Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
1 ½ cups salted/roasted cashews
1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted
½ red onion diced, sautéed
1 green chili minced
4 garlic cloves minced
¼ vegetable oil
3 shallots diced
2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4th a pineapple)
1 carrot shredded (optional)
1. Cook: 1 cups brown rice w/ a bit of curry powder
2. Mix Sauce: ¼ cup soy sauce + Tbsp curry powder + 1 tsp sriachi
3. Cook Vegetables, then add cooked rice and then sauce once vegetables are softened to desire. Stir-fry for five minutes until desired consistency is achieved.
Easy as One, Two, Three :)
Peace & Love<3
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Among the many big names to play the music scene among the looming majestic mountains was old school DJ Moby. His DJ set was epic, totally killed it (in a good way!) and his afternoon acoustic set was harmonizing. But it is his speaking event that was of utmost interest for purposes of this blog: on vegan living.
Moby was promoting a new book he has out and spoke briefly on it, taking questions and engaging people on the real issues of vegan living. Imagine my delight when, after a few internet clicks, I find out he owns a vegetarian restaurant in NYC.
Delicious cakes, almost 100 different types of free leaf teas to choose from, and owned by a techno god? Yes, please!
Teany Cafe can only be described as cozy. At 10pm the lighting was dim, all but blinding bar the gently flicking tea candles. Sleek, modern, and white, it reminds me of vegan cafes of Brighton (UK). And what could go better with this English feel than plenty of properly prepared teas and homely sweets (think whoopie pies and coconut cake).
T & I actually discovered Teany after looking for a gift for my Brother for Christmas; we just got back from London and thought the tea-for-two deal at Teany was appropriate for him & his girlfriend. Him having raved about the club--and me being the sandwich fiend I am--my choice was probably already made before arrival (as tempting as the lasagna sounded).
I opted for the blt, even though I *always* get the blt as T reminds me. On the side a cup of honey roobios with steamed almond milk (again, England had entranced me with their London Fog). T & Adam both got the half chili/half "turkey" club.
The drink was fantastic, as it ought to be, creamy and with just a hint of sweetness. The salad greens crisp and dressed with a lovely thick balsamic. But it was the sandwich that stole my heart. Not the biggest around for its price, nothing too fancy, but simple and classic, and perfectly toasted (a must!).
The chili, sadly, was just a bit lacking. I think T & I may be biased from our constant chili making contests but I had made a better lentil chili days earlier (thicker, more robust). But still, tasty.
Our biggest mistake, which I beg none of you to make!, is to have left without dessert. I guess I felt the impulse to explore, being in NY and all (I have a list of about 30 possible vegan havens to check out). But for the rest of that weekend, I could get those luscious looking cakes and pastries out of mind and I'm still sure that I had made the wrong choice and that those desserts (as Adam also told us they would be) was what I was searching for.
In conclusion, if you're in NYC, please visit Teany, sip some tea, and don't let the city rush you out... get that slice of cake you're eyeing!
Oh yeah, and go to Wanderlust if you get the chance... besides amazing music, great people, fun vendors, beautiful artwork, breathtaking views, and tons of yoga... we get free pool & spa access at the site of the Olympic Village :) Do it (and let's meet up there!)
Monday, March 14, 2011
Yet, even in what feels like a few seconds we accomplish a lot; lots to update on!
For one, I start selling my homemade, vegan cookies at a local Boston chain, Boloco in Harvard Square! It's a fun project, being able to experiment with new recipes and hearing feedback. Plus, ALL proceeds go to charity! Its been a great way so fa to raise awareness about vegan issues.
Originally the money went to Farm Sanctuary, but light of the recent events, the next batches are going to Red Cross Japan.
We could talk endlessly about the atrocities, but now, more than ever, it seems our earth on all fronts is in the midst of a crisis, from environmental degradation to financial corruption (PS. everyone check out Inside Job, the 2011 Oscar-wining documentary narrated by Matt Damon): positive vibes and good intentions are short and well needed, and I applaud the innumerable people I meet each day online who try to become educated on the issues and do immense good in this world.
