Product Review: Casa Martinez Nopal Salsa! »
You all know I got into vegan blogging for the free stuff, so when Casa Martinez offered to send me some of their “fresh, all natural vegan” salsas to sample, I said, Yes please.
A little while later, I received this jar of Nopal flavor. It’s cactus. I love cactus! Tequila! Mezcal! Delicious! Jarred salsas aren’t my favorite salsas, but who am I to turn down free vegan food? Especially non-GMO vegan food that is new to the U.S. market.
To sample this salsa, I decided to make the potato-kale enchiladas from Veganomicon, and use the salsa instead of making enchilada sauce. There was enough in the jar to spread a thin layer on the bottom of the pan, and to thoroughly cover the 10 enchiladas I made. (It was a 10-pack of tortillas.)
I baked them a little longer than instructed, let them sit for five minutes, and served them with some vegan Chardonnay.
Result: Superfantástico! The spice was light, which I made up for by adding cayenne pepper to the filling. The flavors were delicate and tangy. I really enjoyed it! I rarely don’t enjoy enchiladas, though, but I thought the nopal made a good foil for the heavier, earthier potatoes and kale. I recommend it!
If you want to put Casa Martinez salsas in your face (and you probably do, unless you’re making nopal salsa at home), you can buy it at Bristol Farms in Southern California, and online.
Look What We Made! Calzones! Raw Tiramisu! »
Self-esteem requires that one take a moment to brag when one does something awesome. Here are two delicious things that were recently born in my house. If someone could come teach me to take photos of food, that would be great, ok thanks.
Awesome Thing #1: Ginormous Calzones
My husband Danny made these beauties, on a weeknight no less. They’re filled with a tofu-cashew-olive ricotta (recipe from Veganomicon with kalamatas thrown in; leave out the salt), broccoli and homemade seitan saute, and a smidge of Daiya. OMG YUM can we get married again? I am the luckiest person.
Awesome Thing #2: Cafe Gratitude’s Raw Tiramisu
I taught you how to cope with the impending loss of CG, and now here’s me doing it! I made bomber, delicious, raw tiramisu. It took lots of planning (including steps begun 48 hours before I wanted to eat), weird ingredients (Irish moss, lecithin, raw cacao powder), and like 4 hours to make, but it was SO worth it.
Best new thing I learned: Making my own coconut milk! Just buy one of those Thai young coconuts, hack it open, put both the water and the flesh/meat (ick words) in the blender, and swoon.
Vegan MoFo: AvoKale Noodles! »
I’m not sure this recipe counts as super-fast, but it’s weeknight-fast and SO good I just HAD to share it with you. My awesome vegan husband Danny invented it, because he does lots of the cooking ‘round our place. Also Isa kind of invented it—it’s a modified version of the Pasta della California in Veganomicon.
Ok let’s get to it!
2+ Tbsp. garlic, chopped
red pepper flakes
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 cup white wine
1 can white beans
2 avocados, cubed
salt and pepper
nutritional yeast for garnish/topping
Cook some whole-wheat spaghetti, or noodles of your choice.
Boil some kale in a small amount of water for like 20 minutes until it’s soft. Probably chop it up first.
Meanwhile, saute some garlic, red pepper flakes (depends on how much you like), and the lemon zest in some olive oil for about 5 minutes. USE THE ZEST! It makes a huge difference in the tastiness factor.
Squeeze in the juice from that naked lemon, add white wine. Cook a little longer.
Drain and rinse a can of white beans (or cook them from dried in a pressure cooker) and throw in with the garlic saucy stuff to warm up.
In a big bowl, mix together the noodles, the kale, the avocado, and the saucy beans.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with nooch on top.
Seriously, this is really good. I was gonna blog about something else but then Danny went and cooked this and I was like shit, I gotta pull out my camera now because dinner is just THAT GOOD tonight. It sucked, I swear — the camera was all the way in the other room and everything.
Just like grandma didn’t make: corn casserole »
When I was but a wee college vegetarian first learning my way around the pots and the pans, my grandmother—doll that she is—sent me an enormous catalog of recipes she used to make with food from the commissary when she was cooking for my mother and her siblings. Sadly, I have somewhat ignored those three-by-five cards in the wake of receiving Veganomicon. But it’s time to bring them back.
