Sorry guys, I didn’t have a good turkey pun for the title! My bad. But as it is the week of Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Turkey Day, I thought I would bust out some knowledge and tell you all about why turkeys are totally neat.
First of all, turkeys are not dumb, bumbling idiots like people say; on the contrary, they are AWESOME. They can see in full color, run up to 25 miles an hour, and turkeys that have not been genetically perverted can fly in bursts up to 55 miles an hour. That is not even the beginning! Just read what poultry scientist (I think that means bird-torturer?) Tom Savage has to say: “I’ve always viewed turkeys as smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings…the dumb tag simply doesn’t fit.” But wait there’s more!: “If you throw an apple to a group of turkeys, they’ll play with it together…kind of like football.” Um, THAT RULES. I want to marry that anecdote.
Yes, turkeys are very social animals. PETA quotes Erik Marcus on his turkey experiences: “Turkeys remember your face and they will sit closer to you with each day you revisit. Come back day after day and, before long, a few birds will pick you out as their favorite and they will come running up to you whenever you arrive. It’s definitely a matter of the birds choosing you rather than of you choosing the birds. Different birds choose different people.” Awww, they pick you. Heartwarming. Except that ALL the turkeys would come running to me because I’m sure turkeys would love me. I’ve never met any but I said the same thing about goats and it turns out goats are super into me.
Now, guess what else? Turkeys are picky eaters! They won’t just eat what’s in front of them, they will hunt around—jumping up into trees—to find the food they prefer. What do they prefer? Raspberries! That’s what the Farm Sanctuary feeds them for the big Thanksgiving party FOR the turkeys. People, I have to admit, I find picky eaters so endearing. I’m sure partly because I was branded a “picky eater” as a child and always got crap for it. In my house, being a picky eater used to mean that for some wacky reason, you didn’t want to eat steak or pork chops every night. Meanwhile, I had to deep-fat fry tofu to get my dad to try it! But whatevs, I’m totally over it. I SAID I’M OVER IT. Besides, do you know what “picky eating” actually is? A goddamn discerning palate. Turkey, YOU GO GIRL.
Wait wait wait, there’s more! Turkeys are totally into music! Yeah dude, they like songs! In the ‘70s, San Franciscan Jim Nollman did, like, choral arrangements with turkeys. I’m not even kidding!:
The San Francisco resident had learned that wild male turkeys can gobble on cue—especially in response to loud or high-pitched sounds. So Nollman visited a turkey farm in Sonoma County, sat down among 300 adult male turkeys and serenaded them with the folk song “Froggy Went a-Courtin’.” When he raised his voice during the chorus, the turkeys joined in. His recording of the event, “Music to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner By,” became a local radio hit.
You can listen to the recording on the Smithsonian website! DO IT! Because that’s kind of the coolest thing I’ve heard of since turkey football.
To top things off, there are some super-sweet stories from various turkey adoptions and rescues. See, turkeys love to cuddle and hang out with their friends and follow people around. Like this turkey named Alice (R.I.P.) at the Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary in Maryland; she just loved kids so much! When the school kids would come to the sanctuary, she would follow them around and, needless to say, hilarity ensued:
Once when a group of students on a tour were misbehaving, their teacher ordered them to line up in single file in front of the bus. The children dutifully walked to the bus, with Alice in tow. When the teacher walked over to discuss the children’s behavior with them, he was quite surprised to see that Alice had taken her place in the lineup, directly between two of the errant youngsters, waiting patiently for the teacher’s lecture.
I know, try not to die from the cuteness! Yes, very cute but that’s not my favorite turkey! My favorite turkey is Lydia the hugging turkey (R.I.P. too) that used to live at the Farm Sanctuary in C.A. She doesn’t appear to be on Farm Sanctuary’s site anymore but basically, people would go visit her and wait in line for a hug! You would bend down and then she would come running over to you and throw her head over your shoulder. Um, KILL ME THAT’S TOO CUTE.
I’ll tell you, I can’t WAIT to get my own turkeys! One day, friends, one day. In the meantime, we can all adopt a turkey at the Farm Sanctuary! I also want you to spread the gospel about why turkeys rule! And finally, have a happy Thanksgiving everybody!
[picture from Farm Sanctuary’s celebration FOR the turkeys, 2008]
Pre-Thanksgiving food recalls for best tableside conversation
Which government administrations love you, baby? Yeah, the FDA and the USDA, that’s right. Hence they’ve released these four recall notices just before Thanksgiving to keep you from spending the long weekend in bed, or heaven forbid the hospital. Hooray!
Speaking of bacteria, Calabro Cheese recalled 57 pounds of “Calabro All Natural Rotolini Mozzarella & Prosciutto,” lot number 3190, as they may be contaminated with, what? Lysteria monocygenes! Oh man, Lysteria is all over the place this week! This “possible contamination” was discovered by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, rather than the FDA, because it contained a meat product—any food item involving meat, poultry, or processed egg products is regulated by the USDA through the FSIS. This’ll be the site to let you know about any risk of illness through dead turkey this week, too. Of course you don’t care, but maybe you want to keep your weirdo relatives from getting sick and having to stay at your house for an extra week.
Worst of all, Artisan Confections Company has had to recall 33 cases of Dagoba Organic Chocolate New Moon Rich Dark Chocolate 74 percent cacao 0.32 oz squares because of a Salmonella contamination risk. MAN is it frustrating when vegan products like this line of Dagoba chocolates come into contact with Salmonella, which is a bacteria of exclusively animal-origin. Where did it come from? That’s a question for the third-party manufacturer, I suppose; regardless, anyone with the New Moon squares is asked to call Artisan Confections Consumer Relations at 866/ 608.6944 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST.
And now you have your Thanksgiving conversational topics! Maybe, in case the conversation starts to drag even with all this exciting news, you might want to look up the effects of E. coli, Salmonella, and/or Listeria illnesses on the body, to really get things going again. People love to hear exactly how their food is going to kill them while they’re eating it! That’s what holidays are for.
Today I’m starting off with a confession: I don’t really know how to celebrate Thanksgiving. My parents never made a big deal about it, choosing instead to let us watch cartoons and eat turkey patties all day. Turkey patties are objectively disgusting, by the way. Even thinking about them makes me convulse in pain. This is unfortunate because I’ve been thinking about them for the past few minutes and kicked the coffee table really hard in mid-convulsion. When I moved out on my own, Thanksgiving meant watching cartoons and eating pizza out of a bowl (please do not ask me how I did this. I do not know). Now, it means going to Modesto to spend Thanksgiving with Allen’s family, which is actually the closest to a traditional Thanksgiving as I have ever home. It mainly involves eating and drinking myself into a stupor and then playing cards with Allen’s sister-in-law’s grandmother, who threatens me with bodily harm because I play very, very badly.
Here comes my second confession: each year Allen fixes me a Tofurky all for myself. And then I eat it. And every year I discover I like Tofurky less and less, mainly because I have to eat it myself. I finally told Allen not to get a Tofurky this year, and while there were tears and recriminations, Allen and I are okay. And we’re making Gardein “turkey” instead. However, Thanksgiving always makes me think how ridiculous it is that we center an entire holiday around slaughtering a Turkey and then saying “thanks for all the blessings!” over its dead body. It doesn’t make any sense and it’s not at all fair.
