Joel's Moderately Fancy Meal of the Week: Chickpea Salad!
Last night I had a family dinner, which is a fairly rare thing as my immediate family lives on the other side of the country. It wasn’t a super-fancy occasion, but when bringing a dish to a family dinner it’s an important thing to make it a little showy. This emphasizes one’s taste and discretion, and makes one appear to be a sophisticated grown-up person. Bear in mind that it will not keep your mom from correcting your grammar in front of everybody, I HOPE YOU’RE READING THIS MOM!!—but it’s still nice to show up bearing something that people will actually want to eat.
The bonus, of course, is that (if you do it right) you’ll have something that you’ll want to eat, which can be a lifesaver depending on the family. Anti-vegan or just plain bad cooks, the result is pretty much the same—you can only count on yourself. Don’t let you down.
This cooking challenge was compounded by the fact that I hadn’t been shopping in several weeks, so I had very little in the way of perishables. I had what was left of my Farm Fresh to YouCapay Valley box, delivered at the beginning of the week; some dried legumes; and condiments and spices. As you might guess, I leaned heavily on the Farm Fresh box.
Here’s what I ended up using: 1.5 cups dried chickpeas (3 cups cooked, or 2 cans) 1 small spring white onion (substitute scallions, or a sweet onion for a different flavor) 3 gypsy peppers (substitute green or red bell peppers) 1 large heirloom tomato (substitute a plain old supermarket tomato, if in season) 2 nantes carrots 2 cloves garlic 1 sprig rosemary extra virgin olive oil red wine vinegar salt and pepper
The first order of business was to cook the chickpeas. I started soaking them as soon as I got up, for about four hours; then simmered them in fresh water for about two hours. Tada! Creamy, delicious chickpeas, better than from any can. I strained them, making sure to reserve the liquid, and ran cold water over them to stop them cooking and firm them up a little.
This left only the peppers requiring cooking. To roast them, I placed them on a naked burner, turning frequently, until the skin was mostly blackened and peeling. I then put them in a bowl covered in plastic wrap to cool and steam the skin off.
While the peppers cooled, I quartered lengthwise and very finely sliced the onion. It goes in raw, so a regular yellow or white onion would be too strong. I cut the carrots into matchsticks about two inches long, and finely minced the garlic. Last, I diced the tomato into half-inch cubes.
At this point the peppers were cool enough to handle, so I rubbed off the skin—not using water, as that washes off the smoky flavor—and diced the roasted pepper flesh. I tossed everything together, and added around an eighth of a cup of olive oil, around two tablespoons of red wine vinegar (but go slow and taste often to be sure you want that much—this depends on the acidity of your tomato), the leaves of rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. The last important step is to let it sit for at least an hour, to allow to vinegar to mellow the onions and garlic.
Then, voila! It is a delicious salad, and you are the envy of your family.
All of those skins and stems and things? Don’t waste them! There’s no reason omnivores should get all the fun—we, too, can use every part of the animal. Here are some suggestions for how to use the leftover bits.
Chickpea broth: use it instead of water to make rice (DELICIOUS), use it as stock in a recipe, or use it as a base for a more complex stock (perhaps made with the other left-over bits?) Spring onion stem: use it in your stock; marinate it in lime juice, grill it, and serve it over rice (made with chickpea broth?); or if all else fails, compost it. Pepper seeds, stems, and skin: compost the seeds and stems, but you can sparingly use the skin to give a nice fire-roasted flavor to anything. Including stock! Tomato stem: feed it to your rabbit! Or, you know, compost. Carrot peels and tops: feed to your rabbit; use in stock (within a few days, before they go brown); or compost. Rosemary stem: while it’s still fresh, use it as a skewer for grilling. Or feed it to your rabbit! Or use it in stock!
My family was very pleased with this thrown-together recipe made from odds and ends. If they’re so easy to satisfy, how’s yours? Leave a comment and let us know.
Vegansaurus is putting together a bake sale for World Wide Vegan Bakesale! If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, June 27th AND/OR Sunday, June 28th and interested in participating in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM, email me! We need bakers, eaters and good looking fools to stand on the corner and direct people toward us. That’s key.
All of the money raised will go to support a cause that we haven’t decided on yet but most likely it will be split between Animal Place and Rocket Dog Rescue. Because they are both so super awesome.
Gluttony, reviewed: Southern Comfort Dinner at Millennium
We sure ate a lot of food last week, you guys. First, a rundown of just what we had.
