Sunday, February 24, 2008

What do vegan sicky-poos do?

Apparently not much.

I've had SARS or the plague or something since Tuesday and have spent most of my time laying around. Today I got it up enough to listen to some podcasts and post a backlog of foodpr0ns!

Tofu Scramble from VwaV

One of the first vegan recipes I ever made. So delicious. I add avocado, tomato, and vegan cream cheese in at the end, making it extra-fatty and extra-dericious.

Whole wheat pretzels from Papa Tofu and John's vegan homebrew

There's a lot going on in this picture. These delectable pretzos (try replacing anything that ends with 'le' with 'o', it's fun) were made by our guest-chef JP (aka my BF liek omg wow). Papa Tofu is the name of the cookzine from the brilliant mind of kittee of Cake Maker to the Stars. JP and I enjoyed these big lovely warm salty (slightly burnt, oops) goodies with two different kinds of beer mustard that we picked up from Anderson Valley Brewing Co. and JP's strong red ale homebrew (Kelly made the labels for it). The pretzels tasted just like I remember them tasting in Germany. There was many yummy sounds coming from my vicinity as I stuffed these in my mouth. And they were really easy to make, too! I am excited to try more from Papa Tofu.

Hummus and raw sundried tomato crackers

My first test run with the food processor I got for my birthday! MMMM, hummus. I make it really lemony, it's so good. These raw crackers were on sale (cause no way in hell am I throwing down money on non-sale raw food stuff, that shit is expensive), and they were nice but a little...SEASONED, for me, but JP liked them.

Lemon poppyseed muffins from VwaV

I love these muffins. As long as you have lemons and poppyseeds and soy yogurt around (which I usually do), you can have these muffins done in 20 minutes tops. I call them Activism Muffins now because I had to make them for an 8am meeting with a beaurocrat who is refusing to tell us why the student union is getting rid of the only vegetarian and environmentally-friendly restaurant on campus. Support Holy Cow!

Orange Sesame Tofu and Simple (Boy Choy instead of swiss chard) from ED&BV!

Holy hell. I have made this twice now in the past two weeks. It is, simply, amazing. So flavorful and light and it was the first time I've ever made bok choy (which is like ├╝ber healthy for you); it really is like getting two veggies for the price of one, with the crunchy stems and the soft leaves. So very very yummy. My favorite recipe from ED&BV! so far.

Tempeh Wingz from Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk!

I'd heard a lot about these wingz from issue #1 of Don't Eat Off the Sidewalk!, which is sadly sold out. However this spicy crunchy recipe o' goodness is on the sample recipes page and as I was a sicky-poo all this week, I thought something spicy might help clear my sinuses. Great and powerful Buddha, my sinuses felt like great swaths of clear-cut Oregon forest afterwards (but in a good way). I cut my tempeh a little bigger than the recipe said to, and I think I will follow the directions next time, but these were soooo yummy and really easy to make. This is why it's always good to have a package of panko around, you never know when you're going to need to slap some panko on something.

Crimson Velveteen cupcakes w/vegan cream cheese frosting from VCTotW

JP was oohing and ahhing with me over the cupcake menu at The Divine Cupcake and requested red velvet cupcakes. I was tired of sitting around being a sicky-poo and so got it together enough to make the Crimson Velveteen cupcakes and some vegan cream cheese frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I actually followed the directions for the first time EVER in making the frosting (perhaps because it was the first time I wasn't hurrying) and it came out AMAZING smooth and creamy, mmm. The cupcakes are indeed more crimson than red but I think they came out well. Action shot!

I'm going to go lay down now, this took a lot out of me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thai Coconut Corn Stew

I should be reading about the origins of European agriculture. But I'm not, bwa ha ha!

I bring you foodpr0nz instead.

I'm not a big soup fan. It's still pretty cold in Eugene though, and since we keep our thermostat at OFF, the apartment is chilly. I wanted something warm. Since I had everything I needed except the corn and red bell pepper, I figured it was a good day to make the Thai Coconut Corn Stew from Eat Drink & Be Vegan.

The soup was surprisingly easy to make, most of the time spent making this was prep (cutting and measuring out veggies for the most part). I don't have an immersion blender, so instead of blending everything in the pot, I let it cool for a bit and then put it in my regular blender, stopping to let them steam out every once in a while.

