vegansaurus!

04/14/2014

Blossom Du Jour goodies now available at NYC Whole Foods!  »

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Check it out! Whole Foods and Blossom Du Jour have teamed up to bring you Blossom goodies on the go. They will be rolling out a lot of products over the next year but the first out are Almond Biscotti Chips, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Double Choco Brownie Bites, Oatmeal Cookies & Pot Pies. POT PIES?! YES!

The line debuted at the Chelsea Whole Foods last Friday. I haven’t tried anything yet but best believe I’m getting pot pies as soon as I can get my chunky hands on them. And if they box up the vegan cronuts OMG!!!

04/04/2014

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. 

08/14/2013

NYC Review: Blossom du Jour in Chelsea!  »

Blossom restaurants in New York invited Megan and I to try their newest outpost, Blossom du Jour Chelsea!

Megan: It’s a fast-food kind of place. Not like Foodswings with all the (delicious, delicious) junk food, but it seems like mostly a place you’d grab a sandwich to go. They do have some cafe tables that we took to eat. 

Meave: It’s a nook. An adorable nook. If I worked or lived around here, I’d pop in all the time, but it’s not a place that looks designed to linger at.

Megan: We decided to try one of their many sandwiches. It was a tough choice but we powered through. Now behold, The Avocado Griller: ”in-house grilled rosemary lemon un-chicken, fresh avocado, v-pesto mayo, crisp romaine lettuce” (note, ours pictured below is on ciabatta). The first thing I did was immediately drop half the sandwich on the floor because I’m the super genius. But when I took a bite of the second half, I ‘bout died. SO GOOD. In my non-veggie days (2000? Wow), I used to enjoy chicken and avocado sandwiches and it was totally like that BUT WITH PESTO! And yummy bread! So, yeah, this sandwich is amazing. I want to eat it everyday. Oh and they deliver! But just a block short of my office. *Sad face*

Look at this and tell me you’re not dead:

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Meave: I ate the protected innards of the fallen sandwich, because I have no class. Megan’s right, it was amazing. I would’ve added tomato and pepperoncinis, but I’m impossible to please. The pesto and avocado combo is pretty unbeatable, though, so rich and creamy.

Megan: We also got this chickpea and quinoa salad. I just don’t love salads (“a vegan who doesn’t like salad?! What the whaaa?” —my dad) so I wasn’t that excited by it but the dressing was interesting and good. 

Meave: It was nice with the dried cranberries hidden in there, chewy little sweet bits of contrast to the mixed greens and tangy dressing. I was surprised to find it in a plastic box in the premade food fridge, but again, this seems like a grab-and-go sort of place, and if you’re in a hurry you don’t want someone making your salad fresh, so it makes sense. And it was a fine salad.

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Megan: As we were thirsty, we decided to try one of their special juices. Neither Meave nor I are that into the big juice fad but we decided to try the Pretty In Pink. Lo and behold: it was yummy! Refreshing and not thick or anything like I expect all those healthy juices to be. 

Meave: I am not into “juicing” as an “eating alternate” or “ridiculous overpriced nonsense lifestyle,” but I do miss the juicer I left behind when I moved to New York this year, and the cheap, good produce I was constantly putting into it. The pineapple-beet-apple combo is sweet and sour and crisp, very easy to drink.

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Megan: They also have all kinds of baked goods! Like chocolate croissants! Damn, son. It wasn’t AS flaky and crispy as I remember regular croissants to be but it was buttery and a bit flaky and chocolaty and YUM.

Meave: Megan was so excited about this croissant! I thought it was pretty good. The chocolate inside was nice and bitter, which was a good contrast to the pastry. I bet it’d be best earlier in the day (we were there at 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, not the ideal time to buy morning-fresh baked goods), but it was a solid approximation.