Here’s another thing that isn’t fair: Remember those dogs I wrote about the other week? The ones that were sent to Afghanistan on all-out suicide missions? That was sad. Then I read this article about Target, a homeless Afghan dog that stopped a suicide bomber from entering a U.S. military base. Target was deemed a hero and was sent to Arizona to be adopted by a loving family. Happy ending, right? WRONG! Not used to being confined to a yard, Target escaped and was captured by Pinal County’s Animal Control. Then, because she had not yet been tagged or micro-chipped, she was placed on PCAC’s website, and even though her guardian paid the fee to recover her, Target was mistakenly euthanized. This is a dog that was on Oprah, you guys. She saved countless people’s lives; and she was murdered because some lady at Animal Control made a mistake. Rest in peace, Target.
This is probably a good time to remind you to get identification tags, a microchip, and license for your companion animal. It can be the difference between life and death.
However, I’m not all about bad news! Did you know that it is now acceptable to wear fur as long as the animal that was killed for your earmuffs was a pest and a nuisance? That’s right! Nutria fur is GUILT-FREE and fashion-forward TO THE MAX! (Do we say “to the max” anymore?) Why? Because Nutria are hella annoying and eat plants. I get it, okay? Nutria are damaging a fragile ecosystem and apparently they’re not very cute (wrong!). Does this really give anyone license to wear their fur? I mean, come on. You know who I find annoying? Julia Stiles! She is a horrible actress, didn’t do her own dancing in Save the Last Dance, and didn’t even return my hello when she rented movies at the video store at which I worked—this last one is probably the most damning. No matter how annoying and useless I find her, I can still not justify murdering her and wearing her skin. Actually, this brings me to another point: Why do you want to wear the fur of an “ugly” and “loathsome” animal? Why not relocate it? Why put it on parade in Williamsburg, N.Y.? Why cap its teeth in silver and turn them into necklaces? There are a lot of questions here and not enough correct answers. CONFIDENTIAL TO THE PEOPLE MAKING THESE “FASHIONS”: Why not protest the murder of animals instead of turning them into a “beautiful” profit? I’m going to have to be honest and let you know that the argument that “They’re being killed anyway, so why not turn them into fashions?” doesn’t hold much water. I would draw some comparisons here, but my mother reads this and the last thing I need is another angry phone call that begins with, “What you mean by ‘Hogocaust,’ Mark? You think you so funny and smart but really not!!!!” and ends with her not speaking to me for three to five weeks.
In other news, apparently the animal rights group known as the Justice Department sent a package of HIV-tainted razor blades to two scientists at UCLA, one who participates in primate vivisection and one who does primate drug experiments. Listen, I find vivisection as deplorable as the next militant animal-rights activist, but sending someone razors tainted with an incurable disease is probably not the way to go. First of all, it’s not going to get your point across, and second of all, it is bad biology. HIV cannot live outside the body for more than a few minutes so it’s not going to do anything to anyone. And it’s certainly not going to stop these people from torturing primates. You know what, I was all set to offer some solutions, but there aren’t really good ones I can think of. I just don’t like people sending each other threats and weapons through the mail.
Guest recipe: Miyoko Schinner's vegan mozzarella di bufala!
I miss cheese. Don’t get me wrong—I’m sure if I ate it now, I’d get queasy right away and it would feel heavy and cloying (you know, in addition to all the guilt). So I guess what I mean is that I miss the idea of cheese (I’m deep).
I haven’t found a vegan cheese I really like except Dr. Cow, but the stuff costs as much as gold, so I rarely indulge in it and would never even entertain the idea of using it as an ingredient in a recipe.
Daiya is a great development in the store-bought cheese arena, but I’m not a huge fan. To me it tastes too, I dunno, fake. A little like Cheez Wiz (please don’t hate me).
Homemade nut cheese (hee hee) always seemed to me like this mysterious and fancy thing that was unattainable by regular, non-professional folk. But last Thanksgiving I happened to sit with a few lovely people from Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre at the Farm Sanctuary Celebration for the Turkeys (cough, adopt a turkey, cough). I expressed my awe of cashew cheese and they all told me that it’s actually not as intimidating to make as one would think. That was the spark that got me going. My mission became saving up for a Vita-Mix blender as my present to myself for my next 5 birthdays (that thought makes me feel better about the price) and to learn some recipes. In October I attended a cheese-making session held at Veg Fest by Miyoko Schinner and it got me so inspired that I finally took a deep breath and bought my blender (and she’s beautiful guys!).
Miyoko made three cheeses—gruyère, brie, and mozzarella di bufala—all delicious. I mean far and away the closest I’ve had to real cheese. It has the sharpness coming from the fermentation process and the right mouthfeel (ugh, I hate that word). And it’s pure food. Nothing processed here.
For those of you who may be intimidated like I was, I wanted to share my experience with Miyoko’s recipe—which is below, as well as on her blog—and show you that it’s not so scary to do.
Important note: Do everything as she says; I didn’t on my first attempt, and the whole thing bombed. Basically, make sure to ferment it long enough to have a sharpness but not so long that it loses the mildness of mozzarella. I only did six hours on the first try for fear of making it too sharp, and the cheese tasted like nothing. I would taste as the hours go by and stop fermenting* when it’s right for you. Because it had no tang, and in an effort to salvage it, I continued to further screw up by adding lemon juice. I’m no scientist, but apparently lemon juice doesn’t like agar agar. The balls didn’t firm up (hee hee) in the water and it was a mushy mess. So, no lemon juice!
The one thing I did change in my second attempt, which didn’t seem to ruin anything, is add a whole teaspoon of salt, because—well, I just really like salt.
The second batch came out beautifully. The cheese firming almost immediately in the ice water was very neat—like Magic Shell chocolate sauce (side note: You can totally make that stuff yourself!).
I made a stacked Caprese salad with a reduced balsamic drizzle (dudes, it’s just boiled vinegar) and also tried it on pizza. The Caprese salad is remarkably similar to the non-vegan version, and on pizza it’s much more satisfying than Daiya and melts into a smooth ricotta-like texture with a slightly sharper flavor. I plan to melt it onto pasta next. I did this with Miyoko’s gruyère and some store-bought pasta sauce and it was delicious!
I hope you guys try it. I don’t do math, but this is probably more affordable than buying Dr. Cow or Daiya all the time (true?). That’s probably not counting the blender though. But really, buy that blender if you can. If you don’t have the money now make your next birthday request from friends and family to be a contribution to your blender fund. And you can buy them refurbished, which saves you $100. Plus they’re like Volvos and last forever.
So get to it! Make some fancy cheese and have that fancy holiday wine and cheese party you’ve always dreamed of.
Fresh Mozzarella di Bufala (di cashews) by Miyoko Schinner
Ingredients 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for several hours in water ½ cup Rejuvelac pinch of sea salt ½ to ¾ tsp. Xanthan gum optional: 4 Tbsp. canola or refined coconut oil (for meltability purposes—not needed if using for Caprese salad or otherwise serving cold) 2 Tbs. agar agar flakes ⅔ cup water
Instructions In the morning (or the day before) Drain the cashews and place in a blender with the Rejuvelac and salt. Blend, stopping to push down and scrape as necessary, until absolutely creamy and smooth. Add ½ tsp. of the xanthan gum and reprocess until it thickens and looks gooey. Place in a bowl, cover, and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours, depending on the temperature of your room. Mozzarella has a mild flavor, so be careful not to let it sit out too long lest it develop a tang. You want it to develop some flavor and depth, but still be mild.
In the evening or the next day Place the cheese back in the blender. Dissolve the agar agar flakes by mixing with the water in a small pot and bringing to a boil; allow to simmer, stirring with a whisk, for several minutes until completely dissolved. Pour the agar agar into the blender and blend until completely incorporated. To achieve a “stretchier” consistency, add an additional ¼ to ½ tsp. xanthan gum.
