17 years ago, before we both became completely vegetarian, my husband was a shrimp and fish fan. Me, not so much. When we stumbled upon vegan shrimp ~ boy was he excited to make Shrimp Fra Diavolo. His Fra Diavolo sauce is always excellent. The vegan shrimp is a bit fickle, drop it in the Fra Diavolo sauce and it was really good. But saute it Scampi style in garlic, 2 tbs of earth balance, lemon juice, white wine and fresh parsley and the vegan shrimp became very rubbery. In our opinion Vegan Shrimp, Fra Diavolo = good, Scampi = not so good.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
If you're anything like us than you do not live in a very vegan friendly area. I drool over twitter reading tweet after tweet from happy vegans enjoying the vegan cuisine from their local vegan friendly eateries. Here we have a mediocre at best health food store, and all vegan friendly restaurants are a minimum of 30 miles away.
Then I discovered that there are a plethora of Etsy shops dedicated to vegan offerings. With a click of my mouse I could have fresh homemade vegan fare delivered to my P.O. Box. We could fill our bellies while filling the pockets of small independent Etsy shop owners, well maybe not fill the pockets - but you know what I mean. In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that we recently threw our hats into the Etsy Vegan food delivery ring as well. A few months ago we opened Medusa Fine Vegan Fare or http://www.medusafoods.etsy.com/. Medusa Fine Vegan Fare's soul purpose is to provide high quality vegan entrees to those without access to such, or those busy vegans and vegetarians looking for a quick healthy meal.
On Medusa's menu you will find seitan based dishes like Thai Peanut, Southern Fried Cutlets, Vegan Tandoori Chicken, Maple Teriyaki and Buffalo Bites with Vegan Blue Cheese Dip to name a few.
Our shop isn't the only vegan food based Etsy shop. We found a few others like Sweet Fritsy where you can find these wonderful looking donuts and many other awesome looking vegan goodness. http://www.sweetfritsy.etsy.com/
And I can't forget The Cupcake Mint where you can order this bad boy or one of his equally mouth watering siblings. http://www.thecupcakemint.etsy.com/
When shopping on Etsy search vegan, vegan plants and edibles, or vegan food to find these and other vegan offerings available from some of the many different vegan friendly Etsy shops.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
This past July our dear friends Michael Thomas and Lindsay were married. Being devout vegans they set out to plan an event that was both beautiful and completely devoid of all animal products. They did an amazing job. I asked Michael Thomas to guest blog about the experience of planning his vegan wedding.
OUR BIG FAT VEGAN WEDDING
Lindsay and I were engaged on June 16, 2008 on the cliff walk in Newport, RI.
Being the OCD pair we are, we began the planning process in our hotel as soon as we returned from our long walk.
We went through everything one detail at a time.
Would it be a big wedding or a small wedding?
Long Island. Check.
How much did we want to spend?
$5,000.00…yeah, right. No dice.
What type of food would we offer?
Seeing as we are both vegan, that was a no brainer. The Omnis would have to withstand the torture of an event that not only was free of alcohol, but there would be no cruelty on the menu either.
OK done and done right? WRONG. How were we going to pull this one off?
We spent ample time searching out venues and caterers to no avail. Most of the places on Long Island are the “wedding factory” types, and our tiny little 50 person guest list was looked down on with contempt with a sloppy side order of GRILLED VEGETABLES to go along with it. “Wait…no eggs? No buttah? No cheese?” It was a painful experience.
Not exactly what we were thinking. Were we really going to be able to do this the right way?
One day, quite by accident, I ran across a website for a company called Elegant Affairs Catering. We called them up and spoke to Brooke who was happy to hear what we had to say, so we set up a meeting. As luck would have it, Elegant Affairs uses the Nassau County Museum of Art as a venue. When we pulled up to the museum for our meeting we were pleasantly surprised with our surroundings. To make things even better, Brooke was as sweet and understanding as could be and worked very closely with us to come up with a delicious menu that anyone attending was sure to enjoy. Another stroke of luck was that Elegant Affairs already had experience with vegan events and had just put together a vegan menu for another wedding, much larger than ours mind you. Of course we made sure they were mindful of those sneaky ingredients like casein etc….
After we went over our options, Brooke gave us the tour of the grounds, showing us where we would have the ceremony. Their formal gardens are beautiful and when Lindsay saw the gazebo area where the ceremony would be, the tears started flowing. This was the place for sure. So I wrote the check for the deposit and we continued our planning.
Next would be the cake. I already knew that Vegan Treats in PA made awesome Vegan Wedding cakes, but I wanted to stay local so the search was on. After a few frustrating calls to people claiming to do Vegan cakes we found Madame Butterfly in Babylon Village. After communicating back and forth for quite some time we met with the owner and we hit it off instantly. She made a plethora of samples for us which we happily devoured. We decided on a 3 tier cake, square tiers with different flavors of cake and filling for each tier. The design would be an Asian motif based loosely around our invitation, complete with edible flowers , bamboo and Koi fish.
