Who’s taken the June Challenge yet? I did! I got fava beans in the produce box last week, and I shelled them, blanched them, removed the second shells, and cooked them up with a ton of olive oil, garlic, herbs, red pepper flakes, salt, beet greens, and cherry tomatoes, deglazed with a little white wine, and served the whole mess over polenta.
It was delicious, oily and salty and garlicky and rich. Fava beans are lightly earthy, and are totally satisfying to chew, so big they’re like a cross between a regular bean and a vegetable.
Now it’s your turn! Try a new food in June! And share!
Polenta Agnolotti with corn corn corn! »
One of my favorite vegan chefs and friend of Vegansaurus, Mark Tinkleman, has started a food blog!: Semolina and Sauce. Recently, he posted about this Polenta Agnolotti (Wikipedia: “Agnolotti is a kind of ravioli typical of the Piedmont Region, made with small pieces of flattened pasta dough, folded over with a roast beef meat and vegetable stuffing.” Roast beef smost beef! Not this time, buddy!) with porcinis, quince, and frisee.
If the title isn’t enough to attract you, Mark also offers a sort of corn manifesto sure to intrigue! I knew corn was messed up but Mark proclaims, “corn is a weapon of US imperialism.” Damn, son! My only critique for this recipe is MORE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! Now, go make me polenta.
San Francisco: How not to starve in Fisherman’s Wharf! »
I recently spent a weekend staying at Fisherman’s Wharf with some out-of-state relatives who wanted nothing from this city of ours but to stroll the tourist-packed length of Pier 39, to watch dolphins frolicking in the waters of the bay just off Alcatraz, and to eat repeatedly at the Best Western Tuscan Inn’s Café Pescatore. They apparently do some kind of bitching Italian that my parents couldn’t get enough of, and after a few meals of rather sub-par minestrone, the server and chef took pity on the two vegans and served us up a lovely saute of summer vegetables topped with a fried polenta cake. It was freaking gooooooood.
If you find yourself starving to death on Fisherman’s Wharf, and you can’t figure out how to take the F-Line to the Ferry Building, or the Ferry Building is closed because it’s the apocalypse, or your relatives are just super-focused on getting themselves some chicken parmesan, you could do way worse than landing here. At the Café, tell them you heard through the grapevine (aka, the special vegan mafioso rumor mill) about a special meal they can make for especially pretty vegans. Then smile really nicely and say please and thank you. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to eat this.
Marla Wick lives in a small town in Sonoma County with one lucky fella and two cats. When she’s not reading speculative fiction or applying for jobs, she blogs about veganism, popular culture, and politics at Vegan-Squared and Bully Pulp.
Want to show off your pretty food on Vegansaurus? Let me know.
How to be a fancy and demanding vegan! »
Sometimes you may think to yourself, “Gosh, is that Megan Rascal fancy!” but there are fancier members of my family: my brother and sister-in-law are like the New York couple—so hip and chic. They love to go to nice restaurants and when they invite me along, they are always really cool and send me the menus beforehand to check if they’re vegan friendly. However, more often than not, the restaurants they seem to choose are like meaty-meat-meats-a-lot. I don’t know why! There are many meat-centric, yet vegan-friendly restaurants in this big city but they don’t seem to like them. So I’m always like, “I guess I can ask for this one salad without bacon?” And they are like, “great!” And I’m like, “great.” But this last time, when they wanted to go to Savoy in Manhattan and I saw that there were possibly zero vegan items on the menu, I put my foot down. Well, sort of. I said, “I can make do with the salads I think! Also we have to try this thing people do, like at nice places, sometimes the chef will make a vegan dish that’s not on the menu just with what they have that day. We should try it! I’m scared. Maybe [your wife] will know how to do it.” See, I’m always telling you, I’m shy! So I’m nervous to bother chefs but my brother is not! He called the restaurant before we got there to see what they could do for me. According to him,
I said something like, “And we have one vegan in our party—do you have options for her?” And she said “Yes, we can accommodate that no problem. I’ll make a note of that on your reservation.” And I said, “OK great! Thank you very much,” and that was it!
Easy peasy! When we got to the restaurant, my brother informed them that he had called earlier and I was the vegan, etc. and the waitress was very nice. She said that two items in the starters could be made vegan and that for the entree, the chef would make something special. I was so happy! I love special stuff. She asked me if there were any vegetables that I didn’t like, but there aren’t really so I told her not to worry about that.
I got a polenta dish without butter for my starter. It was very good. It was kind of like a breakfast cereal, like Cream of Wheat or something. It was good though. But the real excitement came with my entree! The chef made some crazy squash I had never heard of, stuffed with another, mushed-up squash and a bunch of vegetables, topped with a citrus salad and surrounded by kidney beans and these crazy roasted black olive things that were good even though I hate olives. It was AWESOME. And more importantly, it was FANCY! Then I finished with a scoop of chocolate sorbet. AWESOME AND FANCY!
When the waitress came out later and asked me how everything was, I was like, “It’s amazing! Tell the chef it’s great and I really appreciate it.” Damn, I’m classy. You should thank your chef, after all.
So friends, don’t be scared to go into those nice places and make your vegan needs heard! Just make sure you thank them so we keep our good name.
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!