Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is why I am a vegan.

I have pending posts on chia pudding and CSA box recipes, but today is a difficult day in the vegan blogosphere and my appetite is gone. Everyone is covering Mercy for Animals' investigation of an Ohio dairy farm.

At this point, I have yet to watch the video. I have seen stills, and read descriptions, and wiped tears from my eyes, but I can't watch it here at work, b/c I know that I will be destroyed for the day.

So many others have covered this in a calmer way than I can at this point, so I pulled some of the most important words.

"This is probably the most gratuitous, sustained, sadistic animal abuse I have ever seen. The video depicts calculated, deliberate cruelty, based not on momentary rage but on taking pleasure through causing pain to cows and calves who are defenseless."
-Dr. Bernard Rollin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University

"As more and more investigations like this continue to make their way into the light, we must ask ourselves how commonplace treatment like this really is. If undercover investigators are able to capture this much gratuitous abuse, what must go unseen? When living, feeling, emotional and intelligent animals are forced to endure a reality like this, there is no sufficient excuse."
-Joshua Katcher, “The Discerning Brute”

There is no reason to consume animal products other than selfishness, laziness, sadism, or ignorance.

Even if you refuse to give them up, surely you can't condone this. Watch the video. Think about whether or not you're funding what you see. And stand up.

When you're finished, go here, because you're going to need it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CSA Week 1!

Every Saturday morning, I walk up to MOM's for breakfast supplies. I used to plan ahead, but now the morning walk has become part of the process and guarentees I won't spend the whole day as a laze-about. A few weeks ago, a woman had a table covered in greens with a sign that said "CSA." The one I've been eyeing for over a year now runs out of membership space almost instantly, but Allison assurred me that there were shares left from her farm AND that the pick up location was MOM's. Perfect!

I signed up and last night walked up to MOM to get my first share! It was like vegan Tuesday Christmas and the excitement was palpable. I pictured my rustic wooden box, overflowing with veggies every color of the rainbow. Perhaps a bunny waering a hat would poke his little head out and I'd pet him the whole way home.

The box was waxed cardboard and I could only see green peaking through just a bit. But I was not dissapointed, I knew my vision was a bit grand.

Upon getting home, I unloaded bunches of green - several bunches of greens, and a bag of greens and one bunch of radishes. Great! I love green smoothies and salads. But this was a lot of greens.

Today, for breakfast, I had the greenest smoothie I've ever had. Except for 1/3 cup each of mango and blueberries, and a tablespoon of hemp protein powder, the smoothie was all dandelions and spinach. Oh and one radish, just for some spice. It was pretty good too!

I'm looking forward to more smoothies, salads, SusanV's Roasted Radishes and Pearl Onions and VCON's Stir-fired Greens recipe.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

From Awful to Waffle

This weekend I put my new waffle iron to use with the help of Vegan Brunch. I was nervous and justifiably so. Though I spent many a summer chomping my way through Eggo 48 packs with my sisters before graduating to smaller packs of vegan waffles, I have never made a waffle from scratch or otherwise. But I believe in getting my money's worth out of my books, even if it means dropping more money on the appliances to do so.

For my first batch, I decided to go simple and chose the Chelsea Waffles, since they required no rising time or ingredient trips. Of course, I'm lying, I was one cup short of almond milk and my hemp milk smelled and tasted off, so I made a quick trip to the local organic market. I returned twice more that day, just so you know.

I followed the instructions perfectly, but the first one came out a little ugly.

I made little adjustments to time and flipping, and each waffle looked a little better, but at the end, I had not produced a single perfect waffle. In fact, I didn't even manage a totally edible waffle. The dog and I shared the edible bits, dipped in maple syrup and ate the strawberries I had cut up in anticipation of splendid and photogenic waffles.

I believe that the closing the drafty window helped, but a certain kitty who likes to perch there to watch the birds did not agree.

Day two, things went a little better. Though I was unable to achieve perfect shape, my Peanut Butter Waffles were totally edible and I'll even go so far as to say delicious!

