vegansaurus!

Apr 07

NYC: Young’s vegan pop-up is back this May!

imageHello, friends! I told you I was going to Young’s first pop-up restaurant a few weeks ago but I’ve yet to tell you how it was. It was fun! It was pretty hectic but I assume that will work itself out as there are more events. It was also pretty cramped, so I think when I go back I will bring 3 friends so we get our own table. Otherwise, you share. People were nice though, I just like my space. Oh and the staff was so nice and so amazing! Seriously, our server was so nice and very knowledgeable about the food. But, most importantly of all, the food was yummy! My pictures came out dark so Young’s sent me some of these lovely photos Kate Lewis of my favorite dishes. 

Our favorite dish was the carrot spaetzele (pictured up top)! It was a sweet and savory noodle dish. The roasted carrots on top were a perfect mix of sweet and charred!

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Here’s the banana split of Neapolitan ice cream, black cherries and hot fudge. One hundred thumbs up! The chocolate ice cream was so chocolatey, I almost died.

We also loved the smoked hen of the woods mushroom dish but the hummus under it could have been more exciting. I like hummus but I’ve just had so much of it by now! But the mushroom was excellent. I loved the smoky flavor and the texture was perfect.  

If you missed this pop-up or just want more, I’m happy to tell you the next Young’s pop-up is here! Young’s will be hosting another all vegan dinner at Old Bowery Station on May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Get your tickets here! It’s $40 for dinner and then a little more for the beer or cocktail pairing (the beer and cocktail pairing have gone down a little, so I think I will def spring for the beer pairing). I hear tickets are selling out fast so if you want to go, get your ticket asap! The menu looks good! It’s 3 courses and stars fava beans (my favarite!), ramps, and beets. Quite the trifecta! 

Cookbook Review: Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon!

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Another day, another fantastic cookbook for review! Today we are featuring The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon. This cookbook is based off  the popular vegan cooking blog of the same name, which you may have visited and even cooked from yourself!

First of all, this cookbook is gorgeous! There are 100 recipes featured, with each recipe given it’s own page of text and full-page, color photograph! I love this, as sometimes I find myself making recipes that aren’t turning out, and I have no idea how they’re supposed to look, which can lead to confusion and frustration in the kitchen. That’s why I love making recipes from blog posts so much! 75 of the recipes in Angela’s cookbook are new, while 25 of them are from her most popular blog posts, just updated. Her recipes are made with “real, whole-foods ingredients,” packed with vegetables and few processed foods. Each recipe is also classified regarding food sensitivities and allergies, so gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free and nut-free labels abound! 

Before we get to the food, I want to add that everything I made turned out as beautiful as the pictures featured*, which the author deserves credit for, for creating easy-to-follow recipes with vibrant ingredients. This is definitely a book for those looking to add some “cleaner” recipes to their repertoire! 

The first two recipes I made were the Eat Your Greens Detox Soup and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fingerling Potatoes and Rosemary. imageIt was a lot of green in one sitting, but my bod needed it! The soup was maybe not something I would serve guests, but make for myself when I’ve had a long weekend or late night out. It just felt good to eat it. And how can one go wrong with roasted Brussels sprouts and potatoes with fresh rosemary? The answer: you can’t! The potatoes were approved by my 18 month old niece, Audrey, which is one of the highest forms of praise in this household. She is demanding more as I type! 

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Next up I made the Marinated Italian Mushrooms because Bradleys love marinated mushrooms. I have always bought them at the store, not realizing how easy they are to make! The homemade version is delicious, and will be a staple now in my home for years to come! 

When I was flipping through Oh She Glows, deciding what to make, I came across the Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich, and it was a done deal. I am a huge fan of adding Vegenaise to anything and calling it a salad. Liddon’s version did not disappoint; I was blown away by how flavorful and colorful it was! Disclaimer: I did not add the pickles it called for because I do not swing that way. imageI slathered this salad on sliced sourdough bread, because any respectable sandwich comes on sourdough when you grow up in the Bay Area. 

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Last but very certainly not least, I made the Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole. Talk about a sight and taste sensation! This guacamole is beautiful. There is a bit of prep involved, to chop all the fruits, but it is SO WORTH IT. One doesn’t even need chips for this, it’s great by the spoonful! 

I recommend this cookbook because it stays true to it’s word: “Vegan Recipes to Glow From the Inside Out.” The recipes I made, at least, made me feel good. They weren’t particularly tricky to make, they were just a little time consuming, as anything chock full of vegetables will be. There are so many more recipes within these pages I can’t wait to make, including her Summertime Cherry-Basil Bruschetta (Megan Rascal told me she loves bruschetta! Maybe I can finally lure her back to California for a visit by making it [Megan Rascal note: YEP SOUNDS PROBABLE BRUSCHETTA FOR LIFE]) and the Roasted Beet Salad with Hazelnuts, Thyme and Balsamic Reduction! 