Fast forward to July 19th, 2009, the day of our wedding. The menu consisted of passed hours devours of edamame cups, Greek salad cups, black bean quesadillas and California rolls…the buffet consisted of roasted peppers stuffed with quinoa and….tofu squares in fillo dough with a sweet eggplant topping, salad, pasta with olive oil and lemon with basil and sun dried tomatoes…..all vegan , all delicious. The cake was a huge hit with everyone as well.
The moral of the story is, don’t compromise your beliefs. You can stick to your guns and still keep everyone happy and satisfied.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Italian Wedding Soup
Italian Wedding Soup is a delicious hearty soup that "marries up" pasta, meat and greens. I make my Vegan Wedding Soup with vegetable broth, chopped endive or spinach, chopped carrots, onions and garlic, 2 cups of vegan white wine, olive oil, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, sea salt & pepper, chopped parsley, small ring shaped pasta and vegan meatballs. If I don't have any vegetable broth on hand I'll use Rapunzel Vegan Bouillon and for the meatballs I'll use Nate's Italian style. Nate's are precooked and usually frozen so after all of the vegetables and the ring shaped pasta are fully cooked I'll drop the vegan meatballs into the broth and let them reheat right in the pot of soup. Bring the pot to a boil again for 5-6mins then serve. I'll make vegan parmesan by putting Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour, sesame seeds, garlic powder, dried oregano and lemon juice in the food processor and process into a course meal. Put a bowl of the Vegan Parmesan on the table, it is a great companion for your Wedding Soup. Don't forget garlic bread!
For Bob's Red Mill flours and meals: http://www.bobsredmill.com/
Vegan Vanilla Butter Cookies with Chocolate Sprinkles
Chocolate "Let's Do Sprinklez" are perfect decoration for Vegan Vanilla Butter cookies. Chocolate "Let's Do Sprinklez" are a little pricey. One box has two very small pouches of sprinkles but they taste great. Traditional chocolate sprinkles tend to be both tasteless and loaded with dyes and chemicals, besides every other brand I found contained Confectioner's glaze which is not vegan. Chocolate "Let's Do Sprinklez" is Confectioner's glaze free, all natural and made with real Chocolate.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Super Easy Chik'N Salad Pitas
2 packages of Morning Star Farm Chik'N strips thawed and Diced
1 Red Pepper Diced
1 Green Pepper Diced
1/2 Sweet Onion Diced
1/2 Red Onion Diced
1 Bunch of fresh Italian Parsley chopped
Handful of Cherry tomatoes cut in halves
2 cups of Follow Your Heat Vegenaise
Sea Salt & Pepper to taste (I like Jane's Krazy Mixedup salt)
2tsp Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
Garlic Powder to taste
1tbs prepared mustard
2 or 3 marinated roasted red peppers chopped
Em and her cornbreads
My youngest daughter, unlike me, would rather eat cornbread than candy, cookies or cake, even chocolate cake ~ weird. She'll actually nag to make cornbread. She/we (but mostly she) veganized a recipe using vanilla soy yogurt and vanilla soy milk. It makes a really sweet pleasant corn muffin or corn bread.
Years ago my oldest two and I were walking to the playground and we came across a dead pigeon laying in the middle of the sidewalk. My son (then 3) looked down at the dead bird and said "Put that bird in a baggie so we can bring it home for Nanny (his grandmother)" I asked him why would we do that? He replied "Cause she eats dead birds." "Not pigeons!" I said. My daughter (than 2) looked up at me and with a completely puzzled look on her face asked "What's the difference?" My son added "A dead bird is a dead bird right?" How do you argue with a 3 year old when he's right?
One afternoon when my oldest daughter was in preschool I received a phone call from her teacher complaining that my daughter had disrupted the class that day. I asked what had she done. The teacher told me that she had made a big pot of Chicken Alphabet soup for the students. When she came to give my daughter some my daughter said "no thank you" The teacher asked "why not?" my daughter replied "I don't eat dead meat soup." The rest of the children heard what my daughter said and then they didn't want to eat "dead meat soup." either. That's my girl, revolution starter in preschool.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
This vegan chocolate chip crumb cake is a variation of Isa Chandar Moskowitz East Coast Coffee Cake from Vegan Brunch. Vegan Brunch has quickly become one of my all time favorite cook books. So far everything we've tried has been LOVED! For my chocolate crumb version I doubled the the cake recipe and added 1 cup natural unsweetened baking cocoa and 1 cup of choclate chips to the crumb topping. I sprinkled Hain organic powdered sugar all over it once it cooled.
The kids thought the chocolate crumb was a bit bitter without the powdered sugar. I thought it was fine either way. I doubled the cake part of the recipe because after making it once before we all decided that the cake was so good that we wanted more of it.
Lately my Bay Rum soy candle has gotten lots of attention. The last two weeks it has made it to Etsy's front page 3 times. I'm thrilled with all of the love the candle has been receiving but we have dozens of others that are deserving of lots of love as well. With Halloween coming I thought I'd highlight a few of my "darker" candles. First up is:
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Rainbow cookies were a big family favorite, especially around Christmas time. They quickly became the first thing missed after going vegan 2 1/2 years ago. We recently veganized our recipe and the results were... excellent. Non vegans will never know the difference. In fact we all agree, the vegan Rainbow cookies were superior! Unfortunately traditional Rainbow cookies can be very dry - our vegan version was super moist and delicious.