Thursday, January 20, 2011

From My Table to Yours: Let's Share Together :D

A long hiatus needs no explanation; or at least, mine doesn't because there is no one particularly good reason for my being MIA... well, there was that fiasco of almost not getting home from Europe (read: canceled flights to London, fighting to get on a train to London, almost not being let into Heathrow, delayed flights, Heathrow closed = a mess), moving to LA, moving to Boston, no internet... but now I'm back. Lots of cooking, recipes, ideas, inspiration to make-up for the lost internet time.

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):

Wedding Cookies
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)
by OhSheGlows

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 (; I don't bite... promise!) :) I really appreciate it !

Fool 'Em Margarita Pizza

* 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!


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