I had presoaked some cashews and had chocolate ganache left over from Brooklyn vs. Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes, so I topped my breakfast/morning dessert accordingly. The whole affair was a success and half a leftover waffle was a perfect Monday morning breakfast.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Implement Roundup

Last night, my waffle iron arrived! I can't wait to test it out this weekend in anticipation of Global Vegan Waffle Party. I'll be attending a party on the 30th with a bunch of strangers and that's both scary and exciting. And I think on the actual date, the 29th, I'll just throw myself a party and gorge on waffles. I am blessed with several recipes courtesy of Vegan Brunch, but now I'll be on the lookout for more.

But a waffle iron is not the end of my implement craze. I recently also bought a 13.5 inch cast iron skillet (how cool is it that the pre-seasoning method is vegan?). I did season it myself as well, using the technique I found here.

I also acquired a mandoline some time ago and finally put it to work this week to make a fancy-ish looking salad on which to try out some Creamy Asian Dressing.

This dressing, by the way, is divine. Dressings always leak out of my Tupperware, so I carry mine to work in a thoroughly-cleaned curry paste jar.

Next, I have my eye on a juicer.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vegan Weekend: Cafe Green, WVBS, and more

Last weekend seems so far away, but it was a good one in terms of vegan life.

Friday night, I hit up DC's new Cafe Green. (The grand opening was the next day). The cafe only serves vegan foods, with a nice selection of raw offerings. My dining companion and I went a little wild, ordering three appetizers, two entrees, and three desserts.

The entrees largely cater to the faux meat crowd. Dishes like chicken wings, cheese steaks, and cheeseburgers offer vegan alternatives to typical American restaurant offerings. I'm not wild in general about meat analogues, so I was not in love, but the Massaman Curry was wicked spicy and I enjoyed it.

Dessert stole the show. We struck up a conversation with the couple seated next to us who said that they always eat dessert first there and convinced us to order the raw cheesecake and cacao shake. In addition to those, we ordered a berry coconut tart. The cheesecake was unreal. I've had many a raw cheesecake, but this was literally it. It was chocolaty, smooth, and ridiculously decadent. The shake was fabulous and left us feeling high. The berry tart was great, but couldn't compete with the cheesecake.

The manager came out to visit the table and asked if we had tried the raw coconut ice-cream. We had not, so he brought us a little complimentary dish to sample. If I hadn't been stuffed already, I would have ordered more.

Cafe Green is most definitely a win. I hope they'll continue to expand their menu to go beyond the fake meat fare.

Sunday, I ventured out to a Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale event. I found that Compassion for Animals was hosting one in Silver Spring, MD and it was worth the trip. I caught them right as they were setting up, but they were very helpful anyway. I wandered away to give them some time, and when I returned, the table was swamped! I came away with cheesecake brownies, mini cheesecakes, mac and cheese, and mango bread.

The mango bread caught my eye because I'd never heard of such a thing. It was most definitely a wise decision to buy it. The bread is beautifully orange, spicy, and moist, but the remarkable thing is the surprising mango flavor.

There was an email address affixed to the packaging and I tracked down the associated blog, Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

After the bake sale, I headed over to the nearby Berwyn Cafe. I'm on a quest to try and review as many of the restaurants in COK's Vegetarian Guide to Washington, D.C. and Surrounding Areas.

It was a laid back little cafe full of students on laptops sitting on mismatched furniture and drinking from recycled thrift-store mugs. Oddly though, the plates and flatware were disposable (paper and plastic) and that never sits well with me. The food was good though, and I really enjoyed my combo breakfast that included a tofu scramble and giant blueberry pancake. They also made a good cup of coffee and provided soy creamer. If it were close to my place, and they switched to reusable or compostable plates and forks, I could see myself going regularly for a lazy weekend breakfast.

The cafe is conveniently located by the Smile Herb Shop. I was finally able to get culinary-grade lavender, matcha a.k.a. green tea powder (Green Tea Cupcakes, here I come), and loose rooibos. I also picked up a box of Harmonaise Tea that's pretty good.

Finally, I obtained some new-to-me ingredients that I will cook with at some point this week, dinosaur kale and yucca! Very exciting!