Thursday, March 28, 2024

All-Veggie Chili Stew - Vegan!

All-Veggie Chili Stew (variant of Mary Pritchard recipe)  Serves 6-8



Note: cut all veggies (except eggplant) in large pieces  (~1”) to make a chunky stew

  • 3-4 yellow onions - chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 1 medium-size eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • eggplant can be substituted with another can of beans
  • 2 large bell peppers – chopped
  • 1 green, 1 red bell for colorful look
  • 3-4 large carrots – peeled & sliced
  • 2-3 large celery stalks – sliced
  • 2 cans (28 oz.) diced tomatoes (or equivalent fresh)
  • (add other veggies of your choice)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed & drained (or use your favorite bean)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 cup (15 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed & drained
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – finely chopped, with 2 tsp adobo sauce (Goya is one brand)
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP dried basil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper (start off with one tsp)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley or combination of parsley and cilantro
  • (optional) 1/2 cup fresh chopped dill
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock (as needed for liquid to cover beans)
  • (optional) 5 oz can of V8 juice (substitute 1 cup vegetable stock and 2 TBSP tomato paste for V8 juice)
  • (optional for topping when serving)  chopped scallions or chopped red onions
Eggplant Prep (if used)
  • Place chopped eggplant in colander and sprinkle with coarse salt.  Let stand for 1 hour then pat dry. (optional step)
  • Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the eggplant until almost tender.  Set aside.
  • Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until becoming translucent.
  • Add garlic for 1-2 minutes, add carrots, green peppers, and celery and sauté until mostly cooked, but al dente.
  • Add the canned tomatoes, spices, parsley and eggplant.  Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Add beans and chick-peas.
  • Add vegetable stock and V8 juice (or veg stock and tomato paste substitute) to have enough liquid.
  • Add 1 to 2 tsp salt and ½ to 1 tsp pepper to taste.
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add chopped fresh dill (optional) and lemon juice and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve over white rice and serve with chopped cilantro, red onion or scallions as toppings.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Tasty Thai Coconut Curry - Vegan!


2 onions – chopped
4 garlic cloves – diced or pressed
Olive oil
4 oz. Red Curry Paste (4 oz. jar – “Thai Kitchen” is one brand)
2 cans Coconut Milk (unsweetened) (Goya is good)

Vegetable options
  • Green pepper
  • Red pepper
  • Peas (1/2 lb frozen)
  • 8 oz can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts
  • 14 oz can stir fry vegetables
  • 8 oz can stir fry corn
  • Any other vegetables that are handy!
28 oz  can Diced Red Tomatoes
7 oz Baked Tofu (Plantspired t
eriyaki flavor is one brand). Cut into bite size pieces (approx ½”x½”).
2 Limes
3 tsp Salt
1 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes (more or less as desired)


  • Cook onions in good amount of Olive Oil until they start to become translucent. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
  • Add Vegetables (except Diced Tomatoes), cover and cook on medium heat until Vegetables partially done
  • Add Red Curry Paste and red pepper flakes. 
  • Mix into Onions, Garlic and Vegetables and cook for a few minutes so that Red Curry Paste is thoroughly mixed into Vegetables
  • Add Can of Diced Tomatoes – use all of liquid
  • Add cut up Baked Tofu
  • Add Coconut Milk
  • Add 3 tsp Salt
  • Simmer until Vegetables done but still al dente
  • Squeeze 1 whole lime into mixture & stir
  • Serve on rice
  • Add squeeze from a wedge of lime to each bowl when serving

Best Lentil Soup!


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium/large yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 oz chopped fresh kale (or collard greens), tough ribs removed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (½ to 1 medium lemon), to taste, add squeeze to each bowl when serving


Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. One-fourth cup olive oil may seem like a lot, but it adds a lovely richness and heartiness to this nutritious soup.

Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often, in order to enhance their flavor.

Pour in the lentils, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape.

Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Securely fasten the lid, protect your hand from steam with a tea towel placed over the lid, and purée the soup until smooth. Pour the puréed soup back into the pot. (Or, use an immersion blender to blend a portion of the soup.)

Add the chopped greens and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the greens have softened to your liking. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice until the flavors really sing. For spicier soup, add another pinch or two of red pepper flakes.


Chipotle Adobo Vegan Chili with Fritos!

