Cookbook Review! Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro »
There are a handful of vegan restaurants around the world that make such a lasting impression on their customers that word spreads like wild fire, then a cult following ensues, even among those who have never visited. L.A.’s Native Foods Cafe is like that for some, as are Chicago Diner, Millennium, and Seattle’s Plum Bistro. And now you can bring Plum Bistro’s dishes to your home with a cookbook based on some of its most famous dishes as Sasquatch Books and restaurateur Makini Howell bring you Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro.
When my copy arrived, courtesy of the fine folks at Sasquatch Books, I was immediately taken with the design and feel, with its hard cover and bright yet matte colors. When I opened it and started thumbing through the recipes, I felt immediately intimidated. There is a “fundamental” section that prefaces the rest of the recipes, many of which include at least one of the “fundamentals,” like various soy creams, egg foam, pestos, relishes, etc. To someone who eats roughly 2 PB&J sandwiches a day, this seemed like a daunting task. However, I put my neuroses aside and got down to it.
The first dish I attempted was something I had never successfully made since eliminating animal products from my life: French toast. More specifically, Plum’s “Good Old-Fashioned French Toast Stuffed with Strawberries and Sweet Soy Cream.” It was incredible. The “fundamentals” I needed to make first were super easy, much like most things in life I fret about it. The egg foam was like two steps, and the Sweet Soy Cream was me just using the blender—the complete opposite of daunting. I’d never made a cream of any sort before, and was a little apprehensive, since I’ve tasted some terrible vegan creams in my day. But the ease of this recipe made it my new jam (to borrow a phrase from our Jenny Bradley).
After pouring and mixing the soy milk, canola oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract (with no measurement suggested, I squeezed a little more than like 5 drops then panicked), and ground cinnamon (that I had to grate myself with a stick, which ruined my knuckles, but I did look classy doing it), I somehow, through science and prayer, turned it into a soy cream that I stuck in a mason jar and have used pretty much every day since. I’m literally in love. Figuratively.
The French toast part was pretty much just like the French toast my mom used to make me. Except the mix has no unborn friends in it and, without insulting my mother, much better. The mix was vanilla soy milk (awesome), white vinegar (OK?), the vegan egg foam (weird, really really weird, but cool), vanilla extract (still scared of its potency), agave syrup (YES), more ground cinnamon (I put on medieval chainmail gloves this time), and canola oil (OIL RULES). This, also through science and vigorous whisking, turns into the French toast batter. The rest is easy, although Howell words the instructions perfectly for dumb-dumbs like me. The only other difference to my mom’s recipe was splitting each slice of bread down the middle, top-to-bottom, so they were connect by a sliver of bread much like a book is connected by the spine. This was so I could dollop some soy cream and strawberries on one half and fold over to make cute little French toast half-sammies.
Cookbook companies and authors use really good lighting and photographers, so the food we make almost never looks the same as their fancy pants pictures. Not this time. My dish came out almost exactly like the fancy photo, and my photo of it garnered many likes on my Instagram account. MANY.
The rest of the recipes range from just as easy as the French toast to extremely complicated and requiring devices like a Dutch oven. After laughing at the name “Dutch oven” I realized that I had to find something that was at or near my level of expertise, which can be described as infantile. But what a great idea: recipes all over the map so everyone feels both challenged and content at the tasks at hand. I approve. And to pay homage to the late film critic we just recently lost, I give it two green thumbs up.
You can find Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro at your
least favorite online book distributor. You can also visit Plum Bistro in Seattle and tell Ms. Howell she creates amazing dishes and you were sent there by a handsome man on the internet.
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California. He co-created and contributes to a Rhode Island based Hip-Hop website, The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
For the vegan sports fan, PETA’s best veggie food at baseball stadiums »
I grew up on baseball. My parents took me to my first Baltimore Orioles game when I was two months old. I didn’t realize you couldn’t throw peanut shells on the ground in polite company until I was way too old. And when I became a vegetarian at age 11, one of the few things I missed was ballpark hotdogs (I now shudder at the thought, but kids will be kids).
As a grown-up vegan, baseball games are still fun, but I don’t ever go for the food (though I do love the garlic fries at Giants’ Stadium). I usually bring my own version, scoff at the suckers around me paying $12 for a crappy hamburger.