Vegansaurus’ SoCo menu (with photos by Laura!) breads and herbed butter nachos with “cheez whiz,” guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and jalapeños; side of fried green tomatoes iceberg wedge with strained tofu “egg,” cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, honeydew melon; thousand island dressing choice of entree(all with sides of coleslaw, black-eyed peas, steamed veggies with margarine) sausage sandwich with fried mushrooms, mixed greens, red onions, tomatoes, mayo and mustard (x2) "shake & bake" seitan étouffée over white rice (x2) choice of dessert chocolate muffin with cream frosting (x2) strawberry muffin with gummi bears (x2) plus cherry ice cream and various toppings, including chocolate syrup, whipped soy cream, chocolate-covered peanuts, strawberry syrup, and sprinkles drinks mint julep (x1) trailer fizz (rum, cola, whipped soy cream) (x3) strawberry-watermelon vegan Jell-O shots (x4) Rolling Rock (x1)
How did it all taste? Firstly, the nachos (one dish served two) were Tex-Mex PERFECTION. I come from a long line of cookers and appreciators of fine Tex-Mex cuisine*, and in a blind taste-test not one of my relatives could’ve told the difference between Millennium’s vegan Velveeta and the real thing (not that Velveeta is “real” anything, but you know what I mean). They were so good, in fact, we fell upon them and demolished them before anyone thought to take a picture. Whoops. Trust me, though, they were amazing. Oh, and the fried green tomatoes! Delectable. I couldn’t have imagined them tasting any better than they did.
The wedge salad I thought was
pretty good; the melon was a little weird, but method used to give the tofu the texture of “boiled egg white, crumbled,” was astonishingly successful, so despite the inherent grossiossity (some might say “ass-nastiness”) of thousand-island dressing, I quite liked the salad. Joel had to eat my cherry tomatoes, though. They’re like little eyeballs. Ick.
While the official Millennium menu offered four entree choices, the
other two (“meaty” tamales and a shepherd’s pie) didn’t intrigue the Vegansaurus table nearly so much as the sausage sandwich and the seitan étouffée**. Thusly did we order two of each, and thusly did we eat them up. The black-eyed peas were disappointing bland, as were the steamed vegetables, though one assumes the vegetables’ blandness was intentional. The slaw had a nice zip and a very good crunch, which contrasted nicely with the (again, intentional) gumminess of the white rice that came with the seitan. Altogether it was a very good plate, and the leftovers made a satisfying late breakfast the next morning.
I was told that the sausage sandwich was very excellent, but despite having sampled it I cannot testify to this, as I was at this time well into a fugue state of consumption and unable to taste food. At this point I would like to hail Laura and Jonas for their ability to finish their entire plates after coming directly from a vegan dessert sampler. This, friends, is digestional fortitude.
The drinks were, in my opinion, fair. As I do not care for mint juleps (they revolt me), I can only relate Joel’s report of their high quality, unchanged from last year. This year the bar also offered a trailer fizz, which sounded
disgustingly good—rum, cola, whipped soy cream—but in fact was not what a person looking to fit as much food as possible into his/her stomach should’ve been drinking, as soda is full of carbonation, and carbonation fills one’s stomach with air, which makes much less room for food. It was good for a few sips, but best left to people less sensitive to bubbles than me. The vegan Jell-O shot was also new, so in the interest of research we all ordered one. Turns out they were fancy, Millennium-bar-style vegan Jell-O shots, meaning they weren’t artificially strawberry-watermelon flavored, they were made with actual strawberry and watermelon pulp and juice. They tasted great! but the texture was all wrong for a Jell-O shot. Still, an A for effort.
Finally, the dessert bar. Where there were brownies served universally as a chocolate ice cream base last
year, this year we were given a choice between chocolate, strawberry, and spelt muffins, sight unseen, to go underneath cherry ice cream. Presagely, Laura and Jonas saw fit to order the chocolate muffin; like idiots, Joel and I chose strawberry, which turned out to have vegan Gummi Bears in it. AWFUL. The ice cream was all right, and the toppings were as good as I remember them being last year. However, it was and is quite difficult to enjoy a dessert after such a massive meal as the SoCo dinner and its three big courses. Life is hard, you know? Really hard.
I think it would have been a better meal without the introductory bread, and with an optional dessert. I might’ve split a dessert with Joel, say, and eaten just as
much as I did of my own. Ultimately, it was a fantastic meal, especially the nachos and the entrees. GOD, the nachos. I am still dreaming of them nearly a week later. Next year, I advise only eating more slowly (at least for myself), and reading the menu carefully to avoid such mistakes as ordering muffins with Gummi Bears in them.
*Seriously, I thought carne guisada was a traditional Mexican dish until I finally had reason to look it up, oh, two weeks ago. **I believe it was an étouffée. If anyone can offer a correction, edits will be gratefully made.
The always fantastic VegNews magazine is hosting an Urban Dessert Soiree tonight at CandyBar in San Francisco, featuring desserts from Ani Phyo’s new cookbook, Ani’s Raw Food Desserts. You can find me there tonight eating my weight in pie. Unfortunately, the event is sold out (what is with me and posting sold out events?! I am the worst!) but you should add your name to the VegNews Newsletter to be notified of upcoming events like this first! And in the future, I’ll post about them before they’re sold out PROMISE.
