Kale Kontroversy! It’s so dumb! »
Guys, the bestest leafy green, kale (so much bioavailable nutrients!), is under attack from idiots!
1. A guy in Vermont starts making these sweet “Eat More Kale" shirts. Yay!
2. As Laura mentioned the other day, evil bastards Chick-fil-A send him a cease-and-desist letter. Apparently “Eat More Kale” is TOO SIMILAR to Chick-fil-A’s sick and twisted slogan, “Eat Mor Chikn.” You know, where the cows hold the sign and it’s all Animal Farm-esque with the livestock turning against each other?
3. TV personality Anderson Cooper reports on said controversy. Apparently he’s has no idea what kale is? The Internet calls him out on that. So what does he do?
4. He insults kale. And shows a montage of other people insulting kale. Dude, set a good example for the children of this country! Kale is the BEST! You are ignorant!
5. Let’s all order shirts? And never ever watch Anderson Cooper? OK deal.
This is Robin Robertson’s gnocchi in kabocha sauce over lentils and greens! It’s like all of my favorite things in one meal! Click through to Vegan Planet blog for the recipe! Have an autumnal flavors party on your plate!
Gestation-crate ban, interspecies love, and Chick-fil-A sues a vegetable: It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s time for the next installment of Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! This week, it’s the Crazy Edition! Because the whole world is NUTS! Next week, we’ll have a graphic and it’ll BLOW YOUR MIND. For now, take it away, Paul!
In an article about HSUS’s efforts to ban gestation crates and veal crates in Massachusetts, the Farm Bureau made it quite clear where it stands. About veal crates, their president argued, “I don’t know how a calf feels about it. We put kids in car seats and kids scream, but there is a safety factor. Is that inhumane?”
If that’s not crazy enough for you, this one may as well be an Onion article. If only it were. Chik-fil-A is suing a guy in Vermont for hand-stenciling t-shirts that read “Eat More Kale.” Consider me buying kale today.
Another crazy idea: banning photography of factory farms. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune had an important article about “ag-gag” efforts by the agribusiness industry to ban undercover investigations of factory farms.
Finally, do you think it’s crazy to invite a Jew to speak at the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship about faith and farm animal protection? Well, here you go: a video of my speech there last week. If you can stand listening to me for an hour or want to subject any of your family or friends to that, have fun!
Video of the week: Want to see two piglets and a dog playing in a living room? You’d be crazy not to.
Ubuntu’s Braised and Raw Black Kale Salad recipe! »
Ubuntu's chef Aaron London has a side dish for us for Thanksgiving! IT’S EXCLUSIVE (I think, maybe not) and DELICIOUS (this is for sure a fact) and something we can all make and serve to our family so they don’t die from butter and lard consumption on the big day. Happy holidays!
4 bunches of kale, pulled from stem and washed
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ cup extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup cooking sherry
½ cup pine nuts, toasted at 325 F for 10 to 12 minutes
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Vegan parmesan cheese substitute, i.e. Parma
Salt and pepper to taste
Sweat the onions over low heat in a heavy bottomed pot in ¼ cup olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and chili flake and continue to cook while stirring until the raw garlic smell is gone.
Add three bunches of kale to the pot and stir until well coated with the oil and onion mixture. Add in ½ cup water and place a tight-fitting lid on the pot. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for approximately one hour, until the kale is braised and very tender.
Place the raisins in a small pot with the sherry, and cook on low heat, while stirring, until the raisins are plumped and tender. Then place them in a bowl and add the balsamic, pine nuts, zest and juice of 1 lemon, ¼ cup olive oil, and reserve.
Use a sharp knife to slice your remaining kale into thin ribbons, and toss this with the juice and zest of two lemons. Hold this in the refrigerator for up to 20 minutes.
Once your kale is braised, and the other steps are done, run a knife a few times through the braised kale; you don’t want to chop it too much, just get it into more manageable-sized pieces.
Lay the braised kale out on either a large platter, or individual dishes, and drizzle with some of your pine nut vinaigrette, then top with the raw kale and the remaining vinaigrette. Finally, top the dish with as much vegan parmesan-substitute as you like.
