Friday, March 21, 2008

West Coast Isa???

Isa - the Veganomicon/cupcake queen - is moving to Portland, Oregon.

I feel abandoned.

Why, oh why, are all these fabulous vegan types over on the West coast and I am here in Massachusetts?

Portland even has a vegan mini-mall. All vegan businesses. I was in Portland 2 years ago and had no idea it was that kind of city. I missed the boat there, I think.

Good luck in your new home, Isa - and keep up the good work!

Stay Vegan, Friends!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Across Preston in the dark, cold and rain...

I'm very excited! My Beloved and I just signed up for a vegan cooking class tomorrow night! OK, maybe I'm easily pleased, but I am **really** looking forward to it. It's at our local Whole Foods (aka 'Bread & Circus' to those of us who remember the place before the takeover...) and we'll be cooking a 3-course meal and enjoying it with wine. All for $20 a head!

Since I know everything I know from Colleen's podcasts and her wonderful Joy of Vegan Baking (as I know, I know, I've said before....) along with the rich library of other cookbooks I've compulsively purchased over the last 5 months or so, it'll be great to actually see how others do it. And hopefully pick up a few more tips.

That's one of the best parts of being vegan - there is so much to learn. Food becomes endlessly exciting and novel. Tastes are deeper and more satisfying. And the adventure of taking a hitherto unknown ingredient and incorporating it into a satisfying and cruelty-free meal....well, for a foodie, it's really fulfilling.

Issues I must raise are:

1. how to cook with diabetics in mind
2. how to cook without gluten (the mother of a friend of mine cannot eat gluten...)
3. when's the next that said friend and I can go again!

In the meantime, I *must* post some pix of My Beloved's amazing Lentil and Potato Curry that we had for dinner last night. The recipe is actually in the Veganomicon, but the original calls for cauliflower which - as noted in a previous post - My Beloved won't touch with someone else's 10 ft pole. Soooooooo, we have spuds in it instead....sorry, Isa!

And a close-up:

I enjoyed the remainder for lunch today and must confess that it was just as good the second time around. Even microwaved - a technique I don't normally use as I don't like microwaves particularly. But I was at work, so what else am I going to do????

My Beloved also made a stack of poppadoms as we'd bought some hot lime pickle from our semi-local Asian store. It transported us back to the 'old country' where on a Saturday night we'd frequently go out for an Indian and a few beers.....


Sometimes I miss those days!

But then I remember the long walks home too - right across Preston in the dark, cold and rain....

:: shudder ::

Stay dry...and Stay Vegan, Friends! :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Gingercake Giggles

I have taken soooo many food pix recently. Many. Many more than you'd believe. Especially as they've been staying in the camera and not actually seeing the light of day...

Too sad.....

So tonight I hope to remedy that a little - here's one of my newest creations:

Well, you didn't think you'd get the whole thing, did ya?!?!

I am still getting the hang of my new camera, so this is perhaps not the best gingercake photo of all time. But rest assured: it is the best **gingercake** you'll ever taste! And the recipe is mine, all mine, veganized by Yours Truly for your munching pleasure!

So here, without further ado, is the recipe....

You will need:

3/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp crystallised ginger, also minced
1/2 cup ginger beer (the dark, caribbean type one - not gingerale!)
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup silken tofu
2 tbsp dark rum

Here's what you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9x9 cake pan
2. In a large saucepan over a low to moderate heat, mix together the molasses, sugar, ginger beer, fresh ginger, crystallised ginger and applesauce. When the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Vegan tip: in this recipe, the applesauce takes the place of the stick of butter you would otherwise have used and thus renders this cake ***fat-free***! So it's kind to your heart and the same time! Imagine that! :)

3. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, salt and other spices.
4. In a small bowl, mash up the silken tofu with a fork or hand whisk and combine with the rum.

Vegan tip #2: the tofu replaces the 2 beaten eggs from the beaten bodies of the 'layer chickens' who would have suffered and labored for 30 hours apiece in the living hell that is their existence on a factory farm to produce those easily replaceable eggs for you.

Eggs vs tofu: it's a complete no-brainer!!