Forming the Balls Have ready a bowl filled with a quart or so of cold water and 1 tsp. salt. Immediately after blending, use a small ice cream scoop to form little balls of the soft cheese; drop into the water. They will harden almost instantaneously. Refrigerate for up to one week.
*If you are celiac or wheat-allergic, try replacing the Rejuvelac with a probiotic mix of ¾ tsp. of New Chapter Probiotics dissolved in 1 cup warm water, and use half of that for this recipe. I have a theory that this may produce a more mild sharpness—so I plan to experiment with this change as well.
Vi Zahajszky, originally from Hungary, Boston, and New York, drove across the country to San Francisco two years ago with her husband Chris and a rescue pup named The Bandit. Here, among other things, she’s studying fashion design and pattern-making, and making many delicious vegan meals!
Vegan Thanksgivings taking over newspapers across the country!
Well, at least in Philadelphia. The above-the-fold (newspaper talk!) article in the Philadelphia Inquirer food section on Nov. 11 was all about accommodating guests with different dietary needs—namely, VEGANS! They featured several vegan recipes from Skinny Bitch and whatnot but I’m kind of more interested in this vegetarian cornbread-stuffed squash pictured left from The Adaptable Feast by Ivy Manning. Care to veganize? Looks like it’d be pretty easy; most of the non-vegan items are in the corn bread and I find baking goes well with the replacements.
Oh! There’s also a vegan wild mushroom and asparagus risotto recipe that sounds BANGING but there’s no picture. I love risotto!
So how about other cities? Anybody spotted any of the local papers with some vegan Thanksgiving-related articles? Holler at your girl!
Friends, strangers, vegans at large, please welcome back our official raw food writer—and our favorite eater of raw food in general—Sarah E. Brown!
For more than six months, I’ve served as the Vegansaurus raw vegan correspondent, and I’ve been delighted to report about Bay Area raw food awesomeness in a light-hearted fashion.
But this is a serious post. A very, very serious one. It’s about the very real, growing epidemic of ex-raw vegans. First, I should say that this is not a post aimed at typical vegans who sometimes cook food and sometimes don’t. Please understand, I’m not out to lord raw veganism over anyone trying to live compassionately (and deliciously) as a plain old awesome vegan. This post is directed towards ex-raw vegans, many of whom (though certainly not all) came into the vegan movement for health reasons, then left it for health reasons that are downright avoidable.
Many find they feel better for a while when they incorporate more raw, plant-source-only food in their diets, and eliminating the dense animal proteins, processed sugars and refined carbohydrates that are endemic to the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Yet it is commonly observed that many raw food vegans eventually start feeling “less-than-optimal,” and begin reintegrating animal products into their diets. So why do many mostly live, plant-source-only eaters switch to animal products? It could be that the typical, raw-cacao-filled, high-glycemic, raw vegan diet is the culprit of this lifestyle conversion. How could plants, especially plants in their raw state, be high-glycemic? Of course fruit sugar is better than processed sugar, but it still affects our bodies. In addition, many of our essential minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids (including the all-important mood and health-boosting Omega-3s) come from lower-glycemic, raw vegan foods. What does this mean? It means the “fun,” dried fruit-filled, agave-filled, high-sugary-fruit-filled raw diets, which initially draw people into the lifestyle and can help them initially get healthier—because they are still taking in less harmful stuff than on the SAD diet—cause them to burn out. Cacao can also fatigue the adrenals when it is not eaten in moderation.
The problem with formerly raw vegans who eat this way is that they often believe their imbalanced diets to be due to the fact that there are no animal products, when many health experts, including Dr. Gabriel Cousens, M.D., have shown that this is not the case. Instead of eschewing their ethical diets in favor of animal products, raw vegans can feel better by changing the nature of their raw vegan diets. Perhaps that might mean incorporating some more grounding cooked vegan dishes like quinoa or lightly cooked soups and vegetables. It might also mean cutting down on high-glycemic, raw vegan foods and desserts in favor of a more balanced diet.
The secret to sticking with a vegan diet long-term is to focus on longevity. If being a vegan for the long haul means you’ll need to kick ass and take names at every vegan bake sale, then honey substitute, DO IT! But if you’re a raw vegan in it for health, that means eating more mineral and essential nutrient-dense, lower-glycemic, raw vegan foods and supplements. Dr. Cousens has recently published an article that explains how both meat eaters and vegans—raw and predominantly non-raw—need to supplement their diets with essential nutrients such as B-12 and essential fatty acids like DHAs. So we can all keep living this way, it’s good to pop a pill every once in a while and eat some greens. OK? That’s all I’m saying. Here’s to ex-raw vegans realizing you can be healthy and avoid killing and exploiting things, because that means less overall suffering.
This is the latest in Sarah E. Brown’s raw vegan series for Vegansaurus. Thanks, Sarah!
Hey people! You know I have fly shoes and now that I’m back on the East Coast where we got the snow, I began to worry about my superdope boots! I don’t want the rain and snow to ruin them! AND THEN! Reader Shelly P. sent us these Patagonia boots to check out as they are made of all kinds of vegan materials! Perfect timing, Shell-boogie! (today only! Free nicknames!) So I was looking for the boots online (you know, the internets) and found them along with several other nice winter boots on planetshoes.com, who has a lovely vegan shop. Let’s check them out!
First, we have the Patagonia boot that inspired this round-up. It’s pretty dope. I like the whole handle thing it’s got going on, seems very practical. And you know me! Señora Practical Shoes! But for real, I’m always like, Why the heck do I not own a shoehorn? The shoehorn is really some genius time-tested technology. It should totally be added to the Simple Machines list. I know, right?
Next we’ve got the Earth Pride boot. I like the fake shearling and it comes in plum—purple is so hot right now. So hot.
This is a hemp boot from Simple. Look jerks, I’m not a hippy! These are just kind of cool and look a little rough and tumble. Or rififi as les French say. Damn, I’m always teaching you guys stuff. Congratulations!
All right all right, here’s your round-up wild card: the Acorn Ergo bootie! I know, they look a little ridiculous. Truth be told, I could do without the embroidery but I think it’s quiet enough over the charcoal color. These could be totally fly with some skinny jeans, for real. And like all the others, they are waterproof! SHWING! (today only! Wayne’s World exclamations!)
OK, that is your winter boot round-up—for the time being! Stay warm! And classy!
Being invited to participate in Vegansaurus’ Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! was a huge honor for me. Although we’re in the midst of gearing up for the holidays here at Allison’s Gourmet, I enjoyed the diversion and was excited by the challenge. We live out in the sticks in Nevada City, Calif., and choose not to have cable. Yeah, we’re like that. However, on a recent trip, I got to see my first episode of the show and immediately fell in love with Yigit. So, although I haven’t watched all the episodes, I did have a favorite chef. Of course I was thrilled when I learned that he was the winner (he’s adorable, gay, and loves Madonna—the only thing missing is a declaration of veganism!). Plus, the “Tasting Menu” theme was just perfect for me since I often describe myself as more of a taster than an eater. The winning dessert itself wasn’t terrifically inspiring to me, so I chose to take several components from the various winning desserts and rearrange them into something more exciting to my palate, even if there was no chocolate to be found. Uh-oh, I know I uttered a negative there, but please stay with me so I can win you back with the caramel part.