This smoky-flavored chili is so good you’ll never miss the meat!

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil (enough to generously cover bottom of pot)

2 large white onions, chopped

    Cook until softened and translucent


12 garlic cloves minced or crushed

    Cook 1-2 minutes


4 tsp. chili powder

    Cook 2-3 minutes until oil has taken on the color of the chili


3 or 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (Goya), plus 3 tsp. adobo sauce

    Finely chop chipotle peppers

    Optional: add 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (we do!)

1 6-oz. can cup tomato paste

    Cook until it starts to stick to bottom of pan when scraped with spatula (almost burned)


2   28-oz. cans diced tomatoes (can be fire roasted or not)

    Gradually increase heat until simmering. Cook 10 minutes.


4  15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

4  tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2  cups of water to cover beans

    Simmer with splatter screen at least 30 minutes, until thickened

1 lime

    Add juice of lime after done cooking


Fritos or other salty tortilla chips

    Serve with Fritos to mix in when eating

    Add squeeze of lime to each bowl when serving

Shepherds Pie with Vegan Beef!

A vegetarian version that gives up nothing but the meat!  

(based on the Basics with Babish recipe)

Treat yourself to this easy, tasty comforting classic – it just replaces the beef or lamb with vegan ground.  

It does use cheese, so it’s vegetarian, not 100% vegan. But it’s a flavorful planet-friendly dish!

Yield: 2 shepherd pies + 1 small shepherd pie


For the Stew

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large onions
8-10 carrots
½ Tsp dried rosemary (or equivalent fresh)
½ Tsp dried thyme (or equivalent fresh)
6 cloves garlic (peeled, and chopped/crushed)
2 lbs Beyond Beef “Plant Based Ground”
1  6 oz. can Tomato paste
3 Tbsp flour
2 tsp salt
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup Dark Irish Stout (or 1 add’l cup of veg broth)
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Madeira wine (optional)
1 lb frozen peas

For the Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes (or subst. white potatoes )
3-4 oz aged white cheddar
½ cup plant-based spread (Smart Balance) (or unsalted butter)
3 tsp salt
White or black pepper
½ cup soymilk or cow’s milk
1 egg 
½ cup chopped chives (optional) 


Mashed Potatoes

  • Start by peeling and cutting 3 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes in half. Put them in a large sauce pot and cover with cold water.
  • Boil for about 20 minutes, or until a paring knife cuts through with no resistance. Drain and place back in the warm pot.
  • Place over medium-low heat, stir around and cook gently for about 1 minute.
  • Kill the heat and add 3-4 ounces (depending on how cheesy you like your potatoes) aged Irish white cheddar, ½ cup Smart Balance spread (or unsalted butter), and ½ cup chives (optional).
  • Using a masher, mash everything together. Add 3 tsp salt and white or black pepper to season.
  • Add 1 egg to ½ cup of soymilk and beat together. Add to the now-kind-of-cooled-down potatoes and give it one more mix and mash.


  • In a large skillet, cook the 2 lbs of Beyond Beef “Plant Based Ground” and put aside. The vegan beef is cooked separately and added at the end.
  • Finely chop 2 large onions. Peel and cut 8-10 carrots bite size. Peel and finely chop/crush 4 cloves of garlic.
  • In a separate large skillet (we use a 13” stainless steel skillet), add 2 Tbsp of olive oil, add the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent around the edges.
  • Add the carrots and the chopped/crushed garlic and sauté them for 2-3 min.
  • Add 1  6 oz. can of tomato paste and ½ tsp rosemary and ½ tsp thyme. Mix together and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 3 Tbsp flour to the mixture and mix until the raw flour is thoroughly mixed in.
  • Add 2 cups vegetable broth and 1 cup of dark Irish Stout (or 1 cup of vegetable broth if add’l liquid needed)
  • Add 2 tsp salt
  • Add 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional: add 2 Tbsp Madeira wine if available
  • Add the previously cooked vegan beef.  Mix thoroughly and cook for at least 4-5 minutes, until thickened.
  • Add 1 lb frozen peas. Mix thoroughly and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Shepherd’s Pie Assembly

Spray 2 standard size 12" pie plates with non-stick spray. Spoon the stew mixture onto a pie plate. Lastly, top with a layer of the mashed potatoes. Drop spoonfuls of the mashed potatoes onto stew to make a layer, and then smooth out the potatoes with a spatula. If you pile the mashed potatoes in one place they won’t spread without disturbing the stew. Use a fork to rough up the potatoes to make sure there are enough nooks and crannies that will brown and get crispy. 