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Megan: We tried a red velvet cupcake as well. Tasty! I’m so tired of red velvet cupcakes having just a plain, sugary vanilla frosting instead of cream cheese flavor frosting. This totally had a nice cream cheesy flavor. The frosting was super-sweet but the cupcake part wasn’t so it wasn’t overwhelming. It also had a hint of lemon? I think? If I had to choose, I would get the chocolate croissant over the cupcake but come on, I’d pick the chocolate croissant over oxygen. 

Meave: I liked the cake over the frosting, which is pretty unusual for me, as I am a hardcore frosting-only woman. (In small times, I’d eat the unwanted frosting from my friends’ cake at birthday parties.) And while this frosting was plenty good, the cake was better; like Megan says, not as sweet, a good crumb, and the color was pleasant, not creepy or (too) unnatural, which can be a problem with red velvet cake.

Megan: Oh snap I almost forgot! They also have vegan cronuts! We didn’t get to try one because they were out. But next time, lookout cronuts! Imma eat you up!

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Megan: All in all, the avocado “chicken” sandwich was my favorite thing. I love it. I want to marry it. I want to marry it and have the chocolate croissant as my maid of honor. I can’t wait to try the other sandwiches! (They have a meatball sandwich and an eggplant parm sub!)

Meave: I will attend that wedding. I will give away the bride, even, if she doesn’t mind marrying a sandwich with some bites taken out of it because there is no better way to express how good that avocado and pesto taste together than devouring it.

07/30/2013

Cafe Blossom is on Groupon today! Holler!  »

JEAH! Cafe Blossom is on Groupon. Get at it. 

09/11/2012

Mayim Bialik is coming out with a vegan cookbook!  »

You heard it! Blossom is coming out with a vegan cookbook. As she said last week on her blog:

My next book will be a plant-based (vegan!) family cookbook. Yay! It’s meant for vegan and non-vegan alike! I intend to include all of the Jewish recipes I’ve veganized as well as all of our family’s standard beloved recipes.

I’m into this! I like Jewish food and Blossom was my jam. Remember her boyfriend? What was his name, Vinny? He was the hotness. And Six was so great in those Lifetime movies later in her career. 

So, is there vegan matzo brei in my future?!

02/28/2011

Vegansaurus NYC: Blossom!  »


I may have finally found a reason to move to Manhattan: Blossom! It rules. It may even be better than Millennium and Horizons, no lie. I went there for my birthday dinner over the weekend and I’m basically dead. Other food has lost all meaning. I don’t even want to look at anything that wasn’t made in that kitchen. I think I have food malaise! Can you die from food malaise? I guess we’ll see (yay, experiment!).

It was so dark inside that I couldn’t get any decent pictures but trust, everything looked dope. For starters, I had the parsnip cappelletti: “Fresh hand-rolled ravioli stuffed with savory whipped parsnip and crushed potatoes, finished with shiitakes and truffle oil.” DAMN. It was amazing. I’ve been really into parsnips all winter and this pasta-parsnip combo was great. People got various yummy things but one of my guests got the ravioli with cashew cream, which I liked in particular.

For my entree, I had the phyllo roulade: “French lentils and root vegetables baked in a phyllo crust, served over a carrot-cream sauce. Caramelized onions and swiss chard complement.” It was great but honestly it kind of just tasted like the lentil Peasant Pie, which is a lot cheaper. But I love the lentil Peasant Pie so I loved this dish too. Half my guests got the rigatoni in porcini cream because god forbid the ominvores step out of their comfort zone! Just kidding, it’s a valid choice and that dish was slamming. The cream sauce was excellent—all the cream sauces were excellent. One friend got the seitan scaloppini which we both agreed was too salty.

Then we got dessert! We all shared the cheesecake, the ganache and the apple cinnamon sticks. The last was my favorite, I think. It was a great mix of sweet and salty. The omnis couldn’t believe how legit the cheesecake was; one guest said it was one of the best he’s had. The chocolate ganache was good, it had a nice cake bottom, but it wasn’t that special. See, I like cake like I like my education: special!

