Monday, September 28, 2009

Vegan MoFo - My Vegan Soap Box

To begin this Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo), I thought I would share some of my musings about veganism. To the fam, I do talk about my reasons for being a vegan and animals, but I think you should read it. It's my blog, darn it!

I stopped eating meat when I was about eight or nine years old. My family likes to blame it on "the family down the street who went vegetarian," and they are partially correct. The family down the street did indeed influence my decision, simply by explaining that they went vegetarian because meat came from animals who were killed, usually in a very inhumane way. I guess it was the first time I actually thought about what was on my plate, and realized I had the choice to eat it, or not. As a serious animal lover and advocate, the decision to become a vegetarian was a no brainer. My family was not pleased about my choice, but after realizing I was serious and would starve if they did not allow me to become a vegetarian, they became supportive.

I have to point out that having parents who supported their nine year old daughter, even reluctantly, in her decision to stop eating meat is pretty rare. My mother is the person who taught me how to cook tofu, and my dad made many a pbj sandwich for my school lunch. Even though my parents still pull the "I don't know what I am supposed to cook you for dinner with your strange diet" card, they continue to make sure I have a tofurky at holiday meals. My extended family has been very accommodating as well. If all families were this supportive of their young teenager who wanted to stop eating meet, I guarantee you would see a lot more vegetarians.

When I was 23, I started to feel like I was relying way too much on dairy for protein. I always said I would never become vegan unless I had a personal chef, but a friend encouraged me to try for a few weeks, at least to detox my body from dairy. After a few weeks I felt great, and decided to keep going with the whole vegan thing. I will admit there were times throughout the next two years I would try to eat some cheese or cream, but every time I did I would my stomach would attack me, and it wasn't pretty. After a while I decided to give in and admit it, I was a vegan.

There have still been times I have cheated a bit, eating a muffin with egg or butter in it, but for the most part I have been hard core about it. Especially the past three months, when I have really cracked down on not eating any traces of animal byproducts. Along my vegan journey, I began googling for recipes and buying vegan cookbooks, and for the first time in my life I became really excited about cooking and baking. There is a world of resources out there, and a huge online community of people making awesome vegan food. Every year it seems the world around me becomes a bit more vegan friendly, and when a deli opened up across the street from my apartment this past spring serving vegan sandwiches, baked goods and soy milk for coffee I could not believe my luck.

So, to my point (finally). I don't think it's my job to turn the world vegan. Or even the world around me vegan. At this point I am vegan just as much, if not more so, for the ethical reasons, the health benefits are an added bonus. Most of my friends, family, and my significant other eat meat and dairy. I try pretty hard not to lecture everyone on how many animals they could save from the slaughter house every year, how meat and dairy production is contributing to destroying our planet and how animal products pollute our bodies. I don't force everyone to sit down and watch just one video on PETA's website about meat and dairy production, which I truly believe would turn most people vegan immediately. While I strongly support groups like PETA, I have found my best ammunition to fight the fight is food. Particularly baked goods.

The more we vegans can make delicious food for those around us, the more we can convince others we are not strange hippies who eat gross hippie food. Even making one vegan meal for friends could save a chicken or two, or a pig or cow. Bringing a vegan cake or pie to a dinner can save some poor hen in a battery cage with no beak from laying a few eggs. It may seem like a small effort, but it adds up. And it helps me sleep a little easier at night. The thing about this vegan food I am making for others is it has to be kick ass. I have worked hard to perfect my cake, cookie and pie baking skills, and now when my family gathers to celebrate a birthday or have a special dinner they ask for Lindsey to "bring one of her cakes." That, to me, is a sweet sugary victory.

So, here we go with the Vegan MoFo. I will do my best to post every day (yikes!) about scrumptious vegan food that I eat or make. Don't be afraid, dear readers, try to make something, or go to a vegan or vegetarian restaurant for dinner one night. Or at least have me over to make you some cookies or come to Brooklyn and I will feed you pie. I make a mean blueberry pie.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rosemary Chickpea Tomato Soup

This soup appealed to me today on many levels. I forget what the inspiration was exactly to look for a recipe for chickpea tomato soup, but I found one that was simple enough and decided to give it a go. I intended to cook the chickpeas from scratch (I have a bunch in the pantry) but then realized the whole process would take about 24 hours. Wanting instant gratification, I opted for organic canned chickpeas instead.

I kind of halved the recipe, and probably could have used a little less rosemary, but on the whole it was a very filling and satisfying soup. I encourage you all (vegan or not!) to try it on a dreary rainy day. Get the recipe here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Calling a truce with Setian- Sort of.