Serves six. This dish can be eaten as is, and is also very nice served over red quinoa.
Cookbook Reviews by Rachel: Big Vegan »
This is the first installment in a regular series in which Rachel gets opinionated about cookbooks both classic and new. If you’ve got one you’d like to see her cover, hit her up at rachel [at] zurer [dot] com.
Chapter 1: Eh
There’s a new vegan cookbook in town and it’s enormous. But as your mom always says, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, size isn’t everything, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and get your elbows off the table (what?).
Case in point: Even though Robin Asbell’s Big Vegan is so full of intriguing recipes that I ran out of room for my little slivers of post-it notes, when the olive oil hits the skillet, the book doesn’t always deliver. Asbell’s instructions sometimes feel wrong, other times arbitrary, and don’t leave you with a sense you’re in good hands, despite her creativity.
Chapter 2: In Which We Get Deep
As Descartes once inquired, “What’s the point of a cookbook?” Or maybe that was Plato. Anyway, the question is even more important now, with the interwebs bursting with free recipes and people trying to sell you special kitchen-friendly iPad cases. Why pay for dead trees?*
One word: relationships.
A cookbook is more than just a collection of ingredients and instructions. Like an art gallery or record label (remember those?), a cookbook curates the vast world of possibilities according to a certain sensibility. Find an author whose taste you like (HAHAHA PUN!), and it’s like finding a foodie best friend.**
Except cookbooks go beyond curating. They also teach. And as sappy Hollywood flicks have proven time and again, good teaching matters. A good teacher sets clear goals and articulates the rules. A good teacher anticipates challenges and gives you the tools to meet them.
A good teacher is someone you trust.
Chapter 3: What smells like burnt fish?
I got a free copy of Big Vegan from Chronicle Books in September, and worked hard to test it as much as possible before writing this review. Some stuff, with minor modifications, came out great, like the version of “Lemony White Beans with Fresh Rosemary Vinagrette” I posted for Vegan MoFo and that both Meave and I found orgasmic.
I also used Asbell’s recipe for Avocado-Lime Cupcakes as the basis of my entry to the Denver Avocado Takedown. The Jamaican Tofu Chowder with Collards made a hearty addition to a soup potluck, and the Veggie Sandwich Loaves (bread with veggies baked into it) was definitely GOOD. And I should know, I’ve been baking bread like mad lately.
But here’s the thing: If I weren’t already an experienced cook, the book would have definitely led me astray. The Tofu Chowder recipe had me put the collard greens in at the end and cook them for just 10 minutes. I thus ended up with tough, icky collards.
The Crispy Sesame Kale was divine (KALE CHIPS!!), but the recipe told me to discard the kale stems. Seriously? You can’t give me a hint as to what to do with those besides throwing them away? (Hint: Put them in stock, or chop them up and add them to stir fries. For example.)
The Veggie Loaf called for “bread machine yeast”, with no explanation of why or what that was — I couldn’t find it at 3 stores, and finally used normal yeast, while ignore Asbell’s rising times, with good results.
Worst offense: The “Millter, Ginger, and Edamame One-Pot” called for adding a sheet of nori, “toasted and shredded” at the end. No further instructions. I put a sheet of nori in toaster oven. It caught fire. I put it in for less long. My husband walked in and asked, “What smells like burnt fish?” Against my better judgement, I added it to the food (trying to really TEST this, you know?). ICK. The dish was decent otherwise, but picking out shreds of nori made it way less fun.
Chapter 4: The Bottom Line
Other pros I should mention: A whole chapter on grilling (though I didn’t manage to try any); recipes for cultured vegan cheese (still on my to-try list); the paperback has flap at the front and back that are great for saving your page. On the flip side: The majority of the recipes are beyond-weeknight complicated, and many use ingredients I don’t tend to have on hand (shao xing rice wine? Kitchen Bouquet? semolina flour?). Very few photos.
Final verdict: This is a book I’ll keep using, but it’s not a kitchen staple, and I don’t trust it.
Overall Rating: B
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate/Expert
Best for: Experienced cooks looking for a challenge and wanting to expand their repertoires.