If I won’t see you tonight, FEAR NOT! The lovely ladies over at Cupcakes Take the Cake have published one of the recipes from the book, Chocolate Crunch Cupcakes with Molten Mint Frosting! Most likely when you hear the words “raw” and “dessert” combined, you also think GET IT AWAY FROM ME, but after sampling some of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten in my life at raw restaurants like Cafe Gratitude, this recipe looks pretty g-d tasty. Plus, no oven! This is good for certain friends of mine who use their ovens to store extra clothes. True story.
Mimosa Cafe is the tiniest little hole in the wall in Oakland right off Grand Avenue. It ain’t much to look at but you didn’t come for interior decorating suggestions, you came to EAT. And eat you will! Mimosa Cafe serves up one the absolute best tofu scrambles in all the SF bay area. And I know tofu scrambles. How is it that I know tofu scrambles? I LIVE TO EAT, I DO NOT EAT TO LIVE. Do we have an understanding?
They are absolutely amazingly delicious, filled with crumbled tofu, fragrant spices, and pretty much anything else you want added in. The home fries are vegan and ridiculously good! They also often have vegan muffins and VEGAN CROISSANTS! Ow! The surly/fabulous red-headed insanator of a waitress is not so much rude as she is hardened from years of running a meth lab, so
cut her some slack. All is forgiven when you realize she is vegan and clearly 10,000 years old and still looking pretty fly, can I get a what-what for vegan longevity!? I’m gonna live to be a million years old and I’ll be dying my hair Ronald McDonald red and painting on my face every morning before I head to the farmers’ market. in SPACE. in my FLYING CAR. The future is going to be so amazing.
My only real issue with Mimosa is that once I found hair in my food and that just grossed me out. But it was just once and as I’ve learned from Chad Lowe’s seminal classic, NOBODY’S PERFECT, NOBODY’S PERFECT! Oh and the bathroom is really scary. Like horror film scary. I suggest you hold it or just go in your pants.
Bonus points, it’s located next to all vegan boutique, Micio Mambo, so you can buy all sorts of cute vegan shit after you stuff your face silly. If you catch a movie at the gorgeous and awesomely PISSED OFFGrand Lake Theater afterwards, I think you have three* of the twelve deadly sins covered in under three hours! Give me another hour and I’ll get through them all. In fact, I’m checking out your wife right now. While I’m FILLED WITH RAGE!!!
But now we have two accessible replacements on the market. PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE S’MORES! To determine which marshmallows were worthy of your dime (er, many, many dimes, this ain’t coming cheap!), Vegansaurus recently conducted a taste test with both Sweet and Sara and Dandies. The things we do for you people.
AND SO WE PRESENT:
DANDIES VS. SWEET AND SARA IN THE ULTIMATE VEGAN MARSHMALLOW SHOWDOWN!!!
Okay, enough of that. So we decided to do two very scientific side-by-side taste-tests of the marshmallows, in 1) their solid(ish) state; and then 2) microwaved for a couple seconds, stopping the microwave ATTHEEXACTRIGHTMOMENT before they are set to explode, and sampled when all warm and gooey. Science is Delicious.
OUR CONCLUSIONS Dandies were fluffier but had this weird grainy thing going on. It felt like you were biting into sweet, fluffy sugar…a little cotton candy-ish. Maybe cotton candy mixed with sand. But denser. Does that make sense? They were good but were not the same as the jet-puffed campfire marshmallows I thought they would be. Sweet and Sara were denser, but the texture was smooth and perfect. These are like sweet, delicious marshmallow cakes. I love them.
Both ballooned up when microwaved. That’s when Sweet and Sara turned into a real marshmallow, the kind that when melted in hot chocolate would fool anyone. Dandies were tasty but maintained the weird graininess. I’m sure they would both make excellent Rice Krispie treats because they both melt well, and the graininess of the Dandies would surely be less evident when mixed with Krispies deliciousness, but for my money, the Sweet and Sara marshmallows remain the better foodstuff. They are a LEETLE more expensive, but worth it. Besides, you don’t need to be eating marshmallows for breakfast, lunch and dinner unless you’re this guy (weirdo cannibalism involved).
Daiya Cheese has taken the vegan world by storm. I mean, I think. I haven’t been able to find much out about it on the internets but I know this shit looks amazing and whoever can invent a truly amazing melty, stretchy vegan cheese will do more for veganism than anyone ever. Lofty statement, I know but HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES have you heard, “But I couldn’t live without cheese!” As if cheese were air! Or human touch! Or POTATOES! Well, it’s not. It’s just fucking cheese, it’s nasty, moldy milk from a cow’s teet, you foul freak. Anyway, with Daiya, we finally have something that can at least run with the big (cheese) dogs.