And to give you just a little taste (literally!) of what I tried to put together, here's one of the sample cookies being sold at Boloco:
1/3 C, Sugar
1/3 C, Brown sugar
1/2 C, Canola oil
1/2 C, Soy milk
2 T, Arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
2 t, Vanilla extract
1 t, Ground cinnamon
1/2 t, Ground cloves
1/2 t, Ground nutmeg
1/2 t, Ground allspice
1/2 t, Salt
1/2 t, Baking soda
1/2 C, Grated peeled carrots
2 C, Whole wheat flour
1/2 C, Raisins
* I used the cream cheese frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World but this one is similar. In Vegan Cupcakes they suggest adding chopped, toasted walnuts to the cream cheese which sounds amazing; I think I'll try this next time, let me know if you try it how it turns out!
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with either parchment paper, silicone mat, or lightly grease (the first two are more recommended).
2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugars and oil until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add in soy milk and arrowroot; mix together well. Add in vanilla and mix.
3. Add in all the spices, baking soda, and carrots and mix. Slowly add in the flour, about 1/3 at a time and mix well. Fold in the raisins.
4. Drop tablespoon sized balls onto the baking sheets just under 2 inches apart. Flatten each ball with the end of a spatula. Bake for 10 minutes; allow to cool on the sheets for about 2 minutes and then remove and allow to cool on a metal rack.
1. Take two cookies of approximately the same size. Place a tablespoon size dollop of the cream cheeze frosting on the flat back of one cookie and spread; place the other cookie on top. Enjoy!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Being the Chocolate-in-my-Muffin-Addict I am, I did a side batch for my self (shhh)
So, with a bit of reconfiguring and additional add ons, here's a quick recipe for one of the best, if not thee best, vegan muffin I've had to date (no dates involved, but a good idea!); evenly cooked, super soft, and with a gentle moistness about it:
* 2 C, whole wheat pastry flour
* 1 1/2 t, baking soda
* 1/2 t, salt
* 1/4 C, granulated sugar
* 1/4 C, brown sugar
* 1/3 C, grapeseed oil
* 2/3 C, applesauce
* 4 very ripe bananas, well mashed
* 1/8 C, water
* 1 vanilla bean, caviar
* 1/3 C, chopped walnuts
* 1/3 C, chopped pecans
* 1/4 C, chopped good-quality dark chocolate (*optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place muffin tins in your muffin pan and grease lightly (make approximately 16 muffins)
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugars and oil. Add in applesauce and mix. Add in the mashed bananas and stir well. Stir in the water and vanilla bean, mix thoroughly.
4. Add the flour into the wet mixture, along with the nuts and chocolate (is using). Stir to mix.
5. Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 of the way with batter. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes (mine were done at 24 minutes each), or until they are golden brown and a knife, when inserted into it, comes out clean. Enjoy!
Of course, it wouldn't be Valentine's Day without some gifts and surprises....
The selections were chocolate, chai, hazelnut, vanilla almond, and java. With all natural ingredients such as organic carbo and organic dates, its a unique blend of some of my favorite flavors. Of course, if you're a coffee aficionado (as I sometimes think of myself as; only because of an irrational obsession perhaps), I would give a word of warning: don't expect "coffee".
T said he could've been fooled, but if you know your coffee, I beg to differ; it doesn't have the fullness and subtleties of real (good) coffee, a bit more like an strong herbal tea. Which is NOT to say that they are delicious.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
One of the best ways to cook and eat I've found is to be guided by how you will after the meal. If you're running low on fuel, high-sugary refined-grains may seem appealing, but the quick energy spike and massive crash you'll receiving after will leave you worse off than before. In this case some whole grains and nutrient-dense veggies (particularly protein packed options like spinach or quinoa) would serve you better presently and in the future.
Sometimes I forget this simple rule and go by misguided instinct rather than rational understanding. This is what happened last night and, boy, can I tell you, it is not pretty!
Years ago, when I used to be addicted to junk food (as many people now are; it really is addicting), it might not have phased me.... but after a night of (literally) unlimited, free greasy Chinese food, a plethora of vegan desserts, and tons of free appetizers samples (everything fried), I paid for it in more than a mere stomach ache. [This was less the result of choice, but more of happenstance and too many events in a night].
Food nourishes not only our body but our mind and our soul. There have been numerous articles suggests that poor nutrition leads to poor learning. Unhealthy food clogs our mind and skews our emotions. The bright and light feeling after a morning of muesli and fresh carrot/apple/kale juice could not be more contrasted to the faint twinge of depression accompanying the crash after a nutrient-low meal.
And I'm sure I'm not the only one; how have you experience food as a predictor of mood and bodily satisfaction? I'd love to hear to learn from others experiences and recommendations!
