vegansaurus!

10/13/2010

Hello, Friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

Man, kids these days. Remember when the awesome college part-time job was waiting tables or bartending or working in a video store (personal favorite!)? And remember when KFC wasn’t paying coeds $500 a pop to hand out fliers while wearing pants with “Double Down” emblazoned on their “buns”?  Yeah, me too! So WHAT HAPPENED? KFC has been struggling as of late (apparently they lost 7 percent of revenue in the last year?) and it turns out that their target audience can’t even recognize the Colonel anymore. So instead of thinking “Dude, our problem is that our food is super-gross and also unfit for consumption, so maybe we should get rid of that monstrosity we introduced last year and rethink our horrible horrible menu as well as our choice to be known as chicken murderers,” they decided that their best course of action was to rent ad space on the behinds of college women. This is bad for several reasons. Number one: STOP KILLING CHICKENS! Number two: This is hella sexist. Why do you have to advertise on lady lumps? That is degrading! Number three: Goddamn, are those pants ugly and ill-fitting. KFC is desperately trying to sell “fun and sexy” but is coming up with “fire-engine-red wedgie.” NO ONE WANTS ANY OF THAT! Thank god some colleges are against this, but it really makes you wonder exactly what’s going through the minds of the college deans (deans are like principals, right?) [Ed: Sometimes! Depends on the structure] who do allow this on their campuses. Probably nothing good.

Here’s another thing that’s wrong with today: Hog Out Month in Texas. Have you guys heard about this? Apparently Texas is SOOOOOO overrun with feral hogs that its department of agriculture has decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. In fact, the department (run by the delightful Todd Staples) is not only encouraging people to go out and take vengeance on these monsters that destroy farmland, parks, and GOLF COURSES (I knew we would get there eventually), but is actually offering grants to spur the Texas counties into a veritable Hogocaust. They’re giving away cash prizes! Let trappers onto your land to turn it into a grisly bloodbath, and your county could win up to $25,000! It’s not just for money, though. It’s a challenge! Like in fifth grade, when you were supposed to read 20 books over the summer and then you would get a free book from the library? Just like that! Except with less reading and more muffled squeals of anguish. And the smell of burning flesh.

But sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES, good things happen. Usually it’s all fire and brimstone, though, and things that make me toss and turn in bed at night. Which is unfortunate because Allen thinks we have bedbugs now, so every time I accidentally kick him as I am pondering the plight of the human race and the cruelty we all visit upon the animals and each other, he wakes up and insists that a bedbug has bitten him. And then he gets the flashlight. I hate it when he gets the flashlight. Anyway, GOOD THINGS. On Oct. 3 Colombia celebrated World Animal Day for the first time, and over 500 people marched through the streets to stand up against the mistreatment of animals. This video is awesome, and what’s even more awesome is the closing message: “Even though animals cannot speak, they deserve love and respect.” Why can’t we all just get along?

That’s it for this week! Please leave suggestions for next week in the comments, or email me. Have an awesome Wednesday!

05/05/2010

Oh SNAP. We may have beaten KFC on the Double Down launch, but Food Swings in Brooklyn just kicked everyone’s vegan asses with the first fast food vegan Double Down for sale anywhere. Anyone tried it yet?

Oh SNAP. We may have beaten KFC on the Double Down launch, but Food Swings in Brooklyn just kicked everyone’s vegan asses with the first fast food vegan Double Down for sale anywhere. Anyone tried it yet?

04/23/2010

Killing whales, saving sharks, chickens chickens chickens and MORE in this week’s link-o-rama  »

Hello best friends! This deer comes to visit this cat every morning to cuddle and play! UGH interspecies love is the sweetest best. [Thanks to reader Dolly for the photo!]

Vegan-type events!
Don’t forget about the vegan bakesale for bone marrow tomorrow! It’s scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. in Dolores Park; go be a good person and buy something. You’ll be outdoors anyway, the weather’s fantastic.

Do you have cable? If so, you should watch the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards this weekend! They’ll air on Animal Planet twice: tomorrow, Saturday Apr. 24 at noon, and on Sunday Apr. 25 at 1 p.m. (PDT).

Harvest Home Sanctuary will host its very first Poultry Boot Camp to teach you all about “poultry health, nutrition, and rescue opportunities.” The event happens at the Sanctuary on Saturday, May 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. and costs $25, which includes materials, snacks, and a tour. RSVP by May 1.

Let’s freak out!!! Jeremy Fox is doing a week of vegetarian—and vegan-friendly—tasting menus at some nasty meat-tastic restaurant called Animal in Los Angeles next month, VEGANSAURUS ROAD TRIP!!! The dates are May 17 through 23, and it’ll cost $70 per person to eat, but holy mother how can it possibly not be worth it?

Miscellaneous items of varying importance!
Everyone’s going nuts for Social Kitchen and Brewery—Eater SF has a tour and a menu preview, and Beer & Nosh has an interview with Brewmaster Rich Higgins. As you know, the menu should be composed of 1/3 vegan and 1/3 vegetarian items, and our Sunset correspondent Megan Allison will be on the scene as frequently as possible with the report.

