vegansaurus!

02/16/2012

PETA’s “Boyfriend Went Vegan” ad makes me want to hurl!  »

Let’s play a game. It’s called, “What’s wrong with this PETA ad?” Except it isn’t fun and everyone goes home a loser, even though the list of its faults is practically endless.

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus!]

I live a life filled with questions, PETA. Your ad created several more. Here are some of them:

1. Who created this ad? If they knew anything about making ads, they would know that “BWVAKTBOOM” is not easy for the viewer to memorize over the course of your 30-second spot, and attaching “.com” to the end does not magically make it Google-able. Go back to ADV101.

2. Why does the woman in the ad have a neck brace? I mean, she looks sickly enough already. The whole commercial makes her look like a victim of domestic violence, and that does not seem to be the message PETA purports to spread.

3. Why is the woman in the ad NOT WEARING PANTS? I find this less “effective shock tactic” and more “what the fuck.” The message could have been conveyed with pants on. And this is coming from someone who supports fewer pants for all.

4. When will you give the vegans-are-sexy thing a rest? Everyone but EVERYONE is sick of it. There’s more to veganism than a smaller waist and increased boning. Going vegan certainly didn’t make my tits grow, know what I’m sayin’?

5. Why would anyone go vegan after watching this ad? “Why, I never knew I could HURT MY SIG-OTH like that! Brilliant! I’ll go vegan!” I know it’s SUPPOSED to be funny, but it’s just not.

6. If beating one’s poor partner’s orifices to shit is why someone goes vegan, what is going to make him or her STAY vegan?

7. Why is the girlfriend not also vegan?

So many questions. What questions do YOU have??

02/10/2012

Trade in tofu for seitan? NEVER!  »

Chocolate Mousse made from tofu. Try making THAT with seitan!

Oh jeez, I am just not sure which way to go with this article, "The Maximum-Gluten Diet." So I’m gonna try to hit them all, and you’re going to go along with it because I’m doing the work of three people at my day job and I’m in the middle of a move and I’m studying and I sleep four hours a night, “LOL!”

First, the article talks about how much healthier, yummier, and more versatile wheat gluten is than tofu. It’s quick to dismiss the soybean cake, saying it’s only popular because it was “there” when the world needed it and is the reason behind gluten’s slow rise to national consciousness, or whatever.

All right, man, you need to BACK OFF the already much-maligned tofu. I would eat (properly cooked) tofu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never even think twice about the gluten (aka seitan) I was missing. I know I’m not alone — all the tofu ladies, all the tofu ladies, put your hands up! Dudes, too, of course.

Before everyone tells me to chill out, I get it. The author is just trying to spread the seitanic word in a lighthearted way. He gives celiacs a nod. And seitan IS good, don’t get me wrong. But it’s just as easy to have a bad plate o’ seitan as it is to have a mushy tofu blob. Have you ever had spongey gluten? Worse than silken tofu scramble, in my opinion.

But the real sticking point of this article with me is the recipe. He’s like, “Let’s spend 10,000 hours listening to podcasts and washing flour!” And I’m like, “Who even listens to podcasts? Doesn’t homeboy have Spotify?” But then I’m also like, “You don’t need to wash flour.” This is because 1) I have a lazy streak and 2) you can buy wheat gluten (sometimes called vital wheat gluten) AT THE WHOLE FOODS.

If you want to make seitan yourself and you don’t have a copy of Veganomicon, you need to get one, right now, and make its recipe for Simple Seitan. Have you guys figured out that I’m a total Isa fangirl?

Finally, here is a short list of why tofu is superior to seitan (or at least just as good, I don’t like to play favorites):

1. It’s not a problem for celiacs or the scads of folks with a gluten sensitivity. Yes, I know some people are allergic to soy.
2. You can buy it at the Trader Joe’s.
3. It takes less time to make, maybe an hour compared to the 12 you’d spend kneading dough underwater or the hour and a half if you just buy vital wheat gluten at the store.
4. It soaks up flavors, blending into the background or playing a solo, depending on what you do with it.
5. You can use it in desserts — The first vegan cheesecake you ever made (or will make! It’s easier than it seems!) probably featured tofu in a starring role. Can you imagine sweet seitan? NAST!
6. YOU CAN BUY IT AT THE TRADER JOE’S.

01/27/2012

Chef Chloe to bring new cookbook, snacks to SF!  »

Have you ever desired perfect skin, long, shiny hair, the cupcake prowess of an international superstar, and earrings long enough to catch fish? Well, you can’t have these things, because chef Chloe Coscarelli already probably has a patent on them or something. And if she doesn’t, she should really get on that, because she is so damn cute!

