vegansaurus!

07/23/2012

JB’s summer vacation: Chicago, cupcakes, beauty, and bags!   »

Hey everyone! I’ve been on a hiatus, on summer vacay if you will. I went to Chicago, Michigan, and my parent’s house out in the East Bay. All kinds of exciting things happened—I drank rum in the back of a pick-up truck at a wedding in Michigan (a wedding where vegan food was served! The bride loves me), I ate at The Handlebar AND Native Foods (OMG, I so get what the big deal about Native Foods is now!), and back in California, I made cupcakes for my sister’s baby shower! That was a really big deal, as it’s a huge step for my family to have the dessert be completely vegan!

Now that I’m back, I have all sorts of exciting things to share! First, for all you vegan beauty and fashion fiends out there, check out the blog Logical Harmony! I absolutely love this blog, and actually found it because Tashina is a huge fan of Source (where I spend most of my waking hours). She’s always taking the most fantastic pictures (via Instagram, like all the cool kids nerds) of our food there, as well as all things beauty related. Follow her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her lovely and informative blog!
 

A couple months ago, I bought a bag from Alex Eaves' company, Stay Vocal, and let me tell you, it’s a wonderful, sturdy travel companion! His company is awesome (and he’s vegan!) because all of his apparel and bags are reused. For instance, my bag is an old MXPX tote, turned inside out with a Stay Vocal logo on it! At first I was like, “it’s going to be inside out? I don’t know about this…” but I love it! I highly recommend his stuff—the hippie in me digs his mission, plus it’s great quality. My bag reads “Reuse because you can’t recycle the planet,” and fellow “re-usetarians” are always beaming at me when they read it.

I also finally took the Vegansaurus new food challenge! It happened in July, but that’s me—always late to the party. I worked with jackfruit, making a dish similar to this one. I was inspired by the jackfruit sandwich that Rachel had in Colorado. I can’t wait to play with it some more, so I can post a recipe I’m super proud of. I’m stoked that jackfruit is a meat substitute of sorts (for carnitas or pulled pork) that is actually not processed flour, soy, or some other crazy combination of ingredients that tend to be hard to digest.

That’s it for now—I got a lot of posts to catch up on before the coffee wears off. 

07/11/2012

It’s the final entry in the June Challenge! Our pal Kim conquered rhubarb!

Growing up, my only encounter with rhubarb was on vocabulary tests, never on a plate. Additionally, at some point I read that part of the plant was poisonous, and not trusting myself to remember which part, I figured I should probably stay far away from it. (Note: it’s the leaves, which you’d have to eat several pounds of for a lethal dose, and no one is going to sell rhubarb leaves to you anyway, so you’re safe.)
Then last year, my friend mentioned that she had gotten some really good strawberry-rhubarb pie at Mission Pie and that it was her favorite pie variety, and I confessed that I’d never tried it. She made me promise to give it a shot, and so I did. Turns out that this stuff is really good! However, I still wouldn’t dream of cooking it—did I mention the poison?
Then I read about the Vegansaurus June Challenge the same day that I saw a recipe for Rhubarb Snacking Cake on one of my favorite food blogs and someone had even gone to the trouble of veganizing it for me. Once I saw that rhubarb was on sale at the grocery store, there was no turning back—I knew what I had to do.
I chose not to add strawberries, deciding (as my husband so tactfully put it) to go “full rhubarb”, allowing the fruit to stand on its own merits. Like Then Squash, I spent most of the baking process sure that this wasn’t going to turn out, while suspiciously eyeing this incredibly weird, red, celery-shaped “fruit”. Go figure—if you add fruit and a bunch of sugar to a cake recipe, it turns out pretty tasty! And not poisonous!
My downstairs neighbors are always happy when they get to taste-test some vegan baked goods—their comment on this one was “so delicious!” Next time I will definitely add the strawberries, as just rhubarb with sugar lacks some depth of flavor that I think a third ingredient would provide, but at least I know I’m making the choice for the right reasons. Thanks Vegansaurus, for daring me to give this a shot!

