vegansaurus!

03/19/2012

Product review: Bagel Spice!  »

I was at the NYCVFF, perusing the tables, when one of the vendors very kindly offered me a free bottle of Bagel Spice. I wasn’t particularly interested in said Bagel Spice—I was just standing in its vicinity, eyeballing the Bee Free Honee.

I have a pretty extensive spice rack so my attitude was sort of, “Who needs you, Bagel Spice?” Plus it seemed sort of confusing. The website describes it like this:

Bagel Spice is a scrumptious blend of premium spices inspired by the “Everything Bagel.” It’s a delicious accompaniment to a variety of savory dishes.

Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what to put it on. But the company seemed awful charming, and the ingredient list is totally au natural—all very real and whole foods go into this product—so I figured I should give it a whirl.

Initially I went for the obvious and put it on a delicious toasted bagel with some tofutti cream cheese. I have to say that it was very very good. Like surprisingly good. I want it on all of my bagels now.

It’s quite yummy mixed in with hummus as well. That’s how they were serving samples of it up at the NYCVFF, and it was totally good. The original Bagel Spice has no salt, but they make another blend with sea salt, as well as a spicy one, so you have options. What I like about the hummus concept is that I usually like to buy plain hummus, but then sometimes I wish I had a flavored one. Bagel Spice to the rescue! It’s a nice addition to some hummus, and you don’t have to commit to a whole container of the flavored stuff.

The third thing I did with the Bagel Spice was use it as a dry seasoning to make seitan nuggets. (I used the nugget recipe from Jenny’s nugget post—it’s great!) This is what ultimately made me a big Bagel Spice fan. These nuggets turned out awesome, and the Bagel Spice was an essential addition of zest. I used the no-sodium original, so it wasn’t too salty or overly spicy; it just added a ton of gusto. There’s some nice chunkiness with the dried onions and poppy seeds too, which added a great crispy texture on the outside.

It is definitely an awesome addition to any breading you’re making that requires a dry spice. I will probably use it in this capacity most. I’m also gonna suggest that it would be fabulous on a tofu scramble, garlic bread, salads, etc. You could even make some wicked fast pasta by tossing it in a little olive oil then sprinkling on some Bagel Spice. The possibilities are endless!

Bottom line, I am super impressed with Bagel Spice. They totally converted me from an uninterested skeptic to someone who will definitely keep this on hand. It’s tasty and versatile, and dang it, I like it.

You can order Bagel Spice via its website** and it’s also available in a few stores. If you try it and like it, ask your favorite stores to carry it. I’m all about pestering stores to carry things I like. I’m pretty sure my friend Michael is solely responsible for Fresh Direct carrying Daiya. The squeaky wheel, people: It gets the grease.

**This is totally not a vegan company, and there are pictures of eggs and chicken wings on their website. Their whole recipe section is disappointing. However, they do seem to exclusively produce Bagel Spice, and they’re certified kosher, so I’m assuming their facility is meat- and dairy-free.

Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in New York City. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly’s Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz, and read about her animal-friendly adventures here.

01/29/2009

San Francisco Herb Company  »

Please dispel a myth for me: please tell me you have heard of and shop at the San Francisco Herb Company. Presently I’m under the impression that I am one of five people who know about this little treasure, and I have such a big head about it, and it needs deflating.

Vegansaurus is both an eating and a living guide, and without SFHC you are not living as well as you could be. At this delightful store, open just 10 to 4 Monday through Saturday, you can buy all the herbs and spices your heart desires, in bulk, on the super-duper cheap.  Tell me, how can you go wrong with that? You cannot, is how!

If you’re especially smart, you’ll know that you can freeze herbs and spices to keep them fresh, so you can buy a package of cumin or cinnamon or fines herbes the size of a baby without the risk of losing it to staleness. Amazing, right? YES, YES IT IS.

SFHC carries wonderful things for baking, like arrowroot and cream of tartar; also pints of almond, vanilla, and lemon extracts for just under $11 each. I’ll give you a minute to recover from your understandable shock; who knew quality extracts could come so inexpensively? Not you, until now!

You can buy catnip, for sending your kitties on harmless and hilarious drug trips. For people who can stand this sort of thing, SFHC sells pre-mixed potpourri and ingredients for making your own blends. This is not my pleasure—potpourri being the devil’s perfume and all—but if it’s yours, this is a good place to purchase some.

As for specific recommendations, you absolutely must get some smoked paprika. I know ordinary paprika isn’t much besides pretty red powder, but smoked paprika is a  miracle spice: it makes your cooking taste meaty. What? YES. Add it to your lentils, to your tofu, to your anything you want to taste barbecue-ier and to which you want to impart a deeper and more complex flavor. Smoked paprika: spice of the now. If you need more advice, the staff of San Francisco Herb Company will definitely give you their experienced opinions.

Herbs and spices are expensive, which sucks, because without them, your cooking is bland and terrible, which tends to deter you from cooking, but eating out all the time is expensive too, so what do you do? You buy your herbs and spices from San Francisco Herb Company, saving lots of money, improving your cooking, and letting you spend that saved money in nicer, more delicious restaurants than the closest/cheapest taqueria.

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