Daiya Cheese is based in Canada and until recently, was only being sold at a few restaurants in Vancouver. About a month ago*, Pangea started selling Daiya and we were ON IT.
Daiya Cheese is interesting because it’s not soy-based**, the main ingredient is CASSAVA. Crazy, right?? Other ingredients include arrowroot and pea protein. I don’t know what
all that’s about but i do know that this stuff MELTS and this stuff STRETCHES and it’s GOOD. We made some grilled cheese sandwiches at Vegansaurus HQ and we were all pretty excited. Meave says, “Tastes like grilled cheese from Carrows ca. 1989. Very good. Quite salty.” Joel says, “Stretchiness is great. The flavor isn’t as perfectly cheddary as Follow Your Heart, but the texture is spot-on. This, friends, is a grilled cheese sandwich!” From Jonas, “Best vegan cheddar I’ve had, better than Teese and Follow Your Heart, which are kind-of nasty. Tasty, cheesy and stretchy!”
*Just checked Pangea and it looks like it’s sold out. Arg! I hope it comes back soon! When it does come back, you have to order it with a freezy pack and get fast shipping. I recommend ordering a large amount and then freezing some of it so that you can make the most of the ridonkulous shipping costs.
**Actually, the site says all this: Daiya has 33 percent less fat than typical cheese! It is cholesterol-free; trans-fat-free; dairy-free; free of all animal products—vegan/parve; free of artificial Ingredients; free of preservatives; free of common allergens, including soy, casein, lactose, whey, wheat, barley, corn, rice, gluten, nut.
I would think it was chemical death if I didn’t already know that it’s made with cassava and arrowroot…making this basically a whole, healthy food. At 88 calories for an ounce serving…not bad. NOT BAD AT ALL.
All photos courtesy of the awesome Joel! Actual sandwiches by Meave.
Joel: A little gummy, denser than I remember the original but delicately sweet. Chocolate shell is convincingly milky, that is, tastes like nothing much.
Meave: Darker nougat, a little grainy, though of near-equal fluffiness—high quality. Exterior missing signature diamond pattern. Chocolate is very milky and sweet—quite accurate. Overall, excellent. Have very pleasant memories of devouring original; would attempt to repeat with this one.
Jonas: Tastes right. nougat stuff is perfect. outside maybe flakier?
Twilight Bar (vegan Milky Way) Joel: Surprisingly accurate to how I remember it. Least visually appealing but it has just the same unctuousness that causes the entire gob to
slide down your throat involuntarily when you try to swallow a little bit [Ed. note: I almost puked typing that]. That sounds pretty bad [Ed. note: at least he realizes it] but it’s just how Milky Ways are.
Meave: Initial exterior is ugly. The 50/50 caramel/nougat ratio seems heavy—was Milky Way more 30/70? Caramel tastes oddly of vanilla; needs salt. Nougat still excellent.
Jonas: Caramel taste is too strong. Too much caramel. Too gooey.
Mahalo (vegan Almond Joy) Joel: So good. Not as overstuffed with coconut as it should be but the filling? JUST
RIGHT. Honestly, in Almond Joy vs. Mounds, the nut just distract. But the coconut is all that I want and more.
Meave: I admit prejudice against Almond Joy, which I always hated. Same prejudice applies—can only assume is accurate replica. Again “milk” chocolate is good but I can’t stand the sickening-sweet coconut filling. Blech.
Jonas: Really good! Really sweet!
Laura: DELICIOUS!!! This tastes so much like Almond Joy (aka THE BEST CANDY BAR EVER), it’s ridiculous.
The bars average $2.50 on the these sites and it’s well worth keeping a stash in your candy drawer*. What I think is pretty impressive about the bars is how they got that cheap candy bar flavor down. Most of the vegan chocolate that’s available is dark and I gotta be honest, it just doesn’t do it for me. Before I was vegan, I liked CHEAP chocolate, I’m talking Russell Stover CLASSAY—the more waxy and not-quite-a-real-food-tasting the better. These candy bars fill that spot quite nicely. It’s worth the extra money to eat something that is pretty right on AND supports a vegan-owned business. I’m into it.
*Does anyone still have a candy drawer? And if you do, isn’t it just filled with sex toys? Well, time to Take Back the Candy Drawer and fill it with chocolate. Or chocolate and sex toys. Peg Bundy-style, y’all.
Once a year fancy-shmancy Millennium turns into a trailer trash hootenany. It’s called the Southern Comfort Dinner and it’s a meal you don’t want to miss if you’re a fan of foods like FRIED EVERYTHING and SUNDAE BARS. If you don’t have an eating disorder (or are looking to start one! ‘Tis the season!), I’ll see you on May 21st! I’ll be the girl who keeps eating through the pain; they just shouldn’t give people like me access to an all-you-can-eat dessert bar. It’s just bad for business.