*That phrase is going to be outdated as soon as someone invents the iTunes of cookbooks and it’s worth it to buy these books digitally. But I’m sticking with it for now.
**Maybe “guru” is a better term for it, since the admiration only runs one way (as much as I like to pretend Isa’s my new BFF because I follow her on Twitter).
For today’s Vegan MoFo, I thought I’d share my absolute favorite way to eat greens these days: massaged kale salad. It’s so easy, so simple, and so ridiculously delicious, plus it’s insanely good for you. Make this tonight, you will be so happy.
1 bunch kale—I used lacinato, or dinosaur kale.
Handful sun-dried tomatoes
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Prep your kale by stripping it from the stems and ripping the leaves into regular, smaller pieces. Wash and dry, and throw it in a bowl.
Sprinkle some salt—less than a teaspoon, I don’t measure—onto the kale. With your two hands, knead the salted kale until it shrinks roughly 50 percent in volume, and looks glossy and dark. Maybe five minutes?
In your preferred serving bowl, mix the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the kale.
Dice the sun-dried tomatoes, and add them to the kale.
If your pepitas aren’t toasted, heat them in a pan until browned and good-smelling. Add them to the kale.
Toss the whole bowl until everything is nicely mixed. Add salt and pepper—this salad takes pepper really well!—and mix again. Taste, adjust seasonings accordingly, and serve. Soak up the accolades, because everyone loves this and people who’ve never eaten raw kale before will praise your culinary genius. Graciously accept these compliments.
A few notes: I find one bunch of kale serves two comfortably; if you want to eat exclusively this, you might want the entire bunch to yourself (I often do) (I am a kale monster). I also find that red wine vinegar substitutes for the lemon juice quite well, but as balsamic is milder, if you want to use it, maybe add more. Also, if you don’t want to turn your cuticles/under your nails green, wear gloves while working with the kale.
Massaged kale salad! It’s the best!
Vegan MoFo: AvoKale Noodles! »
I’m not sure this recipe counts as super-fast, but it’s weeknight-fast and SO good I just HAD to share it with you. My awesome vegan husband Danny invented it, because he does lots of the cooking ‘round our place. Also Isa kind of invented it—it’s a modified version of the Pasta della California in Veganomicon.
Ok let’s get to it!
2+ Tbsp. garlic, chopped
red pepper flakes
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 cup white wine
1 can white beans
2 avocados, cubed
salt and pepper
nutritional yeast for garnish/topping
Cook some whole-wheat spaghetti, or noodles of your choice.
Boil some kale in a small amount of water for like 20 minutes until it’s soft. Probably chop it up first.
Meanwhile, saute some garlic, red pepper flakes (depends on how much you like), and the lemon zest in some olive oil for about 5 minutes. USE THE ZEST! It makes a huge difference in the tastiness factor.
Squeeze in the juice from that naked lemon, add white wine. Cook a little longer.
Drain and rinse a can of white beans (or cook them from dried in a pressure cooker) and throw in with the garlic saucy stuff to warm up.
In a big bowl, mix together the noodles, the kale, the avocado, and the saucy beans.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with nooch on top.
Seriously, this is really good. I was gonna blog about something else but then Danny went and cooked this and I was like shit, I gotta pull out my camera now because dinner is just THAT GOOD tonight. It sucked, I swear — the camera was all the way in the other room and everything.
It’s Chickpea, Kale, & Cauliflower Currazy by Izzy of Veganizzm (formerly Nuts and Oats)! It has been like flood-the-earth raining here lately, and a big warm bowl of vegetables would be perfect. Thanks, Izzy!
A vegan dinner party from Bon Appetit magazine »
Check it out! A friend sent us some scans of an article in the January 2010 issue of Bon Appetit—it’s a vegan dinner party, with pretty pictures and recipes! AWESOME.
Would anyone like some cake? How about cake on the beach?
On the menu
Guacamole with basil and shallots
Fried sunchoke chips with rosemary salt
Pan-seared polenta with spicy tomato-basil sauce
Quick-sauteed kale with toasted pine nuts
Italian red blend
Arugula salad with oranges and caramelized fennel
Chocolate cake with chocolate-orange frosting
Oatmeal, fig, and walnut bars
After the jump, the (pertinent) photos and (all!) the recipes are presented to you, from us, without comment. Because we love you!