The soup tastes EXCELLENT. It's sweet from the corn and coconut milk and red bell pepper, but the garlic and spices and lemongrass give it a spicy kick. Very creamy, with nice chunks of corn and somewhat crunchy bell pepper. The cilantro (I love it) finishes it perfectly. Another winner from Dreena Burton.

I guess I should scamper off to finish reading before lecture, since afterwards I'm going to a 'Make a Valentine for Planet Earth!' event. :3

Unrelated - big props to the protestors in Berkeley on Tuesday. Peace everywhere for all animals, nonhuman and human. Good luck tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Love You But You Are Dumb: A Double Trouble Reponse

Let's talk about the many ways in which this article sucks.

First of all...what the fuck is up with the New York Times? Michael Pollan, Nina Planck, that horrible article about how women should eat meat...what is this, Pretentious Rich White Foodie Digest? Is it any wonder that half of the United States is sitting ignorant and quelled on their couches munching on Doritos and not giving a fuck, if this is the shite that's being published? God damn. Apparently the NYT staff went into hives after publishing the not quite so meat-friendly Bittman article, wimpy and noncommital as it was.

Anyway. The article quotes Anthony Bourdain, who, as far as I'm concerned, can take a long walk off a short pier. A pier below which there are sharpened toothbrushes coated with poison FIRE. I hate that man. He's just jealous because vegans are punker than he is...along with pretty much everything else.

Returning the compliment, many vegetarians say they cannot date anyone who eats meat. Vegans, who avoid eating not just animals but animal-derived products, take it further, shivering at the thought of kissing someone who has even sipped honey-sweetened tea.

Yeah, we're shivering in our little pleather bootses, alright.

While some eaters may elevate morality above hedonism, others are suspicious of anyone who does not give in to the pleasure principle.

June Deadrick...said she would have a hard time loving a man who did not share her fondness for multicourse meals including wild game and artisanal cheeses. “And I’m talking cheese from a cow, not that awful soy stuff,” she said.

Yes, because obviously pleasure should be given precedence over ethical responsibility and morality. Hey hey, June, since you don't have to give a damn, why not just start having the veal calves shipped directly to your house. They are a by-product of the dairy industry, after all.

She prepares vegan meals and averts her eyes when he adds anchovies or cheese. And she does not show disapproval when he orders meat in a restaurant.

“I’m not a vegangelical,” she said. “He’s an adult and I respect his choices just as he respects mine.”

How the fuck did vegangelical become a word? I hate the way people associate veganism with religion. Does it make it easier for them to ignore, if they pretend it's based on quaint superstitions and a sky-being of choice? Open your eyes. Veganism isn't religion, because if it was, I would be pooping on it. You don't need faith to realize that no animal actively desires to be eaten at your BBQ. (And I know that this woman is just trying to distance herself from asshole vegans who are jerks to everyone and don't think about the fact that for most of them, THEY were omnis at one point...but when mainstream folks see a buzzword like that, THAT is what is going to stick in their minds when they think of vegans, they're going to think it represents the entirety of us.)

" So, she cooks vegetarian dinners and makes lunches for herself and her daughter that include meat. She and her daughter have “meat parties” when Mr. Benson goes out of town, she said.

“There’s this feeling that if we eat the same thing then we are the same thing, and if we don’t, we’re no longer unified,” Dr. Zerbe said."

MMMMMM. Smell that? That fresh, hot, steaming CRAP. Srsly? Meat parties? Ugh. If you really need to eat the 'same thing' ('thing?' That's a cow, dear. Yes, you are eating a once living animal's muscle tissue and fat) to feel unified as a family, perhaps your issues lie elsewhere.

This article masquerades as a promotion and celebration of people's food preferences and differences. The problem is, the thinly-veiled derision directed at vegans and vegetarians portrays veganism - i.e., leading an animal-friendly life - simply as pickiness, stubbornness, and simply a food preference rather than a moral imperative.

The point I'm trying to make is exactly the one that the slew of writers, and I use that term loosely, for the NYT don't seem to get: this isn't about pissing other people off for the hell of it, this isn't about fashion or greenwashing, this isn't about making things difficult, and it's most definitely, certainly, not about pickiness - it's about living your life ethically, about making compassionate choices wherever possible. about not supporting an industry that promotes and sells suffering, and improving the state of the earth, the lives of the 10 billion animals that are slaughtered every year*, and our own health and well-being. The NYT, and people in general, belittle compassionate choices, because they know that, and they feel guilty.