Anyway, the winner of Food Network's first Cupcake Wars (is anyone else sick of shows with “Wars” in the title? Give Cupcake Peace a chance) is coming to Omnivore Books on Food in San Francisco on Monday, Mar. 12, from 6 to 7 p.m., to debut her first cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen! Chloe is gonna talk at us about vegan cooking and her book. She’s gonna have a Q&A. She’s gonna sign copies of her book. AND she’s gonna stuff our faces full of treats. SHE’S GONNA DO IT ALL, folks!

I’ve been told the book features recipes for spaghetti “carbonara,” stroganoff with mushrooms, polenta cutlets, and her prize-winning cupcakes. I want to get really fat eating nothing but food made by Chloe Coscarelli, constantly, in some kind of dream IV tube that somehow also goes through my mouth.

01/26/2012

Five ways to take your tofu scramble to the next level  »


Is your tofu scramble missing something—flavor, pizazz, less slime? I’m no professional chef, but I did consult her for this article. And I’m sitting on the bench in my tofu scramble game: That means I DON’T PLAY. After complaining about tofu scrambles on restaurant menus, it’s only fair that I help others get on my level. Am I full of myself? You bet! Let’s start:

1. Tofu texture
You’ve got to go with firm or firmer, folks. Soft, medium, or silken tofu? Not gonna work here. I’ve made this mistake before, and it turns your meal all slimy. Go for firm or extra-firm. If your tofu is packed in water (usually accompanied by a hard plastic tray), you should also press it first to expel extra liquid.

2. Herbs ‘n’ spices
This is god-damned crucial. Because tofu is designed to soak up the flavors of what’s around it, you don’t want to end up with a dish that tastes like … tofu. Some important items, not just for cooking a tofu scramble but also for cooking most things in the world: garlic, cumin (gives it that eggy flavor), salt, black salt (makes it even eggier), pepper, paprika, turmeric (makes it yellow, if you’re into that) and thyme. Apply liberally, and thank me in the morning.

3. Cooking time
Cook your tofu in your skillet (ideally cast-iron, but who has time/money for such frivolities?!) till you think it might be burning. Then stir it, because it probably is not burnt. The point is you want your tofu to be done, not still mushy. Here’s my process: I sautee onions and any veggies with a longer cooking time first, then I add garlic and spices, and then the tofu. After adding the tofu, I cook on medium-high heat and stir occasionally for at least 15 to 20 minutes. You want that shit browned, ya heard?

4. Veggies
You can’t just toss onions and peppers on top of cubed tofu and expect it to be any good. You want the tofu to soak up flavors, which is why I recommended in tip #3 to cook a lot of the relevant veggies first. Frozen spinach and potatoes are especially useful in this application. When something is frozen, I add it later, when I add the tofu to the pan.

5. Toppings
This is the final step before serving, right? So don’t scrimp! Hook yourself up with some salsa, Frank’s hot sauce (GOD FRANK’S I WANT TO DRINK YOU), avocado, tortillas, ketchup, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and whatever else you godforsaken heathens like to throw on top of your food. Serve with toast, duh.

If your tofu scrambles are lackluster, try a few of these tips, and let me know how it goes. Or show it to a friend who could really use some help. Whatever, I’m here to serve!

[Photo by Cowomally via Flickr]

01/18/2012

World’s smallest, trippiest frogs discovered!  »


I am probably drunk and might have just tried to convince a table of six other people that nail stickers are the wave of the future but isn’t Paedophryne amauensis at once the cutest and raddest thing you’ve ever seen?!

I swear, they could show me pics of tiny anything and I would love it. Tiny scorpions? Yes! Tiny lemurs? I’m all about it! Fuckin’ krill? Sign me up! What other animals are tiny and awesome?

[Photo credit: BBC News]

01/17/2012

Sneak preview: The Vegg!!!  »


I don’t even know where to start with this, but I need it. I miss fried eggs, for real—the way I could mop up the still-liquid part of the yolk with my toast and cover the whites with pepper. Sorry for grossing you out.

For the past six years I’ve been hurting for a fried egg substitute. I’m gonna give you more info as soon as I get it, but the world needs to know about this sooner rather than later. You should sign up and like that shit on Facebook and donate (at press time, they had only raised $2,080 of an $8,000 goal toward the Vegg’s patent) in order to convince the Vegg people to move it along now.

I will serve this shit up with the vegan waffles I made today and some freakin’ smoky tempeh strips, or perhaps make Veggs-in-a-frame and start a vegan brunch cafe and have the most friends ever. What do you think?