Inspired by being broke, loving food, and having a certain amount of free time, Joel and I made yogurt last weekend. What with my love of yogurt and Joel’s love of making everything at home, it seemed like a good idea, especially considering we could make plain yogurt that, presumably, wouldn’t have that awful mayonnaise taste of commercial plain soy yogurts. We followed this this suspiciously easy-looking recipe that Joel found in The New York Times.
Ingredients soymilk soy yogurt (the ratio is one quart soymilk to two tablespoons soy yogurt)
Equipment pot measuring spoon spoon small bowl one-quart-plus capacity jar/bowl with a lid thermometer (optional, but recommended) cheesecloth (optional, but recommended)
A note: We used plain, unsweetened, organic WestSoy brand soymilk (ingredients: soy beans, water); this gave our yogurt an unmistakably soy flavor. Results, I assume, will vary with different soymilks.
First, pour your soymilk into the pot; heat until it reaches between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit, or when it’s steaming and starting to bubble. Turn off the heat and let the milk sit until it reaches about 115-120 degrees F/ it is warm but no longer steaming.
Of course, this “steaming” business also depends on the temperature of your house, so it is probably better to have a cooking thermometer. Anyway, once the soymilk has cooled off, pour a little bit of it into a small bowl, and mix with the two tablespoons of soy yogurt. We used Whole Soy brand vanilla flavor, because that was what I had in the fridge. Now, pour the yogurt mixture into the pot of soymilk, and stir to combine.
Next, pour the contents of the pot into your jar/lidded bowl/some kind of insulated bottle, if you have one of those in the right size, and cover it. What you want to do now is keep this container in a warm place, like inside
your oven with the light on. That worked for the author of the Times article; because his oven doesn’t have a light, Joel heated his oven to 350, turned it off, waited until it reached about 100 degrees, and put the jar inside. Then, you wait.
During this waiting period, which the first time took something like 36-48 hours, let’s talk about why we love yogurt. You might call it an obsession, but there’s a lot to say and you have a lot of waiting to do, so let’s get to it.
Back when I was an uneducated, dairy-loving young’un, I ate as much plain yogurt as I could. My mother basically raised me on plain yogurt, homemade bread, and Moosewood recipes; she used to make her own yogurt, which was the best I’d ever tasted. Once it had cooled, you could take your spoon and skim the top layer of delicate little bubbles off, with just a smidgen of actual yogurt, and then you licked it off and smiled and plunged your spoon right into the center of the yogurt and turned it around in one perfect circle, and put that first proper spoonful of yogurt into your mouth and oh it was so creamy and tart and tangy and smooth.
In short, before I gave up dairy for the sake of the cows (the cows!), I was a goddamn yogurt connoisseur.
We never bought flavored yogurt, the option being stir some jam in it if you want taste variety, otherwise shut it because we are not buying that sugar- and preservatives-laden “flavored” yogurt ever, fruit on the bottom my ass, more like teeth- and brain-destroying fruit-like substance taking up room in an environmentally unfriendly little cup. My mother did not stand for any of that nonsense. Even now, she buys the biggest containers (read: 64 ounces) of plain nonfat yogurt she can, and then reuses the container until, well, I have never actually seen her dispose of a piece of Tupperware (or its generic cousins). Her cupboard still houses plastic containers she bought in South Korea in 1983.
But I digress. Have you checked on your jar lately? Is it
yogurt yet? Don’t worry, soon enough it will look like this, and you will be the envy of all your friends:
When I finally said NO MORE to dairy, I was going through a particularly insane part of my life, during which I ate mostly Kashi GoLean with super-reduced-fat soymilk (plus calcium! and fiber!), fruit, and the occasional sandwich. Soy yogurt will never live up to the perfect yogurt of my childhood, I would say to myself on one of many, many six(ish)-mile jogs. There is obviously no point in trying it because it will only disappoint, now keep running, lazy. Then I would go home and make a super-duper-low-calorie-high-protein shake with exactly 1/2 cup of the aforementioned soymilk and a tablespoon of flaxseed meal. Sometimes I added frozen berries. Yes, it was grayish-pinkish in color and tasted like sweet, cold sludge, but it was very precise. VERY PRECISE.
Today, three years later, with the help of drugs, a nutritionist, and a very patient and gluttonous boyfriend (lifetime member, Clean Plate Club), I eat lots of food, I prepare lots of food, and have discovered that among other things that I make a mean vegan cinnamon roll. Still, this did not solve the soy yogurt problem. Problem, you say? Lots of vegans don’t eat soy yogurt and have very good diets and lead fulfilling lives full of joy. However, thanks to many many years of crazy behavior, my digestive system still doesn’t trust me to give it adequate nutrition on a
regular basis. So, it revolts.
Break time: check your yogurt! It should look something like this:
the soymilk has solidified into yogurt! Awesome! If it doesn’t, put it back in the oven and wait a while.