This is the inaugural post of a monthly series focused on veganizing these old-fashioned recipes. We begin with corn casserole.
The original recipe calls for the following non-vegan items: sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter, and Jiffy corn muffin mix. “What’s the deal with Jiffy?” you ask. Good question: It seems like cornbread mix, of all things, especially considering it requires added milk and eggs to make it, might be vegan. Bad news: Fuckin’ Jiffy uses “animal shortening.” THAT IS CODE FOR LARD, Y’ALL.
So here’s my grandma’s super-easy, super-yummy veganized corn casserole recipe. But please don’t tell her I did this!
makes an 8x8” pan
1 stick dairy-free margarine, melted (I used Earth Balance)
1 can creamed corn*
1 can corn, regular-style
1 7-to-8-oz. package vegan cornbread mix (I used Glory Foods)
1 cup vegan sour cream
1 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8” baking pan.
In a large bowl, stir together margarine, both corns, cornbread mix, and vegan sour cream until smooth. Pour into pan, and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle vegan cheese on top, and bake for 10 more minutes. Let it cool for a while before cutting into squares and serving; otherwise, you’ll just end up with a formless yellow blob on your plate.
Tex-Mex corn casserole: Add a chopped, seeded jalapeno and a tablespoon of chili powder to the mix before baking.
Greek corn casserole: Add 1 cup chopped kalamata olives to the mix prior to baking. Sprinkle the top with tofu feta instead of cheddar.
Can you come up with any other variations?
*A can of creamed corn contains no actual cream.
Interview with a Vegan: Joshua Katcher! »
Vegansaurus: Do you go by Josh or exclusively Joshua?
Joshua Katcher: I prefer Joshua, but I won’t have a complete meltdown if someone calls me Josh. I may cry for a few minutes and punch a hole in the wall, but then I’ll be totally fine. I’m pretty emotionally stable.
Why are you vegan?
Because it’s delicious, and because I think animals are individuals who deserve validation and consideration where their lives and bodies are at stake. But also because I hate freedom and I was hoping to be frail and ill—but that backfired and I’m really healthy and athletic now.
How long have you been vegan?
There was no exact date—it was a transition—but about 12 or 13 years, I think.
I am completely FASCINATED by parasitic intelligence. But as far as animals that I want to hang with, and cuddle. Dogs and goats. And cows. And pigs. Turkeys are like cats! Oy vey, this is impossible to answer.
Got any companion animals? Pictures!
Enzo is a rescued chihuahua. His nicknames are: Enzo Benzo, Enzo Roni, Reno Roni, Monster, Burrito, Little Man. There are more, but my sanity would be called into question. He didn’t bark or play or have any interest in other dogs for almost two years, but he is finally coming out of his shell, and recovering from the three years of abuse/neglect he experienced. He was rescued by Amy from sugarmutts.org.
[OMJesus this picture!]
Dr. Cow's hemp-nut cashew cheese.
Favorite vegan restaurant?
I still swoon over Candle 79’s seitan, but the bacon cheeseburger at Blossom Cafe is habit-forming, and the beet tartar at Madeline’s Bistro is worth flying to L.A. to have. I am such a foodie, it’s hard to choose favorites. Sometimes a bowl of steamed kale is the best thing in the world, and other times a Vegan Treats chocolate-covered strawberry shortcake hits the spot.
Vegan celebrity you want to bang?
All of them. At once.
Yes. Sorry, haters.
Do you remember when we met at Lula’s? Was it as awesome for you as it was for me?
I have been recovering ever since.
What’s your favorite thing to get at Lula’s?
I keep it simple at Lula’s: I really like a scoop of strawberry ice cream on a sugar cone. When feeling adventurous, I am obsessed with the malt powder or a malted milkshake—and the coconut whipped cream is better than I remember whipped cow-tit secretions being. I have a gym membership for a reason.
What do you like about fashion? How do you know all about it?