Full Disclosure: I was sent this cookbook free from the publishing company for review, however, all of the opinions stated above are my own. 

*Well, my food may have turned out beautifully in real life, but I’m no food photographer! Angela Liddon not only created all of her recipes, she also shot all the food within the pages herself! 

Apr 04

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Cookbook review: Mayim’s Vegan Table!

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I just received Mayim Bialik’s debut vegan cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table, and I absolutely love it. I have had so much fun making the recipes out of this book. They are easy to follow with super accessible ingredients. I got the feeling this book is catered towards people who are new at veganism or feeding picky, young eaters, but I think anyone can enjoy it! While it can be exciting to make challenging recipes with multiple, unusual ingredients, most of the time I want to make quick meals that are big on flavor. In that respect, Mayim’s cookbook definitely delivers! Like, WHOA! 

The first recipe I made was the creamed cornbread, which is pictured above. I never would have thought of using creamed corn. It added a texture to the cornbread that was both soft and incredibly moist! This recipe did call for quite a bit of maple syrup, which I could see some people very much enjoying, but I would definitely cut down on that next time, maybe even adding some jalapeños. But don’t take that as me criticizing: I very much like having recipes in my repertoire that are delicious in their original form, but can also be easily tweaked to suit my own palate!

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The next recipe I made were the brussels sprouts chips. I meant to share these with my dad, but I ended up eating them all in one sitting. Oops! Peeling the layers of brussels sprouts is not much fun, but the result is so spectacular that I don’t mind doing it again! I hadn’t had roasted brussels sprouts chips since I last went to Social Brewery and Kitchen, so this was quite the treat.

imageMayim’s cheese sauce shows up in a few different places in her book, so I decided to give it a whirl, on it’s own. I used Daiya mozzarella, and in place of wheat flour, I substituted rice flour. I was curious if this recipe could hold up gluten-free. Good news: it does! I think many gluten-free substitutes, such as flour, breadcrumbs and pasta, can be used in the same ration without compromising the taste in her recipes. That is just another reason I am loving this book!  

imageI baked the cheese sauce atop enchiladas (my own recipe, not the ones featured in the book). I was very pleased with the consistency of this sauce freshly made as well as baked in the oven! I could see using this sauce not only on the enchiladas and mac’n cheese in the book, but also with burgers and chili cheese dogs! 

Next up, I made the soft pretzels. These were an Instagram favorite, but I have to admit, I already knew that would be the case! image
I knew I had to make the pretzels, both for myself and because if I’m going to do a review, pretzels are going to be the hit. I am super with-it, when it comes to food trends! My first thought was “Oh no, working with bread dough is so tedious.”, but I should have known better! Mayim’s recipe couldn’t have been easier or faster to make. One thing: the recipe says it makes eight, but then only has you form four pretzels. I only made four and they were huge! So next time I will make eight. I brought two over to my sister and her husband, who are both particular about food. They LOVED THESE PRETZELS, and keep demanding more! So, don’t just take it from me that they are incredible. 

imageThe very last recipe I made were the baked zucchini chips! They were fantastic and I ate them all in one sitting. Four zucchini have never disappeared so quickly! I didn’t have any vegan parmesan, and even though the recipe said that ingredient was optional, I wanted a cheesy taste. I diced up some Daiya mozzarella instead, and I thought it worked pretty well. Of course, I then had to dip them in Sriracha, because, what else? 

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So, that’s that! There are so many more recipes I can’t wait to make, including her Matzo ball soup and falafel! The cookbook contains more than 100 recipes, with appetizer, bread, sauce, breakfast, entree and dessert sections. There is also a sweet introduction, leading up to nutritional information for vegans and a few how-tos. If you are in the market for a new cookbook, I think Mayim’s Vegan Table is definitely worth checking out! 

Full Disclosure: The publishing company sent me this book free for review, however, all of the opinions stated in this post are mine. 

Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use: Could you handle this challenge?

Do you think *you* could handle our Great Crate Challenge? More than half a million other viewers have already watched our new video to see what it’s all about. Check it out and share!

My alma mater, George Washington Univ., was kind enough to profile me in its alumni magazine. Neil (the dog) makes my ears appear to stick out less compared to his…

Wondering what HSUS is doing for farm animals? Check out this cool new short video. Also, theAssociated Press had a fascinating story about HSUS’s 60-year history this week that’s well worth reading.