Recipe For a Cold Winter’s Night: Moosewood’s Squash and Kale Risotto »
Risotto is so fucking great. It’s the best food. It’s hearty like a casserole, gluten-free, and you can throw basically anything into it and it tastes great. It’s my new favorite thing; I had such a great time making the pumpkin apple risotto from Bust magazine (recipe in the Oct./Nov. 2009 issue) for Laura’s thanksgiving potluck, that all I want to do now is throw everything in sight into a giant pot of olive oil, onions and arborio rice.
This recipe is perfect for mid-December, when the CSA box is full of squash, kale, lettuce, apples and citrus. I just happened to have everything on hand, which made it a lot easier. I highly recommend (1) making yourself a bourbon with bitters and a squeeze of lemon to start, and (2) throwing the latest Hood Internet mix #4 on the speakers because dang, THOSE ARE THE JAMS. You won’t even feel like risotto is labor-intensive or takes a long time.
- 5 cups of vegetable stock. I dissolved two Rapunzel Bouillon cubes in five cups of water. It worked great. Fancy european vegan veggie broth, FTW.
- 1 cup chopped onion (about one big onion?)
- Olive oil. As much as you want, baby. But probably like 3 tsp on average.
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice.
- 1/2 cup white wine. Whatever’s rotting in your fridge. You’re cooking it anyway.
- 2 cups cubed peeled winter squash. (For me, this was about one whole squash like the kind pictured here.)
- 3 cups (or about a big bunch) stemmed and chopped kale.
- Shake of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
- A lemon (which you should already have, from the bourbon drink.)
- Salt and pepper. Duh.
Moosewood's recipe calls for some shaved cheese, but it seriously does not taste any different without it, so don't worry about needing something to make up the flavor or texture. This risotto is totally off the hook with just what's listed above. The Moosewood recipe is also pretty loosey-goosey about the details (like stovetop temp, whether or not you should pre-cook the kale, etc.) so I’m just going to tell you what I did.
First, I roasted the squash yesterday. So, maybe you should have started this yesterday. But, preheat the oven to like 375 F, quarter the squash and rub it with Earth Balance and salt and pepper, and go do something else for a while. When you have soft cool squash later, chop it into cubes and peel off the outer skin, and that’s what you’ll use for the risotto.
To start, get your broth or bouillon water simmering. Mince the onion and chop the kale. In another big pot, heat up a couple tsps of olive oil, and throw in the minced onion. Enjoy that amazing fragrance. I like to throw a tiny pinch of sea salt in there too. Saute the onions for a few minutes.
Throw in the rice, and stir with a wooden spoon until the rice is all oily and mixed with the onions. Then, stir in the white wine and watch it absorb/evaporate. I enjoy watching this liquid absorption into arborio rice in a science class kind of way, which hopefully you do too, because you’ll spend the next half hour watching it.
Then, you start ladling in about a half cup of the veggie broth at a time, about once every two to four minutes. You wait for it to mostly absorb each time. You should be stirring constantly, although you can take breaks if you have a nonstick pot.
When you have about two cups of broth left in the other pot, stir in the cubed squash and the raw kale*. This seems kind of crazy be cause it adds a ton of bulk to the pot contents and makes it hard to stir, but it will cook down. Just keep ladling in broth periodically, and it’s good if you give it a few minutes with the lid on, too. Heat should be about medium to slightly high. Keep stirring and mushing together.
When you’re getting to the tail end of the broth and the dish looks pretty mushed/cooked together, season it with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and grate about a tsp of lemon zest into it, and stir. I also squeezed in the lemon juice liberally, which the recipe did not call for, but turned out to be a good decision.
Eat while it’s hot. Also, reheat it for lunch the next day, like I’ll be doing.
*The recipe did not say to pre-cook the kale at all. Just stir in the raw kale and let the broth and rice cook it for you. But, kale is kind of a beast, and the dude thought it was a little tough in the risotto. So next time, I might pre-cook it a bit, in a saucepan with a little water and oil?