* That's not including the fishes or any sea creatures which are killed each year as well. Think about it.

Sister pretty much summed that up quite nicely. But I have the edit button, so you get my two cents as well!
First - did anyone notice, before the mention of anything vegan, that there was a celiac woman who was dating a guy who was apparently too fucking in love with bread to respect her wheat allergy? What the balls? I mean, sure, I love certain foods, but no food is worth a great friendship, or a relationship. I thought I could never give up sushi, but I gave it up, and it wasn't as hard as I thought - I know I'd be willing to give up a food I like to be with a *person* I like. Not paying attention to someone's dietary restrictions is totally asinine - oh, but Veganism is a CHOICE, so clearly we don't count.
Food is fleeting and temporary (and delicious, yes...but...) so why would you want to ever date a guy (or woman) who found the taste of a certain food more important than you are? I'd never want to date someone who thought the taste of meat was more important than being with me. Wtf, society! Epic failure.

Baking (not in the Eugene, OR sense)

I decided to turn off and tune out this weekend. No homework, no stress, and no plans. It turned out fantastically. I have much foodpr0ns to share with you, some of which I must download from JP's fancy new camera still but I have some here.

I baked, for the second time, the Cranberry Nut Bread from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Might I just say, I have a deep burning passsionate girlcrush on Colleen. I only just discovered her podcast, Food for Thought, and I've been listening to the back episodes obsessively. I want to be her BFF. And I love the cookbook, it's gorgeous, lots of full-page photos and even two authentic-looking German recipes!! :D I've bought the ingredients to make Apfelstrudel, I think I'm going to make it tomorrow night. Now if only I can get her to come up with a vegan Flammkuchen recipe...and Wiener Apfelkuchen (as in Vienna, getcher mind out of the gutter)...and Kartoffelsalat...mmm.

Anyway. The first time I made this bread was in my finicky evil overheats by 250° oven. The middle was uncooked and the top was crustified. I baked it longer but no matter what the middle was a little...raw.

This time, though, I have a refurbished working oven! But the same thing happened. I ended up cooking it for about 15 minutes longer than the max that the recipe called for and that seemed to get the job done, and the top wasn't as crustified this time. I'm wondering if it's my pan or something. I'm thinking that next time I'll put it in like a 10x10 baking dish, more like zucchini bread or corn bread, and see if that helps even out the baking a bit. It does make a HUUUUGE loaf.

Another thing that could have affected it (maybe): I replaced two cups of white flour with two of whole wheat (it calls for four cups of white, total).

Issues aside, it tastes AMAZING (I put in double cranberries and walnuts this time, om nom nom).

Crannut Bread
Yay attempting to be artsy photos!

The next recipe is fantastic if you're a quinoa-addict, as both JP and I are. We have it a lot. In fact we're just grain fans in general. These muffins are really easy to make, and perfect if you have leftover cooked quinoa. They're the Almond-Quinoa Muffins from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra-Moskowitz (another object of my undying girlcrush love, though JP says if I get to girlcrush on Colleen, he gets Isa).

I love muffins because they're easy to make: 20 minutes plus baketime gets you delicious muffins. It's the closest thing to instant gratification. If I have to bake for a meeting or bakesale, I usually make the lemon poppyseed muffins from VwaV because they taste good and I usually have citrus around.

These muffins were really moist, and the texture of the quinoa and the chopped dried fruit (I used apricots because that's what I had and like best) baked together is...just, freaking, fun in your mouth! It sounds ridiculous (and a bit pervy) but it really is. The tops were just slightly crunchy and the insides were fluffy and wonderful. They're nutty and fruity without being overly sweet or crunchy. I brought them to school in my lunch and it was the best part of my day.

They were also the first recipe that I made out of Veganomicon. I know, right?


More foodpr0n later!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Top 10 n00b mistakes

This is a long entry but as we said, we're new vegans, and we want to help new vegans make the transition as smooth as possible, so you don't end up getting ranty and angry and write blog entries about your mistakes later (ha). All of these except one or two are flubs that I made myself, even well past a few months of being vegan. MISTAKES HAPPEN, it doesn't make you any less vegan if your intentions remain being cruelty-free. Just learn from your mistakes and move on.