Last night I finally made a dinner that was super tasty- it's been a few weeks, I have either had no time to cook, or cooked things that were just kinda blah. Why I have not tried the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon until yesterday, I will never know. Mashed chickpeas are combined with vital wheat gluten (my former enemy) veggie broth, bread crumbs, and a few other things and then baked until crispy perfection. They needed just a little umph, so I made a quick white wine/shallot/picada like sauce for the cutlets- PERFECT. YUM!!!!! I made herb scalloped potatoes (also from Veganomicon) and Phil's new favorite thing, kale chips, as well. I only wish I had the energy to make the same meal tonight- I'm hungry!

Vegan MoFo!!! What the heck?!!!

OK, I don't know what I have gotten myself into, but I signed our humble little blog here up to participate in Vegan MoFo, meaning Vegan Month of Food, meaning during October hundreds of vegan blogs have pledged to write about awesome vegan food every day... or something like that.

Read all about it
here and here.

So, like I said, it looks like hundreds of blogs have signed up already, so there is some pretty stiff competition, and I'm not sure if anyone will make it over here anyways, but it should be an interesting challenge. Maybe not the smartest challenge to take on considering I just started work again (first day of school is tomorrow!), but you only live once.

So, stayed tuned (hi Mom and Omi!!!) for a lot
of posts on October. Hopefully....

I've got my game face on...

Oh, and happy new year! Go eat some apples and honey (er, agave nectar).

Monday, September 14, 2009


This list is pretty heavy on the meat options (ick!), but has some good ideas for yummy vegan lunches to pack as well. She's done it again!!!

Martha's Ideas for Brown Bag Lunches

Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to School Granola

Because something has to get me out of bed at 6 a.m. tomorrow.... HOLY cow. Inspired by my lovely friend, Prysm.


  • 4 1/2 cups organic rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unrefined sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 dashes of cinnamon
  • 1 generous cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven until 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, pecans, walnuts, salt and flax meal. In a smaller bowl, whisk together sesame oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract and cinnamon until well combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and mix with a rubber spatula until all of the oat/nut mixture is completely coated, this will take awhile but it will happen, I promise.

Once everything is well combined, pour onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, spreading the granola into an even layer, about an inch thick. Bake in the oven, checking granola every 6-8 minutes and moving it around on the cookie sheet with a spatula. After about 25 mins or so the oats should be golden brown, which means its time to take the granola out of the oven.

After the granola has cooled a bit, mix it together with the dates and raisins. Store in an airtight container.

Many granola recipes have you toast the oats before mixing them with the other ingredients and baking everything together. I found that it was fine without pre-toasting, and it makes the whole process quicker.

Vegan Zwetschgenkuchen- Take 2

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Soul-ish Food

It's SUCH a good time to go to the farmer's market! I am trying to live it up, I know soon there will only be apples and potatoes for months... I built tonight's dinner around some collard greens I scored at the market this morning, and they were yummmmmmy.

I made some black eyed peas from scratch and added some onion, green pepper, and soy chorizo.

The cornbread recipe is here (I subbed agave nectar for the sugar).

The citrus collards with raisin redux recipe is here. I checked cookbook this is from, Vegan Soul Kitchen, out from the library a few months ago, I think I need to purchase it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Roasted and Toasted Pesto

I make pesto pretty frequently. It's easy to throw together, pretty cheap, and makes whatever you put it on taste better. I do, however, get a little bored with the same old formula from time to time. Today I decided to try to "turn up the volume," as our friend Ina Garten would say (I know! Yet another Barefoot Contessa reference... sorry!!!) on my basic pesto. Adding roasted cloves of garlic and toasting the pine nuts really upped the flavor, and was worth the extra effort.

Here's the recipe for the new and improved pesto:
  • 1 head of roasted garlic
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3-5 tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
First, roast the garlic. Turn your oven up to 350 degrees. Peel the paper off the whole head of garlic as much as you can. Cut of the top part of the garlic, so a little bit of each clove is exposed. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, wrap in foil, and roast in the oven for about an hour, or until the head feels squishy when squeezed with an oven mitt. Remove from the oven and let cool for 25 minutes or so before proceeding with the pesto.

Preheat a dry frying pan on your stove for a few minutes. Throw the pine nuts in the pan and move them around every 30 seconds or so until they are nicely toasted. Watch them closely, they can go from perfect to burned in seconds!
While you let the pine nuts cool, carefully squeeze out each clove from the head of garlic. You can use a fork to help the process along, being careful to remove all bits of the papery skin. Put cloves in the food processor with basil leaves, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Process until it becomes a thick paste. Add pine nuts and process again.

Once everything is combined, keep the processor going while you drizzle in the olive oil, one t
sp. or so at a time until it is the thickness you desire. Taste and re-season as needed with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Enjoy on your favorite whole wheat pasta, as a base for pizza, on a sandwich, etc...