One of the winning cakes, Muscovado Braised Pineapple & Coconut Cake, was described as “sticky,” which doesn’t sound so good to me when we’re talking cake. Sticky caramels, I get; sticky rice, check; but sticky cake, uh, no thanks. Coconut is always at the top of my list (just below chocolate and caramel) so I made a rich Coconut Milk cake topped with a Salted Caramel Glaze (I told you there would be caramel here!) and a Pineapple-Lime Filling with Spiced Rum. I know how much those Vegansauri like their booze! Oops, did I assume too much? Well, even if I did, make this and take a bite (or 10) anyway. You’ll be glad you did.
Coconut Milk Cake with Pineapple-Lime Spiced Rum Filling and Salted Caramel Glaze Serves 8
Ingredients Coconut Milk Cake 1 cup sugar 1 cup water ½ cup coconut milk creamer (original) ½ cup sunflower or safflower oil ¼ cup applesauce, unsweetened 1 Tbsp. real vanilla extract 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar 1 Tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed ½ tsp. sea salt 3½ cups unbleached spelt flour 2 tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. baking soda
Pineapple-Lime Spiced Rum Filling 2 cups crushed pineapple, strained, juice reserved 1 cup reserved pineapple juice 2 Tbsp. sugar ½ tsp. sea salt 3 Tbsp. spiced rum 2 Tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
Salted Caramel Glaze 3 Tbsp. coconut milk 4 oz. vegan caramels 1 tsp. salt flakes, reserved for garnish
Instructions Cake Make sure you have an oven thermometer—this is crucial to good baking results. Place a baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom and sides so that the cake won’t stick. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, water, creamer, oil, applesauce, vanilla, vinegar, lime juice and salt. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and soda. Add to the large bowl with wet mixture and whisk to combine. Do not over-whisk or your cake will be tough. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly. Turn out onto a cooling rack and cool for at least an hour before frosting.
Pineapple-Lime Spiced Rum Filling In a small saucepan, combine the pineapple and remaining juice, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Set aside to cool. Then stir in spiced rum and lime juice.
Salted Caramel Glaze In a small, heavy saucepan on low heat, add caramels and coconut milk. Stir regularly. Once the caramels have completely melted, drizzle over the top of the cake.
To Serve Use a serrated knife to level the top of the cake. Cut cake in half horizontally to make two layers. Spoon Pineapple Filling on the bottom half and cover with another layer of cake. Glaze the top layer with Caramel Sauce and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of salt flakes. Serve with tannic, fruity Mango Ceylon Tea.
Shark fin soup is bad news! Here's how you can help!
Poor sharks! They are being hunted and killed for their fins to make shark fin soup. SF Appeal had a great piece about the issue last week and I learned so much! The soup is a traditional dish in many Asian countries served at special occasions. It’s supposed to show how much of a baller you are because it costs up to $100 a bowl. LAME! SFAppeal and other sources are blaming the shark’s bad rep for the indifference to the fact that 70 million sharks are killed annually and 30 percent of shark species are threatened with extinction. Seventy million? Goddamn. Many times, because people don’t want shark meat, their fins are cut off while the sharks are still alive and then they are just dropped back into the ocean to die. OUCH! You can see just how awful it is on YouTube but I won’t assault you here.
Hey U.S. readers! Send us your vegan Thanksgiving photos!
Are you celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday? Your Vegansaurus wants to know all about it! Whether you’re the only vegan in a huge family or having a all-vegan Thanksgiving, whether you’re cooking at home or going out, we want to see what your Thanksgiving plate looks like this year!
Please send me your photos along with a little information about them. We’ll be posting them on Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday, as well as pictures of our own Thanksgiving foods, of course. The more participants, the better it’ll be, so take minute to take a picture and mail it on over, it’ll be great!
OMG, Congress actually DOES something: "Crush" videos banned
The impulse to crush and/or smother things that are just too damn precious is a near-universal aspect of the human condition, much like love or pooping. But as anybody whose read John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men knows, actually following through and smashing attractive things to death is a horrible idea. So horrible, in fact, that Friday the U.S. Senate—which usually can’t do anything right—unanimously approved a ban (already passed by the House) on so-called crush videos, which are basically fetish porn in which a woman’s bare or high-heeled foot stomps a small animal to death.
We here at Vegansaurus aren’t ones to judge (j/k, yes we are!), but this is an obviously ridiculous fetish. Sex involving animals should be limited to those vibrators that look like rabbits or, shudder, furries. At least if you’re not Danish. And even then, there should be mutual consent.
Despite this seeming like a no-brainer, though, a previous (1999) law that effectively banned the sale, distribution, manufacture, etc., of the videos was struck down by the Supreme Court because its broad scope supposedly infringed on our freedom of speech. While such animal cruelty remained legal even after the Supreme Court’s ruling, existing laws applied more to the videos’ initial production (that is, crushing an animal to death) than their distribution. The new law is more narrow in scope, and exempts videos depicting fishing, hunting, and trapping, because this is America, God bless us and our guns.
The law’s unanimous passage isn’t a surprise, given that the Republicans’ only desire greater than legislative gridlock is banning everything possible that’s sexually aberrant. Still, in this case, their anti-kinky agenda definitely works out for the best, because, you know, jerking off while watching something die shouldn’t be anyone’s idea of a good time. Ugh.
The price is hidden until then, but based on the sale price of the non-vegetarian version, it looks like it’ll be $17.50, which is half off the list price, and $5 off Amazon’s regular price. If you’ve been waiting to get this book, for yourself or for others, now’s as good a time as any!
Sometimes it's almost our birthdays and we feel unaccomplished and sad; sometimes there are kiwi shortages, and robots milk cows: it's this week's link-o-rama!
Ein Geburtstagskuchen! Really, any cake is a birthday cake if you deem it so. This is vegan Schwarzwälderkirschtorte—lecker! [photo by benjamin_lebsanft]
Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 20, Dolores Park Works will hold a Dolores Park Clean-up! Your Vegansaurus wholeheartedly endorses this endeavor, what with loving Dolores Park so terribly, terribly much, and we owe it to our neighborhood to go! Meet at the Dolores Park Works-branded toolbox behind the tennis courts at 18th and Dolores Streets at 10 a.m. tomorrow; DPW will provide all the equipment, and work is scheduled until 2 p.m.
You can read the full text of the study online but I’m really into the Wired synopsis linked at the top because LESS READING. But yeah, this is all totally new data. These researchers studied 52 female bottlenose dolphins in the eastern gulf of Shark Bay, Western Australia. It looks like they chose these dolphins for their nature/nurture study because dolphins have a lot of things in common with us, such as, “Slow life histories characterized by late sexual maturity, long interbirth intervals, and extensive maternal care.” They say dolphins have those things in common with great apes, but that totally includes us and does that not sound familiar? Can’t you imagine those dolphins like totally screening their calls for mom? OMG cut the cord, Flipper!
The conclusion they reach is that “Female calving success depends on both genetic inheritance and social bonds. Moreover, we demonstrate that interactions between social and genetic factors also influence female fitness.” So essentially, DNA does matter but if you got them bad genes, your mom can offset that by hanging with the right crowd. Moreover, dolphins rule and I love them!
Two Thanksgiving recipes from accidentally vegan Epicurious!
If you get a CSA box in the Bay Area, it’s probably currently full of potatoes, leafy greens, apples, carrots and butternut squash. Maybe tomatoes & cilantro, too. And butternut squash. Let us marvel at its beauty.
In a recent search, I turned up not one but two (2!) delicious vegan recipes utilizing almost the whole box of produce, on Epicurious, a site that could also be named “Dairycurious with a Pork Garnish.”