It is with this in mind that I am thankful for a new, fresh addition to Harvard Square: Clover Food Lab. Among the numerous greasy pizza and burger joints offer to Harvard students, Clover stands out as one of the few that serves up healthy, fresh, and simple food that is still outstandingly delicious (kudos also to Crema Cafe, Cafe Pamplona, Falafel Corner, & Boloco, among potentially others).
Clover started out as a food truck, parked just down the street near MIT. I remember numerous times of biking past it and thinking how I'd have to try it, it's consistently massive line indicating customer satisfaction. Imagine my luck, then, when I found out they were opening a permanent location in Harvard Square! All white, minimalist, it could double as an Apple store; perhaps not surprising, then, that your order is taken down by a greeter on an i-touch.
The best part? Clover is ALL vegetarian and most menu items can be easily made vegan! With its extremely reasonable price, welcoming environment, and friendly on-the-go style, Clover became an instant hit among the student population. Never have I heard so many of my omnivore classmates suggesting a vegetarian location for lunch.
It was no surprise, of course, upon tasting their unique menu items:
It's clear why this sandwich is their most popular item; filled with a light hummus, pickled vegetables, fresh Israeli salad, and tender chickpea fritters (made with organic chickpeas, its similar to a falafel), this whole-wheat pita pocket steals the show.
Egg & Eggplant Sandwich
Made with the unique combination of hard-boiled egg and eggplant, drizzling with their light vegan tahini sauce over fresh veggies, my eating companion (Matt) informed me that it too was fantastic. All eggs are sourced locally from a family-owned farm. This sandwich can easily be made vegan by omitting the egg.
The Soup of the Day when I went, I thought it was very flavorful and hearty, but with a Polish boyfriend and close Russian friend, its hard to compare to generation old family recipes. Then again, who can say not to perfectly stewed beets?
CoffeeI wouldn't use the word connoisseur because it seems pompous but I do think I've tasted my fair share of coffee and have a palate now that can taste the subtle differences in flavor (and the not so subtle lack of flavor extracted from burn, over roasted chain "coffee"). This coffee met the test for a wonderfully made cup.
All the coffee is single origin, often organic, and made using a manual individual-drip process (as most of the best coffee places do, such as Monmouth in London). Furthermore the servers are very knowledge in helping you find the pick the right coffee. They also offer cold brew.
One thing we can expect from Clover besides consistent deliciousness is an openness that fosters true trust (something we can only rarely expect from the food industry these days). The Harvard Square location has an open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows allowing customers to view the cooking process; team meetings are held in the store and anyone is allow to come listen.
With a focus on fresh food that changes daily and the promotion of vegetarian values, Clover offers what many restaurants fail to: a commitment to serving real, honest food.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Recently it's been a plethora of different soups, but the other day I came home with an appetite for something spicy. T & I, of course, ended up disagreeing on what should compose this chili and somehow turned into chili-making contest (not our first time).
When all was said and done, and presented to a group of friends, mine took the winning ticket! (Though T's was a favorite for our summer chili cook-off).
Not to toot my own horn of course, but I was surprised with how deeeelicious it came out! Especially because I just wing'd it, knowing lentils, corn, & white beans would be the primary ingredients.
The corn provides a nice sweetness against the strong heat from the different peppers, as well as a good texture difference. It's not to heavy and has a very smooth texture--definitely going to be winter fav!
* 2-3 T, neutral-tasting oil (I used grapeseed)
* 1 small yellow onion, chopped
* Corn nibs from 2 cobs
* 1/2 jalapeno, diced
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 t, marjoram
* 1 T, chili powder
* 1 1/2 t, cumin
* 1 t, coriander
* 1 t, oregano
* 2 t, red pepper flakes
* 2 t, marash pepper flakes (or more red pepper might work)
* 1/2 t, paprika
* 1/2 t salt
* 1 t, freshly ground pepper
* 2 T, balsamic vinegar
* 2 C, vegetable broth
* 1/2 C, brown lentils
* 1 8oz can, tomato sauce
* 1 8oz can, cannelloni beans
1. Add oil to a large pot and head over medium. Add in chopped onions and corn, saute until softened, about 2 minutes (add more oil if needed).
2. Add in jalapeno and garlic, saute until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant but now browned, about another minute or 2.
3. Add in all of the spices from marjoram to pepper; stir constantly for 30 seconds, then deglaze with the balsamic vinegar.