Finally, the NY Times published a potent cover story yesterday about the booming demand for meat-free meals and how delicious plant-based meats are now.

Have a rockin’ weekend, friends!

Paul Shapiro
Vice President, Farm Animal Protection
The Humane Society of the United States
Follow at http://twitter.com/pshapiro

P.S. Video of the week: Think we’re the only species to play soccer? Ask these turkeys.

Apr 02

Get gourmet Philly pretzels right here in Brooklyn!

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You KNOW your friend Megan Rascal loves the Philly pretzels. So how excited was I when I heard about Pelzer’s Pretzels? Hint: SO EXCITED! 

Pelzer’s Pretzels, located in Crown Heights, BK, was started by a Philly transplant, in the hopes of bringing the Philadelphia soft pretzel game to NYC. Because really, Philly soft pretzels should be as ubiquitous across the country as the prison industrial complex! If not more so!

I emailed with Pelzer’s to find out if they had any vegan options. They have some meaty and cheesy pretzels but their everything, original and cran-mary are totally vegan! I even double checked because the pretzels were so shiny I thought they must be an egg-wash—nope! Veegs! Pelzer’s sent me those three varieties for free to try and some of their spicy beer mustard too. I shared the pretzels with my coworkers because I’m so nice to them. They were a hit! The spicy beer mustard went like hotcakes. 

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You can see just by looking that they are not like regular Philly pretzels, these are on some gourmet steez. They remind me of this super delicious pretzel I had at the Zurich airport once (Megan Rascal: International Hassle). The outside/skin/whatever is so amazing! It’s flavorful and thick and awesome. 

I liked the original of course, and I liked the everything. I thought the everything would be my favorite as I’m an everything-enthusiast, and while I really liked the everything, I’m head over heels for the cran-mary! It’s cranberry and rosemary, if you didn’t get the name. I’m not super into cranberries but they were SO GOOD in the pretzel. And the rosemary? HAVE MERCY. 

You’ll also like this bit from their about us: 

As the source for artisanal Philadelphia style soft pretzels in New York City, Pelzer’s Pretzels is committed to making wholesome and delicious pretzels from the best available ingredients, providing fair wages and promoting worker dignity, and investing long-term in our local Brooklyn community.

Love it! Totally Philly style too. Without the massive chip on the shoulder part. 

You can stop by their storefront or, if you live in Brooklyn, you can have them delivered for a few bucks! I wish I could have everything delivered. Work, love, etc. But especially PRETZELS! 

In conclusion, these are a can’t-miss for any pretzel-lover and a definite boon for the accidentally-vegan Brooklyn food scene! All thumbs up!

Keepin’ It Kind’s Tofu Chèvre recipe is a vegan cheesy grand-slam!

imageChèvre, olive oil, balsamic reduction*, fresh chopped tomatoes and julienned basil on toasted slices of sourdough baguette. 

I am quite the vegan cheese connoisseur, and by that I mean I enjoy all of it**, especially the most expensive varieties! Right now, however, I am living in a place where the only vegan food I can trust comes from my own kitchen, fancy cheese included. There’s no Kite Hill for miles in these parts. I can’t complain too much though, as the olive oil and wine produced here are pretty fab!

Last week I wanted to treat myself, with as little work and ingredients as possible. Fortunately for me, I had bookmarked Keepin’ It Kind’s tofu chèvre, saving the recipe for a rainy day! Just kidding, I live in SoCal now, which means it was most definitely not raining the morning I made this! It was however, reigning Breaking Amish on Netfilx in my kitchen all day, that’s for sure! Man, I loved watching those four Amish and one Mennonite, making their way through the big apple. Oh, how I miss city life!

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Alright, enough TV talk (we can use Twitter for that), let’s get to the cheese. I was stoked at just how easy this recipe was to follow, and that the results following were spectacular! I did change it a little, because tahini is not something I ever have on hand, nor was I willing to buy it for a half tablespoon. I substituted a little more miso (which means I should’ve cut back on the salt) and lemon. When this baby came out of the oven it took everything I had not to just eat it by the spoonful. By the time it cooled I had only about half a log left, which I used to make the most delectable bruschetta of my life! 

imageChèvre, olive oil, balsamic reduction, avocado and julienned basil. 