Don’t like beer? Drink some tequila! Now you can get super-fantastic, super-fancy, super-local tequila, WOO and another WOO because tequila on a gorgeous spring day in the Bay Area are two of my favorite things possibly ever. And no I am not going to flash you, jerk.

Instead let’s serve a delicious vegan supper, with these recipes from the Kitchn! I swear they are doing these articles just to get on our good side. Whatever their nefarious plan is, it’s working, because here is another link, hello.

Despite agreements with food banks and the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, supermarkets still waste literal tons of perishable food.

Let’s go to the farmers market instead! Apparently there are super-awesome ones not only in our beloved San Francisco, but in Madison, Wisc.; Little Rock, Ark.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Des Moines, Iowa. Who knew—outside of the residents of those cities, obviously?

The always-genius Bay Area Bites presents a totally relevant, not-at-all obvious list of ways to “green” our kitchens.

The International Whaling Commission is all, Hey Japan, let’s not kill so many whales! And Japan is all, OK we’ll kill fewer whales but we’re not going to stop killing the endangered species, so fuck off!

Hawaii state Senator Clayton Hee, however, will not see this same bullshit happen with sharks: he is working to make possession of shark fins a misdemeanor in Hawaii.

Guys, guys, get this: the civet is a smallish mammal who lives in Indonesia, eats coffee berries, and poops out the beans that have been fermented through its digestive system and will make reportedly the tastiest—or at least, the priciest—coffee, like, ever. So instead of following civets around and picking up their droppings to find the beans, people are—you’ll never guess—catching them, caging them, and feeding them beans! God, isn’t capitalism the fucking best?

Homeless dogs in Moscow keep warm by sleeping on the subway, just like homeless people. Please pass the tissues, I am going to cry my damn eyes out. And no I don’t know why English Russia tagged this article as “Funny.” [photo from English Russia]

And while we’re sobbing, maybe it’s time to look at this World Press Photo 2010 Award-winning photo series by Tommaso Ausili called “The Slaughterhouse,” which for the sensitive among us (read: me) could be too much to actually really look at. But you are brave and bold, do please check them out.

Things that make dudes gay: soy; hormones in chicken. But what if you can buy KFC to find the cure for breast cancer! Even the Double fucking Down, you guys! Fifty entire cents from every pink bucket of “chicken” parts sold will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Oh no, but fried chicken and fish increases your cancer risk, just like eating meat from basically any mammal at all? Well, shit.

Hilariously, a beef-industry-funded survey “of American beef eaters” found that cattle ranchers and farmers have “the third greenest profession” in the U.S.! Of course they’re environmentalists—they commute to work on horses! Har har har.

Significantly less disgusting, and in fact quite wonderful: Healthy Happy Life’s slideshow of amazing vegan desserts in New York City.

The geniuses at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have decided that migratory pelicans are ruining everything—i.e., eating all the native and artificially stocked trout that people want to fish—and because the Feds won’t allow them to shoot the birds, they are going to release non-native badgers and skunks into the area to deal with the problem “naturally.” Not everyone agrees that it’s the pelicans causing the decline in the trout population, and letting non-native species out into the wild hasn’t always (ever?) gone well in the past, but fuck it, people want to fish for their motherfucking trout.

Whoops, pescatarians! Watch out for that ahi tuna from Hawaii, it’s full of salmonella! Better stick to a delicious lion and antelope burger from Sacramento. God knows what kind of “lion” it is or how the proprietors can say it’s from the U.S., but hey, this “article” is 50 percent cut-and-pasted quotes from Facebook, so who knows anything? And anyway exotic is the new cute-n-cuddly, right? 

Because we’re Vegansaurus, we’re obviously not down with congressional hopeful Sue “crazypants” Lowden’s idea to barter chickens for healthcare. If we weren’t capitalists—do note the subjunctive case there—we might be into the idea of trading vegetables, or vegan suppers, for something like ophthalmologic care (someone needs a new pair of glasses) (hint: me!) or a motherboard for a MacBook. Steve Jobs, the Apple cafeteria cannot serve all your gustatory needs, I know it. Regardless, we do like the disco remix of Crazypants Lowden’s proposal, mostly because of the happy (?) dancing chicken. [if you can’t see the video, click through to vegansaurus.com!]

Calorie count cage match: KFC Double Down vs. Vegan Double Down  »

Everyone and their dog knows that the KFC Double Down is cardiac arrest in sandwich form, and our vegan version isn’t doing much better. But we at least would never lie to you. Kill you, quite possibly, but never lie.

Unlike KFC, who would do both. Their marketing materials had clocked their version in at a lean-and-mean 540 calories and 32 grams of fat (practically diet by fast food standards), and now CityRag is calling bullshit. By their math, using published nutritional data, the KFC Double Down’s real calorie count? 1190 calories and 86 grams of fat—over twice as much as advertised.