I like fashion because I am gay and I love being a stereotype. Ha ha. In all honesty, fashion is an incredibly powerful form of visual communication. It is the premiere means by which the majority of people in our current culture express their personal identity. We all participate in that discourse, whether we like it or not. Even if we reject the notion of fashion all-together, our culture is dominated by this visual language. There is a lot of power to be had or lost in dress, and if you know how to communicate that power properly, it have have amazing effects—especially if you are someone who wants to change the world. Additionally, if you know how to decode what others are wearing—a fur coat for example, it makes understanding the issues surrounding everything from animal cruelty in fashion to sweatshops and ecological issues, less overwhelming.
Favorite vegan designer?
I am really inspired by the strides John Bartlett is making, announcing “I want to be a 100-percent-vegan designer.” He is a personal friend, and a powerhouse in the fashion arena.
Favorite vegan accessory/possession?
There are a few. I got a recycled poly suit from CPas, a vegan biker “Decontrol” jacket from April77, black “milo” boots from NOVACAS, the gray “Vintage Boot” from Vegetarian Shoes, and an awesome men’s peacoat from Vaute Couture.
Why’d you start The Discerning Brute?
I started the Discerning Brute several years ago because no one was really providing a lifestyle resource specifically for “ethically handsome men.” From the beginning, my aim was to slowly compile a catalog of brands, companies, resources, and people that would form a community, and to eventually open a store, launch a suit line, and write a book. These are all underway.
Who does the illustrative design-y stuff for your site? I’m into it.
Thanks! I did the layout and graphic design myself, and the actual art I used in the design is from an 18th century illustrator.
[Katcher and Anna Wintour look-alike outside the Conde Nast building for the Pinnacle launch!]
What’s Pinnacle all about?
JK: PINNACLE: Reinvent The Icon is an image-driven initiative consisting of fashion industry professionals from all areas of fashion culture who are clarifying the changed meaning of fur within the context of our current culture.
Pinnacle produces editorial stories, and works with informed designers, models, and other professionals to create accessories and various forms of visual art consistent with an interest in:
- Providing critical commentary about animal fur
- Exposing aspects of fur production and marketing which are intentionally hidden or obscured
- Shifting the outdated, whitewashed and greenwashed attitude toward, and meaning of fur garments
- Calling for personal and corporate accountability concerning the cruelty inherent in all fur production
What’s next for Pinnacle?
I have been touring a bit with my “Fashion & Animals” talk, and I plan on speaking at Parsons, FIT, and San Francisco, soon. I was also asked to teach a module at the American University of Paris next spring on the topic, which is exciting. Getting more designers, models, photographers, etc. involved and producing more and more fashion content. Also, a huge priority for us is expanding to China because that is the fur capital of the world, and there are no regulations to protect animals. There is more animal cruelty in China than the rest of the world combined, and they are the largest exporter of fur—and that includes cat and dog fur. Because China is a communist country, if you can convince the government to stop something, it will be done overnight, more or less. We need to reach the Chinese government with a message of being heroes for animals in an appealing way. The Compassion For Animals Foundation is doing amazing work in China.
Is it true you’re trying to take over the world?
Well, the short answer is yes. But, since I have a bone to pick (hey vegan police, is it vegan to say that?) with hierarchical power structures, that poses a dilemma. I plan to change the world, but a take over seems so…egotistical.
First of all, the Guardian rules. Second of all, how do you feel about being “the new sexy vegan?”
I was so honored, and shocked. Growing up, I was always a totally shy, unpopular, comic-book-reading geek who got picked on pretty bad. So it’s quite strange to be considered “sexy” by someone. I’m learning to embrace it though, and use it to help animals.
Do you have any amazing nicknames I should know about?
My nickname in junior high was “fag” so you can try that. Or you can call me Yahoshua Ruvin. That’s my super-cool Hebrew name. Don’t be jealous.
Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
I’m not sure I have room for a dinosaur in my apartment, but I’d be happy to come to one of your places and cook together! That would be fun. We can make sawdust and gravel and grass clippings, since that’s what vegans eat.
Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
What would the Vegansauraus dudes like to see happen on the DB, and what would you like to see for sale at my forthcoming store, BraveGentleMan.com? Do any readers have men’s lifestyle questions for me?
Vegansaurus men, let’s hear it! Just what does the Vegansaurus Man of today want?
Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! Week nine: VEGAN Battleship Chocolate Bundt Cake with Sour Cherry Compote! »
Does our ninth guest chef really need another introduction? You guys, it’s TERRY HOPE ROMERO! She is a PROFESSIONAL. She wrote her own post! She commented on the episode! She veganized AND personalized the original recipe so you will want to and be able to make it yourself. Did she time her recipe to sync up with National Bundt Pan Day? Possibly, the woman is magic. And here she is!
When Vegansaurus asked me to participate in the veganization of the most recent winning recipe of Just Desserts it was my perfect excuse to pull away from the computer and open up a fresh bag of vegan sugar. And of course vicariously live through the pain and triumph of the contestants, but at home and without the fuss of wearing pants. Who knows, maybe you’re not even wearing pants while reading this post. But I know you like dessert; either way I now salute you with cake.
However, last week’s show was a nightmare of confectionery request: teetering towers of anniversary sponge layers, buckets of fondant and food coloring (oh, Zac), all smothered in mounds of buttercream. Where are the glistening crèmes, chocolate ganache or decadent tortes, Just Desserts? How mean a challenge was that? And don’t get me started on decorating: after baking thousands of cupcakes by now, with a pastry bag full of frosting I don’t often go beyond a swirl or a dollop. Who has precious time to spare when honest, tasty vegan cake is what the world needs right now?
This to-the-point recipe stars a fluffy chocolate cake brushed with brandy syrup. Syrup-brushed cakes stay fresh longer, plus you have the thrill of soaking dessert with booze. I love the easygoing joy of serving cake with ice cream: pair it either with homemade Greek-style frozen soy yogurt, or your favorite vanilla soy or coconut-based ice cream. Chocolate and cherries is a favorite combo of mine too, so the sour cherry compote (also kinda Greeky) stays. It’s the ideal compliment to the sweet cake and tart, gently sweetened soy froyo.
I do like cake, even if I sound a little curmudgeonly, and my preferred way to enjoy it is pure and with a modest touch of creamy or fruity, like in this recipe. The buttercream may be gone, but I’ve kept the “battleship” name in honor of the awesomely strange and bold choice of chef Danielle’s serious grey tint for the frosting of her winning monument to octogenarian love. An unfrosted Bundt cake embodies that certain something—massive, tall, and ready for both love and war. Seriously chocolatey dessert warfare, that is.
Battleship Chocolate Bundt Cake with Sour Cherry Compote
makes one cake; serves 1 cake monster or 12 others
Time: 45 minutes bake, about 10 to mix
A Bundt pan adds a badass sculpted look to this tender, fluffy chocolate cake that gets additional depth from modern-day chocolate soy milk and old-fashioned strongly brewed coffee. Serve naked as-is, or tastefully dress it up with a brushing of brandy syrup and swoosh of sweet & sour cherry compote.
3 Tbsp. finely ground flax seed
1 cup hot, strong-brewed coffee
1¼ chocolate soy or almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup canola oil
1 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
(tip: Brew extra-strong coffee, stronger than you could actually drink, for a fully flavored cake)
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup water
2 Tbsp. brandy (Metaxa is Greek brandy if you want to keep the theme going)
Sour Cherry Compote
8 oz. dried cherries
2 ⅓ cups pomegranate juice drink
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 12-cup Bundt cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large measure cup combine hot coffee and ground flax seed and set aside for 5 minutes, then stir in chocolate soy milk. In a microwave-safe, large bowl melt chocolate at 50 percent power (or melt chocolate over a double boiler, whatever works for you) for 45 seconds to 1 minute, then stir chocolate with a rubber spatula until melted. Stir in canola oil and sugar and mix to thoroughly combine.
In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Form a well in the center, scrape in the chocolate mixture and then pour in about half of the coffee mixture. Mix just enough to moisten ingredients then add remaining coffee mixture, stirring to combine. Do not over mix, only make sure no remaining dry flour mixture remains. Pour batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to get every last drop from the bowl to the pan. Bake undisturbed (no peeking!) for 45 minutes then test center of cake with a wooden toothpick: toothpick should come out clean—a few crumbs are OK. Do not over-bake cake. Remove cake from oven and cook in pan for 15 minutes. Place a serving plate on top of cake and invert pan, lightly tap top of pan before removing. Allow cake to cool another 10 minutes then brush with brandy syrup. Brush with syrup several times, making sure to cover both outside and insides of Bundt cake.
