few dashes of hot sauce

1 cake extra-firm tofu

two or three scallions, sliced thin

Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, whisk together all other ingredients except the tofu and scallions in large bowl.

Dice the tofu and slice the scallions.

When pasta is cooked, drain and stir into the sauce along with tofu and scallions.

Serve hot or at room temperature. It keeps well for lunch or dinner the next day.


-use almond butter or cashew butter instead of peanut butter (this is good for potlucks if you think someone has a peanut allergy)

-use one small leek, sliced thin, instead of scallions

-leave out the scallions or leek if uncooked onion bothers you

-leave out garlic if uncooked garlic bothers you

-leave out hot sauce if you don't like spicy food

-peel and shred some raw carrots and stir these in at the end

-use five-spice or marinated tofu

-cook any fresh or frozen green vegetable, such as broccoli, peas or green beans, while pasta is cooking and stir in along with everything else at the end.

- posted by desmoinesdem

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