1. Soy/almond/rice cheese
A lot of vegans who are more internet-savvy than I am know about this even before they go vegan. I, however, did not. I bought some benign-looking 'Veggie Slices' from Galaxy Nutritional Foods. I was NOT pleased when, after receiving a helpful warning from someone on the Vegan Freak forums, I realized these sons of blintzes have CASEIN in them (GNF does make other vegan products, just not these, which is dumb, but whatevs). Since then, I've discovered that the 'soy cheeze' on Amy's Pizza's has dairy in it as well (NOT, however, the ones that say dairy-free on them, which are vegan and delisheeyoos). Some almond and rice cheeses can also have casein in them.

2. Chai
Flippin' chai! I'd been vegan for five months when I realized that carton of Oregon Chai sitting in my fridge has HONEY in it. Bastard honey! Always gettin' in my food. Anyhow. (Most) Oregon Chai, Tazo Chai, and others that come in the box-form usually have honey in them. Which means Starbucks' chai is NOT vegan (they use Tazo), for any of you SB addicts out there. Be sure to check the ingredient list. For your chai needs, either buy loose chai tea or chai tea bags and brew your own, and add your non-dairy milk of choice. Also, for some reason the ORGANIC Oregon Chai does NOT have honey in it! That's what I've been using. Wandering Goat in Eugene, OR (the city where the hippies come from) has an excellent honey-free house chai (and they upcharge for dairy, muahaha!)

3. Horseradish
This may be a durrrr entry for most of you but I did not realize that most jarred horseradish had egg in it. Pffft! Lame. Stick to the fresh kind and grate it yourself. Much stronger and tastier, anyhow! I lurve it on mockmeat sammiches and homemade tofu burgers.

4. Beer
What?, you ask in dismay. How can beer possibly not be vegan? One word: isinglass. What the hell is that? FUCKING FISH BLADDERS. That's right. At this point, beers fined with isinglass aren't even VEGETARIAN.

And it gets even worse: gelatin can be used to fine beer if the brewery doesn't want to filter or use gravity filtration, and sometimes even bone char can be used to filter (vegan alternatives include irish moss and diatomaceous earth, among others). Honey is also an ingredient in many beers, but I've noticed it's often in the name of the particular brew (i.e., Eugene City Brewery's Honey Orange Wheat).

Don't be a lamer and be all "Well if I can't drink any damn beer I want, screw being vegan!" That's like the bitchiest excuse I can think of, other than "But but but but cheeeeeeeese!" Be a (wo)man, drink cruelty-free beer and tell those fish-drinking suckers they know where they can stick it.

Some of my favorite (accidentally) vegan microbreweries: Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Bison Brewing Co., Rogue Beers and Dogfish Head Brewing Co..
Watch out for egg whites and other non-vegan ingredients in wine and hard liquor, too!

5. Thai food
MMM. I loves me some Thai food. Which is ridiculous because I didn't try it until I was 21. So much wasted time! Anyway. The things to look out for are sometimes easy to spot (other than meat, duh), like egg or egg noodles. Fish sauce, however, a common ingredient in many Thai dishes, is not always listed on the menu. Most of the places I've been will gladly leave it off for you. If it's already mixed into, say, the pad thai sauce (I'm looking at you, Sweet Basil Express), though, opt for something fish sauce-free. It won't kill you.

6. Caesar dressing
This is for the vegetarians out there (come on, give up those animal secretions!). Most vegans know that caeser dressing contains some kind of cheese, and usually egg as well. However, what I did NOT know, is that it also includes ANCHOVY PASTE. Uh, gross. Make Dreena Burton's Living Caesar Salad Dressing instead - it's raw, too!

7. Many mockmeats (Gardenburger, Quorn, MorningStar, Boca)
Who makes a mockmeat with egg whites? Pooheads, that's who. And that's including the original Gardenburger, which I thought was safe until just last week (it's got cheese(s) in it). Always always always check. Most of these companies, and others, make one or two token vegan items: the breaded chik'n patties from GardenBurger are actually really tasty. I do my best to make my own, though, on principle: JP made some lentil-walnut burgers from a Moosewood cookbook that were pretty dang amazing.

8. Fries
Always ask about the oil that your fries are fried in, because otherwise you may end up with greasy chicken-flavored potato grossness.

9. Dark chocolate
WTF, chocolate-making folk? Why would you put milk powder in dark chocolate? The Europeans are laughing at us, hands to their bellies, gasping for breath. Leave the chocolate as it should be: pure and delicious. My chocolate flub? Ghiradelli's 60% cacoa bittersweet chocolate baking chips. What is god damn milk powder doing in it? Your guess is as good as mine.