There is usually enough extra stew and potatoes to make 1 more small pie.

Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes. Remove at the 15 minute mark to top with more grated cheddar (optional) and place back in the oven for the remaining 10 minutes. You can also broil it the last 2-3 minutes for extra brown and crispy.



Sunday, February 18, 2024

After-Dickinson (poem)

The Word from the Corner

Shared on North Andover Poets Corner on FB

A few years ago, we watched the show Dickinson. I recommend it highly! If you are someone who loves poetry - someone who loves the power of words - you will be transported. It's really well done - there's a lot to like about it. It bends history - pretty far! - but best of all, it does so in artful ways that serve the drama - that open up Emily Dickinson, her life, her times and her words. I won't say more about it, other than the show - and the episode that included the history of an eclipse - inspired this poem today. Here it is.



Poetry is best
done in private 
out of the Light 
done in a Dark Room
then destroyed 
but remembered
like the Echo of Light 
like the Eclipse that burns
the After-Sun on the Eye 
leaving a Ghost in the Dark 
leaving the Phosphors
permanent on the sight –
leaving only the Light
of your Face.

After I wrote this, I found this one by Emily Dickinson:

We grow accustomed to the Dark -
When Light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye -

A Moment - We uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.


Monday, May 1, 2023

Great Barrier By Barbara Kingsolver


Great Barrier

By Barbara Kingsolver The cathedral is burning. Absent flame or smoke, stained glass explodes in silence, fractal scales of angel damsel rainbow parrot. Charred beams of blackened coral lie in heaps on the sacred floor, white stones fallen from high places, spires collapsed crushing sainted turtle and gargoyle octopus. Something there is in my kind that cannot love a reef, a tundra, a plain stone breast of desert, ever quite enough. A tree perhaps, once recomposed as splendid furniture. A forest after the whole of it is planed to posts and beams and raised to a heaven of earnest construction in the name of Our Lady. All Paris stood on the bridges to watch her burning, believing a thing this old, this large and beautiful must be holy and cannot be lost. And coral temples older than Charlemagne suffocate unattended, bleach and bleed from the eye, the centered heart. Lord of leaves and fishes, lead me across this great divide. Teach me how to love the sacred places, not as one devotes to One who made me in his image and is bound to love me back. I mean as a body loves its microbial skin, the worm its nape of loam, all secret otherness forgiven. Love beyond anything I will ever make of it. (from Time Magazine, September 23, 2019)

To learn more about how we can save the Great Barrier Reef go to

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Beloved Circle (poem)

 The Beloved Circle

(A Poem In 2 Parts)

For Jenn


Part 1: Food For The People

Breathe in – Breathe out –

A warm wind blows –

A warm wind breathes through us all –

A warm wind carries us out into the world –


The wind of the world carries far over deep waters –

The wind of the world gathers the waters from deep, bottomless seas –

It calls forth faith.

The breath of earth’s creation flows over the earth –

The breath of earths’ creation carries hidden seeds as it spreads over the lands –

The breath of earth’s creation carries the sweetness of the flower within – 

    so ready to bloom in its path –

It summons hope.

The breath of the lands and the wind of the waters seek one another as they travel and do their work –

The breath of the lands and the wind of the waters greet and join hands – they dance –

They show how to love.

The breath and the wind move together over the lands –

The breath and the wind spread a dew that covers the lands –

They show their joy.

The breath and the wind bring forth the grasses and trees and flowers, 

    alive, springing forth in fullness –

The breath and the wind greet and join making the shape of all peoples –

    the people step onto the land –

The breath and the wind finish their work and rise into the calm of the sky –

The dew lifts and transforms its fullness into manna –

Manna for the people.

From the people, someone – just one of many – is there walking on the grass –

From the people, someone – just one of many – sees the manna, bends and gathers it for the people –

Someone – just one of many – is named Jenn.

She turns to the people with what she has found and speaks, clear for all to hear –

“Hey! Manna! Cool. I think it’s pretty deep. Pretty sure on that. Hey beloved, want some?”