Kim, we are so proud of you! We also highly approve of anything called “snacking cake,” which sounds fancier (and less gas-station-y) than the standard “snack cake.” Thanks to everyone who participated, especially our submitters. You’re all super-eaters, and we hope you feel a great sense of accomplishment.
Because of you all, our June Challenge was a great success. Tell us, what do you think about another Vegansaurus Challenge later in the year? Would you participate? What should it be? Our criteria are: It should involve eating; it should not be super-difficult. Share your ideas for being more creative, adventurous, excited vegans!

It’s the final entry in the June Challenge! Our pal Kim conquered rhubarb!

Growing up, my only encounter with rhubarb was on vocabulary tests, never on a plate. Additionally, at some point I read that part of the plant was poisonous, and not trusting myself to remember which part, I figured I should probably stay far away from it. (Note: it’s the leaves, which you’d have to eat several pounds of for a lethal dose, and no one is going to sell rhubarb leaves to you anyway, so you’re safe.)

Then last year, my friend mentioned that she had gotten some really good strawberry-rhubarb pie at Mission Pie and that it was her favorite pie variety, and I confessed that I’d never tried it. She made me promise to give it a shot, and so I did. Turns out that this stuff is really good! However, I still wouldn’t dream of cooking it—did I mention the poison?

Then I read about the Vegansaurus June Challenge the same day that I saw a recipe for Rhubarb Snacking Cake on one of my favorite food blogs and someone had even gone to the trouble of veganizing it for me. Once I saw that rhubarb was on sale at the grocery store, there was no turning back—I knew what I had to do.

I chose not to add strawberries, deciding (as my husband so tactfully put it) to go “full rhubarb”, allowing the fruit to stand on its own merits. Like Then Squash, I spent most of the baking process sure that this wasn’t going to turn out, while suspiciously eyeing this incredibly weird, red, celery-shaped “fruit”. Go figure—if you add fruit and a bunch of sugar to a cake recipe, it turns out pretty tasty! And not poisonous!

My downstairs neighbors are always happy when they get to taste-test some vegan baked goods—their comment on this one was “so delicious!” Next time I will definitely add the strawberries, as just rhubarb with sugar lacks some depth of flavor that I think a third ingredient would provide, but at least I know I’m making the choice for the right reasons. Thanks Vegansaurus, for daring me to give this a shot!

Kim, we are so proud of you! We also highly approve of anything called “snacking cake,” which sounds fancier (and less gas-station-y) than the standard “snack cake.” Thanks to everyone who participated, especially our submitters. You’re all super-eaters, and we hope you feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Because of you all, our June Challenge was a great success. Tell us, what do you think about another Vegansaurus Challenge later in the year? Would you participate? What should it be? Our criteria are: It should involve eating; it should not be super-difficult. Share your ideas for being more creative, adventurous, excited vegans!

07/06/2012

Entries to the June Challenge are still coming in, because you guys are amazing. This is boba tea, enjoyed by our raw correspondent, Sarah E. Brown! She says

My partner in vegan crime, Courtney Pool, and I tried vegan boba (bubble tea) for the first time at Vegan Tree restaurant. Wow, what amazing tapioca pearls of joy! How did we live so close to boba places in L.A. and not imbibe regularly?
We’ve decided we’re going to love boba forever and always from now on.

Great job, Sarah and Courtney! Congratulations!

Entries to the June Challenge are still coming in, because you guys are amazing. This is boba tea, enjoyed by our raw correspondent, Sarah E. Brown! She says

My partner in vegan crime, Courtney Pool, and I tried vegan boba (bubble tea) for the first time at Vegan Tree restaurant. Wow, what amazing tapioca pearls of joy! How did we live so close to boba places in L.A. and not imbibe regularly?

We’ve decided we’re going to love boba forever and always from now on.

Great job, Sarah and Courtney! Congratulations!