Souley Vegan is doing a special Thanksgiving menu (info is further down the post). I’m hoping for a veganized deep-fried turkey leg. I wanna get Medieval on your asses!
Café Gratitude returns with their FREE VEGAN THANKSGIVING! No matter that it’s raw, it’s free! I mean, you’re already vegan, might as well become a full-on holiday meal weirdo. Oh, and it looks like you might have to work? But, er, FREE FOOD!
If you want to get a meal at a supermarket and bring it home, check out: Whole Foods varies what it offers store-to-store. Our pals in Los Angeles, quarrygirl, got the Whole Foods dinner last year and looooooved it. Search by store location on their site, or give your closest store a call and find out what they’re offering!
Andronico’s has a pretty rad deal at their eight Bay Area locations! They’re introducing a vegan meal this year and it sounds delicious: Field Roast: Wild rice, cranberry, fig and grain roast en croûte (1 pound) Roasted root vegetables (1 pound) Vegan yukon gold mashed potatoes (1 pound) Vegan mushroom gravy (½ pint) Cranberry orange chutney (½ pint) Vegan pumpkin pie (6 inches)
It’s only $30 for all that awesome food! GET ON IT!
Religious festivals provide new and fun ways to torture Australian sheep!
Because Australian sheep don’t suffer enough (see mulesing), Australian farmers ship them live to the “Middle East”* so they can be brutalized and then killed for Eid al Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. For this year’s festival, Animals Australia investigators were onsite in Kuwait and Bahrain to document the cruelty, and caught some really effed shit. Shipping live animals is awful all on its own, but then once they get there, these sheep are sold on the street and chained to cars and whatnot to bring home to “sacrifice.” The picture above is one of many shocking photos; here we have sheep being forced into the trunk of a car to transport to someone’s home to be killed. Seriously, this picture makes me ill.
The Jerusalem Post has a really great article on Muslim vegetarians and how they view the holiday. It seems people question whether one can be Muslim and be vegetarian but the Post writes, “Liberal clerics, such as American scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, point to Islamic oral traditions to justify vegetarianism. ‘Traditionally Muslims were semi-vegetarians,’ Yusuf claimed in religious audio tape. ‘Umar [the second Muslim Caliph] said: “Beware of meat, because it has an addiction like the addiction of wine”.’” And Muslims are generally pretty down on wine.
In a bit of good news, it looks like vegetarians aren’t the only people skipping the sacrifice; according to the article, some meat-loving people are forgoing the sacrifice for purely economic reasons—meat is expensive and prices have gone up. Still, they say 800,000 sheep were shipped from Australia this year for the festival. If they really want sheep, can’t someone raise them closer to Kuwait or something? And if they really want to sacrifice sheep, can’t they treat them with some decency before they kill them? If an animal is being murdered for you, you could at least be grateful.
*I don’t think we call it that anymore? I couldn’t find a definite preferred term. [Ed. The term has become pretty firmly entrenched, even in the area itself. Maybe West Asia as a substitute?]
The first brunch will take place this Sunday, Nov. 21 at their new storefront, Donut Farm in Oakland. The only details we have are that it’s a single-plate brunch offering from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, with coffee, espresso, and donuts also available. Because, duh, what’s brunch without coffee and donuts!? Knowing how these folks normally do it up, I bet it’ll be insane and delicious. I’m thinking I’ll hit Souley Vegan first and then make my way to Donut Farm, and then repeat? If I start early, I can get ‘er done.
Donut Farm is in Oakland at 6037 San Pablo Ave. at 61st Street. Brunch is expected to run every Sunday for the foreseeable future but, you know, let’s just pray it works out.
Josh Ozersky, bro-extraordinaire, gives us a super-rad guide on how to kill animals and clog your arteries in Portland, Ore. First I’d like to comment on Ozersky’s writing style: VOMIT. Like, oy, come back to Earth. Here’s a sample: “Unlike New York City, where the winds of reputation stoke the fires of resentment, Portland is supremely communal and laid-back.” The winds of reputation stoke the fires of resentment? Bleh, pass me a bucket! He also seems to have recently coined his own term, "lardcore," which he now likes to use. Self-referencing. Awesome.
On to the food, Ozersky brags that he was “writhing in pain” after a long day of eating various nasty meats. Dudes, writhing in pain is not how you should ideally end the day. He literally ate himself sick. DISGUSTING. Ultimately, all his pork-worshiping leads him to declare Portland, “America’s new food Eden.” Guess what, bro: vegans declared Portland food Eden decades ago! What’s more, YOU CAN’T HAVE IT, MEAT-EATERS! It’s ours, deal with it.
Let’s be clear: there is a vegan STRIP CLUB in Portland, OK? My debilitating moral code doesn’t allow for strip clubs nowadays but if they are going to exist, a vegan strip club is where it’s at. Besides that, you can get a vegan HAIRCUT in Portland. For serious! In fact, my sister got a cut there and came out looking even more adorable than she already is. It was a stellar cut, side-swept bangs and all. The Parlour St. Johns, where you can get said haircut, is part of the vegan STRIP MALL in Portland. There is a vegan strip mall! Talk about Eden [Ed. The Parlour St. Johns is not in the mini-mall. Thanks to our Portland-knowledgeable readers for correcting our geographical error]. This is where the famous Food Fight vegan grocery is. That place rules and the people are super-nice. But my favorite part of this strip is Sweet Pea Baking Co.—an all-vegan bakery. Sweet Pea has the most amazing scones I’ve ever had! And believe me, I’ve had scones. It’s the food of my people. So trust me when I say you’ve got to get the cinnamon scone. It’s off the chain.
Moral of the story: suck it, Ozersky. Portland is ours. Take your lardcore and shove it.
[map of vegan and vegan-friendly eateries in Portland from Happycow.com]
It has been hot outside, you guys! You know what’s worse than a mid-autumn heat wave? A low-grade fever during a mid-autumn hot wave. That way, you don’t know whether the heat is coming from outside or whether it’s your body boiling the evil little monsters that are giving you the sore throat and that light-headed feeling that makes walking an extreme sport. Really keeps you on your toes!
You know what else keeps you on your toes? Wild hamsters! Listen, I don’t know if you know this, but I love hamsters. I became a vegetarian because I picked a hamster up off the street. In my day (before grad school/Allen/anti-psychotics came along), I ran quite a little menagerie out of my room—not apartment, room—which culminated in the Mouspice, a hospice for mice. I mean, I pretty much had every rodent available up in my hizzay. Hamsters were (and still are) my absolute favorite animal. They’re adorable, resourceful, and fucking vicious—to me, a charming quality—and these are just ordinary house-hamsters. Wild hamsters, friend, are a completely different story. They will take down anything, including Russian teenagers out for a good time. You just don’t mess with them. Actually, here’s an even better idea. Don’t mess with any wild animals no matter how small they are. And if you do, don’t complain that they bite you really really hard. That’s what small animals do! That’s how they defend themselves! Have you ever wondered why a small animal’s first reaction when you reach into its cage is to bite the hell out of your hand? it’s because your hand is huge and the animal is tiny. And that’s why you leave hamsters alone.
In related news, I was at the bookstore with Allen last week when he gasped and thrust a book in front of my face. Usually when Allen does this, it is because he has found another obscure book about how to do pushups ergonomically or how to activate your chakras with hypnosis, so I was surprised to find that it was actually a book I might be interested in. Allen was surprise by my elbow in his ribs. Like hamsters, I also react dramatically to sudden book attacks. Anyway, the book, Happy Hamster, is about cooking for your hamster, as opposed to cooking your hamster, which is apparently something some people do. I was on the bus once when a woman offered me $10 for my hamster and then started rubbing her belly suggestively. Since it was obvious that she didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak whatever language hamster-eaters speak, I grimaced in horror and screamed “NO! NO EAT HAMSTER!”* “Ten Dollar!” the woman shrieked at me and continued rubbing her stomach. I freaked out and got off the bus 10 blocks before my stop. And that’s how that story ended. Check out Hamster Tracker, though. There are some adorable pictures there!
