By Paul Suplee, MBA, CEC, PC3
After a wild night of vegan food with a good friend and a couple of bourbons with my brother, it’s time to sit down and go through my great-grandfather’s distillery glasses. As the proprietor of the largest glass factory the East Coast (it covered about six blocks in Cumberland, Maryland at the turn-of-the-century and had many floors), George Truog was an eccentric artist who was known for quite a few things.
On Sunday afternoons, he would open the windows in his music room on the second floor of his Baltimore Avenue house (if you could call it a house with 27 rooms spanning four levels) and play violin for people as they walked by. His affinity for art can be found throughout the house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. A second-floor reading room is adorned with a mosaic fireplace with a “tile from every country in the world” (his words, but personally I doubt that) and murals painted on the walls throughout the house were covered by wallpaper when the house was turned into a sanitarium, and then a funeral parlor.
I still remember the first time I visited the house in my 30s. There were still caskets in the basement and the embalming room was still in place. I mean, not that it was creepy or anything, but I digress.
The paintings on the walls were found by happenstance when new owners started to remove the wallpaper. Shocked by what they found, they hired a professional historical restoration team to painstakingly remove the wallpaper and recover as much of the Italian-painted masterpieces. Eventually they found paintings on some of the ceilings and other artwork that had been plastered over during the hospital and funeral home days.
Truog’s art was the perfection of acid-etching on glass, and his bread and butter came from making souvenir glasses for distilleries, breweries and civic groups. There is a nice collection of these glasses still in circulation around the country, and as thin-walled as they are, it amazes by brother and I that they have survived a 130 years. But, they have, and we will try to conserve them the best we can.
Old George made sure to leave his personal mark on the house, having his initials etched into every door handle, which was meticulously crafted from crystal. Luckily, we still have one of those in the family as well.
But you’re not here to read about old houses, coffins, tumbler glasses and pretty paintings – or at least, I don’t think that’s why you’re here, so let’s get to the salad.
Flying in from Detroit, I had the good fortune of dining with a friend, a little concerned about the restaurant being vegan. But, she eats there all of the time, so I figured I would go in with an open attitude. And just like my friend Mike’s vegan restaurant in Fell’s Point, this place did not disappoint. Not only was the food “good for being vegan,” it was downright splendid. The flavors, the textures and the colors were off the charts, all nuances that I question whether I could personally muster from a vegan menu.
There is nothing better after eating on the road than eating a meal that doesn’t weigh me down. As much as I love steak and seafood, sometimes a flesh-free meal is just what the doctor ordered. And as I reminisce on my evening, I personally can’t wait to go home and make this salad or try it in class.
It’s just one more thing to add to the repertoire. And if I can make vegan food taste delicious, then I know I can cook. We shall see.
Kale & Farro Power Salad
enough for 4
4 ounces Farro
1 quart Vegetable stock
4 cups Fresh kale, spines removed
splash fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. EV Olive oil
4 cups Baby arugula
1 four-ounce jar artichokes, drained
2 ounces Dried cherries
4 ounces Vegan Blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup Orange-poppy vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 ounces Candied nuts
3 ounces Pickled onions, or as needed (recipe follows)
- Cook the farro in vegetable stock until it is tender. Strain and cool
- Place kale, lemon juice, zest and oil in a large bowl
- With clean hands, rub the kale until it softens
- When you have the kale looking nice and soft, simply combine everything up to, but not including, the vinaigrette, nuts and onions (including the farro)
- Only add as much dressing as you like and mix well
- Plate and top with the candied nuts and pickled onions
Makes about a cup
3/4 cup Soy yogurt
honey, to taste
1 tsp. Poppy seeds
1 tsp. Champagne vinegar
Juice and zest of 1 orange
- all ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste
- This is best used the day it is made, or as long as the following day. It will start to break down over time
makes about 1 cup
1 large red onion, julienne
red wine vinegar, to cover
Sugar, as needed to create a sweet & sour profile
1 tsp. Cracked black pepper
1 tsp. Kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer
- Cook for two minutes and remove from heat
- Refrigerate in the liquid for at least four hours and preferably overnight