To stop the bacteria from doing any further work, which you must do!, immediately put your new yogurt in the fridge until cool. When it’s cool, you can eat it, hooray! If you want really thick, creamy yogurt, though, you need to strain the whey out of it. Further instructions to follow.
Lorraine, I said to my nutritionist one day, none of my pants fit your eating plan has turned me into a monster and I hate you. You’re probably bloated, she said, rolling her eyes, and you haven’t gained any weight so calm down and try eating yogurt. That’s when the dearth of edible soy yogurts became a problem. Bravely, I confronted the problem head-on, determined to fill my gut with the happy bacteria it loves.
For a while, Wildwood was the yogurt for me. Then, just like Soy Dream in 2003, Wildwood changed its “formula,” so what had been good yogurt was now weird-textured glop (DAMN IT). I used to hate Whole Soy, but it grew on me, I don’t know, and now, for flavored yogurt, it’s all right. Some of So Delicious’ soy and coconut yogurts are all right, too. Everything
has been pretty adequate, you know? Sure, yogurts cost about $1 per six-ounce cup and sure, buying them individually isn’t environmentally friendly, but what else can a person do?
The answer, DUH, is make yogurt. And it is time to check yours. We were straining it, right? OK. Here it is, all wet and fresh from the fridge.
Now, pour the yogurt into some cheesecloth, suspend the cheesecloth over a bowl, and let it stand for a couple of hours (seriously, somewhere between two and three). The longer you let it drain, the thicker your yogurt will be.
When you and the yogurt are ready, take the yogurt out of the cheesecloth and put it into a container. Apparently you can mix the whey with some sugar or salt
and drink it cold, or use it to make bread, or, I don’t know, use it in a smoothie instead of water. The whey is full of riboflavin, a.k.a. vitamin B2. As for the yogurt, throw it back in the fridge until chilled, and serve however you like. Joel enjoys it with b-grade maple syrup, which makes a nice contrast to the super-tart, super-“earthy” flavor of the yogurt. I recommend the following recipe:
Mash one banana, as ripe as you can stand, with a fork in a bowl. Add around one cup of plain yogurt, and mix with fork until combined. Add cardamom—don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand. Mix again, add more cardamom if necessary, and a dash of cinnamon. Ta da! Banana yogurt. The combination of cardamom and banana and yogurt is just heavenly, tart, sweet, delicious. If you have fresh strawberries or raspberries, throw some in as well, you will not regret it.
There you go, you have yogurt! Minimal effort, and after your (again, optional but recommended) initial investment in a thermometer and cheesecloth, all you have to buy ever again is the soymilk! Most important now is remembering to save enough yogurt from the last batch to make the next one. Now you are free to blend and bake and cook with yogurt whenever you like; no more ridiculous 7 a.m./10 p.m. trips to the store because you promised you’d make whatever without checking to see if you had yogurt because HA HA you will always have some. Aren’t you healthy and economically minded and environmentally concerned and clever?
Also very good-looking. Good digestion contributes to glowing skin.
I’ve heard that one sign of a truly great chef is the ability to make an amazing salad. For me, the salad is the thing you have to get through to get to the FOOD. I can appreciate a salad and even when dieting, order one as a meal (I disgust myself) but it’s rarely the dish that stands out. At least for me. I’m sure there is some argumentative asshole out there who will say otherwise but you’re a liar and I’ll erase your comment anyway THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY.
THAT BEING SAID.
The salad at Brassica Supper Club is amongst the best tasting things I’ve ever eaten. It was deliciousness saladified. Baby dino kale, avocado, pickled onions, toasted pumpkin seeds, and the most outrageous creamy orange vinagrette. This is a salad that could go head-to-head with a plate of french fries in the Deliciousness Battle Supreme. It would lose but still, to battle a french fry? One could say you have arrived.
I think I’ve done a good enough job describing the salad so that you don’t get a picture. Instead, enjoy one of the really, really good white bean puree, roasted baby root veggies, and ramp gremolata soup! Also, I do not have a picture of the salad.
Unfortunately for you, the menu at Brassica Supper Club, a brand new kinda-restaurant in San Francisco, is always changing so you’ll never get to experience the magic that was this salad*. Fortunately for you, the three talented chefs behind Brassica are already planning future events. What’s an Underground Supper Club, Laura? Well, Village Freaks, Losers, & Outcasts, it’s a group of people (in this case, chefs who cut their teeth at Millennium, Cafe Gratitude and the short lived, ill-fated but always tasty Usual Suspects Cafe) who open their home and kitchen to you in return for some help with the cost of food. At Brassica, you pay $35 (that’s not including tip, Scrooge McDuck!) and you get a
truly excellent, gourmet meal. You sit on the floor (pillows for your buttocular region) and eat off low tables. The meal service includes tea (this really insanely good stuff called latte mate that tastes like chocolate and rooibos and almonds and is the shit TRUST) and water (if you want to drink, you can bring wine or beer or boones or jack, whatevs! They have glasses and there is no corkage fee) and four courses of awesomeness. I’ll spare you the details of our meal because it will only serve to make you insanely jealous and insanely hungry. Just know that these kids know what they’re doing and that it’s as fine a meal as I’ve ever had at Millennium. Oh and the meal ended with this OUTRAGEOUS vanilla cake layered with tangerine mousse and covered in a rich chocolate ganache and then drizzled with macadamia cream. Sorry, I had to.