07/03/2012

Emily took the June Challenge over the weekend! This is her adorable lemon cucumber, which is a delicious melon masquerading as a vegetable that I adore. Emily says,

I have been on the lookout for things I haven’t tried this month, and it was harder than I expected! But where better to look than the Ferry Building Farmers Market, so I bought a couple lemon cucumbers. They’re actually really delicious—like cucumbers but with a really thin, not-bitter skin so you can eat them like apples (which I did upon the recommendation of the farmer who sold it to me). A little disappointed that the only thing they really have in common with lemons is the appearance, but still glad I tried it!

Congratulations, Emily!

Emily took the June Challenge over the weekend! This is her adorable lemon cucumber, which is a delicious melon masquerading as a vegetable that I adore. Emily says,

I have been on the lookout for things I haven’t tried this month, and it was harder than I expected! But where better to look than the Ferry Building Farmers Market, so I bought a couple lemon cucumbers. They’re actually really delicious—like cucumbers but with a really thin, not-bitter skin so you can eat them like apples (which I did upon the recommendation of the farmer who sold it to me). A little disappointed that the only thing they really have in common with lemons is the appearance, but still glad I tried it!

Congratulations, Emily!

06/28/2012

One more June Challenge winner before the month ends! This is Danielle’s big plate of heirloom tomatoes! She says

This is me trying heirloom tomatoes (woo, farmer’s markets!).  They are not the right color and it was hard for me to make my brain eat them, but they are delicious. They have their own special little flavors! I put them with my lunch of bagel, roasted red pepper hummus, avocado, cucumber, and spinach. Sometimes I’m healthy.

These are gorgeous, Danielle, and that lunch looks delicious. Sometimes trying a new food is a matter of willpower, and we’re proud you were able to trick your brain into letting you enjoy some wonderful produce. Congratulations!

One more June Challenge winner before the month ends! This is Danielle’s big plate of heirloom tomatoes! She says

This is me trying heirloom tomatoes (woo, farmer’s markets!).  They are not the right color and it was hard for me to make my brain eat them, but they are delicious. They have their own special little flavors! I put them with my lunch of bagel, roasted red pepper hummus, avocado, cucumber, and spinach. Sometimes I’m healthy.

These are gorgeous, Danielle, and that lunch looks delicious. Sometimes trying a new food is a matter of willpower, and we’re proud you were able to trick your brain into letting you enjoy some wonderful produce. Congratulations!

06/27/2012

In the final week of the June Challenge, we still have some takers! This is Kelly of Vegan Haighters’ beet greens salad, about which she says

[N[ever having consumed fresh beets meant no beet greens. What a deprived childhood I had.
At my local farmers’ market in Upper Haight, fresh beets caught my eye. I searched through the pile for ones with the prettiest, leafiest greens. I’m sure the cashier was confused as to why I was focusing on the greens rather than the beets themselves, but then again there’s weirder things Haight Street has seen.

Result: She loved them. Go get her recipe for this beet-tastic salad, and let’s celebrate another new food conquered! Congratulations, Kelly!

In the final week of the June Challenge, we still have some takers! This is Kelly of Vegan Haighters’ beet greens salad, about which she says

[N[ever having consumed fresh beets meant no beet greens. What a deprived childhood I had.

At my local farmers’ market in Upper Haight, fresh beets caught my eye. I searched through the pile for ones with the prettiest, leafiest greens. I’m sure the cashier was confused as to why I was focusing on the greens rather than the beets themselves, but then again there’s weirder things Haight Street has seen.

Result: She loved them. Go get her recipe for this beet-tastic salad, and let’s celebrate another new food conquered! Congratulations, Kelly!

06/26/2012

Look at all you adorable participants in the June Challenge! This is tatsoi, made into a beautiful salad by Cadry of the lovely Cadry’s Kitchen. Isn’t it gorgeous? Cadry says

It’s fun to see people trying new things and making some discoveries. In honor of the challenge, I hit up my local farmers market yesterday. I noticed that one of my favorite sellers had tatsoi. I’d never heard of it before, and she told me that it’s an Asian green. One of the best things about frequenting farmers markets is getting to talk to the growers about the things they grow and how to use them. She gave me a leaf to sample and told me that she enjoys it in salads. The taste is a cross between bok choy and collard greens. When I got home, I chopped a salad with the tatsoi and topped it with my creamy cafe dressing. I served it with stuffed grape leaves, roasted garlic sourdough and cool hummus. Perfect for this balmy summer weather!