10. Margarine
Not all margarines are created equal. A lot of them still have milkfat and whey in them. Make sure to get Earth Balance or something else soy-based and dairy-free to spread on your cinnamon-raisin toast.

Easiest thing to do? Never assume anything is vegan! Always check, and ask questions. I get shy if I have to ask someone about a product or dish, but I've come home with doubts and worries that left me very unhappy. It's easier to ask, in the long run.

Any others you think we should include? Let us know!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Tidbits from my life

As it says in the title, this blog is also prone to posting my comics, since that is what I do. I've actually got a vegan comic book in the making, so maybe these short comics will give you an idea as to what that will be like. These are mostly just day-to-day moments immortalized in my doodles. Hope you enjoy.

Joint Post - Seitanaganza!

I would always brush past that ominous blue box at the co-op without a clue as to what I might do with it. So, on a random impulse (more like, walking through chinatown all day without being able to eat anything) I decided to try cooking up some seitan recipes to see how they would turn out. I made a teriyaki pineapple seitan dish over rice, and then tried sweet and sour the next day along with Meg. We both used variations of Vegan Yum Yum's Crispy Sweet and Sour Seitan recipe, with awesome results.

Meg reports that she let her seitan get a little on the burnt side, but our inexperience with cooking seitan didn't keep it from being awesomely delicious. It's pretty much everything I missed about chicken, only without the grease (and of course, the cruelty). So, we raise a toast to popping our seitan cherries - Guten Appetit!

(Accidentally) vegan beer

I'm taking a break from my anthropology presentation research, which is about one of my favorite things in the whole wide world: beer. I learned to love das Bier when I was living and studying in Germany 2 years ago. For anyone who wants to be my BFF and buy me some alcomahols, my beer preferences go (1) brown ales, (2) IPAs, and (3) oatmeal stouts. Anything that's super hopped or made with rye gets props from me too.

As a vegan, being a beer snob can be, well, disappointing. Some of my formerly favorite breweries use animal byproducts in their fining processes. JP almost cried when he found out Avery in Boulder, CO, uses isinglass. But it's really not that bad. One just has to wait, patiently, to email or call a new brewery (sometimes the number is right on the label! I knew my cellphone was good for something other than text messaging), and make sure that the beer is free of non-vegan ingredients, including, but not limited to, isinglass, gelatin, honey, bone char, or milk sugar (lactose).

SO! Where am I going with all of this? One of my favorite breweries, that happens to make vegan beer, and is also VERY close to where I grew up in California, turned 20 this week. The Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Booneville, CA is one of my top five breweries and make a damn fine brew, especially their winter and summer seasonals. My parents and JP and I went on the brewery tour there in December ($5 gets you the tour and two tasters!), and they were really friendly and awesome. The place is really pretty, too, Booneville is a ways out on Hwy 128 (west of 101). I've decided that if I ever get married, it's happening there.

To celebrate their birthday, AVBC is coming out with a limited-edition run of an Imperial IPA. If you paid attention to the first paragraph of this entry, you can understand my excitement.


So get it while it's hot! AVBC is sold all over the Pacific Northwest and in most of the other states as well.

Friday, February 1, 2008

We're on!

Oh my heck, Bryan is going to put us on! :D This is especially exciting for me because that site was one of the first that I stumbled onto after going vegetarian in April of last year (after picking up a, gasp, PETA veg starter guide).

About a month after I went vegetarian, Nina Planck wrote that inflammatory and completely unscientific article about how children (and ultimately adults) cannot thrive on a vegan diet (this all from a woman hawking bacon and butter as healthy in her book). The outrage that that article generated in the vegan community and the subsequent angry blog entries, many of which were listed on VegBlogs, led me eventually to Vegan Freak Radio, which was one of the most essential resources I had as far as encouragement to go vegan!

VegBlogs is a great tool for tracking blog entries from many different blogs, including some of my favorites, such as Dreena Burton's, Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen, and Taste Better. I'm fogetting a bunch more but I'm at school and can't look at my bookmarks, awww. There's something for everybody, is my point.

So, ummm, where was I, it's lunchtime and I haven't eaten yet. Ah yes, VegBlogs, thanks for leading me to veganism, and thanks for having us! We'll get a link on the side there ASAP.