Good news! A new-self cloning lizard has been discovered! Female lizards are finding they need male lizards even less than a fish needs a bicycle because a newly discovered species of lizard can clone themselves! Bad news! The lizard is on the menu of a restaurant in Vietnam. That sucks! Why do people have to eat lizards? I think I ask a question like that every week and offer absolutely no answer. Probably because there isn’t one. There aren’t any reasons to eat lizards, especially if you’re getting them from a restaurant. Thanks for the downer, Meave!
Also: In a scene straight out of Mary Poppins, porpoises rescued Dick Van Dyke from drowning! Apparently Bert was so tired after his magical penguin picnic on an enchanted island with Jane and Michael that he fell asleep while surfing back to land (tip: If you’re falling asleep on your surfboard, it is probably time to take up a different leisure activity). When he woke up, he was adrift and land was nowhere to be seen. Then, porpoises GENTLY NUDGED HIM TO SHORE. THIS IS SIMULTANEOUSLY CRY AND VOMIT UP A RAINBOW IT IS SO ADORABLE! I told you Dick Van Dyke was good people. I bet the porpoises wouldn’t have saved Sarah Palin.
That’s all for this week! Send me tips for next week and have an awesome day! OH AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY, ALLEN! You’re the best!
*I don’t know why I burst into broken English, but I assume it is a leftover reflex from the time I spent living with Elvira, a real-life Peruvian witch with whom I had to communicate only in broken English. Last time I ever innocently answer a roommate-wanted ad.
The investigation showed dead hens left in cages with living hens. It showed hens covered in manure from the hens in the cages above them. It showed hens with massive wounds left untreated. It showed eggs covered in the hens’ blood and manure. Eggs: “nature’s perfect food!”
Cal-Maine recalled “24,000 dozen,” which is to say 288,000 eggs on Friday, Nov. 5, because one of its suppliers had had its eggs test positive for Salmonella Enteriditis! This supplier, Ohio Fresh Eggs, LLC in Croton, Ohio, presumably still keeps its hens in battery cages, as the agreement reached in January of this year prohibits the building of new battery cages. Looking at the photos of the Cal-Maine facility in Texas, it’s not hard to see how naughty Salmonella might hop from the hens’ excrement to their eggs. California’s egg-eaters and its chickens are so lucky for Prop. 2, right? Except that one of the recalled brands sells eggs all over California, ha ha ha.
Scream Sorbet opens in Oakland! A field report from the amazing (and intoxicated) Megan!
Megan of Such a Vegan and Sugar Beat Sweets fame is adorable and delightful and also, DRIZ-UNK! That’s just how we like our adorable and delightful ladies! We got this field report (read: email) from her letting us know about the opening of Scream Sorbet's storefront in Oakland (that stuff is delicious!) and I’m just gonna print the email in its entirety because I love it very much and it’s filled with useful info! BAM:
LAURA!!!!! I was getting Lanesplitters with a friend tonight in Temescal, hence the terrible typing as I am super drunk, but I was all ready to go home on my bike and shit when I saw a HUGE sign at the corner of Telegraph and 51st, that said SCREAM SORBET and I straight up screeched on my brakes and locked up my bike again and ran in there like “OMG YOU HAVE A STOREFRONT” and the girl at the counter was like, we do! And I was like HOLY SHIT! And she was like, I know! They have little 12oz. containers of the ice cream (no scoops yet), and cookie sammiches. Sadly, the cookies are not vegan, BUT in the future once their store is more open-like (it is straight-up bare in there so far but has SO MUCH potential to be SUPER CUTE OMG) they’re going to have vegan cookie sammiches, and gluten-free (GF) cookie sammiches, and VEGAN GF cookie sammiches! My little gluten-intolerant heart was overjoyed. I seriously walked out of there wanting to give a hug to every panhandler in Temescal—which, btdubs, is straight-up Berkeley, I don’t care what zip code it is or whatever, Temescal is so Berkeley. It’s like diet Berkeley, because there’s still panhandlers and graffiti, but still Berkeley. I almost got hit by like three Mercedes (Mercedeses?) riding my bike there WTF why are cyclists maligned for doing something good?! But anyway! The girl at the counter was super duper nice and I bought some kettle corn sorbet (OMG WHUT how is that even possible) which is so goddamn amazing I cannot even begin to describe. My commute is exactly 2.8 miles there and that will be calories WELL EARNED. But like, it’s totally worth it to go all the way up there, because it’s right by Lanesplitters, and Burma Superstar! VEGAN DATE!!! OK. I wanted to share. They’ve been open for two days apparently. Also no pic of the store because I was too busy telling the girl how all the vegans in SF Bay Area were gonna be flocking to that shit pronto!!!! She seemed sorta confused but happy!! <3 Megs
p.s. I almost forgot!!!!! Lanesplitters has vegan sausage now!!!!! I got it and it was pretty good!!!!
Amazing, right? Adorable, right? Also, she got Kettle Corn flavor (love their crazy flavors! They are somehow delicious) and here’s what the cute-ass tub of it looks like:
Let’s all go this weekend! See you THERE!
[this report has been edited very minimally for clarity]
Vegan baked goods taking over: Babycakes opens in Disney World!
YOU GUYS! There is a Babycakes in Disney World! Can you imagine? Vegan, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free baked goods at DISNEY WORLD? News like this is what keeps us going when the bestselling cookbooks are all about dismembering animals at home. Vegan diets are the future, and our first victory will be over baked goods.
OK mrs. philosophical, but how did Babycakes even get to Orlando? Well! Disney at large, in an effort to be healthier, ended their contracts with McDonald’s. Just dumped them! And then invited, “among many, many, many others” Babycakes to be part of a healthier Disney project. Erin McKenna, being a clever and enterprising lady, agreed, and two years later, we have Babycakes Disney World!
Remember when all the promotional Disney movie toys came in Happy Meals? I remember specifically really wanting a cheap plastic Ariel toy and getting a really terrible Prince Eric toy instead. He came in a boat that did not float, and his hands were molded all poorly so he didn’t really have defined fingers. Also his skin was gray. I really hated that thing. Those days are over now, right? Or will McDonald’s continue its reign of terror even after Disney has divested itself of all that evil?
How cool is that!? I mean, just a couple years ago the vegan potluck headlines were about FBIdiots “infiltrating” them to find terrorists. Turns out all they really found was a good vegan potato salad recipe. LOLZ! What a bunch of dillweeds. BUT NOW! The freaking WASHINGTON POST has an article about VEGAN POTLUCKS and RESCUED FARM ANIMAL SANCTUARIES—specifically Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Maryland—and it’s all super-positive and shares lots of great vegan Thanksgiving recipes and yeah! Go on with your bad self, Conservative Big Media. I mean that mainly facetiously but in this case, fuck yeah!
Currently 30 percent of North Korean residents are “substantially undernourished,” but every single country save China and South Korea does not want to donate food because the PRK’s government is all nuked up. AHAHA sorry fellow human beings; your government eats up all your food and hordes money you will never see, makes selling or trading your own food illegal, and refuses to shut down its nuclear program despite 30 percent of you already starving! And not one wealthy country that could give you food or the supplies to grow your own will, because we’re all playing a game of nuclear-chicken with your dictator-leader! I guess you’ll just have to rely on the underfunded U.N. World Food Program.
