Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Veganize Boston

--given my thwarted attempts to locate a fine dining restaurant in which to entertain friends from out of town (California, in fact) who perhaps don't want yet another cheeseless pizza or burrito, veganizing Boston seems like a very good idea.

In the face of multiple attempts to find a suitable eaterie, even My Beloved threw up his hands and exclaimed "But where's the **regular** vegan food????"

As a pre-vegan, that says it all.

Go vegan, Boston!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Vegan Blog Tracker - Vegblogs!

Am I the last person ever to learn about RSS and newsfeeds?

Apparently so.

And to remedy that, I have added a feed (top, right, friendly-looking orage icon!) to Cackleberry so now you never need to miss a post!

Why? I hear you ask.

Well, I would very much like to be included in the blogroll at Vegblogs.com among such vegan luminaries as the Vegan Freaks (Bob and Jenna!), Fatfree Vegan Kitchen (Susan!) and A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise (Agnes!) so I have added my feed and will wait to see what happens!

To check out Vegblogs.com yourself, click on this link or visit via my blogroll to the right, 'Blogs of Note' ->

A Life Connected.

I think I shared this link with a few friends, but it bears wider publication.

From NonViolenceUnited.org....

The question isn't whether or not you can make a difference. You are making a difference. But what kind of difference are you making? What kind of difference do you want to make?

Each of our choices in the past built the world we live in today. And each of our choices from this moment forward will build the world we live in tomorrow.

We will build a world reflective of our values when our everyday choices are aligned with those values.

A Life Connected, Pt 1: For the People

A Life Connected, Pt 2: For the Planet

A Life Connected, Pt 3: For the Animals

It all speaks for itself.

Stay Vegan, Friends!

Changing the world, one animal at a time.

Hot on the heels of my post about Peaceful Prairie comes another sanctuary-related snippet. I have just discovered a wonderful place out in Wyoming which cares for and rehabilitates animals rescued from research facilities. The Kindness Ranch is a new and developing resource - the website is pretty basic but it's heart-warming to see the images of the residents. I would have liked to know more about their individual backgrounds, their stories and how they made their way to the ranch.

Intriguingly, the site does allude to the difficulty of getting research establishments to give up their animals alive: 'Obtaining the release of any animal is never easy, and in many cases, it's not free!' and scientists 'for reasons of economics or policy, have traditionally euthanized animals when they are no longer useful'. But this is vital work and the ranch needs and deserves our support. If you can help financially, their basic adult membership is just $25 and they accept donations by all the usual means.

And if you are ever out in Wyoming, it certainly looks like an awesome place to stay!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rhubarb Rhubarb.....

I have enjoyed the best weekend! Yesterday morning, My Beloved and I managed to rouse ourselves from bed early enough to get to the local farmers' market from which we succeeded in purchasing a whole host of lovelies. Among them was a bunch of fresh rhubarb. OK, so those who know me probably know that I am not exactly gifted in the 'what to do with rhubarb' department but, on this one occasion, I had the perfect recipe.

I recently came into possession of a copy of Sarah Kramer's 'How It All Vegan' and on page 127 I stumbed across a recipe for rhubarb bread which goes like this.

You will need:

2.5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered ginger
egg replacer equal to one egg (I used 0.25 cup of silken tofu)
0.5 cup of sugar
0.5 cup canola oil
0.5 cup orange juice
1.5 cups fresh rhubarb, finely chopped

And here is how it all goes together:

~ Preheat oven to 350 (more on this later!) and lightly oil a loaf pan.
~ Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger.
~ Stir in the egg replacer (in this case tofu, but I think applesauce would work really well too), sugar, oil and rhubarb. Mix until combined - note that the mix will be really thick and heavy and you'll be tempted to add more liquid, but you must resist! :)
~ Plop the mix into the oiled loaf pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes. I needed to leave mine in for an extra 10 mins, but that is due to the fact that my oven door doesn't close properly (again, more on that later!)
~ Cool at least 10 minutes before setting onto a wire rack for full cooling.

And this is what it looked like.....

The inspiration:

The raw materials:

....which became....

And yes, the mix does look thick and stodgy in the pan:

....but look what it turns into.....

The 'bread' itself is very moist and cakey with a dense crumb. It pairs very nicely with a cup of tea and I think it's one of the finest things I have yet done with rhubarb. I encourage you all to try it! Oh, and if you *do* try it and love it, buy the book!

Now, back to the issue of the oven. Here in Taxachusetts - er, sorry Massachusetts - we are gearing up for a once-per-year-mega-event: the 'sales tax holiday'. For just one short weekend, sales tax on items less than $2500 (I believe) is suspended, in order to bolster wilting mid-August sales. And so, My Beloved and I - having endured 6 years frustration with the 30-year old stove which came with the house - have decided to spring for a new oven. Hurrah! One that has more than one shelf inside and a door that closes properly will be a real blessing! Given that we don't exactly live on takeout but actually cook and/or bake every evening, it seems like we have done our time with the old Kenmore. Oh, the luxury of a door that closes - I can scarcely believe it!

Now, if we were planning on staying in this house, we would buy the 'range' that we so badly want....something with 2 ovens and 6 burners, from Viking perhaps? But as it is, we are hoping to trade up at some stage, so buying that sort of 'dream range' is out of range really. So we made a quick circuit of the big box stores and have decided - somewhat tentatively - upon this one:

I can barely wait!

Other news from this weekend related to jam thumbprint cookies. Yes, I can almost *hear* you wondering what could possibly be newsworthy about this, but here's the deal. My Beloved and I - having shopped til we dropped at the farmers' market - decided to indulge ourselves in a large cafe au lait (soy, in my case) in the sunshine in Pulaski Park. It was a wondererful sunny day and we stretched out on the grass and watched the world go by, as we sipped our coffees. My Beloved was feeling nibbly so bought a jam thumbprint cookie from the coffee shop but, since they had no vegan ones, I refrained. And oddly (I am known as a bit of a greedy guts, it has to be admitted) I felt no compunction whatsoever to even *try* this thing: it just was no longer food to me.

Fast forward to when it was time to bestir ourselves and get moving....My Beloved crumpled up the bag and declared that the cookie was overall 'a bit dry' and not as good as I make at home.
Now, given that my decision to go vegan was initially met with naked fear and desperate whimpering 'But, what am I going to eat????' on the part of My Beloved, this was validation in itself. In less than a year (my vegan-versary is Sept. 9th) my cooking has changed so much that he prefers my vegan baked goods to those of the non-vegan pros!


So to celebrate I made him a batch of chocolate-rapsberry thumbprint cookies, as pictured here:

No chicken's eggs, no cow's milk...just delicious!

And now I'm off to nibble one so Stay Vegan, Friends!