[Photo credit: Vegg’s Facebook page]

01/11/2012

Come pig out with Grubwithus and Vegansaurus during VegWeek!  »


Dear Bay Area residents, do you want to chow down on fab veg Thai food in the best neighborhood in S.F. with the coolest person you can imagine? Then you will want to partake in Grubwithus’s VegWeek, particularly the meal on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Thai Idea. [Ed.: One of my favorite new restaurants! Maybe I’ll come too and be all, “BOO, MOTHERFUCKERS!” and then eat all your spring rolls. You like?? - Laura]

Grubwithus is basically a social network for oinkers like me to meet up with each other; one of their taglines is “Never eat alone.” Totally feeling like they’re not going to stalk me, hilarious!

Here’s how it works: You make a profile on the site and sign up to attend a meal. You pay money (I know, I know) based on how fast you sign up, so the first person to sign up gets the best price. Last time I checked, there were eight seats left on Tuesday, so do it to it!

Next week is the network’s national vegan/vegetarian week, so here’s the lineup for SF (check Grubwithus for your city!):

  • Monday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. at La Mediterranee for Veggie Grubbers
  • Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. at Thai Idea, hosted by Sarah M. Smart of Vegansaurus (THIS IS ME, YOU GUYS, SO SIGN UP)
  • Thursday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. at Source, hosted by Alex Eaves of Stay Vocal
  • Sunday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at Greens, hosted by Bryant Terry, author of Vegan Soul Kitchen

You’ll be able to find me at Thai Idea on Tuesday, swigging from a 40 of Mickey’s delicately holding a glass of wine (Thai Idea is BYOB, people) and hoovering all of the Firecracker Balls within reach. If you’re lucky, I might even make forced, expletive-laden conversation with you! Or give you a big wet smooch! Depending on how drunk I get! Bet you can’t wait to find out!

[Image from Grubwithus]

01/09/2012

Dream big, rescued moon bears!  »

Remember this rescue? Pretty rad, right?

Here’s something else rad to build on that radness (rad-squared?): One of the rescued bears, named Dream, is making great progress at Animals Asia's Moon Bear Rescue Center in Vietnam. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Dream had emergency surgery to fix her awesome bear mouth. Despite missing her left front paw and the right one being deformed and practically unusable, now she's all about eating, especially dried fruit and flavored water.

Bears! They’re just like us! Sending you all our get-well wishes (they’re better than other wishes because they are vegan), Dream and the rest of the bears! I’ll make sure the bear army has a bear infirmary, just in case.

[Photo credit: Animals Asia]

01/04/2012

Ask a Vegansaur, vol. 05  »


Three separate errands have been accomplished, a batch of seitan is simmering on the stove, and yours truly is making good on one of many 2012 resolutions: Be Less Slackerly (and five is my lucky number, so here’s hoping it sticks). I don’t want you to heading into weird Mayan apocalypse (LOL?) in December without having your questions answered, so here we go.

Erin asked: How do you feel about receiving items secondhand that contain animal products, hand-me-downs, etc.? For example, your parents give you their old couch for your apartment and it is leather, or if you buy a pair of shoes from Goodwill that are leather? Does the fact that it is second hand negate it’s non-veganism, I guess?
Hi, Erin; I don’t think it negates its non-veganism: It’s still made of animals, right? However, to me it equals out environmentally. Rather than have a company manufacture a new man-made belt for me, I’d rather just find a belt that’s already been used, or continue using a leather belt I bought before I was veg. Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer agree with me, according to How It All Vegan. If you’re asking me whether you should buy a new vegan belt or a secondhand belt of unspecified materials, I think you should do what you’re comfortable with. I have friends who are squeamish about wearing leather, fur, or any other animal material.

Allison asked: As a vegan, I have enjoyed eating soy yogurt with granola (yum!) to obtain that beneficial bacteria that aids in digestion. However, I just recently saw a disturbing note on the back of a Stonyfield O’Soy carton: “Contains milk (Our live cultures are milk-based).” Not buying that anymore! Back at the store, I decided to check out a cup of So Delicious coconut milk yogurt, which only reads “Contains live cultures” on the back. So what does this all mean? Does all live cultured yogurt contain milk or is Stonyfield the exception among non-dairy yogurt purveyors?
Allison! I like soy yogurt, too! Have you tried the coconut ones? I did a little research, and Stonyfield appears to be an exception. Let’s do a quick roundup: Silk, which makes a lot of bomb-ass flavors, says its lactic acid and live cultures come from a vegetable source. Nogurt says its strains of microflora are free of dairy, wheat, gluten, and soy. WholeSoy says its strains are grown on a vegetable medium. And finally, So Delicious—a slightly trickier proposition, but all the company can say is that it uses no dairy. And you can always make your own. Does that help? More next time, folks. I’ll be Officially Less Flaky from here on out, deal? Don’t be afraid to hold me to it.

Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!

[Photo credit: Ravenelle via Flickr]

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