Those lovely reuseable plastic-composite shopping bags all the grocery and drugstores sell now? Some of them are full of lead. YES. Thanks for the Q.C., government! Glad you’re looking out for us as we try to avoid using terrible animal-murdering never-decomposing plastic bags! Solution: canvas. Just use bags made of recycled canvas and you and the environment and the cotton-harvesters will be all right.
And here are your FDA recalls from last week (Nov. 9 to 13)! As the majority of these are non-vegan, maybe let your meat- and cheese-eating pals know about them. And sleep well at night knowing how much lower your risk of bacterial illness is.
Whoa, do not buy any Mauri Gorgonzola cheese, vegetarians and/or omnivores! Any of this cheese with a sell-by date between Jan. 1 through 27 came from a lot that tested positive for E. coli! If you already have some, “return the cheese to the place of purchase or dispose of it in a closed plastic bag and place in a sealed trash can to prevent people or animals, including wild animals, from eating it.” Here’s the best part: it didn’t get tested until after a bunch of people got E. coli O157:H7 poisoning after an October “Cheese Road Show” at Costco stores in Colorado. Now, the Mauri Gorgonzola tested positive for a different strain of E. coli—i.e., not the one that sickened the Cheese Road Show samplers—but considering IT’S STILL E. COLI, don’t eat it.
The following products were affected In 6oz. plastic bags with two cookies Cowboy Cookies Cowgirl Cookies Peanut Butter Classics Gluten Free Chocolate Fudge Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Mint Gluten Free Chocolate Chip
In 8oz. plastic containers Lovely Oh’s Mint Lovely Oh’s Peanut Butter Lovely Oh’s Organic Pretzels
These products were shipped between Oct. 4 and Nov. 15, 2010; if you bought any of these products, Liz Lovely asks that you “return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.” The specific UPCs and affected lot numbers are available on the FDA news page.
For more information, visit Liz Lovely’s website, or contact the company between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST at (802) 496.6390.
Don’t fret! Accidental dairy is WAY less scary than what the meat- and cheese-eaters are always being threatened with, i.e. life-threatening bacteria. Return your sweets, wait until Nov. 24, and buy a new pack that will be absolutely dairy-free, as usual.
On Thursday night at “Vegan Glamour in Designers of the Future,”* Olsenhaus presented a brand-new shoe to add to the label. Why a party for just one shoe? Because the designer, Pratt Institute student William Cherwin, won a challenge to create a shoe for Olsenhaus! And isn’t it gorgeous?
Yes, it is lovely, and totally on-point for spring ‘11. Man I love an ankle strap, but we do not all of us have the narrowest ankles, making a thinner ankle strap unfortunately enthicken the ankle it is strapping. A nice thick ankle wrap, like this one here, however, neatly covers all ankles thick and thin, so whether you’re bothered by your ankles or not—and for your sweet sanity’s sake JUST ACCEPT YOUR ANKLES AND MOVE ON, IGNORE MY INSANITY**—these will be terribly flattering shoes. Also, obviously, these shoes are completely vegan, made of sustainable materials, and part of the profits of their sales will be donated to Farm Sanctuary! Can’t argue with any of that. Not one bit of it.
We’ll be able to get our feet into these pretty pretty shoesies when Elizabeth Olsen releases her upcoming collection.
*Why don’t our parties have such good titles? I bet we could get 100 people to attend the dullest party ever if we named it really well. **Please! All this ridiculousness about ankles! Thank the eras when ladies’ dresses stopped at the neck, wrists, and ankles, and gentlemen were forced to focus their ogling on very small areas of real estate. We should’ve all just been wearing unisex rompers the entire time, then at least we could’ve had equal-opportunity staring.
Gene’s talk will be held at PSR’s Badè Museum, at 1798 Scenic Ave. in Berkeley. There will be a reception at 5:30 p.m., and Gene will speak at 6:30; the event should last until 8. It’s free! thanks to the sponsorship of PSR’s Theological Roundtable on Ecological Ethics and Spirituality and the Farm Animal Protection Project.
Basically, East Bay-ers, if you have the time to get over to this talk on Thursday, you should. Obviously San Franciscans, too, but it is a little early for 9-to-6ers. The point is, it’s Gene Baur! He co-founded Farm Sanctuary in 1986! Before some of you little babies were even born! Here we are stomping around feeling like the Best Vegans Ever, with our Groundbreaking Actions and Special Snowflake Ideas, and Gene Baur was rescuing farm animals before we’d ever seen a cow. Go listen to him talk about his experience; it can help you be a better activist. Remember, activism? The less delicious part of veganism? Learn from a master! It’s one of the privileges of not actually being the groundbreakers.
I went with a tempeh meatloaf base, the traditional layers of mashed potatoes, orange-cranberry sauce, pumpkin bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, and (slightly burnt) Dandies to top it off. Green beans, corn, fried onions, candied walnuts and pecans to decorate!
Sounds freaking delicious!! I think I might have to try my hand at making a meat cake, soon. Looking at all this insanity has truly inspired me.
Berkeley! Do it up at tomorrow's FREE ThanksLIVING event!
If you’re in Berkeley tomorrow, Tuesday Nov. 16 and wants some FREE VEGAN FOOD, look no further than Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy’s Thanksliving event! These kids have Got It Going On food-wise, with great companies like Gardein and Field Roast donating, so you know shiz is gonna be DELICIOUS.
The celebration takes place tomorrow at UC Berkeley’s Upper Sproul from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., but I bet to take full advantage of the free eats, you should probably get there on the earlier side? I know how people (read: me) get around free food, and the words “disgusting” and “insane” come to mind. Organizer Monica Chen says that it’s a particularly great event for omnis because they can try all sorts of amazing vegan options and see that a veg Thanksgiving isn’t just possible, it’s extra delicious! So, bring your grumpalump meat-mouth friends and family and show them the tasty-ass light!
Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! Week nine: VEGAN Battleship Chocolate Bundt Cake with Sour Cherry Compote!
Does our ninth guest chef really need another introduction? You guys, it’s TERRY HOPE ROMERO! She is a PROFESSIONAL. She wrote her own post! She commented on the episode! She veganized AND personalized the original recipe so you will want to and be able to make it yourself. Did she time her recipe to sync up with National Bundt Pan Day? Possibly, the woman is magic. And here she is!
When Vegansaurus asked me to participate in the veganization of the most recent winning recipe of Just Desserts it was my perfect excuse to pull away from the computer and open up a fresh bag of vegan sugar. And of course vicariously live through the pain and triumph of the contestants, but at home and without the fuss of wearing pants. Who knows, maybe you’re not even wearing pants while reading this post. But I know you like dessert; either way I now salute you with cake.
However, last week’s show was a nightmare of confectionery request: teetering towers of anniversary sponge layers, buckets of fondant and food coloring (oh, Zac), all smothered in mounds of buttercream. Where are the glistening crèmes, chocolate ganache or decadent tortes, Just Desserts? How mean a challenge was that? And don’t get me started on decorating: after baking thousands of cupcakes by now, with a pastry bag full of frosting I don’t often go beyond a swirl or a dollop. Who has precious time to spare when honest, tasty vegan cake is what the world needs right now?