4. Quickly add in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add in lentils and slow to a simmer. Cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked thoroughly.
5. Add in the tomato sauce and cannelloni beanes. Bring to a boil and then bring to a very low simmer. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes more to get the best flavor meld. Enjoy!
Saturday, January 29, 2011
The first multiple episode vegan cooking show (Vegucating Robin) is now on TV, NYC is having their city's first Vegetarian Food Festival in April, and even the James' Bread Foundation has hosted and recognize vegan cuisine as of late (Chef Angel Ramos from Candle 79, NYC).
So it's little surprise that acceptance of vegetarianism, and less-meatarianism, has gained prominence through the college scene as well. Last semester in London I helped start the first vegetarian society at UCL and now, according to Jonathan Safron Foer, almost 18% of all college students identify as vegetarian.
So when I was invited by the Harvard Vegetarian Society to a vegan/vegetarian food tasting by the Harvard University Dining Service, an event to sample and get feedback on new vegetarian and vegan dishes, I knew this was a step forward. Showing all students, even omnivores, that vegan and/or vegetarian food can be delicious and filling is always a step forward. So sixteen students including myself got to sample a bunch of potential new dining hall meals and provide our feedback.
Check out some of the items tested below & their reception:
My second favorite dish, this combined HUHDS's infamous Chick'n patties deliciously smeared with a fresh tahini sauce and filled with extra veggies. Some students thought the sauce was a bit bitter, but ultimately it was a bit hit!
Mimicked after a Philly cheese steak sandwich, this seitan sandwich had a delicious serving of sauteed onions and peppers but seemed to be missing a bit of something, perhaps a bit dry. Some students suggested extra sauce or offering a side of BBQ sauce. Chef Martin thought having too many ingredients separated from the dish may be a bit difficult to achieve, but one thing we all agreed upon was changing out the bun of a whole wheat version.
The best part of this sandwich? The HUHDS house made seitan! Store-bought seitan is often packed with additives and preservatives, but this seitan was made fresh and the difference was apparent. The texture was completely different, so much more tender, and it absorb its sauce amazingly.
One of my favorite dishes, this salad was simple but balanced the acidity well (perfectly in my opinion). Some students thought it aired on the bitter side a bit too much, though as the Chefs pointed out, for a pickled salad that is often the case. The chefs thought a little less dressing could help this, particularly because the salad had quite a bit of extra liquid to it.
Another dish with HUHDS's homemade Seitan and this was definitely the best. he seitan soaked up the exquisitely balanced sauce superbly. The cashews were a great crunchy addition, always a favorite of mine.
Though I'm not usually a mushroom lover (I know, Vitamin D, I really should be), this pasta was great. With protein packed penne and tender, savory mushrooms though, this dish was a hit. Nothing fake here which is always nice. My only complaint, and many students agreed, was that the mushrooms are a bit on the salty side.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
"How do you make your lentils?" "So I shouldn't be adding salt to boil water for tea?" Shameful, I know. It was probably her Italian roots and mine too that finally brought about a love for the kitchen. A number of my dishes are a work in progress to veganify Italian classics. One of the her classic recipes as such was her bruschetta.
So following up on my second project, and really beginning what will be a long dedication to reviving the childhood favorites (bonding over community, family, and food), I have a few short and easy recipes based on my mother's cooking and her Italian roots.
These dishes were all served up just after Christmas during a dinner party with my best friends (Sarah, Diane, Bianca) from across the country. Nothing beats a long night of sharing with friends over the dinner table, a nice glass of wine, and.... a fort!! (Toni kindly built us girls an epic blanket fort!)
* 1 Fresh Italian Loaf (whole wheat if available)
* 4-6 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
* 5 Roma Tomatoes, diced
* 2 Garlic Cloves, minced and crushed
* 2 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
* 2 t, Dried Oregano
* 1 t, Dried Parsley Flakes
* 1 T, Good Quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 t, Freshly Ground Pepper
* 1 t, Freshly Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (or salt of choice)
1. In a medium bowl, add together all the ingredients except the loaf and vegetable oil. Mix well and set aside.
1. Slice loaf into 1 in slices. Heat a cast iron (or heavy bottomed) pan over medium heat. Place olive oil in a dish and brush lightly on each side of each slice as your lie them on the pan. Toast for approximately 1 minute on each side, or until crispy and golden.