Congratulations, Cadry? Can I please come live in your kitchen? I will do all the dishes, forever!
Only a few days left to take the June Challenge! Be brave, try a new food in June!

Look at all you adorable participants in the June Challenge! This is tatsoi, made into a beautiful salad by Cadry of the lovely Cadry’s Kitchen. Isn’t it gorgeous? Cadry says

It’s fun to see people trying new things and making some discoveries. In honor of the challenge, I hit up my local farmers market yesterday. I noticed that one of my favorite sellers had tatsoi. I’d never heard of it before, and she told me that it’s an Asian green. One of the best things about frequenting farmers markets is getting to talk to the growers about the things they grow and how to use them. She gave me a leaf to sample and told me that she enjoys it in salads. The taste is a cross between bok choy and collard greens. When I got home, I chopped a salad with the tatsoi and topped it with my creamy cafe dressing. I served it with stuffed grape leaves, roasted garlic sourdough and cool hummus. Perfect for this balmy summer weather!

Congratulations, Cadry? Can I please come live in your kitchen? I will do all the dishes, forever!

Only a few days left to take the June Challenge! Be brave, try a new food in June!

06/22/2012

I tried a new food: Jackfruit! And I didn’t even have to do any work for it!
My buddy* Amie of Denver’s Vegan Van has jackfruit on her menu pretty often, so I was counting on her to help me expand my horizons. Luckily my husband dragged my in-laws there for lunch the other day, and I got them to bring me a sandwich! It was barbecue jackfruit something or other, for free (to me) and with no effort! WIN! Marriage is worth it, guys!
The barbecue flavor was obviously amazing because everything Amie makes is good, and the jackfruit didn’t have much flavor beyond that, kind of like how tofu works. Overall it reminded me of a cross between artichoke hearts and seitan. It was a little weird to have something with such a meaty treatment be so … vegetable-y in texture.
It doesn’t have the same protein-y oomph as seitan or even tempeh, but if I were looking for a gluten-free, soy-free carrier of delicious sauce, I’d definitely turn to my good friend Jack. 
I’m curious to try cooking it myself sometime, but it’s apparently kind of hard to come by around here, Amie uses all sorts of secret voodoo to get it. 
Jenny says she’s going to try jackfruit too! Jenny, tell us what you think!
*”Buddy” might be overstating. But she does remember my name sometimes! And I am a huge fan! A girl can pretend.

I tried a new food: Jackfruit! And I didn’t even have to do any work for it!

My buddy* Amie of Denver’s Vegan Van has jackfruit on her menu pretty often, so I was counting on her to help me expand my horizons. Luckily my husband dragged my in-laws there for lunch the other day, and I got them to bring me a sandwich! It was barbecue jackfruit something or other, for free (to me) and with no effort! WIN! Marriage is worth it, guys!

The barbecue flavor was obviously amazing because everything Amie makes is good, and the jackfruit didn’t have much flavor beyond that, kind of like how tofu works. Overall it reminded me of a cross between artichoke hearts and seitan. It was a little weird to have something with such a meaty treatment be so … vegetable-y in texture.

It doesn’t have the same protein-y oomph as seitan or even tempeh, but if I were looking for a gluten-free, soy-free carrier of delicious sauce, I’d definitely turn to my good friend Jack. 

I’m curious to try cooking it myself sometime, but it’s apparently kind of hard to come by around here, Amie uses all sorts of secret voodoo to get it. 

Jenny says she’s going to try jackfruit too! Jenny, tell us what you think!

*”Buddy” might be overstating. But she does remember my name sometimes! And I am a huge fan! A girl can pretend.