The chefs are all vegan and that adds a whole nother level of greatness because you know the money is going to support vegans and especially vegans who are obsessed with good food. I find that particularly inspiring and that’s impressive because I’ve pretty much given up. It’s so cool that Carmen, Edward and Mark (your chefs/hosts/builders of The Dream) are SO into food and just happen to be vegan and want to make exceptional, exciting, fantastic vegan food. That is something I want to support. Activism through eating, deeeelicious. Not only that, the other guests are like-minded people who you can always turn to for excellent conversation when you can’t stand looking at your significant other FOR ONE MORE FUCKING SECOND I TOLD YOU TO STOP BREATHING LIKE FIFTEEN MINUTES AGO**!!
The upcoming events are posted here and I suggest you make reservations as soon as you can. The place is going to be a vegan sensation soon enough and you’ll definitely want to get in on the ground floor. Plus, if you’re lucky, maybe the chefs will give you a post dinner tutorial on how to make avocado milkshakes, complete with generous samples.
With the release of the new Star Trek movie today, I thought I should point out that Vulcans, those quintessential mavens of enviable, indisputable LOGIC, are all vegetarians! (Unless, apparently, they are some kind of social outcast Vulcans.)
In fact, the entire Federation could be considered vegans, as just about all their food seems to be provided for them via replicators, the equivalent of vat-grown meat. As Riker points out in one episode, “We no longer enslave animals for food purposes.” Woo! My kind of future!
Unfortunately, the Trekkie community has yet to embrace this philosophy fully. Get with it, guys! If you can put on pointy ears and wear a dorky uniform out in public, you can order a veggie burger once in a while! Sigh.
Foods you would think are always vegan because that's what MAKES SENSE. But alas, sense has no place here! GO AMERICA! WOO!
I am compiling a list of things that you would think are always vegan but are quite often not. I’m doing this because a couple times in the past weeks, I’ve been somewhere and asked if the following things are vegan and the answer has been No, and also, “You’re the only vegan to ever ask that!” so I thought I should share with you less sophisticated/worse-than-me vegans. Let the gigantic superiority complex begin!
1) Home fries at diners. They are often cooked with or finished with butter. Even places that are extremeley vegan-friendly will have non-vegan home fries! This is SO ANNOYING to me. It’s like, just leave the butter you throw on at the very end off for my order or use delicious Organic Earth Balance and save everyone from fatty cholesterol death without sacrificing taste! GAH PEOPLE! Also, is home fries one word or two? Anyway, make sure to always ask! Also, I apologize for the Home Fries poster because A) what’s up with that hair, that dress and that FONT? B) DREW BARRYMORE UGH and C) TERRIBLE MOVIE. I mean, so bad. And this is coming from a woman who lists Billy Madison and Cabin Boy in her top-five all-time favorites. OKAY? Also, that should mean nothing as those are both excellent films.
2) Hot dog and hamburger buns. Even if the veggie dog or veggie burger itself is touted as vegan, the bun often is not. It can have whey, eggs, or any number of crappy animal products in it. Usually a place can subsitute bread for the bun, although with a veggie dog that is depressing and makes it look even more gross and phallic, just a weiner hanging out of two pieces of bread!
3) Beer, Wine,and Liquor. Vegans are usually pretty good at this and some don’t discriminate when it comes to SWEET ALCOHOL, but with sites like Barnivore, it’s fairly easy to make sure your LIFE-SUSTAINING FLUID is vegan. I fully apologize for that last sentence.
Now that I’ve pointed out all those things, you probably know of a million more. Feel free to post in the comments and get into flame wars and shit. Anything to liven it up around this joint!
Sorry, I’m like the Grim Reaper of Veganism over here. I’ve accidentally eaten non-vegan homefries (sp??!!) and non-vegan buns in my vegan days and guess what, I’m still vegan, bitches! You live, you learn. Plus, there are so many more things you can eat as a vegan than you can’t eat! Erik Marcus actually did a great guest post on Fatfree Vegan about it here. Maybe the comments should be more about all the great things we can eat and worlds of food that opened up to us as vegans—I mean, I never knew I could make a delicious meat analog out of wheat gluten…NUTS! And what about all the coconut milk desserts I never woulda known? And CHIA SEED GRAVY, the thought of you not in my life? I can’t hang.