The people are nourished.

The people laugh and are glad.


Part 2: Tell Me Who Is Beloved

Tell me, who is beloved?
Who is in?
Who is in the circle?
Who is worthy of love?
Who is worthy?
The ancient word. Beloved.
The ancient word. Friend.
The ancient word, to the root. Free.

Who is in the same clan?
Who is worthy of love?
Who is in the circle?
Who is worthy of freedom?
Who is beloved?
You are. You are. You are.

No one may be kept out.
Draw the circle wide.
Draw the circle to the horizon and the open sky.
No one may be kept out.
Open the door to all.
The door is open.
All may enter freely and be at ease.

Who is in the same clan?
Who is in?
Who is in the circle?
Who is worthy of freedom?
Who is worthy?
Who is worthy of love?
Who is beloved?
You are. You are. You are.

The ancient word.

by Mark Bohrer, for Jenn

Sunday, February 6, 2022

My Broadway Song: Shouldn't it? A Manifesto in Song

My Broadway Song

Shared on Rockport Poetry on Facebook

How did I find myself up at midnight...with the thought: "What is poetry? What should it do?" Well, if you ask this question, the first thing you know is "Yes, you're a poet!"

But here's how I found myself facing this question at midnight, and how I answered it:

You never know where inspiration is going to come from, or where it's going to take you.  Bob Whelan invited me to feature at this week's Rockport Poetry event, this coming Wednesday. I wanted to write something new for that evening. Well, I did, but not based on the original idea I had in mind. 

This Friday night, I watched the documentary "Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened". It's about the making and subsequent history of the 1981 Sondheim-Prince musical "Merrily We Roll Along". The musical featured young performers - ranging from 16 to 25 years old - all who had never performed on Broadway. Steven Sondheim and Hal Prince were at the height of their powers after a string of musical successes like Company, A Little Night Music, and Sweeney Todd.

"Merrily We Roll Along" closed after only 16 performances. Audiences got up and walked out during the show. It ended the Sondheim-Prince collaboration and almost drove Sondheim to quit  musical theatre.

The documentary about "Merrily We Roll Along" is beautiful and touching since it not only has great footage from the tryouts and rehearsals (captured as part of an ABC special that was never released), it follows the life path of these young performers over the next 25 years of their lives. A good number stayed in theatre, some with great careers on Broadway. Most did stay for a while but then found other paths, other callings.

But all were deeply affected by this wonderful life-changing experience - that ended in critical failure. They went from the heights of their dream together to the depths of rejection and disappointment. As young people.

Ok, it was midnight when I had the thought, "What is poetry? What should it do?"  

I finished the thought with "It should do something..." 

From there, I found myself writing a Broadway musical number! Here are the lyrics. I am going to sing this on Wednesday. It may or my not turn out to be art, but I bet it will be worth tuning in for.

I hope to see you there. Look for event info from our host Bob Whelan. 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

The real thing we call God (poem)

 The Word from the Corner

Shared on North Andover Poets Corner on Facebook

I write a number of poems about God, which is a little weird since I'm not sure I believe in God. To be philosophical, I do believe in Love and Justice as informing principles of the world, as creative essences of reality, the fundamental reality, as real as sunlight, quarks and dark energy. So yes, I believe in God. And of course, so goes the joke, I'm glad that God believes in me.
I read this one last night at Lee Eric Freedman's ReachArts/Swampscott First Friday Open Mic, a great open mic, with poetry & music.
I wrote this in December 2019 - before Covid. Strangely, it makes more sense now. May it serve. Peace.

The real thing we call God

The real thing we call God keeps reappearing reappearing every time we give up reappearing every time we say God help me, I can’t go on Every time we are worn out by the friction of other people saying no purpose, no purpose worn out by the friction of life worn out by the friction of ourselves
saying no purpose, no purpose Wait in the field of dust in the field of dust, wait let the rain fall let it clear the dust let it clear the field let the water run
let the river run let it carry you to the quiet let the silt find its place let the water find its home let the water clear let the water still wait wait When we stand or sit empty empty of this life when we carry nothing but this heavy emptiness when we carry nothing the real thing appears God God thank you How can God appear out of nothing? wait wait

--Mark Bohrer December 2019

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