06/20/2012

Mina of Eat Run Love took our June Challenge, because she’s great. She made massaged kale salad with tempeh, about which she says:

I have always, always been afraid of eating RAW kale. I know kale is great for you, and it taste alright steamed or sauteed, but the bitter, harsh taste of raw kale honestly just frightens me. I decided to do some research and look up different ways of preparing raw kale, and the one that seemed like the best option was “massaged” kale salad. So I massaged some, kale, marinated some tempeh, and made my favorite salad dressing, and I am happy to say that the massaged kale was more than edible…it was delicious!

Congratulations, Mina! She was good enough to put a recipe for the salad on Eat Run Love, so you can totally copy her and learn to love raw kale, just like the rest of us. It’s so good!
Remember to let us know if you take the June Challenge. Be brave, try a new food!

Mina of Eat Run Love took our June Challenge, because she’s great. She made massaged kale salad with tempeh, about which she says:

I have always, always been afraid of eating RAW kale. I know kale is great for you, and it taste alright steamed or sauteed, but the bitter, harsh taste of raw kale honestly just frightens me. I decided to do some research and look up different ways of preparing raw kale, and the one that seemed like the best option was “massaged” kale salad. So I massaged some, kale, marinated some tempeh, and made my favorite salad dressing, and I am happy to say that the massaged kale was more than edible…it was delicious!

Congratulations, Mina! She was good enough to put a recipe for the salad on Eat Run Love, so you can totally copy her and learn to love raw kale, just like the rest of us. It’s so good!

Remember to let us know if you take the June Challenge. Be brave, try a new food!

06/19/2012

Another June Challenge champion! These are Shawn’s yellow canary beans! He describes them as

Really good, a cross between a lima and pinto bean taste-wise.
I seasoned them with some salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and fresh lemon juice; I also add cooked onion, garlic, and carrot, and served it over quinoa.

Congratulations, Shawn! Doesn’t that sound good? I love a good, simple, beans-and-quinoa recipe. And by “love” I mean, “I eat beans and quinoa like five times a week.” Yellow canary beans, by the way, are huge in Mexico, but totally rare and controversial in the U.S. because of this crazy bio-patent.
I highly recommend reading Gillian N. Rattray’s iBrief about it, because it features such beautiful phrases as “If yellow beans are found in prior art, the isolation of the Enola bean may be an obvious step for ordinarily skilled bean breeders” and “the idea of a chip patent was so outrageous that it caused this author to learn about ‘misappropriated’ beans.”
See what happens when you try new foods? You learn about biopiracy, and get to picture U.S. Customs agents sorting beans to determine whether they’re yellow enough to infringe on a patent! Thanks, Shawn! Everyone else looking to expand their culinary (and legal) vocabulary, take the June Challenge, and please share the results with us!

Another June Challenge champion! These are Shawn’s yellow canary beans! He describes them as

Really good, a cross between a lima and pinto bean taste-wise.

I seasoned them with some salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and fresh lemon juice; I also add cooked onion, garlic, and carrot, and served it over quinoa.

Congratulations, Shawn! Doesn’t that sound good? I love a good, simple, beans-and-quinoa recipe. And by “love” I mean, “I eat beans and quinoa like five times a week.” Yellow canary beans, by the way, are huge in Mexico, but totally rare and controversial in the U.S. because of this crazy bio-patent.

I highly recommend reading Gillian N. Rattray’s iBrief about it, because it features such beautiful phrases as “If yellow beans are found in prior art, the isolation of the Enola bean may be an obvious step for ordinarily skilled bean breeders” and “the idea of a chip patent was so outrageous that it caused this author to learn about ‘misappropriated’ beans.”

See what happens when you try new foods? You learn about biopiracy, and get to picture U.S. Customs agents sorting beans to determine whether they’re yellow enough to infringe on a patent! Thanks, Shawn! Everyone else looking to expand their culinary (and legal) vocabulary, take the June Challenge, and please share the results with us!

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