Now PETA’s gone and messed that up, by pointing out there’s some veggie food at stadiums, and giving them publicity for it, so they maybe have an incentive to add more. Last week, they released a Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks list.
Surprise! No. 1 is in Philadelphia. Apparently the Phillies offer a vegan chicken-steak sandwich. Sign me up!
Other top contenders, and the things there I really would want to eat, are:
2. Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field: Vegtastic has the run-down of what to eat here. Sushi! Vegan hotdogs!
3. Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park: vegan hot dogs.
4. Oakland Athletics’ O.co Coliseum: Eh. I’ve been here, not impressed. Not much vegan that I know of, though the vegetarian offerings might be OK.
5. Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dodger Stadium: vegan sloppy Joe, veggie sushi, and edamame, hurray!
6. New York Mets’ Citi Field: veggie dogs, veggie burgers. Here’s an outdated report!
7. Los Angeles Angels’ Angel Stadium of Anaheim: veggie dogs (I’m noticing a theme here), black-bean burgers, bean burritos, veggie wraps, and California cucumber rolls. Plus gluten-free options!
8. Washington Nationals’ Nationals Park: Hell yeah, I want me a tofu sandwich with Vegenaise, and a falafel! Last time I was here I brought my own Chipotle; that was good too.
9. Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park: Vegetarian lo mein and salad with fried green tomatoes sound interesting, but not sure they’re vegan. Sigh.
10. Minnesota Twins’ Target Field: “vegan mousse martinis”?! What is that? Why don’t I have one? Plus veggie kabobs!
Vegan bakery needs help expanding into the wonderful world of espresso! »
It’s the latest and greatest vegan endeavor to take over the world! Seattle-based vegan bakery Bouteloua Bakery, which reader Bryan tells me makes the best vegan croissants ever, is looking to expand their business to include espresso, in all its glory. But they need our help! Enter IndieGoGo! Bouteloua is trying to raise enough money to buy an espresso machine, among other things, and enough funds to hire some new people! Nice. Besides making the best vegan croissants ever, Bouteloua is also all organic and serves fair trade coffee from The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie.
I know, some of you are like, “Megan, I don’t live any where near Seattle!” but guess what! I asked the owner (another Megan! Megans unite!) and she said if you go in for the $10 perk or the $50 perk, she will mail chocolate chip cookies to you! You won’t get the free drink on the $50 perk but that should cover shipping. So, you get to help a young vegan business and get some vegan cookies to boot. More importantly, you’re supporting another step in total vegan dominance! Huzzah!
Happy Thanksgiving from reader Amber in Seattle! She and her roommates Lola and Remi (with the glamourous names!) made what sounds like a literal ton of food; pictured on this plate are Tofurky cooked with butternut squash, apples, mushroom, onion, potato, and carrot; stuffing with heaps of mushroom gravy; biscuits; green bean casserole; baked mashed potatoes with Daiya; cooked kale and chard; roasted sunchokes and parsnips with sesame oil; and baby greens salad with cucumbers and beets. She says that this was her “first time having sunchokes EVER and they are [her] favorite new TASTY discovery.” Happy Thanksgiving, Amber!
Lion’s Share Industries: t-shirts by vegan artists »
Hey everybody! Look what they are doing in Seattle: limited edition t-shirts all designed by vegan artists! Of course, to this I say, “OMG.” Anika Lehde, founder of Lion’s Share Industries, is one of my favorite people on twitter. She has a blog about vegan stuff in Seattle and tweets as @veganscore. I am not in Seattle because I am allergic to rain so unfortunately much of what she reports on is lost on me. But not these t-shirts! I like this one best:
I’ve loved owls ever since I found out Athena, by far the best Greek goddess, loves owls. The artist, Maré Odomo (sometimes Vegansaurus commenter and all around super talented famous person), has this to say about the design:
"Who cooks for you" is how birders and ornithologists interpret the Barred Owl's call, but I felt that it was relevant for this shirt because we should always be thinking about where our food is coming from. Also, owls are awesome. The imagery for the shirt was partially inspired by the episode of “Pokémon” where Ash sees that Ho-Oh flying into the sun.”