I can’t recommend this recipe enough, as it’s both scrumptious and elegant! I’m making it for every party I host or attend in the future, because the world needs to know about this vegan cheese! My fave part was that not only did I make an artisanal cheese at home, it was a fraction of the cost of most vegan items on the market. I can’t wait to make this pesto and chèvre grilled cheese sammie and then this pizza! Who’s coming for dinner? I heard a rumor that Kristy Turner, of Keepin’ It Kind, may be working on a cookbook and so you better believe I’ll be ordering online from the seat I’m in right now first in line for that hard copy!

*You don’t have bother looking up a recipe for balsamic reduction, unless you like things exact. I simmered about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar for approximately 20 minutes. It hardens as it cools, so don’t worry if it doesn’t seem syrupy enough when it’s warm. Don’t use a whole bottle of vinegar for a glaze you’ll use twice. Or do whatever you want, it’s your fridge space! 

**Never the FYH vegan cheddar though. NEVER THE CHEDDAR.

Sea Bakin’: Crispy, savory, aquatic vegan treats!

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The three glorious flavors of Sea Bakin’

I am a fan of sea vegetables in pretty much any form (hello, B12 source!), but let’s face it, when it’s in the form of “bakin’” (aka crunchy, flavorful awesomeness), I want IN on that action!!

I’d heard that the makers of Sea Bakin’, The Great and Wonderful Sea of Change Trading Company (say THAT three times fast) were walking around Natural Products Expo West, but (sadly) I missed running into them. I was so bummed—I wanted to eat free vegan bakin’, ya’ll!!! Thankfully, I have an in with them (an old friend from my DC raver days, but that’s a WHOLE other story), and they kindly sent me samples of all three flavors to try. Score! The flavors are Garden Vegetable, Maple, and Thai BBQ. I think the Garden Vegetable was my fave, but I liked them all! 

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Up close and personal. They aren’t that pretty but they sure are tasty!

They have a unique texture, but if I were to compare them to anything, I’d say they’re a hybrid of flavored kale chips and toasted seaweed snacks. Seriously deeeeeelish! I ate them alone, and I tried them sprinkled on salads and tofu scrambles. 

Where do you get these delicious little snackys you ask? Their website says they’re available in natural food stores across California (and they’re working on other places), but you can also order directly from them

And finally, what’s a post about bakin’ without some Bacon?!

Apr 01

Review: Vanessa Elise Skincare in San Francisco! Vegansaurus readers get 20% off!

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Vegan skincare is a tricky one, and I often find myself confused by ingredients and labeling when it comes to cosmetics. Thank goodness then for Vanessa Elise Skincare, a one-stop vegan shop for all your facial and waxing needs, based in San Francisco! I’ve known Vanessa for a while and not only is she a dedicated, very knowledgeable and completely professional esthetician, she is a fantastic, thorough and patient teacher at Marinello. She was one of my first roommates and friends in San Francisco, and it’s been so much fun watching her grow within her career!

I don’t trust many people or skin care products with my complexion, but I have no problem surrendering to Vanessa’s expertise. She gave me my very first facial at Marinello School of Beauty in downtown San Francisco, for which I was kind of nervous. I was her “model” and not only had I never had a facial before, I was going to get one in front of her students. Vanessa’s humor, professionalism and demeanor put me completely at ease and it was such a fun experience. I was stoked when she asked me to visit her Style Seat location months later, because my skin looked so impressive after that first facial. I appreciate that Vanessa understands not only the importance of what a vegan lifestyle means to certain members of her clientele, but what food allergies mean in terms of the kind of products she uses. She does her research not only based on cruelty-free products, but for all the various skin types and allergies as well! She has assessed I have sensitive skin, which I never really considered before, but is now so obvious. Vanessa has given me so many valuable tips* about how to care for my particular skin type, for which I am eternally grateful. This second time I went to see her, the stress of making a long-distance move had reared itself on my complexion and I was embarrassed. She assured me that she had my back, as she was in the business of fixing faces. What a relief! Vanessa also tinted my eyebrows, a procedure I had never had done before! She went back and forth about it, worried that tinting my brows would make them too dark against my pale skin and light hair. That is until I cried, “IT’S SO GWEN STEFANI, DO IT!” My friend Britney was in the room and not only laughed at my outburst, she was so impressed by my brows, she had Vanessa shape hers!

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That’s me, getting a facial! Photo by Britney Roque

Enough about my experience, let’s get to know the woman behind Vanessa Elise Skincare a little bit more. Tell us more about yourself, Vanessa!

