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Veg on the High Seas - Vegetarian Times

Veg on the High Seas

t’s that time of the year when Holistic Holiday at Sea gears up for yet another nautical adventure! I took part in last year's voyage, blogging daily from the high seas. Aboard the MSC Poesia, I could choose from over 130 classes and lectures with some of my favorite plant-based nutrition experts and chefs including T. Colin Campbell, PhD; Neal D. Barnard, MD; Warren Kramer, and Christina Pirello.
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SET SAIL: Don't miss VT's spectacular giveaway! Enter to win a cabin for two with the Holistic Holiday at Sea, and you could spend March 2–9 cruising the Caribbean while enjoying vegan cuisine, health-boosting activities, and experts’ lectures. Here's the link: vegetariantimes.com/cruisesweeps

It’s that time of the year when Holistic Holiday at Sea gears up for yet another nautical adventure! I took part in last year's voyage, blogging daily from the high seas. Aboard the MSC Poesia, I could choose from over 130 classes and lectures with some of my favorite plant-based nutrition experts and chefs including T. Colin Campbell, PhD; Neal D. Barnard, MD; Warren Kramer, and Christina Pirello.

Before boarding the ship, I promised myself that I would experience the journey with an open mind, looking to learn from the experts and fellow cruise-goers, and truly immerse myself into a new type of lifestyle. At that time I was a vegetarian, but I had only dabbled in veganism and macrobiotics—both of those diet philosophies have a strong presence on the cruise. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but just moments into my trip, I was greeted with a welcoming feeling from over 1,000 people eager to embark on the adventure together.

My days were jam-packed. I enjoyed morning Anusara yoga with Moses Brown, an afternoon Delectable Oil-free Desserts class with Jessica Porter, and many more eye-opening programs, such as “Why Veganism?” with Dr. Gabriel Cousens. There was never a dull moment. I learned how to kick my sugar habit with Warren Kramer and how to kick-start my heart rate with vegan body-builder Robert Cheeke.

At every turn, health-minded passengers instantly became new friends. At an evening Luna & Larry’s ice cream social, my fellow cruisers and I shared personal stories of how we turned to a vegetarian/vegan/holistic lifestyle, or simply raved to one another about the classes we had attended that day.

In anticipation of the next voyage, get a taste of the culinary experience offered onboard by trying this Arame-Stuffed Mushrooms recipe from the ship's Greens and Grains on the Deep Blue Sea Cookbook.

Arame-Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes 20 stuffed mushrooms

These scrumptious mushrooms will add an exotic touch to your next party.

2 cups arame
1 Tbs. sake, optional
2 Tbs. shoyu (Japanese-style natural soy sauce)
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 Tbs. fresh ginger juice
1 cup lightly toasted walnut halves
20 large button mushrooms, about 2 inches in diameter, stems removed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 lemons, sliced into wedges

1. Rinse arame and place in a medium bowl. Add water to cover and let soak for 10 minutes, or until reconstituted. Drain arame, and discard water.

2. Place arame in medium saucepan with 1/2 cup water, sake (if using), and shoyu. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, or until most liquid has cooked away. Remove arame from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a food processor or blender.

3. In a small skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-low heat, then add onions. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add ginger juice, and stir well.

4. Transfer sautéed onion and walnut halves to food processor with arame. Blend well, but do not make completely smooth.

5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill each mushroom cap with arame mixture, packing it firmly. Arrange caps in an oiled baking pan.

6. Cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked. Serve hot, garnished with parsley and lemon wedges.

VARIATIONS
Use hijiki instead of arame.
Substitute mirin for the sake.
Decrease the nuts to 1/2 cup and add 1/2 cup pitted black olives.
Use the arame mixture as a pâté or sandwich spread.
Instead of button mushrooms, stuff 3 or 4 Portabella mushrooms. To serve, cut into wedges with a sharp knife.

Check out a video of last year's cruise here!