This is a Road Trip Thursday because you need extra time to get to Mendocino and
back, but you still have time to call in sick to work tomorrow and get away for the weekend. DO IT EVERYONE ELSE IS DON’T YOU WANT TO BE POPULAR?
Okay so. The Stanford Inn is pretty much heaven on earth. It’s heaven if you are healthy and active and want to wake with the sun (PSYCHO) and mountain bike and kayak (CARAZAY) and do partner yoga (I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN) and you’re everything I stand against in this world, BUT it’s also heaven for lazy asses who just want to
eat and drink and hot tub and lay around watching premium cable in their enormous bed with billion-thread-count sheets and eat complimentary vegan cookies and bon bons and pet llamas. I call that Living and you can quote me on that. Actually, I think you can technically quote me on everything I put on the internet and kids who are posting nerkid photos of themselves on myspace OUGHT TO THINK ABOUT THAT ONCE IN AWHILE*.
The Stanford Inn is located in Mendocino, about three hours up the Pacific Coast from SF. If you haven’t been to Mendocino, it’s what we like to call “God’s Country.”
That is because it is very beautiful and also inhabited mainly by bible-thumping hicks. Those seem to be the two qualifiers for “God’s Country.” Actually, I don’t know about the hicks…that might not be true. I’m mainly talking nonsense. Okay strike that, I’m talking complete nonsense. Mendocino is filled with charming retirees, artists, and hippies and their disaffected youth (aka HOODLUMS). They have several restaurants with more than one vegan option on the menu, and an almost all-veg co-op grocery in an old church. cool.
It’s a little pricey for people in my demographic (i.e. people who live in SF and spend all their money on rent and eating out) but they’re currently running Spring Specials that allow you a gorgeous room for $198 (Mon-Thur) and $228 on the weekends. All rooms
include FREE BREAKFAST (and this ain’t continental, you can choose from the menu! Pancakes, waffles, tofu scrambles, amazing SCONES?!—who knew! scones are such a boring non-food but these scones are ridiculous!—also, I love that if you pay for breakfast they charge you extra if you want EGGS. THAT IS CORRECT. Vegan tax in reverse, I love you!) and free rentalsonkayaksandmountainbikesSNOOZE. They also offer this couples special where you get two nights, FREE BREAKFAST AND DINNER at Raven’s Restaurant (the onsite all vegetarian mostly vegan restaurant) and a free massage or facial for $685. Now, I’ve done the math on this and while I’m basically a math illiterate, I believe it’s a very good deal, especially considering that dinner at Raven’s, while not $$$, will set you back about $100 for two people.
Speaking of Raven’s Restaurant. It’s excellent and the chef has a really sassy blog on the Stanford Inn website. I strongly recommend you check it out. He is pissed! He is sassy! He is ONE OF US! The food is not at quite the caliber of Millennium but it’s still VERY good and uses a lot of produce from their own gardens. Very cool. I especially liked the tofu scrambles at breakfast and the pancakes! I love a vegan pancake!
A couple things to note: 1) You will be the youngest people there and if you’re not into that, this is not the place for you. The other guests aren’t stuffy or lame, they’re just hella old like the crypt keeper, you dig? It’s to be expected when you look at the price and then consider that younger people spend their money on strippers, coke and other
fun-in-the-moment but ultimately super-lame shit. 2) They have a pool and hot tub that are open 24/7. Midnight slightly boozy underwater handstands? Yes please! They also have a sauna but Jonas couldn’t get it as hot as he wanted it, even after he threw water on the furnace. We are lucky to be alive. 3) Make sure to be around for tea time from 3-4pm when they serve up drinks and homemade snacks like brownies and wraps and crostini and hummus! FREE FOOD AND DRINK DO NOT MISS IT. 4) Head into Mendocino and walk around and then head up the road 10 miles to Fort Bragg and walk around. Apparently Fort Bragg is the place where the first tempeh was cultured in the United States. Hippies. Also, check out the raw food restaurant/raw foods culinary school!? in Fort Bragg. It was really good, especially the ice cream! 5) IF YOU ARE THERE DURING THE WHALE MIGRATION, DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE OCEAN. I never stopped staring at the ocean and now I think I have a lazy eye! Worth it! 6) Also, on the drive up, you’ll pass Anderson Valley Brewing Company. All of their beer is vegan and you can snack on free pretzels and excellent house-made mustard. Perfect rest stop on your trip.
I guess to wrap this bitch up, save your pennies and go to The Stanford Inn. Since it’s about a three-hour drive from SF, you’re going to want to stay more than one night to make it worth your while and that package above looks pretty good. When you consider that you’re supporting an all-veg business in a beautiful place, it should push you over the edge! YOU MUST GO. Tomorrow. So call in sick with ebola** and hit the open road!
*signed, prudy mccheckyourself.
**I actually did this once when I was in college. I got confused, I thought I was saying I had e. coli. Oops!