So, not that you should care, I thought I’d run the numbers for one serving of our version to see how it stacks up.

  • 2 Gardein Chick’n Scallopini patties: 180 calories, 4g fat
  • 2 Tbsp Vegenaise: 180 calories, 18g fat
  • 25 percent of the batter recipe (plenty for one sandwich): 225 calories, 25g fat
  • 2 oz Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack: 140 calories, 14g fat
  • 3 strips Smart Bacon with cooking oil:  60 calories, 8g fat

Grand total: 785 calories, 69g fat. I think that means, we win! Or, we lose! Also, let’s be realistic. Neither of these counts include the vat of fryer oil we’re using. So add another 300 to 500 calories to both those numbers.

Moral of the story? There is none. Life isn’t Beatrix Potter, and sometimes we eat stuff that might kill us. The end. As long as it’s only killing ourselves without dragging any animals along for the death ride, I don’t see the problem. You know what, I think there is a moral after all. Mentos!

[link via Bacon-loving Hipsters Can Kiss My Vegan Ass]

04/05/2010

KFC to unleash the Double Down sandwich, we celebrate by cracking the code  »

Over at The Consumerist, they’ve been following KFC’s new (and revolting) Double Down sandwich. In case you’re new to the story, the Double Down is a bacon and cheese sandwich, with two slabs of fried chicken replacing the bread, and a mystery yellow substance they’re calling “The Colonel’s Sauce” (a name that implies more intimacy with the Colonel than, we hope, is actually involved). After months of rumors and marketing teasers, the Double Down is finally real, with a scheduled release date of Monday, Apr. 12 at a KFC near you.

As vegans, we’re of course bound by blood oath to be outraged by meat surrounded by meat and drizzled in dairy, especially when mass-produced by a megacorp dedicated to poisoning as many people worldwide as possible. But sometimes something is just too ridiculous to hate, and like a game of culinary marry-fuck-kill, we saw the Double Down and chose “fuck.” So with that, I present:

The Vegan Double Down

It’s actually good! And by “good” I mean “not good.” Or a word that means a mix of good and not-good, where “not good” describes how you feel after downing this fistful of instant regret. Here’s how you can make your own and share my suffering. You know you want one.

First thing’s first. Start by getting your kitchen stocked with vegan substitutes.

  • Gardein Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini
  • Lightlife Smart Bacon
  • Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
  • Energ-G Egg Replacer
  • Earth Balance Natural Shortening
  • Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack

You can replace the shortening with canola oil or even Crisco, if you feel like taking your life into your hands. Before doing anything else, I fried up about six pieces of Smart Bacon, and thinly sliced the Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack using a mandolin. If you don’t have a mandolin, a cheese slicer will do the trick, or a sharp kitchen knife if you’re really patient. You should also thaw out the Gardein patties, which are usually kept frozen.

The Colonel’s Sauce
No one has any idea what’s in this stuff, so I basically went for “yellow”. 

  • 4 Tbsp Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Mix it up until it looks yellow. Adjust as needed.

KFC’s 11 Secret Herbs and Spices
The actual recipe is a closely guarded secret, but this is close enough. I adapted the recipe from KFCChickenRecipe.com with vegan substitutes where needed.

  • 1 Tbsp sage
  • 1 tsp ginger root
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder or cayenne
  • 1½ tsp thyme
  • 2 Tbsp garlic salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp garlic granules
  • 2 Tbsp onion salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp onion granules
  • 3 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp powdered vegetable bullion from Rapunzel, or any vegan “chicken-flavored” bullion.
  • 1 pack of McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix (available at Safeway), or 1 packet of any vegan tomato powdered instant soup.

Grind into a fine powder using a food processor or blender, and set aside.

Making the batter and deep-frying it all up

  • 3 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened, plain soy milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg replacer, water, canola oil, and soy milk. This is your “eggs and milk” batter.

Now is a good time to get your deep-frying apparatus into gear. If you own a deep fryer, you know what you’re doing here. For everyone else: melt the whole box of Earth Balance shortening in a wok or cast-iron pan on medium heat. Top it up with canola oil if the pool of oil isn’t deep enough.

Next, thoroughly mix together the flour with the “secret” herb and spice mix that you made earlier. Spread out the flour mix onto a long sheet of baking paper.

You basically want to coat the living hell out of the Gardein patties, then deep fry them until your kitchen smells like KFC. So: take a patty, dip it in the batter, then roll it in the flour/spices until it’s completely coated. Then take the same patty and repeat; you want to coat the coating.

Finally, drop in your patty and deep-fry it for a few minutes, until golden brown. You can test out your oil beforehand with a small glob of batter and flour. You really don’t want to cook them for too long!

Putting it all together then nomming the shit out of that
Now you’re ready to assemble your Vegan Double Down: two slabs of fried fake chicken, stuffed with fake bacon, fake cheese, and fake “Colonel’s Sauce”. Make it look pretty.

You will eat about half of this before realizing what a mistake it’s been. But until that moment, it will taste like sweet, deep-fried heaven.

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