5. Add the tofu/rum mix to the cooled mixture in the saucepan. Combine well.
6. Add the flour mix to the saucepan too and mix until all the dry ingredients are well mixed in.
7. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-40 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a rack.
9. Place well away from small children, hungry husbands and acrobatic doggies....the smell as the cake cools may just prove toooooo tempting!

I frosted a slice or two with vegan cream cheese frosting, but didn't do the entire cake as I knew I'd be utterly powerless to resist locking myself in my room and eating the entire thing in one sitting.

You may chose to do otherwise!

And if you do, remember: it's fat-free!

So enjoy....

...and Stay Vegan, Friends!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Got (Soy)Milk?

Think Spring!

The end of winter is a great cause for celebration here in New England. And it is marked - in my mind at least - by the beginning of the maple syrup season. And of course, with the running of the sap comes the inevitable maple pancake breakfasts.

My Beloved and I love the maple breakfasts - pancakes or waffles or french toast with lashings of maple syrup, cooked right there in the sugar shack. And of course, we stay local and frequent a family-owned place called Pomeroys.

This year, of course, things are slightly different. Being vegan means there is little I can eat there, as the whole menu revolves around sliced/ground pigs (aka 'bacon' and 'sausage') and cows' milk - in the french toast, waffles etc. So we were in a real quandry. We know the people who own the farm and they are truly good folks - genuine, kind, salt of the earth types, who are eeking out a living with a small dairy herd, battling for fair market prices for their milk, and cooking up maple sap for our breakfast. And their animals are well cared for and free roaming. I guess it's farming like it used to be.

Or is it? I took some pictures and in reviewing them notice something startling: there are few babies. There is a stable of dairy cows, but only one baby. And as you see, she's a bit of a tourist attraction:

As I stood with her, she rubbed her head on the wire of her enclosure and clearly adored being tickled around the ears. Her pink-mottled nose was slightly wet and softer than velvet. And her eyelashes were curled, silken strands that seemed to 'whoosh!' as she blinked gently. She really was the most gorgeous animal.

While I was scratching her head, a woman with a young child came to stand with us. The little girl was clearly rather taken with the calf and her mother was quick to explain how the little calf would grow up to be like her mommy - a big cow who'd give us milk. My Beloved and I exchanged a glance which said as clearly as if he'd spoken: do not say a word! He needn't have worried - the lump in my throat prevented me from speaking anyhow. Because I was thinking about the future of this little one. Of how she would be raised only for her milk, how she'd be impregnated year after year, only to have her baby removed from her each time. How she'd develop porosis as the demand for an unnaturally high milk yield leached the calcium from her bones. And how she'd find herself on a truck to a slaughterhouse when her productivity waned, around 6 years from now.

But this is a dairy cow? Can this be her future? Yes. It can and probably will be. Ask yourself this question: even on the small holdings, on the organic family many retired cows do you see? How many aging animals can you visit and see being cared for in their 'twilight years'? And remember the recent story about the unconscionable abuses of cows in the California slaughterhouse? Well folks - these were dairy cows. Spent, used up, abused and broken animals whose only purpose in life was to provide you with your daily glass of milk at breakfast.

So take a look into their endlessly soft and deep eyes and ask yourself if you couldn't perhaps make it a soy-milk after all?

Shout-Out to Gravity Switch!

I have been remiss. I haven't posted recently. It's all to do with being exhausted from my new job, but there are a few things I need to get to, the first of which is a shout-out Thank-You! to Rachael and the Gravity Switch team.

One day last week, I was greeted by a large parcel waiting outside my backdoor. It looked like this:

The greeting read "Congratulations on your new job. We loved working with you - Thanks for eveything!" and inside were the following:

Which I have to say was an awesome idea. These are truly nice folks who went out of their way to send a gift to me, even though we'd worked together only briefly. People constantly amaze and hearten me! :)

Anyways, the couple of non-vegan items were eagerly snapped up by My Beloved

who will enjoy the honey and has already scoffed the scones. The crumpets remain and will probably form the basis of a weekend breakfast for him. And I'll stick with the vegan muffins and scrumptious strawberry jam!

Thank you so much Gravity Switch guys - especially Rachael and Jason! You are the best!

Stay Vegan, Friends!