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The Vegetarian Gourmet

By Steven R. L. Millman
Staff Reporter

Last week the Vegetarian Gourmet told his loyal readers that if they had any question for him, they should feel free to write, little knowing the sheer volume of questions he would receive over IAP. Next week, the restaurant reviews will return. But for now, the Vegetarian Gourmet presents a lovely dessert recipe and some answers to your questions!

Why is the Vegetarian Gourmet a vegetarian? You love animals or something?

Yes, but that is not why he is a vegetarian. The fact of the matter is that he absolutely despises plants. Simply can't abide them. You see, he was maimed as a child at the gentle age of five in a freak accident involving local bullies, a tennis ball gun, and brussel sprouts. Ever since then the Vegetarian Gourmet has sworn revenge on any organism with cell walls. There's nothing he likes better than to rip plants out of their nurturing soil, cut them into little pieces with a sharp knife, sear them in a pan over an open flame, chew them up, and run them through his digestive system. That's how the Vegetarian Gourmet feels about plants!

Are you a total vegetarian? How long have you been that way?

Yes. In fact, the Vegetarian Gourmet doesn't eat meat, fish, eggs or dairy and hasn't for about six years, except while on the road - trying to eat like this while driving through South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho guarantees one a diet of french fries and iceberg lettuce for days at a time. Not a lot of nutrition there.

Are you gay? You sure sound gay.

Sometimes. Mostly the Vegetarian Gourmet considers himself a light-hearted and whimsical sort.

What is the first thing a person should do if she wants to become a vegetarian?

Stop eating meat.

Would you be so kind as to let me write a guest column as Vegetarian Gourmet's sidekick, the pissed off Veggie Girl?

Hmmm. Would it be one of those Batman & Robin relationships or one of those Captain America and Bucky kind of things? Whatever. I'll certainly let you know if the Vegetarian Gourmet requires an itinerant assistant. What do the loyal readers think?

Linzer Torte

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

3/4 cup finely ground walnuts

12 tbsp unsalted soy margarine, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg, replaced (use 1 1/2 cups flour if you use a real egg)

1/2 cup red current jelly

1/2 cup raspberry jam

2 tbsp sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and walnuts in a bowl and set aside. Beat the margarine on medium speed. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg replacer (available at any natural foods store such as the Harvest Co-op) and mix in flour mixture. Mix until just combined. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour. Butter and flour a 9" spring bottom tart pan. Flour hands and press half the dough into the pan and form remainder into six balls. Combine jelly and jam and spoon into the crust. Roll the balls of dough into strips and criss-cross the top of the torte then pinch into crust. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and bake for 30 minutes or until crust is moderately browned and then cool on a rack.