3. Lay out your toasted bread and top each with a large spoonful for the tomato mixture. Each immediately & Enjoy!
* 1 T, Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese
* 1 Bundle Fresh Basil Leaves (approximately 8-15 leaves, depending on moisture content)
* 1/2 C, Pine Nuts
* 1/3 C, Good Quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
* 1 T, Freshly Ground Pepper
* 1/2 T, Freshly Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (or finely grained salt of your choice)
1. Add together all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Pesto should be almost smooth, just a bit chunky. If too moist, add a few extra basil leaves and a handful of pine nuts. If too dry, add an extra tablespoon of olive oil. Easy as that. Eat with crackers and wine, or add to pasta. Enjoy!
And just for good measure, if you're mouth was watering over the pictures, I wanted to present to you...
Its awesome, and easy, try it.
So if any of you have a family recipe, even if its not that good, just something unique to your childhood, maybe made by an aunt, a cultural recipe made on holidays.... I'd love to hear about it! Just a general recipe outline (even if it includes meat, dairy, eggs, etc; all the better to work with) would be awesome... and OF COURSE, the story behind it, the most important part.
I want to hear from you, let's share :)
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I've taken on two new projects (see more below) and had a great time engaging with... cookbooks! I was never a huge recipe person, preferring to wing it, but that's not always so easy with vegan baking. For Christmas my parents got me my first ever vegan cookbooks and look at the yumm results (get these books! I'll go into more specifics later):
by Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Same night, New Years Eve-Eve Potluck Party: hence my frazzled look and burnt nose from making homemade taquitos all day (homemade refried beans, homemade tortillas, homemade potato fillings, etc.) inspired by Vegan Latina
Spelt Biscuits & McEgg Patties
by Babycakes, NYC & Vegan Comfort Food
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
by Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Peppermint Walnut Blondies (revisiting some old favs; for Erin's birthday)
Dinner Biscuits with Black Bean Burgers and Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
by The Joy of Vegan Baking & Chef Chloe
(I found the secret to perfectly crisp fries: after baking, quickly broil without burning!)
All of these books and amazingly talented chefs have greatly inspired me and it's been a ton of fun. In essence, what I've solidified in the past few weeks is where my passion of policy, community activism, and food intersect. A few of my distant relatives contacted me through my grandma with an interest in going vegan but without the tools to-do so. They both live out in Denver, have no at-home computer, and little more than a vague understanding of cooking and eating vegan.
Vegan-eating, and healthy-eating, is something that can and is accessible for all; it doesn't have to mean deprivation but is about feeling good. So a series of recipes, including the one below, will focus on quick vegan eats. Things that are familiar, easy to prepare, and usually good to store. Of course, these are also great for the busy student or parent... considering these are some go-to recipes when time is of the essence or comfort food is a must.
Finally, and I'll have to go more in depth into this in my following posts, I have one more project I'm working on that I'm really excited about. It utilizes the involvement of friends, families, and strangers and brings back an vital missing piece in the American food system: community.
Food has become about convenience. Eating on the go, eating in your car, quick, packaged, no-prep needed. And in all of it we've lost something. The family dinner has slowly faded from the social norm. So with this next project I hope to bring the focus of food away from just the individual, but back into sharing with our society, our communities, our friends, bonding over bread with strangers (all of which speak to larger issues of food justice, access, affordability, education).
My question I pose to you now, to help me with this project: What's a dish that reminds you of your childhood? Something unique to your youth, maybe made by an Aunt or something your Mum prepared specially for the holidays? Something that you think is different from other recipes of its kind? I'd really love to hear at length about this if you're willing to share, the memories, anything. You can comment or email me too (firstname.lastname@example.org; I don't bite... promise!) :) I really appreciate it !
* 1 can Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough (I know, I know)
* 1 package Grated Rice Mozarella Vegan Cheese (rec: Galaxy Nutritional Foods)
* 3 roma tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt (or salt of choice)
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 4-5 basil leaves, finely sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Open Pillsbury crust and spread it out on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.
2. Lightly spray olive oil over the uncooked crust or drizzle lightly.
3. Place in oven and prebake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
4. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese over the crust, leaving about 1 inch on each side.
5. Place back in oven and cook for 5-10 more minutes, making sure cheese has melted but the crust does not burn.
6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together chopped tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
6. Once you have removed the pizza from the oven, sprinkle tomato mixture on top. Top with basil. Serve immediately or store for a few days in the fridge. Enjoy!