And the wine, oh the wine! Delightful. I’d say though that it was the appetizers that did me in. I want to go back and just get all starters! And wine. But seriously you’d have to be Sir Fatpockets to eat there on the regular. It’s pricey. Worth it, though! And if it were any cheaper, I would live in the gutter just waiting for them to open each day. I wouldn’t get anything done! And I have important things to do. Big things going on, big things.

[generic picture from restaurantsinyc.com]

02/24/2011

Interview with a Vegan: Joshua Katcher!  »


Joshua Katcher is a super-cool NYC vegan and founder of The Discerning Brute! The Guardian dubbed him “the New Sexy Vegan!” Jealous.

Vegansaurus: Do you go by Josh or exclusively Joshua?
Joshua Katcher: I prefer Joshua, but I won’t have a complete meltdown if someone calls me Josh. I may cry for a few minutes and punch a hole in the wall, but then I’ll be totally fine. I’m pretty emotionally stable. 

Why are you vegan?
Because it’s delicious, and because I think animals are individuals who deserve validation and consideration where their lives and bodies are at stake. But also because I hate freedom and I was hoping to be frail and ill—but that backfired and I’m really healthy and athletic now.  

How long have you been vegan?
There was no exact date—it was a transition—but about 12 or 13 years, I think. 

Favorite animal?
I am completely FASCINATED by parasitic intelligence. But as far as animals that I want to hang with, and cuddle. Dogs and goats. And cows. And pigs. Turkeys are like cats!  Oy vey, this is impossible to answer. 

Got any companion animals? Pictures!

Enzo is a rescued chihuahua. His nicknames are: Enzo Benzo, Enzo Roni, Reno Roni, Monster, Burrito, Little Man. There are more, but my sanity would be called into question. He didn’t bark or play or have any interest in other dogs for almost two years, but he is finally coming out of his shell, and recovering from the three years of abuse/neglect he experienced. He was rescued by Amy from sugarmutts.org.

 
[OMJesus this picture!]

Favorite food?
Dr. Cow's hemp-nut cashew cheese. 

Favorite cookbook?
Veganomicon is so incredibly comprehensive. I like to experiment in the kitchen, too, and make my own recipes that I feature on TheDiscerningBrute.com 

Favorite vegan restaurant?
I still swoon over Candle 79’s seitan, but the bacon cheeseburger at Blossom Cafe is habit-forming, and the beet tartar at Madeline’s Bistro is worth flying to L.A. to have. I am such a foodie, it’s hard to choose favorites. Sometimes a bowl of steamed kale is the best thing in the world, and other times a Vegan Treats chocolate-covered strawberry shortcake hits the spot.  

Vegan celebrity you want to bang?
All of them. At once.  

Peta: Y/N?
Yes. Sorry, haters. 

LOLCats: Y/N?
Crucial! Yes. 

Do you remember when we met at Lula’s? Was it as awesome for you as it was for me?
I have been recovering ever since.

What’s your favorite thing to get at Lula’s?
I keep it simple at Lula’s: I really like a scoop of strawberry ice cream on a sugar cone. When feeling adventurous, I am obsessed with the malt powder or a malted milkshake—and the coconut whipped cream is better than I remember whipped cow-tit secretions being. I have a gym membership for a reason. 

What do you like about fashion? How do you know all about it?
I like fashion because I am gay and I love being a stereotype. Ha ha. In all honesty, fashion is an incredibly powerful form of visual communication. It is the premiere means by which the majority of people in our current culture express their personal identity. We all participate in that discourse, whether we like it or not. Even if we reject the notion of fashion all-together, our culture is dominated by this visual language. There is a lot of power to be had or lost in dress, and if you know how to communicate that power properly, it have have amazing effects—especially if you are someone who wants to change the world. Additionally, if you know how to decode what others are wearing—a fur coat for example, it makes understanding the issues surrounding everything from animal cruelty in fashion to sweatshops and ecological issues, less overwhelming. 