How very interesting! 180 shirts are produced for each design so get them while they’re hot. Also nice to know is that 15 percent of the profits for this series will be donated to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I love the Sea Shepherds because they are so darn HARDCORE. So with one little t-shirt, you can support the Sea Shepherds AND some super vegan artists. Nicely done!
We’re all doomed, but at least we can eat vegan food. Hey, it’s the link-o-rama! »
You haven’t forgotten about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, have you? Neither have we! Because it’s still wreaking fucking havoc and ruining everything and will you look at this poor pelican? Look at this pelican and tell me there’s good left in the world. But “at least we’ve got the oil spill to take our mind off the economy, right?” [photo by Charlie Riedel/AP; from "Caught in the Oil" in the Boston Globe]
Events! Or more precisely, event!
What are you doing this weekend? Maybe catch a baseball game at PETA’s “second-best veg-friendly major ballpark,” yes, home of y/our San Francisco Giants. Or you could check out the third annual Indie Mart at Thee Parkside? It’s on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., entry is a mere $3, and Wonder Dog Rescue will be there! THEY HAVE PUPPIES!!
Serious news means serious business
Who hates horses and indigenous people? Australia hates horses and indigenous people! Seriously, the Australian government, instead of helping with humane population control efforts or doing anything sensible or kind or caring at all, is going to round up all the horses, kill them, and butcher them for tasty snacks. Not even kidding. Sign the petition against this insanity, please.
It’s about damn time: the Vermont attorney general finally issued animal-cruelty charges against two men in the Bushway Packing horror show. Remember that? From November? Too bad the penalties are so fucking tiny. UGH THE LAW IS SO FUCKED.
Pike Place Fish Market is quickly moving toward stocking exclusively sustainable dead fish. I know, but it’s not going anywhere, so it might as well be less ruinous of the planet. Hawaii has outlawed shark-finning, and if the article is accurate (read: not racist), shark fin soup was fairly popular in the state, so this might be a bigger deal than, say, California making it illegal. Dolphins, being demonstrable geniuses with whom we are all dying to communicate on a deeper level, are getting an iPad dolphin-to-human interface.
Moby’s New York Diet is, duh, vegan, and sounds pretty good. Seitan and grilled pineapple tacos, YES PLEASE. How about you delightful Vegansaurus readers? What would your Vegansaurus Diet look like? Record a week’s worth of meals, plus some interesting notes, and YOU COULD BE PUBLISHED ON VEGANSAURUS! All your dreams come true! Because eating interesting food is a weird competition/attention thing anyway, which we want to foster! Plus “our” Grub Street did, like, two San Francisco Diets and quit, and that is boring. BORING. So are you in? Come play!
Everyone gotten their no-duh inoculations? OK then: Paul Reidinger of SFoodie got such a shock at Golden Era this week: it’s really pretty inside, and the food is super-delicious. Good job recognizing the obvious, Paul! Oh and the new chefs at Ubuntu have actually not ruined everything—nope, still making tasty food (fava bean tempura WHAT?) out of fruit and vegetables, people are still paying too much attention to the fucking cheese—sounds like Ubuntu to us.
What would I rather do than go anywhere near this "steak smell"-emitting billboard? I suggest everyone in its immediate vicinity take up the niqab. Bonus: you’d anger a lot of crazy Christians, and Christopher Hitchens!
Did you know that your Vegansaurus also hates fat-hate? Everyone is great, everyone’s body is great, and we believe that the most important diet choices are made empathetically, meaning: NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS. So this study that found that “between the ages of 25 and 70 there is little different in the health of normal compared with overweight people”—we love this study. Oh, what’s that, study? You “also examined the relationship between body mass index and illness and found those defined as obese, with a BMI of 30 or above, had no more health problems than those who were a ‘healthy’ weight if they were under 40”? We should shut the fuck up about THIS GENERATION OF CHILDREN WILL DIE BEFORE THEIR PARENTS BECAUSE FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT and focus more on THIS GENERATION OF CHILDREN WON’T HAVE ANY EARTH TO INHERIT BECAUSE ANIMAL AGRICULTURE, maybe? The vegans are in.