This to-the-point recipe stars a fluffy chocolate cake brushed with brandy syrup. Syrup-brushed cakes stay fresh longer, plus you have the thrill of soaking dessert with booze. I love the easygoing joy of serving cake with ice cream: pair it either with homemade Greek-style frozen soy yogurt, or your favorite vanilla soy or coconut-based ice cream. Chocolate and cherries is a favorite combo of mine too, so the sour cherry compote (also kinda Greeky) stays. It’s the ideal compliment to the sweet cake and tart, gently sweetened soy froyo.
Battleship Chocolate Bundt Cake with Sour Cherry Compote makes one cake; serves 1 cake monster or 12 others Time: 45 minutes bake, about 10 to mix
A Bundt pan adds a badass sculpted look to this tender, fluffy chocolate cake that gets additional depth from modern-day chocolate soy milk and old-fashioned strongly brewed coffee. Serve naked as-is, or tastefully dress it up with a brushing of brandy syrup and swoosh of sweet & sour cherry compote.
Ingredients Cake 3 Tbsp. finely ground flax seed 1 cup hot, strong-brewed coffee 1¼ chocolate soy or almond milk 1 tsp. vanilla 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped ¾ cup canola oil 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar 2 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder 2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon ½ tsp. salt (tip: Brew extra-strong coffee, stronger than you could actually drink, for a fully flavored cake)
Brandy Syrup ⅓ cup sugar ⅓ cup water 2 Tbsp. brandy (Metaxa is Greek brandy if you want to keep the theme going)
Sour Cherry Compote 8 oz. dried cherries 2 ⅓ cups pomegranate juice drink 1 Tbsp. agave nectar 2 tsp. red wine vinegar fresh lemon juice
Instructions Cake Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 12-cup Bundt cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large measure cup combine hot coffee and ground flax seed and set aside for 5 minutes, then stir in chocolate soy milk. In a microwave-safe, large bowl melt chocolate at 50 percent power (or melt chocolate over a double boiler, whatever works for you) for 45 seconds to 1 minute, then stir chocolate with a rubber spatula until melted. Stir in canola oil and sugar and mix to thoroughly combine.
In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Form a well in the center, scrape in the chocolate mixture and then pour in about half of the coffee mixture. Mix just enough to moisten ingredients then add remaining coffee mixture, stirring to combine. Do not over mix, only make sure no remaining dry flour mixture remains. Pour batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to get every last drop from the bowl to the pan. Bake undisturbed (no peeking!) for 45 minutes then test center of cake with a wooden toothpick: toothpick should come out clean—a few crumbs are OK. Do not over-bake cake. Remove cake from oven and cook in pan for 15 minutes. Place a serving plate on top of cake and invert pan, lightly tap top of pan before removing. Allow cake to cool another 10 minutes then brush with brandy syrup. Brush with syrup several times, making sure to cover both outside and insides of Bundt cake.
Brandy Syrup In a small saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes until sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat, cool for 2 minutes and stir in brandy.
Cherry Compote Heat pomegranate drink in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming and simmering. Add cherries, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. In a food processor puree cherries into a chunky mixture with agave nectar and wine vinegar. Taste and adjust sweet/sour flavor with lemon juice and more agave if desired. Compote will thicken slightly as it cools.
Frozen soy yogurt with orange flower water Serves 4 to 6
In homage to Danielle’s intriguing Greek yogurt ice cream here’s a simple frozen soy yogurt lightly sweetened with agave and flavored with orange flower water. Remember that orange flower water does not taste like oranges: it has a light floral flavor commonly found in Mediterranean sweets. Can’t find it? Omit it and add more vanilla extract (or a little almond extract).
This soy frozen yogurt should be served immediately after freezing in the ice cream maker. If packed and frozen for more than an hour it will get overly hard and require thawing. Either way, this froyo is tart and light; add more agave for a sweeter yogurt or use sweetened plain soy or coconut yogurt.
Ingredients 24 oz. plain soy or coconut yogurt, unsweetened or sweetened ½ cup or more to taste light agave nectar 2 tsp. orange flower water (not orange extract!) 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions In a mixing bowl beat yogurt until smooth, then stir in agave nectar, flower water and vanilla. Taste and adjust sweetness by adding more agave if desired. Freeze according to ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 minutes should suffice for a firm frozen yogurt. Serve immediately with cake and warm compote.
To serve, use a very sharp, think knife to slice cake into thick slices and serve with 2 or 3 generous tablespoons of warm cherry compote and a scoop of frozen yogurt/ice cream. Serve immediately! Great with dark roast drip coffee or strong Greek-style coffee.
Terry Hope Romero bakes her cake, eats it too and likes to pretend she’s cooking on a pirate ship when in her home kitchen base in Queens, NYC. She is co-author of Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and her most recent book is also her first solo, Viva Vegan! 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers. Visit her at veganlatina.com.
We need people to show up to the Animal Welfare Commission meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. in room 408 of San Francisco City Hall. Find City Hall at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, right off the Civic Center Bart/Muni station!
Adoptable animals are being killed in SF shelters, and if you’d like to express your opinion about making SF a no-kill city, PLEASE COME! The fact is thousands of adoptable animals are put down every year because they fail a ridiculously hard temperament test, or have minor health problems, or are too old, or are a breed considered “violent” and “dangerous.” You know, racism.
Here’s exactly what they’ll be discussing:
5. Unfinished Business A) The Commission will discuss and take possible action to table indefinitely the issue of whether or not San Francisco should mandate that all city shelters not euthanize any adoptable animal or any animal that would be adoptable after behavioral or medical intervention. The Commission has discussed various aspects of this issue over the course of the past two years. In May 2010, the Commission said it would revisit the issue in three months, and this agenda item fulfills that commitment. [Discussion/Action Item] [Commissioner Brooks]
San Francisco does an admirable job of re-homing thousands of homeless animals each year, far better than most cities, but we do have the resources, the rescue groups, and the ability to make that number even higher. The more pressure we put on the city to make this happen, the more likely it will happen. It’ll take less than an hour of your time and has the potential to help thousands and thousands of animals. Plus, you get to see our government! at! work! And usually a fair amount of crazy people, too. You know you love it.
If there is a god, these vegan meat cakes will keep coming. They’re a very strong factor in whether or not I can get out of bed and face the day. Honestly, I was just lying in bed and now I am not and that is all thanks to vegan meat cakes.
Nonprofit rescues Omega, the chain-smoking chimp and sends him to sanctuary! Yay!
So, you know how chimpanzees are stolen from their moms (who are often killed and used for bush meat) when they’re a couple months old and are cute and cuddly little playthings? Then some shortsighted person in not-Africa “raises” them until they’re about five or six years old, until they grow big and strong and start biting fingers off their human “parents” or trainers or patrons at restaurants in Lebanon where they are forced to dance for food? When that happens, they are often sent to labs, breeders, or roadside zoos in fucked up places. That’s the backstory on our pal Omega, the chain-smoking chimp in Lebanon. He had a fucked up childhood, dancing like a monkey (HE IS NOT A MONKEY) at some restaurant, and when he got too big, he was sold to a creepy piece of shit zoo in Lebanon where he LIVES IN A CAGE and HAS NO FRIENDS and CHAIN-SMOKES CIGARETTE BUTTS. Ah, humans! We are so rad!
But here’s some good news! The nonprofit Animals Lebanon took on the task of getting Omega into a sanctuary. In fact, Animals Lebanon, re-homed all the animals in the shit-tastic zoo. Yay them! They found a home for Mr. Omega 10,000 miles away in Brazil, at the Curitiba Sanctuary, which looks like a huge step up for the big guy. You can read Animals Lebanon’s recounting of getting Omega to the sanctuary here (it’s a good read!).