Favorite vegan designer?
I am really inspired by the strides John Bartlett is making, announcing “I want to be a 100-percent-vegan designer.” He is a personal friend, and a powerhouse in the fashion arena.

Favorite vegan accessory/possession?
There are a few. I got a recycled poly suit from CPas, a vegan biker “Decontrol” jacket from April77, black “milo” boots from NOVACAS, the gray “Vintage Boot” from Vegetarian Shoes, and an awesome men’s peacoat from Vaute Couture.

Why’d you start The Discerning Brute?
I started the Discerning Brute several years ago because no one was really providing a lifestyle resource specifically for “ethically handsome men.” From the beginning, my aim was to slowly compile a catalog of brands, companies, resources, and people that would form a community, and to eventually open a store, launch a suit line, and write a book. These are all underway.

Who does the illustrative design-y stuff for your site? I’m into it.

Thanks! I did the layout and graphic design myself, and the actual art I used in the design is from an 18th century illustrator.


[Katcher and Anna Wintour look-alike outside the Conde Nast building for the
Pinnacle launch!]

What’s Pinnacle all about?
JK: PINNACLE: Reinvent The Icon is an image-driven initiative consisting of fashion industry professionals from all areas of fashion culture who are clarifying the changed meaning of fur within the context of our current culture.

Pinnacle produces editorial stories, and works with informed designers, models, and other professionals to create accessories and various forms of visual art consistent with an interest in:

  1. Aesthetics
  2. Providing critical commentary about animal fur
  3. Exposing aspects of fur production and marketing which are intentionally hidden or obscured
  4. Shifting the outdated, whitewashed and greenwashed attitude toward, and meaning of fur garments
  5. Calling for personal and corporate accountability concerning the cruelty inherent in all fur production

What’s next for Pinnacle?
I have been touring a bit with my “Fashion & Animals” talk, and I plan on speaking at Parsons, FIT, and San Francisco, soon. I was also asked to teach a module at the American University of Paris next spring on the topic, which is exciting. Getting more designers, models, photographers, etc. involved and producing more and more fashion content. Also, a huge priority for us is expanding to China because that is the fur capital of the world, and there are no regulations to protect animals. There is more animal cruelty in China than the rest of the world combined, and they are the largest exporter of fur—and that includes cat and dog fur. Because China is a communist country, if you can convince the government to stop something, it will be done overnight, more or less. We need to reach the Chinese government with a message of being heroes for animals in an appealing way. The Compassion For Animals Foundation is doing amazing work in China.

Is it true you’re trying to take over the world?
Well, the short answer is yes. But, since I have a bone to pick (hey vegan police, is it vegan to say that?) with hierarchical power structures, that poses a dilemma. I plan to change the world, but a take over seems so…egotistical.

First of all, the Guardian rules. Second of all, how do you feel about being “the new sexy vegan?”
I was so honored, and shocked. Growing up, I was always a totally shy, unpopular, comic-book-reading geek who got picked on pretty bad. So it’s quite strange to be considered “sexy” by someone. I’m learning to embrace it though, and use it to help animals. 

Do you have any amazing nicknames I should know about?
My nickname in junior high was “fag” so you can try that. Or you can call me Yahoshua Ruvin. That’s my super-cool Hebrew name. Don’t be jealous.

Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
I’m not sure I have room for a dinosaur in my apartment, but I’d be happy to come to one of your places and cook together! That would be fun. We can make sawdust and gravel and grass clippings, since that’s what vegans eat.

Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
What would the Vegansauraus dudes like to see happen on the DB, and what would you like to see for sale at my forthcoming store, BraveGentleMan.com? Do any readers have men’s lifestyle questions for me?  

Vegansaurus men, let’s hear it! Just what does the Vegansaurus Man of today want?

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