In a small saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes until sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat, cool for 2 minutes and stir in brandy.
Heat pomegranate drink in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming and simmering. Add cherries, turn off heat, cover and let sit for 30 minutes. In a food processor puree cherries into a chunky mixture with agave nectar and wine vinegar. Taste and adjust sweet/sour flavor with lemon juice and more agave if desired. Compote will thicken slightly as it cools.
Frozen soy yogurt with orange flower water
Serves 4 to 6
In homage to Danielle’s intriguing Greek yogurt ice cream here’s a simple frozen soy yogurt lightly sweetened with agave and flavored with orange flower water. Remember that orange flower water does not taste like oranges: it has a light floral flavor commonly found in Mediterranean sweets. Can’t find it? Omit it and add more vanilla extract (or a little almond extract).
This soy frozen yogurt should be served immediately after freezing in the ice cream maker. If packed and frozen for more than an hour it will get overly hard and require thawing. Either way, this froyo is tart and light; add more agave for a sweeter yogurt or use sweetened plain soy or coconut yogurt.
24 oz. plain soy or coconut yogurt, unsweetened or sweetened
½ cup or more to taste light agave nectar
2 tsp. orange flower water (not orange extract!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a mixing bowl beat yogurt until smooth, then stir in agave nectar, flower water and vanilla. Taste and adjust sweetness by adding more agave if desired. Freeze according to ice cream maker manufacturer’s instructions, about 25 minutes should suffice for a firm frozen yogurt. Serve immediately with cake and warm compote.
To serve, use a very sharp, think knife to slice cake into thick slices and serve with 2 or 3 generous tablespoons of warm cherry compote and a scoop of frozen yogurt/ice cream. Serve immediately! Great with dark roast drip coffee or strong Greek-style coffee.
Terry Hope Romero bakes her cake, eats it too and likes to pretend she’s cooking on a pirate ship when in her home kitchen base in Queens, NYC. She is co-author of Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and her most recent book is also her first solo, Viva Vegan! 200 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers. Visit her at veganlatina.com.
Top Chef: Just Desserts, episode nine airs tonight, and our ninth chef is revealed! »
The ninth episode of Top Chef: Just Desserts airs on Bravo tonight (10 Eastern/Pacific), which means that we’re ready to unveil our ninth guest chef who will veganize the episode’s winning dessert! See the first eight here: Chocolate mousse! Mini cheesecakes! Margarita bombes! Toffee brownies! Chocolate cake! Fried pie and ice cream! White chocolate mousse! Panna cotta! Rice Krispy bars coated with chocolate and hazelnut butter! Red hot macarons! DO IT. Our next chef needs no introduction but you know we’re verbose, so:
Terry Hope Romero is fucking amazing! Seriously, she’s already co-authored your favorite vegan cookbooks (That’d be Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar), but she also recently published VegNews' 2010 Book of the Year, Viva Vegan! Seriously, every single one of her cookbooks is The Best Ever. I’d probably bet my life on the fact that you own at least one of her cookbooks. Not only that, her twitter is hilarious and adorable, and everything about her is totally rad. Also, we’ve heard a rumor that her partner in delicious crime, Isa Chandra Moskowitz (OMG the new PPK is beauuutiful!), might be teaming up with her on this one? We are seriously jumping up and down over here, and you know what cynical assholes we are so this is kind of a big deal.
We’re thrilled to see what Terry does with the crazy challenges that Top Chef: Just Desserts throws her way tonight. Luckily, the bon bon challenge below is the Quickfire, so you know we won’t be torturing her with making something that normally takes two days in five minutes.
[can’t see the video? watch it on vegansaurus.com!]
The Kitchn features a recipe for Curried Udon Noodle Stirfry from Veganomicon today! It’s always awesome to see a meat mouth food blog give positive press to vegans. Especially a vegan as delicious as Curried Udon Noodle Stirfy. I will eat this later. And by later I mean, will you come over and make this for me PLEASE I PAY IN LOVE AND RESPECT AND I’LL BE YOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT PERSON AND WOULD LIE AND KILL FOR YOU.