Vegan Hacker on Tuesday night! Bake some vegan Twinkies!   »

Is anyone signed up for this event? It looks like fun, but I cannot go, as I am the self proclaimed Twinkie Queen of San Francisco—it simply would not be fair to the other hackers!

If you’ve never heard of Vegan Hacker, let me give you the lowdown: You reconfigure non-vegan recipes to make them vegan. Got it? And Tuesday night is all about vegan twinkies! This is the recipe you’ll be using, and the ingredients will be provided. However, you can bring whatever you want to spruce it up. Creativity is encouraged. LEMON twinkies with raspberry filling? Chocolate twinkies with mint filling? Pina Colada! Raspberry Mocha! Banana chocolate! The possibilities are endless.

If you need any help or baking tips, let me know in the comments! I do this five days a week at Source. Vegan twinkies are my livelihood!

Vegan Hacker: Twinkie Times is on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. at Noisebridge (2169 Mission St.). It’s FREE! Email to RSVP or ask questions.



Free “Food, Inc.” screening in Berkeley!  »

Berkeley, get going: tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 4, the Boalt Hall Animal Law Society will show Food, Inc. Be in room 100 in Boalt Hall on the UC Berkeley campus by 5:30 p.m. for the screening, which is free for everyone! Awesome! The film runs about 90 minutes, and is supposed to be very good. Or at least worth no money!


Recipes: seasonal soups!  »

Newspapers: not entirely useless! Today’s Contra Costa Times (newspaper to the stars! of the East Bay! kill me!) features a few soup recipes that sound delicious and can be easily veganized. Really, there’s no reason why they aren’t vegetarian; no one needs to use chicken broth when vegetable stock is just as easily made/obtained and doesn’t involve animal death. That cruelty-free isn’t the default is stupid and careless. We’ve got a long way to go, vegans.

Still, the soups—butternut squash chipotle bisque, roasted tomato with garlic croutons, and carrot with cumin and lime—look tasty, uncomplicated, and pretty perfect for early fall in the Bay Area, when the nights are growing longer and colder but the last of the tomatoes are still lingering on the vine.

Butternut Squash Chipotle Bisque (serves six to eight)
1 medium butternut squash
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1½ cups chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 6 cups stock or broth
3 tsp. minced, canned chipotle in adobo
Salt, fresh ground pepper
optional: ½ cup vegan sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds, discarding the stringy pulp. Put the seeds in a sieve and rinse. Set aside.
2. Grease a glass baking dish with 1 Tbsp. oil, then place the squash in the dish, cut side down. Pierce all over with a fork and roast 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
3. Heat remaining oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrot for 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more.
4. Scoop the flesh of the squash into the pot and stir. Add 4 cups broth and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.
5. Meanwhile, toast the reserved squash seeds in a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crunchy, about 30 minutes. Season heavily with salt and set aside.
6. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, adding more broth to get the desired consistency.
7. Stir the remaining 2 tsp. chipotle into the bisque and ladle into soup bowls. Top each with a dollop of vegan sour cream, salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of seeds.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons (serves six)
18 plum tomatoes
2¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ cup olive oil plus extra
3½ cups stock, divided
2 Tbsp. fresh basil
Garlic Croutons
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
1½ Tbsp. nondairy butter
2 cups bread cubes (half-inch dice), made from French bread, crusts included
1½ tsp. minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Oil a large baking sheet generously.
2. Halve tomatoes lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Let drain.
3. In a large bowl, mix pepper, salt, rosemary, garlic and ½ cup olive oil and whisk to blend. Add tomatoes and toss well. Marinate for 15 minutes.
4. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining oil mixture over them. Roast until tomatoes are softened and browned around the edges, about 50 to 60 minutes.
5. Place half the tomatoes in a food processor. Pour in 1 cup stock and pulse until pureed.
6. Coarsely chop remaining tomatoes. In a soup pot, combine the chopped and pureed tomatoes and remaining stock and bring just to a simmer. Season with salt.
7. For the croutons, melt the oil and nondairy butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until bread is golden and crisp.
8. Garnish each serving with basil and croutons.

Carrot Soup with Cumin and Lime (serves 6)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups chopped leeks
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6½ cups stock
2 Tbsp. lime juice
Kosher salt, pepper
Garnish: chopped cilantro and grated lime zest
optional: 8 Tbsp. vegan sour cream, divided

1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add carrot and leeks and saute until leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add cumin and red pepper flakes and saute 30 seconds more.
2. Add the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, about 35 minutes.
3. Puree the soup in batches and return soup to the pot. Serve hot, with a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice stirred into each bowl. Or cool the soup, whisk in 6 tablespoons of sour cream and refrigerate for three hours or overnight. When ready to serve, stir in lime juice, season to taste and serve topped with a sprinkling of cilantro and lime zest, and a dollop of vegan sour cream if desired.


Call for vegans: Cupcake Camp 2009!  »

Cupcake Camp is back again! It’s scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 4 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Automattic [sic] at Pier 38.* Your Vegansaurus entered two flavors in last year’s event, and we felt it went very successfully. HOWEVER: maybe 10 to 15 percent of last year’s cupcakes were vegan, and you know we cannot let that stand. It was like every sad dessert party you’ve ever been dragged to, everyone gorging themselves on delicious-looking cupcake-lollipops and ice-cream-filled cupcakes, and your Vegansaurus staring sadly at the schedule, hoping that the next round of entries would include a vegan batch. Consolation: there was plenty of Silk for thirsty non-dairy-milk drinkers.

This year, no more! Register here by Sunday, Sept. 27 to ensure a spot among the bakers/bringers of cupcakes. The two teeny tiny requirements are that you decide at registration how many cupcakes you’ll bring (at least one dozen), and what flavor(s) those cupcakes will be. We’re not worried about you though, you’re creative.

Cupcake Camp is sponsored in part by friend of Vegansaurus Sugar Beat Sweets, meaning even if you don’t enter—which you should!—you know you’ll get some fantastic vegan treats if you stop by, so mark your dang calendars already. Vegans represent! If you don’t bake for the animals, WHO WILL?

*Cupcake Camp notes that Pier 38 is in fact next to AT&T Park, at Embarcadero and Brannan; and a Google maps search will lead you astray, so do not do it.


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