I’ve been a licensed Esthetician since 2006. I am still teaching the Esthetics program at Marinello, and I’ve been here since last Spring. Previous places I’ve worked were Super/Perricone MD, Sephora, Pure Beauty, Always Tan Skin & Body. The things I consider to be my specialties are brows and treating problem skin (acne/clogged pores, sun damage/hyperpigmentation), but I offer facials for all skin types and ages. I do chemical peels (lactic, glycolic, TCA) and use microcurrent to lift, red LED to stimluate collagen and firm, and ultrasonic technology to exfoliate and infuse products into the skin. My whole concept is that professional skincare should be results-oriented AND cruelty-free, and that people shouldn’t have to compromise on either one of those things. I wanted to create a space where clients could feel confident that they are going to get the results they want, be it clear skin, beautiful eyebrows, or a basic bikini wax, with products that are ethical and luxurious at the same time.

The products I use and sell are from Skin Script and Dawn Lorraine Conscious Skincare. Neither line is 100% vegan, but all of the products I have from them are. I also sell Hurraw! Lip Balms. Dawn Lorraine is made up Nevada City, and the line uses organic ingredients whenever possible (meaning, when it will not compromise the effectiveness of the product), is paraben and pthalate free, uses eco-friendly packaging and supports animal and environmental protection. Plus it smells AMAZING. I use skinscript to fill in the gaps where Dawn didn’t have vegan options, mostly for acne stuff, and my professional enzymes and peels.

Right now, Vanessa is offering vegan facials and waxing treatments a couple days a week in downtown San Francisco, using Style Seat. If you are interested in booking an appointment with Vanessa, you can do so hereShe has generously offered 20% services for Vegansaurus readers’ first visit, so let her know you found out about her here! Be sure to follow her on both Facebook and Twitter, as she is always offering specials to current and future clients! You an learn more about Vanessa and her campaign to open her own skincare studio here

*Valuable tips include the importance of eye cream (the skin around your eyes has no oil glands and needs the extra moisture of eye cream to help keep wrinkles at bay. Drier areas of the body show age quickly) and not using an exfoliator, no matter how gentle, on my sensitive cheeks. 

Full Disclosure: Vanessa did give me my Style Seat facial on the house, but I was so impressed, with both my skin and the products that she used, I purchased the exfoliator and moisturizer, and I have contributed to a past IndieGoGo campaign to get her started. I will definitely be booking an appointment with her during my next visit to San Francisco. I still can’t get over how clean my face feels after visiting Vanessa! 

Images courtesy Vanessa Elise Skincare. 

How to make kale chips! Spoiler: It’s easy!

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Many of you are prob like duh, I been making kale chips longer than you’ve been out of rehab! But I had never made them until a few weeks ago and now I’m addicted. It did take some trial and error though so I thought I’d share my methods for the first-timers in the crowd. 

I also want to add that I wasn’t that into kale. I don’t like it raw and I don’t really like it steamed. But I love kale chips! So if you aren’t that into kale either, you should definitely give chips a try if you want to find a way to like this uber-nutritious green. 

Ok so set your oven to 300 degrees. 

I like curly leaf kale best so that is what I would go with. First, wash your kale! Get it all clean. And then I lay the leaves out on paper towel to dry. You want them dry! Then I take each leaf, pat it a bit more, and place it on a cutting board. 

Now, here is where my special method kicks in. My problem the first time making kale chips was too much olive oil! Too much olive oil means they will be soggy and won’t crisp up or will take forever to crisp up. That’s bad. But I couldn’t figure out how to put some oil on, but not too much. Then I had a genius idea! I took paper towel and doused it with olive oil, then I rubbed the paper towel over the full leaf. PERFECTO! 

So take some paper towel and get it wet with oil. Rub over both sides of the leaf, dabbing a bit at the edges to make sure they get some oil. Then you take a knife and slice out the stem. I hear the stem is very bitter. Bleh. Then you cut or rip the rest of the leaf into about two inch pieces. 

Now place them on a big ol’ cookie sheet (or lasagna pan if you are me and lost your cookie sheet). Arrange them in a single layer. Then sprinkle with salt and Nutritional Yeast, if you want to (you totally want to!)). If you have more kale pieces than fit in a single layer, you will have to do the chips in batches. Unless you have like one kale leaf, you will be doing this in batches. 

Ok place the sheet in the oven. It will only take about 9 or 10 minutes for the chips to be ready! They should be crispy like leaves on the ground in the fall and a little shriveled. You can check on them at 7 or 8 minutes to see how they are doing. You can flip them too if you want, but I don’t think it’s necessary with the curly. If you use Lacinato kale, you should prob flip them half way through (I just flip them with my bare hands, the chips themselves aren’t very hot). 

And then you have kale chips! THEY ARE THE BEST I WANT TO EAT THEM ALL THE TIME.